CES 2012 Preview: A Guide to the 10 Best Events, Speakers and Awards Shows

on January 04 2012 11:17 AM

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) from Jan. 10-13, will feature nearly 49,000 exhibitors, 530 speakers and over 1,000 industry analysts. With dozens of individual functions and awards ceremonies and so much to see in a limited amount of time, we've broken down the 10 best must-see CES events in 2012.

Pre-CES Keynote Address from Steve Ballmer, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft: Microsoft has had a significant impact on the world of consumer technology for the last few decades, and Ballmer's explosive rhetoric will be sure to excite the fans for another great CES. Ballmer will discuss Microsoft's initiatives and his own vision for where technology is heading, but more importantly, this will be the last contribution from Microsoft to CES. The company will not take part in any future CES conventions.When and Where: Monday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. The Venetian, Palazzo Ballroom

State of the CE Industry Keynote Address from Dr. Paul Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm: Qualcomm, the global telecommunication company, has been designing and building wireless technologies and devices since the mid-1980s. In 2012, Dr. Jacobs, the son of Qualcomm's founder Irwin Jacobs, will discus the role of mobile technology in pushing global innovation and spurring economic growth in the industry.When and Where: Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 8:30 a.m. The Ventian, Palazzo Ballroom

The 2012 CES Hot Stuff Awards: After a successful first outing, the second annual Hot Stuff Awards ought to showcase some exciting new products. In its first year, the awards showcased the 10 most desirable and most innovative gadgets, which are decided by the editorial staff from Stuff magazine, the best-selling gadget magazine in the world. Last year's winners included the Asus Eee Pad Slider, an electronic guitar with a multi-touch screen called MISA Kitara, and the Motorola Atrix.When and Where: Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. Winners announced online at www.stuff.tv.

Mark of Excellence Awards Reception: Rather than doling out awards for the most exciting gadgets or electronics, the Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best innovations. Design and function are taken into account, but this ceremony is all about recognizing the unique features that drive technology forward.When and Where: Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. LVCC, South Hall 1. 

SportsNation in 3D: You don't have to love sports to enjoy SportsNation, a fast-moving, off-beat talk show that highlights the best and worst of today's sports, mixing in pop culture just for fun. At CES 2012, the Emmy Award-winning program will enjoy its first live telecast from Las Vegas, which will also be the show's first telecast in 3D. The monumental ESPN event will be an hour long.When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. LVCC, Central Hall (ESPN 3D), Booth #13632

The 2012 What HI-FI? Sound and Vision Stars of CES: What HI-FI?, an online buyer's guide, is hosting its first awards ceremony showcasing high-performance audio and video equipment. It's not about flashy booths or gimmicks; it's just about having the best product to get the show's expert panel of judges excited. The winners of Stars of CES are likely to be on your shopping list in the near future.When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. The Venetian, Suite 29-326

Developer University at CES: Developers finally get some love at the first-ever developer-centric event designed by the Consumer Electronics Association. The discussion features developers and product manufacturers, who will discuss their platforms, tools, API,s, programs and sdks. The eight-hour event on Thursday will be broken down into sections for different categories, such as device APIs, third-party API, desktop apps, Web apps, mobile apps and TV apps.When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. LVCC, South Hall Connector, Room S228

Last Gadget Standing: In this annual event, contestants and exhibitors have a chance to give the product demo of their lives. The search is on for the gadget and pitch that is most likely to change the face of technology. The field has already been narrowed down to 10 contenders, including the power-folding stroller, the PlayStation Vita, and the Lytro Light Field Camera. Gary Dell'Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event.When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 12 at 10:30 a.m. LVCC, North Hall

Mobile Apps Showdown: Similar to Last Gadget Standing, app developers are given two minutes to showcase their application designs, and an applause-o-meter will gauge the audience's enthusiasm to decide the winners. Judges will select 10 finalists, and two winners will be selected overall: One from the live vote at CES, and one from online voters.When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 12 at 12:30 p.m. LVCC, North Hall, N255

TAO: The Official CES Closing Party: The International CES 2012 will close on Friday night at the TAO nightclub in Las Vegas. All guests are expected to adhere to a strict dress code, but once they're inside the event, they can receive expedited access with an exclusive CES wristband and enjoy an open bar from 10 to 11 p.m.When and Where: Friday, Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. The Venetian, TAO Nightclub