Ahead of the Bell: CES show continues in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Thousands of people will continue checking out the latest smartphones, computers and other gadgets Wednesday on Day Two of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

More than 140,000 people are expected to visit CES, the largest trade show of any type in the Americas. The show has drawn more than 3,100 exhibitors — a record. The show runs until Friday.

Originally focused on living-room electronics, the show has become the big annual U.S. event for all consumer technology after the demise of big computer-focused shows such as Comdex.

However, the show’s cachet has diminished, and Microsoft says this will be the last year in which it has a booth or a CEO delivering the customary kick-off speech. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave the kickoff speech Monday evening.

Still, the record number of exhibitors demonstrates the show’s enduring relevance for smaller exhibitors. The show usually has just over 2,700 exhibitors, but dipped to 2,500 in 2010.

On Wednesday, executives from Xerox Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. are scheduled to speak on a panel on innovation. Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Swedish wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson AB, is also on the schedule.

CES, run by the Consumer Electronics Association, is only open to those in the consumer electronics industry. A business card or other business ID is required as proof. It is held at the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center and nearby hotels.