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PCs and Mobile Phones Are This Year's Gadget Industry Stars
CNBC.com | January 09, 2012 | 12:54 PM EST

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is once again kicking off the show with a keynote address in which he's expected to give an update and more details on Windows 8. Though the operating system may not be ready for widespread release, onlookers are hopeful that an open beta will be announced.

It will be something of a bittersweet show for Microsoft. The company announced in late December that this CES will be the last in which it delivers a keynote and hosts a booth.

"We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing," said Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of corporate communications.

Amidst Microsoft's departure, PC manufacturers will look to regain some of the market share taken away by tablets, with the introduction of a variety of "Ultrabook" laptops. These devices, which measure only 3mm at their narrowest points, are expected to spark consumer excitement about the PC market once again — and cost dramatically less than Apple's Macbook Air.

Finally, Intel should showcase its next generation processor chip, with CEO Paul Otellini scheduled to give a keynote speech.

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