As they say, all good things come to an end, or do they?
The festive season is behind us and everyone will slowly but surely return to B2B mode, aka back to business mode. While this is true, the festive season has just begun for the tech geeks since the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 is starting from tomorrow.
The show will start from January 9 and will go on until January 12. The venue is Las Vegas and we are surely expecting devices as premium as the place itself.
This is truly a show for all the tech lovers to feast their eyes and senses on. It also serves as a great opportunity for all the major brands to display their new flashy products and concepts alike. So, one can imagine what a delightful mix is there, from chips to driverless cars, the list goes on.
Various renowned speakers will have their time allotted to deliver their message, and these are almost always interesting to hear as they try to get us engaged in whatever they are presenting.
I will hereby give you a taste and mention two of these speakers for this year`s show:
Michael Abelson – VP Global Strategy General Motors, will feed our minds on the fascinating upcoming world of Self-Driving Exploration.
Zoe Adams – Principal Software Engineer, Alexa Gadgets, will deliver a speech on How To Build An Alexa Gadget!
As you can already appreciate the type of high-level speakers involved, backed with their established brands, the subjects will be mind-challenging, and definitely worth a hearing.
I believe that at this point I got you all hyped and curious, so what are we really expecting out of CES 2018? Well, I don`t have all the itinerary, but here`s a taste:
AR to surpass VR?
Yep, you read that one right. Rumors go that as from 2018 we will see a shift in this direction. Augmented Reality (AR) will be more in vogue so to say, made available and utilized on more devices, seemingly with the possibility of overcoming Virtual Reality (VR).
Virtual Reality has been with us for some time now, and with well-established commercial headsets on the market, like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and most importantly PlayStation VR, it started to feel like almost normal, losing from that initial `next big thing` aura.
Except for Sony`s PS VR which headset still scores impressive sales figures, other VRs had a lukewarm adoption. Most people haven’t even tried VR yet, and it still requires pricey external hardware. Hence, we can say that it is definitely not in everyone`s pockets. The focus remains mainly on the gaming community. It seems that VR will require more years to manifest as a mainstream consumer product.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality acquired momentum when the world was taken over with the then craze of Pokemon GO. It slowly developed in the general rise of computer vision on smartphones that decorate our selfies with all manners of silly virtual objects.
Like it was for VR, CES will be a destination for all the forward-looking ideas and far-out prototypes. For AR, it means goggles and glasses that will try to replicate the kind of futuristic tech only seen in science fiction. So, while the phones in our pockets handle the low-end of AR, expect the products at CES to showcase what the high-end, experimental realm of this technology.
Electric Car Concepts
CES has become one of those shows at which well-known car brands get to display their ideas on how we get around in this modern era, sometimes even emphasizing on the technology within the vehicles rather than the importance of the car`s specs itself.
Heads up on Ford which will be pushing the bar this year, but its competitors have interesting cards up their sleeves too. Elon Musk`s Tesla, of course, will head the electric tech cars in this section. Many companies will be at CES to show off their autonomous shuttles, self-driving technologies, electric scooters, and other futuristic transportation ideas — all things that companies like Ford (or Google, Intel, GM, you name it) are also working on in different capacities.
Check out this year`s wild card Byton, a Chinese automaker, that`s pulled a ton of talent from the now faded Faraday Future, and will be showing off an all-electric SUV, referred to as “Smart Intuitive Vehicle”. It will be up to Byton to show everyone that it’s not headed for the same fate as Faraday.
Also, keep an eye on the competing services offered by Uber and Lyft. Although they have been in Vegas for not more than two years now, Lyft is answering last year`s Uber helicopter stunt by offering real rides in semi-autonomous cars.
Of course, the show floor (and the convention center parking lots) will be full of smart scooters, weird skateboards, and other ways to move.
TVs to adopt more HDR
We can cast this one in stone, get ready for yet another big showcase of 4K HDR TVs this year, as UHD sets have continued to drop in price to a point where they are replacing the `old` 1080p.
HDR will continue to evolve, expect HDR10 supported TV sets together with Dolby Vision. You must note that this combination is not coming from all brands, but that`s the main direction. HDR+ then will see wider adoption not only by Samsung, now that there`s Amazon content to stream.
Surely, the usual LG and Sony will highlight their latest OLED sets, while Samsung, TCL, Sharp, Panasonic, and others will show off their LCD models. Odds are that Samsung has continued to narrow the gap between LCD and OLED over the last twelve months, so we are curious to check things out.
