The Consumer Electronic Show (CES), held every January in Las Vegas, is a great way to kick off the year for all those who love technology. Although it’s only open to members of the electronics industry, techno-philes get their fill of news about new and upcoming products based on the announcements generated by the four-day event.

As he has for many years now, Douglas Dixon — consultant, writer on technology issues, and owner of Manifest Technology LLC — attended the CES, where attendance clocked in at 150,000 people this year.

The MacIntosh Users Group will host Dixon on Tuesday, February 14, at 7:30 p.m. as he talks about, “The Mobile Life: Highlights from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.” The free event is at Stuart Hall, Room 6, of Princeton Theological Seminary.

According to Dixon, the big topics at CES 2012 included:

Ultrabooks: Small, light, and stylish laptops (the PC industry’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air). “Remember netbooks, which were too underpowered and sluggish? Ultrabooks promise to remove the compromises, with power and capacity to be a useful laptop. (Expect a big marketing push from Intel and its partners),” Dixon says.

Thin TV: Flat-screen TVs, with thickness and surrounding bezels measures in millimeters instead of inches. These look like a sheet of glass from the side, and the minimization of the surrounding frame can make them appear to float in the air.

Smart TV: TVs and blu-ray players that integrate with the Internet to provide browsing and apps like smartphones and tablets, provide deeper interaction through voice and gesture control, and even face recognition to personalize preferences.

Digital Health: A profusion of devices to monitor health and exercise, and connect to smartphone apps for analysis and coaching.

UltraViolet: A Hollywood-approved “digital locker” for purchased movies and television shows, so customers can buy once and then view across a wide variety of devices, from desktop to set-top to mobile. “This is just starting to roll out, but holds the promise of being sensible and useful,” says Dixon.

According to Dixon, the show featured more than 3100 exhibitors in a show-record 1.8-million-square-foot space — an area larger than 30 football fields. There were over 20 TechZones grouping new technology markets, including the very active the iLounge Pavilion, with third-party accessories and software for the Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macintosh.

Dixon, a former technology leader and product/project manager at Sarnoff, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Brown University. He has also written the holiday gift guides to technology products that appear annually in U.S. 1 newspaper.

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