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CES Kicks Off

CES Kicks Off

Las Vegas is itself a symbol of hope, blooming in the dry Nevada desert. But as the credit crunch continues to bite hard, the Consumers Electronics Show 2009 promises to shine bright among the economic blight.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association that stages CES, told the BBC:

"It will be a bright spot compared to the uncertainty in the rest of the economy."

Some 130,000 people are expected to attend, down 10,000 over last year, but still an impressive figure. Over 2,700 companies have paid to be exhibitors in the 1.7 million square feet of space CES will occupy – although later today will see how many show up.

Instead of Bill Gates, this year it will be Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer who’ll give the keynote address today in an atmosphere of downturn that reportedly has even enveloped Redmond. But as Shapiro noted:

"They always seem like the worst when you are experiencing them. But as a tech industry we are doing very well and people want to buy things and want to invest."

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