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CES Goes Social for 2011

Stocks in this article: GOOG CMCSA SNE MSFT F

Connected Devices

Illustrated by video game consoles like Sony's (SNE)- Playstation 360 and Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox that let consumers connect and play games with their friends online, social media is "integrated tightly" within connected devices, said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst at Altimeter Group.


At this year's CES, analysts expect to see more connected devices with social media capabilities, from home appliances to cars.

Ford (F), whose Sync system already allows drivers to operate their phones hands-free and use voice-controlled versions of digital navigation technology and Pandora, is expected to announce even more social media-equipped initiatives. (This will be Ford CEO Alan Mulally's third year delivering a keynote at CES.)

"You have these experiences on the go and want to be able to share them in real time with people who matter to do -- this is starting to infiltrate all types of electronics," eMarketer's Elkin said.

Mobile Applications

And of course, with the bevy of powerful new smartphones and tablets expected to be announced at CES, the availability of quality, mobile apps -- which are increasingly seen as an important factor in a consumer's phone-buying decision -- will grow.

Mobile apps, particularly those with features that allow users to share their location and buying preferences with friends, provide valuable information for marketers looking to understand their consumers likes and needs.

CES will feature sessions that concentrate on issues that impact app developers as well as brands and marketers.

For example, a session called "The Apps: The Smartphone and Tablet" on Jan. 5 will feature a discussion from execs at Adobe (ADBE) and MTV about how they're using apps to target consumers.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.


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