There’s no time to recuperate from that holiday hangover because the Consumer Electronics Show is here once again.
The world’s biggest technology trade show will be held from January 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where amazing stuff like self-driving taxis, rollable TV screens and 5G are expected to drop.
CES gathers the bee’s knees of manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer electronics from all over the world. Since 1967, the annual event has become a window into the future; it’s THE place where consumers are introduced to the technology and gadgets that are likely to become mainstream in the next few years. Things like the VCR, Blu-ray, the Xbox and virtual reality all debuted at the show in the past.
Last year’s geek soiree attracted some 182,000 industry professionals from 150 countries, and organisers expect to beat that number in 2019.
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show will span more than 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space and will feature 24 product categories ranging from smart infrastructure for urban centres to wearable tech. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which owns and produces the conference, says they’ll welcome more than 4,500 exhibiting companies and about 250 conference sessions at this year’s event.
In 2018 we saw some genuinely amazing stuff like Samsung’s 146-inch TV and Lishtot’s keychain water tester, but we also stumbled upon the genuinely absurd like “magical” Bitcoin mining machines and smart toilets.
So, what to expect this year?
Lots of smart cars
The boundaries between the electronics and automotive industries are blurring rapidly, and this year big players like Mercedes Benz and Honda will be showcasing their innovations as part of the tech party. The former will debut its new CLA Class car, the second generation of Benz’s smaller four-door coupe.
The vehicle will feature an updated version of the “MBUX Interior Assistant” system, which uses gesture controls to operate various interior features.
Lights on with a simple hand move. The Interior Assistant in the new CLA. pic.twitter.com/ZEonfLxfny
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) January 2, 2019
Another German automotive powerhouse, Audi, will be showing off two new technologies that practically turn its cars into mobile home theatres. The company’s premise is that thanks to automated driving, people will have more time to spare and riding in a vehicle will become an entertainment experience.
Among their several developments in robotics, Japanese manufacturer Honda will also showcase automotive technology, presenting an Autonomous Work Vehicle and P.A.T.H. (Predicting Action of The Human): a bot that can safely cruise through crowds of people.
Even Russian search giant Yandex is developing automotive related tech and recently announced it will be showing off a demo of their autonomous Yandex taxi service at CES 2019.
All roads lead to 8k
We’re still catching up to 4k technology, but manufacturers already have 8k displays right around the corner. The insane resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels is both the main attraction and the biggest stumbling block for rapid adoption of these beasts. Our current bandwidth is not designed to carry that amount of information, there’s hardly any 8k content out there, and hefty price tags upwards of $10,000 will certainly hamper the popularisation of these screens.
But the technology exists, and it’s only a matter of time before these mammoth screens start popping up in people’s homes. Sony, LG, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba are all expected to show off 8K displays at CES this year.
LG is taking the idea one step further, and is developing a rollable a 65-inch OLED screen expected to hit the shelves in late 2019.
Good news for gamers: HDMI 2.1 is here
One of the hottest and probably most overlooked innovations to be dropping at CES 2019 is HDMI 2.1. The new connection standard is a huge deal, especially for gamers, as it will allow variable refresh rates and high frame rates the likes of which we’ve never seen before. More data going through the pipeline also means better audio, too. The current standard doesn’t allow us to get Dolby Atmos out of our TVs, and all that changes this year.
Foldable phones, AI everywhere
You can also expect to see artificial intelligence everywhere at this year’s event. Companies will push to introduce AI into almost everything from hairbrushes to TV screens; CES 2019 will probably go down as an explosion of voice-activated home appliances with a flurry of both innovative and totally absurd “smart” applications. I just know we’ll have a ridiculous voice-activated toothbrush – I can feel it.
Also be on the lookout for Temi’s personal robotic assistant, the presentation of NVIDIA’s highly anticipated RTX 2060 Graphics Card, 5G technology, foldable phones from Samsung and Chinese manufacturer Royole, and new mind-blowing gear from Razer.
Save the dates
- Keynotes & Conference Program at Tech East, Tech West and Tech South: January 7-11
- Exhibitors at Tech East and Tech West: January 8-11
- C Space Conference Program & Exhibits at ARLA: January 7-10
You can check out the full schedule of the event at the CES 2019 official website.