Shadowing a fund manager at CES

More than 140,000 people descended (or will descend) on Las Vegas this week to kick the tires on a new wave of consumer electronics gadgets. Of those, a relatively small contingent (estimared? 3,500) are portfolio managers and other financial professionals earnestly seeking to place informed bets on the Next Big Thing.

We tagged along as Hampton Adams, head of research and a portfolio manager at Pasadena, California-based Gamble Jones Investment Counsel, hiked around a CES showfloor spanning 30 football fields in a pair of comfortable loafers, taking a first-hand peek at the technology industry’s latest offerings.

Inevitably, Apple always features high on Adams’ agenda even though the consumer electronics trendsetter isn’t even officially there. He wants to see what might be gleaned about Apple from its competitors.

Here’s a photo log of some of the highlights of our nine-hour odyssey. We’ll publish more details of his discoveries on


Starting the day with a keynote by Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs, who reassured the audience he didn't mind them playing with their phones while he talked but didn't give much news.

Verizon throws weight behind Motorola’s Droid Razr for the holidays

(Correction: The name “Droid” was originally misspelled in the headline.)

Verizon Wireless is bringing its considerable marketing and promotional resources to bear on the Droid Razr from Motorola Mobility, kicking off an advertising blitz this week for a gadget that the once-mighty cellphone maker hopes will make a splash this feastive season.

The campaign launched ironically just a few hours after Verizon’s executives were honored guests at a splashy event to launch ReZound, a rival phone from HTC (pictured on the left).  “Today we’re focused predominantly focused on Rezound“, Verizon Wireless spokesman Howard Waterman said.

iSuppli Breaks down the Palm Pre

We know that Palm built the Pre phone, but who made its guts and brains? According to research firm iSuppli that distinction goes to Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Sony, and Samsung Electronics Co,  the leading component suppliers for the device.  iSuppli cracked up the phone to see what’s going on inside.

Among the highlights:

* The Pre uses an advanced Low-Temperature Polysilicon LCD display. The display, made by Sony (although Palm may get such displays from others too) is a 16-million color LCD.
* The touch screen controller chip is an integrated circuit from Cypress Semiconductor.
* Its applications processor portion centers on TI’s OMAP3430 applications processor
* Its wireless interface portion revolves around the Qualcomm MSM6801A baseband processor.
* Elpida was identified as the supplier of its SDRAM.
* Pre makes use of Samsung’s flash memory.

Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst of iSuppli’s “teardown services” said Palm took a more expensive approach to build the Pre than other iPhone-like smartphones.