By Amruth Chinnappa
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest technology expo in the world. CES 2018 witnessed industry giants like Amazon and Google confront each other over their voice assistants. It has also been a platform for both the big-leaguers like Intel, Samsung, etc. and the newcomers to showcase their products side by side.
How did it begin?
CES 2018 was the 51st edition of the event and was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a host to more than 3900 companies from over 150 countries. The event saw more than 1,70,000 people in attendance and featured all facets of technology, from audio and vehicle technology to virtual reality and 3D printing. Started in 1967 in New York City, the expo is responsible for revealing the greatest marvels of consumer technology. Douglas Engelbart demonstrated the computer mouse in CES 1968. The subsequent editions saw the introduction of the personal computer, telephone, mobile phone, and television. Needless to say, it is the most awaited tech show in the world.
The voice assistant is here to stay
This year was no different. Voice assistants have taken products to the next level. Google assistant and Amazon Alexa were the clear leaders. The companies intended to use them in a variety of devices. Google has introduced Assistant into smart speakers like JBL Link View, Lenovo Smart Display, and LG WK9 Wireless Speaker. The company is making full use of third-party manufacturers to use its software. Alexa, on the other hand, has partnered with smart-home devices like First Alert’s ‘OneLink Safe & Sound Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm and Speaker’, iDevices’ new Instinct Light Switch and Anker’s Eufy Genie smart-home speaker. It has gained additional support from Acer and Asus which have announced the incorporation of Alexa in their laptops. However, it might not be a cut-throat competition per se as a lot of products are set to support more than one voice assistant. These include the LG 2018 TVs, the Jabra earbuds and the smart switches by General Electric. Milo and Zlink are surprising entries in this market and have made substantial progress in areas still troubling Alexa and Assistant. General smart assistants need a separate smart hub in order to control devices in a house. Milo and Zlink are cheap alternatives that accommodate all parts in a single speaker.
Virtual reality marks its presence
Virtual Reality has seen many interesting entries. The Vive Pro has upgraded the pixel count in its headset to 2880 x 1660. Along with an amplifier, the new model is provided with a wireless feature. Looxid is another company which has made data analytics its forte. Armed with electrodes to detect eye movement, its headset can track the users’ attention and determine the effectiveness of product placement. Meshroom is an enterprise which converts CAD models into VR prototypes. This could help small product creators avail a service usually enjoyed by Ford, Benz and the like.
Gaming fanatics had a lot of reasons to go crazy. Nvidia’s Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD) has the ultimate display at 65 inches and is almost twice the conventional size gamers are used to. It is promised to provide a ‘highly responsive, smooth, tear-free, immersive gaming experience’ and features the Nvidia Shield – a powerful streamer. A notable entry was Razer’s conceptual project, Linda. This system introduces a phone which can power a laptop and is used as a trackpad. The show featured a retreat to the classics with the original Xbox controller– compatible with both the Xbox One and PCs. A few tiny tweaks to the other classics like the SupaBoy S and the Ultra Game Boy deliver just the right amount of nostalgia to an enthusiast.
TV screens have gotten bigger and smarter. LG’s latest prototype’s size is 65 inch and is built to meld into the wallpaper. At the click of a button, it withdraws into its stand, rolling up into a compact and safe shape. Samsung unveiled its monster, a 146-inch modular microLED TV, aptly named the wall. It’s made of many modules placed side by side. In the event of any damage, it is sufficient to replace one of the smaller panels. Manufacturers have made TVs alive beyond the traditional use. Samsung and LG have turned the screens into changing weather-related frames. All devices seem to converge on similar functionalities. Watches, phones, and TVs have been made to operate at various levels, the only difference being their screen size. They could just possibly be classified into screens for travel, work, and home in the near future.
CES 2018 also saw plenty of immersive laptops on display. Dell’s new XPS13 has an updated colour scheme and sports a bright white interior made from woven glass. It accompanies the latest 8th generation Intel Core processors. The HP spectre x360, on the other hand, has built-in Radeon Vega GL graphics but is yet to be verified in operation. The confusingly named Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is actually a laptop. The pen sets it apart from its competitors and tucks inside the silver chassis. Acer has provided entries to the tune of the Switch 7 Black edition and the Swift 7, both of them priced at around $1700.
Mobility systems saw a big push with self-driven cars taking the visionary lead. Byton introduced a concept car which is electric, self-driven, and 5G enabled. It further uses Alexa and can even perform facial recognition of the occupants. It’s set to launch in 2019 and is priced at $45,000. The company seems to be a solid competitor to Tesla. Other entrants are the Aptiv Lyft, Farad Future FF91, Honda 3E-D18 Concept vehicle and the Hyundai Nexo Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.
CES also awards products based on their design and technology. There are 28 award categories which include the likes of Smart Energy, Wearable technology, 3D printing, Video Displays and Computer accessories. There has been a drastic improvement in product features through the years. CES 2018 was no different and was the year of smart devices, voice assistants, and self-driven cars. The future is indeed now.
Featured Image Source: Pexels
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius