Las Vegas electronics show opens with new products

Thousands of companies from around the world have descended on the western U.S. city of Las Vegas for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Their goal is to change the way people live.

Las Vegas. Bright lights, mega casinos and, for a few days, home to some of the most cutting edge technology on the planet.

More than 20,000 new products are being launched, with the biggest buzz about very thin Ultrabook laptops, smart high definition TVs and innovative interfaces.

There’s also lots of talk about the new Windows smartphones. “You can see that what I have here are the things that are most important to me,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Windows phones have long lagged behind Apple’s iPhone and Android phones, but Ballmer is confident sales will take off. “Really, Windows phone is the first phone that I think that put people first,” he said.

Even automakers are getting into the act.

Mercedes Benz chief executive Dieter Zetsche said, “Just like a smart phone can be so much more than a means of communication, a smart vehicle can be so much more than a mode of transportation. Your car will keep its services and apps up to date through the Internet.”

Not all of the top technology companies are at the show, perhaps none more prominent than iPhone maker Apple. And Microsoft says it will not attend next year. But the Consumer Electronics Association’s Tim Doyle says the technology will continue to awe.

“We know that there’s a lot of people eager to have their booth spot or their keynote [speech], so we’re excited about the future. 2013 projects to be another great CES,” he said.

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