SAN FRANCISCO/LAS VEGAS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The world's major technology companies are trying to convince consumers they need an expensive, digitally connected home with the latest high-tech gadgets.
But there's a problem: an increasing number of consumers are having trouble just paying for the roof over the heads, much less a 150-inch television.
Few company executives at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week can avoid questions about the state of the economy, and the combination of a surge in the U.S. jobless rate, oil around $100 and a worsening credit and housing crisis has many on edge.
"The fourth quarter is full of strange, unanswerable situations related to unemployment, related to GDP, related to everything else," Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Howard Stringer said on Monday after a briefing at the show. "So it's too soon for us to be pessimistic, but I read the papers."