I wouldn't say that this year there was a theme to CES 2009 except a continuation of electronics that are smaller, thinner, cheaper, faster, integrated and portable. But those elements are more than enough to drive significant innovation. So rather than try to develop something new, entrepreneurs are focusing their efforts on the accessory market, especially the higher-end.
For every big technology vendor you saw one or two that had colorful and customized accessories for their products. It's almost like when the iPod launched and there were new makers of "stuff" for docks, speakers, iTrip, etc. Now, with everything smaller and more accessible, the upgrades will come in the form of customization either directly from the maker or through one of these accessory specialization companies.
The result is that 2009's fashionista has so much more to buy that just a T-Mobile Sidekick a la Paris Hilton or a pink iPod Nano. CES showcased some real custom, jewel-encrusted bling for consideration. Buy some of that, add a designer net book and you, too, can be fashionably accessorized -- and connected.
Beyond accessories, "smart" is the new "it," with leadership coming from smartphones, internet TV, adding 3-D to TV and to gaming, upgrading Micrsoft's Sync in Ford cars, and making high definition available to anyone with a cheap Flip Camera.
Now if they can just make it in beverages or other dietary supplement, I'll be good to go.
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Jay Krihak is senior partner-group director at MEC Interaction.