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Daily Debrief: Bummers at CESThe day before the Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas, Intel announces that consumer technology sales are way down for the 2008 holiday season. What's it mean for the trade show, and the industry?
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> Hi. Welcome to the Daily Debrief. This is Rafe Needleman from CNET News.com and Webware. I'm here with Lindsey Turrentine of CNET Reviews. Now, we're getting ready for the annual gadget and tech extravaganza called CES, the Consumer Electronic Show, here in Las Vegas. There will be hundreds of new products announced here. A lot of them are impressive and innovative, but there's a pall cast over the show and the release of these gadgets. The economy. Troubled Yahoo, for example, pulled out of CES entirely. There's a big blank spot in the parking lot outside the main hall where their tent usually is. And today Intel released its own depressing news. It now expects only 8.2 billion in revenue for the last quarter of the year, a 23 percent drop from the same period last year, and a 20 percent drop from the third quarter. So we're seeing cool, new products, but fewer people are buying them. Now Lindsey, what does this mean for the consumer tech industry? >> I think it means a couple of things. I think it means you're gonna see fewer big, fancy announcements here at the show and in general. I think you're gonna see better prices on consumer technology. >> Mm-hmm. What's this gonna do for innovation and technology overall and consumer technology. >> I think that this is good time for innovation if you're working on a very small project, and you have enough funding. I think it may take a couple of years, but a few years down the road, when we start to come out of this, or we're well out of it, we're gonna see some really interesting products as a result of this downtime. >> So people will be building stuff. If they don't have to worry about consumers, it's good for them. Yeah. >> I think so. >> Are there going to be bargains for consumers right now because of the downturn? >> Absolutely. There are a lot of bargains out right now. You can to Target and find some pretty good deals on MP3 players, for instance. >> Yep. Now, another thing we've heard, though, is that electronics component suppliers are trying to slash their output. Toshiba and SanDisk, for example, recently said they're gonna slash their flash memory output by 30 percent. And Taiwan's entire memory industry is apparently in big trouble. So what effect could a tightening of components have? >> I think that it could cause some blips. I mean they're tightening because demand is lower. So hopefully, as long as an entire industry doesn't collapse, we'll see prices stay kind of low, and everything will even out. There could be big problems, though, when you see, you know, big aluminum manufacturers, as we heard today, cutting back on their workforces. There may be some supply problems. So we'll sort of have to wait and see. >> So it's not just tech components. It's, like, the things that they make MacBooks out of. >> The raw materials. Yeah. >> Yeah. >> Wow. >> We're starting to see some downturn there, too. >> So what do you think the vibe is here at the CES show? >> It's definitely quieter than we've seen, and we've seen some different tactics in terms of product releases. We've gotten a lot of announcements in the days leading up to the show, yesterday, today, which is the press day. And historically, those announcements have come out during the actual show. We think that manufacturers are doing this because they're having fewer big events at the show. They don't have as many celebrities coming to the show. They're not throwing a lot of open bar parties. There are a lot of invitation only, small, private events. So the emphasis is really being on sort of direct communication with the media, and a lot less sort of show business on the show floor. >> And your team here, though, you've got about 20 editors. >> About 20 -- about 20 editors blogging, putting together slide shows, so we have a lot of coverage no matter whether you're at the show or you're at home. >> And where do we find this stuff? >> You can find it all at CES.cnet.com. >> Great. So, guys, if you still have a job, and you want a bargain on tech, now is the time to get the good gear and go to CES.cnet.com to see all the news. This is Rafe Needleman for Lindsey Turrentine from CNET. ^M00:03:33 [ Music ]