World’s electronics giants hit Las Vegas

THE WORLD’S technology giants will convene in Las Vegas this week for the industry’s biggest trade event, featuring many of the gadgets that will shape the next 12 months.

From tomorrow, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will see announcements from global brands such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, as well as displays from emerging companies including China’s Huawei and ZTE.

As well as the gadgets on display, multi-million dollar deals will be brokered behind closed doors, with many of the world’s biggest technology players in town.

Two British companies with a keen interest in this week’s events are ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies, the microchip designers whose technology is used in devices including the iPhone.

ARM is braced for further challenges from Intel, the US chip giant that has repeatedly made efforts to crack the smartphone market where ARM is dominant, whereas Imagination will be promoting the latest technology from its digital radio subsidiary, Pure, in a bid to turn the lossmaking division around.

Imagination’s chief executive, the recently-knighted Sir Hossein Yassaie, has also scheduled a punishing programme of meetings as he aims to license his technology to companies from car manufacturers to tablet computer makers.

Sir Hossein has outlined the divergence of internet-connectivity into goods such as cars and fridges as a key driver of growth for his company.

This phenomenon – the so-called “internet of things” – will be a key theme at this year’s CES, especially among car and TV manufacturers.

Despite the show’s reputation as a haven for gadget fans, a record number of car companies will take the stage to show off their latest navigation and in-car entertainment systems.

Connecting the living room will also be a major theme at this year’s event, with a flurry of internet TVs set to be unveiled.

The likes of Panasonic and LG are likely to use the show as a platform to reignite their struggling TV divisions, introducing “ultra high-definition” sets which promise TVs with images four times as sharp as current high-definition ones.

Samsung, HTC and Sony are all set to unveil new smartphones, although technology giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft will have little or no presence.

TECH TRENDS AT CES

Ultra high-definition TV
■ Television is set to be the hot topic of this year’s show, with enormous, internet-connected sets promising displays many times more detailed than currently available.

Even bigger smartphone screens
■ With Apple nowhere to be seen, the onus is on Samsung, HTC and Sony to produce the standout handset of the show. Screens of over five inches are expected to be commonplace.

Microchip wars heat up
■ Chip giant Intel is expected to launch a fresh push into making smartphone processors as sales of PCs decline. Intel has so far failed to keep up with FTSE 100 firm ARM Holdings.