More than 180,000 people and 4,400 companies will descend on Las Vegas for CES 2019 from 8 to 11 January, so check out the latest technology that will soon end up in your era.
While nothing has been officially launched yet, Tom’s Guide has interpreted and talked to several experts, and make some assumptions based on last year’s show to come up with what will be some of the major trends at this year’s CES.
TVs Become Larger, Sharper, Brighter And More Rollable
Advances in MicroLED and OLED technology will see TVs get larger and sharper. Last year saw the introduction of Samsung’s massive, 146-inch The Wall TV, while LG rolled out — literally — a 65-inch rollable OLED set that unfurled itself from a base. Expect to see more iterations on these themes as those two companies try and outdo each other yet again.
While the rollable TV was just a prototype last year, at this year’s show, LG should reveal a set you can actually purchase, a Bloomberg story reported. This means that you won’t have a massive black square taking over a wall when you’re not watching TV.
Samsung’s MicroLED technology should compete more directly with LG’s and Sony’s OLED sets; MicroLED panels are just as thin and colorful, yet are technically brighter and less expensive.
Homes Are Getting Smarter
At last year’s CES, Google made a big push with Google Assistant and Google Home, showing that the company’s voice assistant was inside, and compatible with, dozens of smart home devices.
This year, expect more of the same, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Amazon to push back.
While there will be plenty of smart plugs, switches, robot vacuums and appliances, expect to see a greater emphasis on the AIs behind these devices and how those smarts can make all those devices work together. And what benefit will these assistants provide to the consumer?
“I don’t know that we’ve ferreted out a lot of these use cases yet, but I do know that there’s a desire for devices to be interoperable in the house,” said Ben Arnold, senior director of innovation and trends for CTA.
Companies will, or should, stress the privacy and security of their smart home devices; expect these companies to emphasize that their products won’t snoop on you or allow others access or insight as to what you’re doing in your home.
“Now that these devices are in so many places and so many entry points into the home, how do we make sure that we can secure them to the best of our ability?” asked Dinesh Narayanan, director of partner and channel marketing at Microsoft.
Smaller, Faster And More Powerful Laptops
PCs are going to become more like smartphones, said Microsoft’s Narayanan. To that end, Microsoft is working with its partners to develop notebooks that are always connected and that need to be charged only once per day. “Think of how powerful phones have gotten and then how much computing has shifted to the phone. We also see the demand for that type of phone-class experience [on laptops].”
The always-connected concept extends to gaming systems, where Microsoft is looking for ways to enable gamers to more easily livestream their sessions.
Wearables More In Health, Less In Fitness
Features such as the ECG monitor in the Apple Watch 4 and enhanced sleep tracking in devices like the Fitbit Versa have signaled a shift in wearables, as they evolve from purely fitness devices to ones that look more holistically at your health. Don’t be surprised to see more companies show how their wearable will not just make you look better, but also help you live better.
As basic fitness trackers have become commoditized — you can easily find $15 gadgets that accurately count your steps — device makers are taking one of two approaches: making specialized, expensive watches for niche sports, as Suunto and Garmin have done, or going for a wellness angle, which can include everything from letting you know if you have hypertension to telling you if your loved one has fallen.
Sleep tech should also have a bigger presence at this year’s show. Companies such as very-popular, Fitbit are already here to solve the diagnose sleep apnea, but there has yet to be a definitive product that can help you get a better night’s rest.
AR and VR: Trying Very Hard To Get There
There should be plenty of augmented reality and virtual reality companies showing their wares at CES, but broader adoption by consumers is still a few years away. However, pioneering companies will be on hand, such as Pico Interactive, which will be showing off its new 4K VR headset. HTC will also be at the show, demoing new VR experiences with the company’s latest headset, the Vive Pro.
While CES isn’t known for its smartphone launches — for those, wait for Mobile World Congress, just a month later — Qualcomm’s recently introduced, 5G-ready Snapdragon 855 processor is bound to ripple down to other products that will be announced in Las Vegas.
Among other things, 5G promises speeds up to 1,000 times faster than those of 4G LTE. This will enable such things as live 4K video streams, which are great for watching movies or performing open-heart surgery from afar.
Samsung announced plans with both Verizon and AT&T to come out with 5G phones in early 2019, while LG will launch its 5G phone on Sprint’s network. However, 5G service will be pretty limited at launch. AT&T’s service will initially be available in just 19 markets, while Sprint will first turn on its service in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
Let’s all wait and see how the show in Las Vegas brings up for this year.