CES 2021: New tech unveiled at annual showcase

Read Time: 10 minutes
  1. Vegas missing the CES crowdOpening the online show earlier, host Justine Ezarik – better known on YouTube as iJustine – talked about how bad the queues for taxis are in Vegas at CES every year.But she still misses them, she said – because of the people she’d met in those line.And Vegas is missing the CES attendees, too.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1346160739661262848&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintUsually, getting a hotel in the city at this time of the year is tricky, with hotels heavily booked and rooms costing hundreds of dollars – but now, they can be had for knock-down prices.Of course, the Covid pandemic has reduced the number of visitor to the city beyond CES, but the contrast is still marked.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348271357822320640&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintLocal ABC affiliate KTNV reports that the big Las Vegas resorts on the strip are broadcasting messages of support for the event, hoping it will be back in 2022.Starting tonight, about two dozen major resorts will use their displays to show the message: “We miss you and can’t wait to welcome you back in 2022.”Article share tools
  2. Posted at 16:4416:44Mercedes ‘hyperscreen’ replaces the entire dashboardA Tesla-beating touchscreen?Mercedes-Benz hyperscreenCESCopyright: CESMercedes-Benz has announced what it’s calling a “hyperscreen”, which will replace the entire front dashboard on its cars with a smartscreen.The 141cm-wide (55in) display can be much more flexible than existing solutions, it claims.For example, it has a system where the passenger can watch a movie on the car’s screen – with Bluetooth headphone support – while the driver isn’t distracted by anything on the centre panel.Another feature, titled “travel knowledge”, will offer interesting information about nearby landmarks when asked – or identify a restaurant as you pass by if you miss the sign.It is actually made out of three screens, but Mercedes says they have made it to look “apparently seamlessly merged”.The “hyperscreen” will come first to the car maker’s upcoming all-electric EQS models, and be rolled out to other vehicles later.Gigantic displays are a theme in the car world – Tesla led the way with its 17in (43cm) tablet dashboards.And in past years at CES, the Chinese start-up Byton has shown off plans to build a model with a 48in (121cm) curved display, while Sony unveiled a concept car with an ultra-wide panoramic infotainment screen of its own.The challenge is to ensure all those illuminated pixels don’t create a distraction to what’s on the road ahead – at least until fully autonomous vehicles come of age.Article share tools
  3. Posted at 16:1516:15″Upcycling” could give your old phone new usesGiving smartphones a second lifeA phone shown as a baby monitorCESCopyright: CESBuried among Samsung’s other announcements was an idea with what to do with your old phones – transform them into smart home devices.Galaxy Upcycling at Home, due to be released later this year, will let owners turn an old handset into a sound sensor or a light sensor, for example.As examples, the company showed phones being used as a baby monitor and a long-distance remote control to activate lights for pets at home alone.“This is a vision of a better, more inclusive and sustainable future, and we’re working toward it every day,” said Sandeep Rana, the firm’s sustainability specialist.A lot of the carbon impact of devices is sunk into their manufacturing.Phone owners are already using their devices for longer before replacing them, but this initiative could prolong the life of devices even further.So far, the social media reaction to the initiative has been pretty positive.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348657185539174410&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintSocial embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348638619641159683&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintArticle share tools
  4. Posted at 15:2715:27Covid hangs over socially-distanced CESIt seems like every press release and announcement made after March last year had to remind us that the coronavirus existed (in case you forgot). So far, that trend is strong at CES 2021.So far, we’ve had:
    • HiSense started the day pitching its big TVs as the centre of the home office, or for online lectures
    • LG kicked off with a note about how the bedroom was the new place for “creative side-hustles” – and then focused heavily on air filters, a vacuum cleaner, and a self-cleaning water spout on its fridge
    • Bosch presented an air sensor that can detect aerosols and highlighted its security cameras that can read body temperatures
    • And Samsung titled its session “better normal for all” – with a pitch to improve our homes with smart devices because, well, we’re spending a lot more time there these days
    Expect more of this throughout the day.Article share tools
  5. Posted at 15:1715:17Why no Samsung smartphones?Samsung Galaxy unpackedSamsungCopyright: SamsungSamsung’s press conference announced fridges, TVs, and more – but nothing for one of the firm’s biggest sellers – smartphones.That’s not an oversight – it’s because the handsets are coming later this week.The Samsung Unpacked event is scheduled for 14 January at 15:00 GMT. According to the holding page, it will be about the Galaxy brand of smartphones.The promo image for Thursday’s event features an obscured smartphone with what looks like three circles on it – but we’ll have to wait until Thursday to learn more.Article share tools
  6. Posted at 15:0115:01Samsung showcases a “handy” home robot you can’t buyBot Handy places a flowerCESCopyright: CESSamsung was the first big exhibitor of the day to pull off a classic CES move – showcasing technology that “could” one day be a part of our lives – while making no promises we’ll ever get our hands on it.Meet Bot Handy, a friendly robot, which turned up to offer the firm’s research chief Sebastian Seung a cool glass of water.Robot Handy gives a man a glass of waterCESCopyright: CESBot Handy can both “recognise and grab objects”, Mr Seung said.”In the kitchen, in the living room, and anywhere else you may need an extra hand in your home.”It was shown stacking a dishwashers, setting the table, and pouring glasses of wine.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348641408274604033&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintUnfortunately, a press release noted that Bot Handy is, for now, only a “concept” and is not going on sale anytime soon.CES is known to showcase fun, eye-grabbing robots – like last year’s table-waiting robot BellaBot – which had a cat face and purred when petted.Article share tools
  7. Posted at 14:4414:44Samsung pitches smart home for lockdown and a 110in TVBigger, brighter screenThe Samsung MICRO LED 110"CESCopyright: CESSamsung made a big pitch for its smart home tech at CES 2021, since everyone’s stuck at home.After announcing its smart fridges launching in the US, it got down to TVs – announcing a massive 110in (279cm) Micro-LED, with no bezels (the plastic or metal frame) around the outside.Samsung says it built on its gigantic modular TV from CES 2018 – called “the wall” – to build the new “monolith” TV.It also says its new AI processor will do a better job of content upscaling on its TVs – which takes content and tries to transform it into 4K or 8K content.In the smart home world, Samsung showcased new health features, with exercise classes delivered through TVs, straight to the living room. It’s not immediately clear if that will be available to TV owners, or as a subscription service.A woman uses the Samsung training programme on its TVCESCopyright: CESAnd then there was a fancy new robot vacuum, JetBot 90 AI, which the company says can clean your room while being smart enough to avoid delicate items like a case.JetBot90CESCopyright: CESAnd it also has a camera for remote home monitoring – or for taking care of pets while you’re away from home, showcased in an elaborate advert involving a feuding dog and cat.Article share tools
  8. Posted at 14:1314:13OLED Evo: LG promises higher peak brightnessLeo KelionTechnology desk editorLG OLED EvoLGCopyright: LGLG has said its new range of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) televisions will be able to produce higher brightness levels.During its press conference it said OLED Evo benefitted from ” a new luminous element” that would deliver “punchy images with high clarity, detail and realism”.TV brightness levels are measured in nits – where 1 nit is the amount of light given out by one candle. And while OLED TVs have long offered deeper blacks than LCD models, they can’t match the higher-end LCDs in terms of nits.That has meant LCD screens can offer better HDR images when watched in a bright room – though OLED typically still has the edge when the lights are off.You want the ability to offer higher peak brightness to do things like show sunlight glisten off water, or display more impressive special-effect explosions.There have been rumours Sony would unveil an OLED TV capable of 1,000 nits at this year’s CES – offering the best of both worlds.Has LG beaten it to the punch? Well the problem is that we don’t know, as the detail provided by LG is so far sorely lacking.Usually, we’d rush over to the stage at this point to fire off some questions – but with it being a virtual event this year, we’ll have to wait and see if LG provides more detail by press release or at its online CES booth later.In any case, LCD tech continues to offer even higher peak brightness, with LG saying some of its sets can now hit 3,000 nits.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-5&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348623322167218178&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintArticle share tools
