As CES 2018 comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the reveals of the show and the significance that they carry.
As anticipated, there has been an increased compatibility between smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and a wide variety of appliances and devices. A considerable increase in the functionality of Alexa and Google Assistant was visible as they have integrated with more devices. JBL has introduced a line of headphones that allow the wearer to communicate with the Google Assistant. Toyota has added Alexa to some of its cars, whilst Android Auto has announced compatibility with Google Assistant; allowing drivers to have truly hands free control over their cars. With large appliances from LG and Samsung also seeing compatibility, smart speakers are developing full control over the home environment.
Car manufacturers have come out in droves for CES 2018. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Mazda, have all made appearances. Toyota, in cooperation with Mazda and Pizza Hut, revealed it’s e-Pallet concept which is a versatile, autonomous, all electric vehicle that can serve in a variety of settings. Instead of announcing compatibility with a pre-existing voice assistant, Mercedes has decided to build its own. Referred to as the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (or MBUX for short) which will see it’s introduction to cars starting this spring with the A-Class and working it’s way up to larger models. The eagle-eyed CES visitor might have overseen a few BMW 7-series with funny looking decals on the side. These are a collaboration between Lyft and a company called Aptive; bringing autonomous cars to Lyft’s service. According to passengers of these driverless cars, the experience is very indifferent to a human driver. Alexander Kalogianni from Digital Trends went as far as describing the rides as being “the best kind of boring.” You can read his article on the subject here.
The laptop reveals were plentiful however most reveals were based on improving; not introducing. As expected, there were very slim laptops released such as the new Acer 7 and the most recent iteration of the HP Spectre. These laptops go above and beyond when it comes to size and the price points reflect that. With Intel’s 8th Generation Core proving that compact size and immense power can exist alongside each other and Nvidia’s Max-Q graphics card paving the way for power in a small package, laptop’s are evolving to be smaller and more capable than ever before. Razer’s ‘Project Linda’ reiterated the laptop docking port for a phone, however, proved that the tech is more useful now than ever before. The sheer power of phones today allows Project Linda to actually serve a valid purpose.
Televisions are a CES staple. With all sorts of new products being revealed to the public, the future has never looked brighter for TVs. Samsung’s modular Micro-LED mammoth, ‘The Wall’ was the first of its kind; offering HD quality in an ultra-thin bundle. More details about the product are yet to be reveiled. 4K TVs were out in force with larger offerings from Sony and Hisense whilst LG displayed a rollable OLED 4K TV that looks revolutionary. The television is easier to hide away than ever; allowing it’s screen to be rolled away when not in use. LG also decided that 4K was still too grainy for their tastes and revealed an 8K OLED TV similar to the one they previewed at CES 2017. The technology is more stunning than ever but the expected price and the scarcity of content available in the 8K format place this product on its back foot. It still serves as a proof-of-concept that hints at what to expect from the CES’ of the future.
Robot offerings from a variety of tech companies made an appearance at CES 2018. Sony updated ‘Aibo’; the robotic dog introduced back in 1999. The dog has touch points on its head and back and a camera in its nose. The joints are powered by 22 actuators which allow for more natural movement than ever before. The dog can react to both voice and touch which offers a variety of ways to interact with it. However, ‘Aibo’ will only be available in Japan for the time being with a steep price tag of around $1700. LG’s ‘CLOi’ offers compatibility with home assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. ‘CLOi’ also has the ability to recognize and interact with every member of the home; offering a more personal interaction than Alexa or Google Assistant. A relatively unheard-of company by the name of Ling Technology brought a child-friendly robot with the intention of helping children learn to read. ‘Luka’ brings something different to the table than other CES 2018 robot reveals. It can help children develop the ability to read and read bedtime stories to them. Whilst some consumers say that this robot fills a role that should otherwise be filled by parents, ‘Luka’ is an interesting concept that is anticipated to be available soon with a price tag of $150.
Overall, CES 2018 was a great show with a wide variety of releases that will set the scene for consumer technology in 2018. With the typical lack of Apple at CES, there could be some interesting releases later in 2018 however, for now, we can expect the reveals from CES to be the big tech products of 2018.
Author: Charles Sackett
An admitted smart home geek, Charles is a student at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He has an interest in all forms of technology from automobiles, video game systems to other computer-based devices.