My CES 2009 predictions

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicks off on Tuesday, with the 'CES Unveiled' event that showcases some of the most exciting products in th

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas kicks off on Tuesday, with the 'CES Unveiled' event that showcases some of the most exciting products in the epic exhibition. Wednesday is wall-to-wall press conferences, with the big names like Samsung, Sony and Panasonic each claiming and counter-claiming that they have the biggest, thinnest, loudest and downright sexiest products in the show.

Then on Thursday, two hangovers into the proceedings,  the traipsing around the series of football-sized halls and hotel suites begins. And with it comes Las Vegas's trademarked Fear and Loathing. Too many people, too many products, too little oxygen...

So before it all begins, here's what I'm expecting to be writing about:

Wireless charging You might have seen a piece in the Guardian about this. Treat with extreme caution. For the last couple of years people got really excited about the Wildcharge mat which would charge anthing that was placed on it. Then we realised it needed a special adapter to be plugged into the gadget first. Which kind of defeats the point.

This year, we'll have short-range wireless charging that rely on magnetic fields, or larger range wireless that rely on lasers. Either way, you're not going to want it in your living room quite yet - not least because the distances and voltages involved are so low. But in a few years time 'WiTricity' could become a reality. Along with 3D printers that will fabricate edible objects from instructions downloaded from the internet. Maybe.

Touch, motion and voice controls 'Intuitive' is destined to be one of the buzzwords of CES, as every manufacturer desperately tries to replicate success of the motion-sensitive Wii and touch-sensitive iPhone. I expect to see demonstrators changing TV channels by waving their arms, and turning on the lights by shouting. Amid all this sound and fury, they'll be some moments of genius. And then there'll be Windows 7 public beta.

iWannaBeTheiPhone CES isn't really a mobile phone show proper for us Europeans, because the cellphones on display tend to be aimed firmly at the American market. That's why we have the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona in March. Nonetheless, I'm sure we'll see all sorts of wannabe iPhone rivals. Most will be poor - but I've high hopes for the new Palm smartphone, which will hopefully revive the fortunes of one of my favourite tech brands. Hopefully we'll see Motorola's Android phone, too - and if anyone's going to beat Apple, it'll be Google.

Netbooks Asus scooped our Gadget of the Year in 2008 for its game-changing Eee PC range. Now everyone's getting in on the act, with smaller, cheaper, sexier netbooks - and probably even one with a Sony badge. Expect integrated 3G, GPS and WiMax, too, to create the ultimate portable computing powerhouses.

3DTV For the last four or five years, HD has been the star of CES. First HD Ready, then Full HD, and then last year the end of the Blu-ray/HD-DVD war. But this year, telly makers and broadcasters are looking for something new to excite us. We'll see some Quad HD and 4K sets, of course, but there's only so much resolution the average lounge can take. Which is why 3DTV is being hyped as the next big thing.

But will 3DTV stimulate our buying glands? Not yet. There are - of course - a number of competing formats - and the affordable one, which I tested out at Sky recently, involved wearing dorky Polarising glasses. Unless you happen to be a Ferris Bueler wannabe, that's simply not going to fly. The alternative? Philips have a lenticular display, but it costs as much as a small planet.

Before I get too dismissive, it worth noting that both blockbuster animations and 3D games are ripe for conversion into 3D - and will be relatively cheap to convert. Pixar is producing all its movies in 3D. And James 'The Terminator' Cameron is filming a live-action IMAX thirller in 3D. So don't expect this one to disappear.

Wireless HD A simple proposition - cut the cable between your Sky box and your telly. Alas, the promise has been delayed by technical difficulties, not to mention format wars. This could be the year that things get sorted out. Don't get your hopes up that they'll work in the UK quite yet, though - in order to deliver the sort of bandwidth necessary to stream an uncompressed video signal wirelessly, most systems use radio spectrum that's not licenses for personal use in the UK.

Thinner, larger, brighter and higher resolution This year's TVs will be thinner and lighter than ever before, with reduced bevels and LED backlighting. We'll also see some large OLED screens, but the phenomenally high failure rate of OLED screens will keep the prices astronomically high.