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CES 2012 is Next Week

It's the new year, so the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is back for 2012, returning to Las Vegas from Tuesday, January 10 through Friday, January 13, 2012, for an extravaganza of electronic devices, from smartphones and tablets, to big-screen TV and gaming, to smart homes and even autos.

The show is produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which reports that CES continues to be the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, and the largest tradeshow of any kind in North America.

Last year's CES expanded to almost 150,000 attendees, growing from the low of 113,000 in the crash of 2009 to exceed the peak of over 140,000 in 2007 - 2008. With another 140,000-some people expected again this year, the show is seriously stressing the facilities in Vegas, and transportation is a significant challenge.

The number of exhibitors also is holding strong, increasing slightly in 2011 to around 2,700, with growing presence from non-U.S. companies (although Microsoft has announced that it will not be returning after this year, which opens up a very attractive location on the exhibit floor). The result is a lot of walking, as the show floor is spread out over an area larger than 35 (American) football fields.

There also will be over 20 TechZones grouping new technology markets, including a new Eureka Park for start-ups. The fastest growing TechZone is the iLounge Pavilion, with third-party accessories and software for the Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macintosh.

CES 2011: Attendees in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (CEA)

As in previous years, the gadget blogs and tech publications will be out in force at CES, with teams live blogging the new announcements for hot-off-the-press coverage. I'll update my annual summary document with links to these sources and other coverage of the show.

See my 2012 International CES Summary article for information on the show, facilities, Las Vegas, exhibits, conference program, and press events -- plus links to more information and press / blog coverage.

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