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) -- Next week, more than 140,000 tech industry professionals will pile into the Las Vegas Convention Center along with CEOs like



Paul Otellini and



Steve Ballmer to view the latest and greatest gadgets at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

We'll be at the event giving our readers a sneak peek at some of the newest smartphones, laptops, cameras and more as well as interviews with executives from top tech companies.

Here are some of the highlights we expect from this year's event.


While tablets may have stolen the show during CES 2011

, ultrabooks are this year's gadget of choice.

The devices -- namely thin, sleek laptops designed to compete with



stylish MacBook Air -- are expected to take off in 2012.

Intel, which coined the term to differentiate the category from low-cost tablets and netbooks, is heavily marketing the devices and even established a $300 million fund to drive product innovation.

As many as 50 ultrabooks are expected to be launched at this year's CES, Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Consumer Electronics Association Shawn DuBravac told

PC Pro

in November, including rumored offerings from manufacturers like













Some manufacturers have even jumped the gun and released ultrabooks ahead of CES, such

as Lenovo's T430u Ultrabook and X1 Hybrid which are priced at $849 and $1,599, respectively


Smarter Cars

Car manufacturers are becoming more and more like tech companies, so it should come as no surprise that both



CEO Alan Mulally and


/Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche are delivering keynotes as CES.

Last year, Ford chose to introduce its new Ford Electric at the tech conference, rather than a major auto show, and next week it plans to demo its Evos Concept or "cloud car." The car integrates on-board data related to the driver with information like music, weather and work schedules.

Mercedes, meanwhile, plans to showcase its new "mbrace2" communications platform which includes apps, traffic and navigation assistance, Internet browsing and concierge services. The service will be integrated in the new MY2013 Mercedes-Benz SL which will come out later this year.

The Connected Home

Electronics manufacturers are expected to debut products for the so-called "connected home," making every device in the house -- from your oven to the refrigerator and curtains -- connected wirelessly to the Internet.

This week,

Motorola Mobility


rolled out its Connected Home Gateway which lets consumers remotely control and monitor their lights, security system, thermostat and other services.



, meanwhile, is teaming up with



for a new connected TV with support for Web browsing and Flash technology.




will unveil several gadgets connecting the living room to the rest of the home. On Wednesday, the chipmaker announced a partnership with Myriad Group which allows Broadcom-powered set top boxes to run Android apps.


Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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