It’s that time of year again: the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas, officially kicks off next week. The NotebookReview.com staff, along with our colleagues from DesktopReview.com, TabletPCReview.com, Brighthand.com, DigitalCameraReview.com, and PrinterComparison.com, will be flying out to Vegas next week to check out the latest buzz from the world of electronics.
We’ll be visiting with all of the major notebook and notebook accessory manufacturers to preview new models and learn about what’s coming down the road in the near future. Expect a barrage of new notebook and accessory reviews in the coming weeks as soon as we can get our hands on review units. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to sample some of the newest notebook toys at the show as well. What can you expect to see? Well, here are a few of our predictions …
Less To See On The Show Floor
With the global economy continuing to spiral downward, we’ve already seen consumers spending less on high-priced electronics. Full-featured notebook sales have been pretty weak in 2008 and low-priced netbook sales were surprisingly strong this year. All this translates into weak 2009 consumer spending projections … and less to see on the show floor in 2009. Per the last booth layout map we checked out, it looks like some manufacturers who used to buy up entire corners of a hall at CES will be running more modest operations this year. And major notebook manufacturers have almost completely abandoned the show floor, taking up residence at one of the nearby hotels for face-to-face meetings with the press. Sure, it’s a safe bet there will still be plenty to see on the show floor, but the big news and product releases will probably happen in private meeting rooms and hotel suites this year.
Netbooks and “Affordable Luxury” in 2009
With sub-par profit numbers in the second half of 2008, the development of high-priced notebooks is going to take a back seat to budget-priced netbooks and “affordable luxury” notebooks (expect to see thin and light notebooks similar to a MacBook Air but more useful than a netbook and priced well below $1,000). Traditional full-featured notebooks will continue to be around, but the emphasis in 2009 will be on “customized” notebooks that not only look cool but look unique to fit the personalities of a variety of owners. You won’t see as much emphasis on new high-performance processors or cutting-edge graphics that can play Crysis at 150 frames per second because consumers don’t really need that level of performance and (more importantly) they won’t be able to afford it in 2009.
Looking at past years, it’s safe to assume that we’ll be hearing something in terms of new notebooks from HP, Dell, ASUS, Sony, Toshiba, and others. However, this year CES will likely have a few surprises from companies we don’t normally associate with laptops here in the US … namely Samsung and LG. The wild cards will be the smaller companies coming out with more netbooks. We saw dozens of companies selling netbooks with 8.9″ or 10″ screens for $500 or less in 2008 and we can expect to see more of that in 2009 … with some new technology aimed specifically at netbooks.
Keep Checking In With Us
We’ll be kicking off our in-depth CES coverage (including full reviews of new notebooks) during the first full week of January, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you: what would you like to see come out of this year’s CES? What rumors seem most reasonable, or most outlandish? Talk back in our discussion forum!