  9. Posted at 13:4913:49LG teases rollable phoneLG Rollable phoneCESCopyright: CESLG kicked off its conference with an eye-grabbing “rollable” phone which has an expanding screen, rather than opening and shutting like competitor’s folding phones.The tantalising teaser was also shown at the end of the presentation, when the display rolled back into the phone to “close” the show – but no further details about the handset – including when it might go on sale – were provided.Social embed from twitterhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BBCNews&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-6&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348627140653297664&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flive%2Ftechnology-55620019&siteScreenName=BBCNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550pxReportReport this social embed, make a complaintLG made some TV announcements, making it the first firm today to showcase Mini-LED technology, as well as improvements to its flagship OLED TV tech.Article share tools
  10. TV TechMicroLED v Mini-LEDLeo KelionTechnology desk editorTVGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesThere’s lots of new tech unveiled every year at CES, but at its heart it’s a launchpad for new TVs.Over the years the screens have grown larger and the public has been bombarded with new technologies.Most recently 4K and 8K sets – referring to their resolution – have come to dominate, and HDR (high dynamic range) image processing – which delivers more vivid pictures – has become the norm.This year expect to hear a lot about two innovations that are easy to get confused: Mini-LED and MicroLED.Mini-LED vastly increases the number of light sources on the TV’s back panel used to illuminate the screens’ colour pixels.By using tens of thousands of these light emitting diodes (LEDs), manufacturers can deliver more “dimming zones”, which helps enhance bright details without the light spilling into surrounding dark areas. This avoids the blooming effect you sometimes in images such as stars in a night sky.MicroLED is a more expensive solution, which involves using LEDs that are so small they can be assigned to the pixels on a 1:1 basis. Like OLED tech, this allows “true blacks” to be delivered by providing no illumination to some pixels.But unlike OLED, MicroLED can deliver much brighter highlights, producing more impressive contrast. In person, these screens really dazzle.Expect Mini-LED to become the norm when you go shopping for a mid-range TV soon. But for the time being, MicroLED screens will remain beyond the budget of most homes, although the big name brands will like to show off what they are capable of.Read more here:LG makes shift to Mini-LED television tech at CES 2021CES 2018: Samsung launches modular TV called The WallArticle share tools
  11. Posted at 13:0413:04Hisense announces new laser TVsDr Liu Xianrong, the Chief Scientist of Hisense Laser Display, stands on the stage at CES with laser graphics on the screen behind himCESCopyright: CESThe first press conference of the year is from Hisense, which announced its latest TVs to kick off the show.The Chinese company says that a big screen TV is the “centre of the smart home” – whether it’s being used for entertainment or for online lectures or meetings.In that vein, it announced new laser TVs, at mammoth sizes of 75-100in (190.5-254cm) across. One advantage of laser TV tech is that it can be used for very large displays.The company claims to have made improvements to the existing technology it first showcased in 2014, which it says now offers a colour display range “almost 50% beyond high-end cinema”.Article share tools
  12. Posted at 12:5712:57Covid v CESTech event goes virtualLeo KelionTechnology desk editorCES 2019Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesThe CES tech expo is usually one of the most frantic weeks in the year on the tech beat.Up to 200,000 people descend on Las Vegas to spot the latest gadgets and technology trends by traipsing round the city’s gigantic conference halls.Tech journalists try to be the first to get hands-on with the hottest products. Retail buyers attempt to obtain the exclusive rights to items that best suit their customers’ tastes. Company executives try to keep watch on what their rivals are up to and explore the possibility of tie-ups. And start-ups blow holes in their marketing budgets in the hope of making a splash.There are conference sessions, but for the most part they are usually a side-show.This year everything’s changed because of Covid-19, and those on-stage conference events take centre stage.There are virtual booths for the tech firms to show off their wares.But it’s hard to have the same impact when they’re not presenting the products in person or answering questions face-to-face.

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