Of course, you’ll see the usual mix of 8K displays, transparent screens, and other eye-grabbing demos that are ultimately little more than prototypes. CES 2018 is going to feel a little repetitive and redundant on the TV front, but the screens will still be very pretty.
Wearables and Health
Wearables at CES is usually a broad category, one that can include everything from GPS watches to brain headbands, AR glasses, and gadgets that measure your vertical leap. But if there’s a trend that seems to be emerging in wearables from rumors for CES 2018, it’s health. We will see some legitimate medical devices, not-yet-approved medical devices, and some devices that make bogus claims, too.
There will be two areas of the CES show floor dedicated to health and fitness tech, together spanning 63,000 square feet. It seems that companies like Fitbit and Polar won’t have booths this year, likely because they’ll launch any 2018 products on their own cadence. Overall, the number of wearable exhibitors is down: 51 exhibitors in 2018 compared to 82 in 2017.
Instead, there’s a small increase in the number of health and wellness exhibitors. We’re expecting to see more things like connected blood pressure monitors, medical alert devices designed for seniors, gluten sensors, fertility monitors, and sleep trackers — lots of sleep trackers.
It’s not surprising that wearables at CES are headed in this direction. The value of basic step counters and sleep trackers has changed as they’ve become commoditized and people start asking the hard questions about whether they truly help with health and fitness goals.
Google Assistant to take over Alexa?
Smart home gadgets have had a big presence at CES for years. But it wasn’t until recently that they actually came within reach for most consumers, thanks to increasingly easy installations and connections to our phones and voice assistants.
These past few years, we’ve seen smart home tech take on the basics — traditional light bulbs, power outlets, speakers, door knobs, and so on. This year, expect to see companies continuing to expand the smart home’s reach to new types of devices and diversifying their offerings within existing categories. You may already have a connected light bulb, but there are tons of other places to put lights around your house.
A lot of these companies don’t want to get caught in the war between Apple, Google, and Amazon over who controls your home, either. Expect to see more devices that offer support for multiple platforms. Where there’s Alexa, there’s likely to be Google Assistant in the mix.
But most of all, it’s CES, so expect some strange smart gadgets you can’t ever imagine requiring.
2017 was a strong year for PC gaming, with one of the world’s most popular games, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, becoming practically a system seller for the entire platform when it launched in beta back in March. It’s also never been cheaper or easier to get into PC gaming than it is today. Inexpensive peripherals, ready-made PC bundles for graphics-intensive gaming and VR, and other stress-free entryways into the hobby are more readily available.
Anyone who’s been thinking about building out a Steam library and making the transition from lapsed or console gamer to full-fledged PC can now do it with ease.
That means a gadget show like CES will be overrun this year by all manner of PC gaming accessories, prototype towers, and new and experimental VR hardware.
There should also be some exciting advancements in GPU enclosure technology, which makes it easier for lower-end laptops and desktops to game without needing a high-end graphics card installed directly, and cloud gaming hardware and software, to let us stream games over the internet and do away with hardware requirements entirely.
Beauty Gadgets On The Rise
We’ve been waiting for the day when our homes are equipped with smart mirrors and connected hairbrushes. But fundamentally, we’re just hoping for a gadget that tells us how to look our best. 2018 isn’t going to be the year this happens. Instead, the beauty tech you’ll see at CES 2018 will begin to make its way into salons, makeup stores, and pop-up shops.
Various companies will create their beauty gadgets as ways to monetize existing product lines. These tech companies will partner with big-name brands to create devices that offer advice on what skin products or makeup to use. Conveniently, the gadgets will only recommend products from partnered brands.
We’ve already seen this happen with beauty apps, like ones from Sephora and Meitu. Last year, HiMirror also showed off a smart mirror that made recommendations based on your skin’s health. There’s a future for a smart mirror that suggests products from a multitude of beauty companies, but for now, you’ll likely see a bunch of specialized mirrors for every individual company.
So, there you have it! That’s just a taste of what’s to come at CES 2018. Stay tuned, as we expect details of other gadgets, including headphones, wireless chargers, smart home gear, devices with “artificial intelligence,” and of course, the unexpected.
If you can`t make it to Vegas, CES has its YouTube channel, so options are available to remain up to speed, joining the annual fun and absorb all the new tech and gadgets being presented this year.
Then, of course, we at Mr. Phone will keep you guys updated with any upcoming fresh news, so do keep it locked, and check out the site often. Happy CES 2018 everyone, enjoy!