CES 2009 keynote speakers announced

Ballmer replaces Bill as CES keynote speaker,Ballmer replaces Bill as CES keynote speaker

Before IFA is even half finished, eyes are turning to next year's Consumer Electronics Show. It was announced today that the CES 2009 keynote speakers will be Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Sony chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer and Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally.

Ballmer will kicking off the biggest electronics' trade show in the world with a pre-CES address on Wednesday 7 January, followed by Stringer and Mulally on Thursday on the show's first day proper, all from the Venetian's gargantuan ballroom.

Speech speculation

It's far too soon to start predicting what their big stories will be, of course, but that's never stopped us before so here goes. We trust Ballmer will unveil a new beefed-up Microsoft console (possibly the 'Xbox 720', although we're holding out for the 'Xbox 361' or the 'Ybox'), along with a jaw-dropping Halo 4. Windows 7 will get a teaser and possibly more on Microsoft's move into retail, following its acquisition today of price comparion site Ciao.

Sony will keep pushing the OLED message with a concrete release date (probably mid 2009) and price for a usefully sized TV in the 20- to 24-inch size range. Expect more affordable Blu-ray players and at least one bonkers Bluetooth gadget.

Finally, Ford boss Mulally will be shouting loudly about the next generation of its in-car Sync system, integrating navigation, entertainment and communication, and if the word 'hybrid' isn't mentioned at least 20 times, we'll eat our famously indigestible CES breakfast. More CES news as it breaks.