By Roger Nachman
CES (The International Consumer Electronics Show) 2011 is finally here, with the keynote address set to kick off the event from Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Steve Ballmer.
Las Vegas is abuzz with excitement over what the dominant themes of the event will be.
Obviously, the new technology causing the most buzz is the tablet sector that really kicked into gear last year when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its iPad, which has been selling like hot cakes.
Chip companies like ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH), NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ:NXPI), CEVA (NASDAQ:CEVA) and MIPS (NASDAQ:MIPS) should benefit from these tablets, as should Corning (NYSE:GLW), which makes the glass for the tablets. Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy has proven that it can compete with the iPad, and the sector is only expected to get more crowded, as tablets flood the convention.
The next technology that will dominate is the smartphone category. It's not just a Android versus iOS world. There is room for Research in Motion (RIMM), should the company be able to get its act together with a new offering. Many are looking at the company's Playbook tablet to re-spark interest in the company. Perhaps we'll see a phone based off the QNX operating system to excite convention goers.
People will also be looking forward to the 4G offerings for the new 4G network from Verizon (NYSE:VZ), known as LTE. Motorola Mobility (MOT) and HTC are expected to have strong offerings in this space.
Video games will also get a space at CES, even though the video games big event is E3 later in the year. Makers like Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) and hardware makers like Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft will show off their motion controllers, the Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect.
Connected appliances and TVs will also be hot. Whirpool (NYSE:WHR), LG (NYSE:LPL) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) will show off new home appliances that connect to a smart grid, and allow consumers to save energy.
Obviously, Apple (AAPL) won't be showing off its iPad 2 or iPhone 5, but maybe Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg will give us techies a hint. We can only be so lucky.
Disclosure: I am long NXPI.