The world's biggest consumer electronics show -- the Consumer Electronics Show -- is literally just around the corner. CES is where the world's electronics manufacturers show up to drop their proverbial trousers and show the industry their finest goods. But it's not just about being the biggest and best. The show is so huge that as many niches as you can think of are usually covered by small firms with cute little stands.
One area we've seen make significant advances this year is flash memory -- that's the memory inside things like the iPod nano, mobile phones and digital cameras. Because more people are using flash, it's getting cheaper. This has let manufacturers shove more of the stuff inside their products. In the last few weeks we've seen Creative release the world's first 32GB flash-based player -- a capacity dominated solely by hard drives for the last few years. We're hoping to see a shedload of flash-based gear at CES this year.
With the release of the iPhone, the Archos 605 Wi-Fi, the iPod touch and Samsung's YP-P2, touch-sensitive technology has become a ubiquitous commodity over the last 12 months. We're expecting to see not only advancements in the fundamental technologies behind touchscreens, but also more exciting implementations of it in hardware. The majority of touch-sensitive interfaces will be in hand-held devices, but as we saw with Microsoft's Surface in 2007, manufacturers are getting more ambitious with touch integration.
As well as a range of new audiophile headphones (which, admittedly, are present at all trade shows), we're also looking forward to seeing new wireless products. Whether it's wireless HD, wireless earphones and headsets, wireless speakers or wireless USB devices, we're expecting plenty of nails in the coffin of wired technology.
We don't claim to be able to bring you everything, because without thousands of imported Chinese worker children, it would be physically impossible. But what we will bring you is the very best, most exciting new technology and as many hands-on first impressions as possible. And it's all less than a month away. -Nate Lanxon