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Technology > Personal Tech
The hot gadgets of 2005
The buzz is about Sony's PlayStation Portable, even bigger TVs and an 'electronic Swiss Army knife.'
January 7, 2005: 12:43 PM EST
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Better. Bigger. Faster. Cheaper. And of course, it's not "hot" unless its wireless and portable.

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Those are the trends consumers will be seeing in the "must-have" gadgets and gizmos of 2005.

Over 2,500 exhibitors have been gathering in Las Vegas this week to show the latest in leading edge technology at the International Consumers Electronics Show, the largest annual trade show for the $100 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry.

The four-day event that began Thursday and runs through Sunday is expected to attract 100,000 attendees from over 100 countries, according to Jim Barry, spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

"(The year) 2005 looks more evolutionary than revolutionary," said Stephen Baker, technology analyst with market research firm NPD Techworld. "The cellphones are getting better, the flatscreen TVs are much bigger, DVD and MP3 players are getting faster and digital cameras are getting much cheaper."

Baker, who is in Las Vegas for the event, said he has not yet seen anything that really "knocked [his] socks off."

"What I've noticed are incremental improvements to what's already out there rather than whole new product categories," he said.

Lance Ulanoff, executive editor of PC Magazine, agrees with Baker.

"There aren't expected to be too many new gadgets but rather reinforcements of popular products," Ulanoff said. "Manufacturers are expanding their offerings of MP3 players and big screen TVs. More products are becoming digital and portable. There's also a lot of new technology for improving home entertainment systems and enabling convergence between all the different gadgets in the home."

CES's Barry calls it the year of the "electronic Swiss Army knife."

"By that I mean companies are putting out a product that's a cellphone with an MP3 player, PDA, video-on-demand capabilities and so much more all rolled into one."

Besides televisions, digital music and video players, cameras and cellphones, industry analysts expect gaming to be a standout category in 2005.

Leading the charge is the much-anticipated unveiling of Sony's PSP -- PlayStation Portable hand-held game console -- in the United States. The PSP, observers say, could pose a serious challenge in the portable game market to Nintendo, which helped to pioneer the format with its Game Boy products.

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Said Ulanoff, "Sony rolled out the PSP in Japan in December to great acclaim. We'll have to wait and see if they can replicate the same level of success here."

Meanwhile, speculation is also building about when Microsoft will debut the Xbox 2 , its next generation Xbox console.

"I think Microsoft is waiting to hear Sony's plan about the PSP and then we may hear something about the Xbox 2," said Adam Levin, a consumer electronics analyst.

Scott Cameron, editor of, says HDTVs will once again dominate the consumer electronics arena in 2005. "This will be the pay-off year for all the hype that we've had about the high-definition televisions. Everybody is trying to come out with a model and prices are coming down," said Cameron.

His personal favorite from the show is a 50-inch plasma TV from LG Electronics with a built-in PDR (personal digital recorder.)  Top of page

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