Liquid Image Apex HD+ Wi-Fi Snow Goggle

NEW YORK — We’re still about two months away from CES 2013 in Las Vegas, but that’s not stopping the Consumer Electronics Association from trying to drum up excitement for the show.

At the CES Unveiled event tonight, the group showed off some of the hot new gadgets it’ll be featuring at the show. We also learned a few ways next year’s CES will be different from past shows.

Starting with the best of the best, CEA announced its 2013 CES Innovation Awards winners, which includes the AA-battery powered SpareOne smartphone, Bang & Olufsen’s artistic BeoPlay A9 loudspeaker, and Sony’s ridiculously powerful (and expensive) Cyber-shot RX1 camera. While CEA had some of the awards winners on display at tonight’s event, we’ll have to wait until the show begins in January to get a closer look.

Startups will also have a bigger presence at CES next year in the show’s “Eureka Park” section. Karen Chupka, a senior vice president at CEA who runs all of the organization’s events, said that the Eureka Park has grown more than 40 percent since last year and more than 140 companies will be exhibiting. Last year was the first time CEA focused meaningfully on startups, and I found it one of the more refreshing and innovative portions of the show — especially compared to the bombastic hype from the show floor and endless press conferences.

Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of CEA, said that the show is on track to be the same size as last year’s. Chupka added that attendance was “tracking slightly ahead.”

Over the next two years, a portion of the show will also be taking place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, due to space complications at the Venetian Sands Hotel until 2015. Typically, CES press events would overwhelm the Venetian. Shapiro said that the Mandalay will offer more space for media to attend events, and for companies to hold press conferences.

In an otherwise dry rundown of the CES announcements today, Shapiro’s responses to questions from the audience were particularly hilarious. When asked if CES would ever feature space technology, he replied, “Do you mean like, things above the Earth?”

And he also didn’t seem to lose much sleep over Apple’s distance from the show: “I would love to see Tim Cook [Apple’s CEO] grace the keynote stage. We have, and will invite him… But I’m not going to pretend that I’m trying to date him.”

Photo: Liquid Image’s Apex HD+ Wi-Fi Snow Goggle, by @devindra

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