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Tech is Bringing the Economy Back

Thursday, 7 Jan 2010 | 11:16 PM ET

"Maybe officially this is the end of the recession."

That was the message from my cabbie tonight on my way to dinner. He might have something there.

The crowds are certainly back here at the Consumer Electronics Show, officials say hotel rooms this year -- after they couldn't give some of them away last year -- are a sell-out, and the line for cabs -- non-existent last year, are back to 45 minutes.

I gotta tell you: compared to last year, CES is booming, and for good reason. Not only is the world beginning to emerge from its recession cave after a years long winter, but there's real innovation and real product diversity that the show hasn't seen in recent gatherings.

Sure, Apple's as-yet unnamed tablet is a buzz-undercurrent, but 3D televisions, particularly the glasses-free 42 inch hottie from Samsung, the tablets, the Dash from Sony, Microsoft's Zune HD, and a host of other nifty devices are generating excitement again.

The new TouchSmart from HP is slick. New OLED displays are gorgeous. Those based on the CELL chips are sweet. Intel says computer screens are everywhere. Microsoft's Project Natal shows real innovation promise and could spawn an upgrade cycle in console gaming all by itself. John Chambers at Cisco is more than merely optimistic. Companies are spending, workers here no longer have that shell-shocked glaze in their stare.

There's an energy that's been non-existent in recent years.

Energy.

CES officials claim 2,500 exhibiting companies and 20,000 new products on display. It's a healthy slate of innovation, and it shows. From the companies here to the cabbies, to those working at the hotels, and in the aisles.

Consumer electronics seems to be pulling the economy out, putting a spring back in our collective, imaginative, and economic steps.

Yeah, on the ground here in Vegas, indeed my cabbie tonight might be on to something.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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