What to expect from CES 2019!

Being one of the biggest trade shows on the planet, Consumer Electronics Show hits Las Vegas this week. And I mean hits like Holyfield, with 182,000 attendees, 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space, and 24 categories from drones to sleeptech to smart cities to driverless cars.

Here are some of the more interesting things to come!

1. Smart luggage that follows me

Yet another first-world-problem-solving startup has pitched me on luggage that follows me. I’m guessing it works fine until another bald white dude walks past, in which case my underwear and electronics will end up in someone else’s hotel room.

2. Underwater drones

2017 was the year of the drone at CES, but there will still be plenty in Las Vegas in 2019 too. But now the drones are getting more diverse and sophisticated. One that I’m particularly interested in is an underwater drone. 

3.Smart home bonanza

At CES you invariably find some Chinese company that you’ve never heard of but sells billions of dollars worth of electronic gadgets for every conceivable and many inconceivable needs. Smart home is an increasingly hot category and CES 2019 will definitely up the ante here.

4. Gaming Desktop PCs

With the launch of Intel’s 9th generation processors and Nvidia’s RTX 20-series graphics cards last year, it was only a matter of time before prebuilts starting popping up with the latest hardware. We’ve already had the chance to review some of the first, but so far that’s been just a small taste of what other prebuilt manufacturers are cooking up. We’re definitely prepared to see some crazy hardware combinations, maze-like liquid cooling, and mesmerizing RGB at CES next week.

5. Robots for everything

This year you will be able to play ping pong with a robot, like last, but this year it will beat most people (maybe). And with 27% more robotics exhibitors this year versus 2018, there will be more to see. Spoiler alert: they will be cool, they will be expensive, and they will not quite fulfill the promises their makers make. However, they do portend a future in which our beer fetches itself, Roombas actually work, dishes wash, toilets clean, and electronic pre-glass-slipper Cinderellas  do all the grunt work we care not to. That includes making bread. I’ll be sure to check out BreadBot, which can make 10 loaves per hour for your restaurant or store.

6. AI for everything

Why have a razor when you can have a smart razor? A trash can when you can have a smart trash can? Everything that brands can possibly put AI in, they will. After all, you can buy a toilet with Alexa built in now.

7. Voice for everything

As the toilet mentioned above evidences, everything must now come with Alexa or Google Assistant included. That’s excellent in many ways, but not for all: some refuse to have an Amazon Echo in their house.

8. 5G, 5G, and more 5G

5G is a faster way for our phones to talk to the internet, and it will change everything, some pundits declare. I’m not certain, since I still watch my YouTube at 1X speed, instead of the up to double speed Google enables. However, when we move into the augmented reality universe mediated by smart glasses, the extra speed will certainly help load the ads clogging our visual field faster.

9. Graphics Cards

There’s been a lot of buzz about Intel’s new discrete graphics card and an RTX 2060 from Nvidia. While it remains to be seen if either one will be formally shown or announced at CES, the hype surrounding the two leading into CES is palpable. In the last several weeks we’ve seen leaked benchmarks for the RTX 2060, which we hope is the new midrange, reasonably priced Nvidia card we’ve been waiting for, and Intel already announced its plan to release its discrete GPU in 2020. We can hope we’ll get some answers at CES 2019 for either one of these cards. As for AMD, Vega 7nm exists as a professional (machine learning, aka Radeon Instinct) product, but likely won’t be a consumer part. There’s also a chance AMD will tease Navi for later in the year.

10. 8K TVs and video cameras

Most of us haven’t upgraded to 4K yet, but if we’re going to get those walls-as-screens from the high-tech but evil Capital in The Hunger Games, we’re gonna need 8K or better. JS Gilbert, who works for Apple’s VoiceOver product, suggests that we’ll get “relatively low cost 8k video cameras, editors, projectors.”

11. Cars, smart cars, self-driving cars, and more cars

The Detroit Auto Show has moved to Vegas, it sometimes seems, I should expect to get driven around parts of Vegas by entities other than Uber or Lyft drivers. At least in specially-marked parking lots. We’ll likely also get to see cars starting to talk to each other, says entrepreneur Andy Karuza: “I think automotive IoT is coming along … I see Android Auto, Apple Carplay, fleet systems, and more consolidation in the space where one or few companies provide the whole connected vehicle hardware and service solution in one place. I’m predicting the Dropcam and Nest of the home to be in the automotive space, too.”

12. Better 3D printing

It turns out that at current stages of development, 3D printers won’t be in every house. But the tech is getting better, says designer and developer Murray McDonald. CES 2019 should have quite a few new 3D printers.

13. Better batteries (and no batteries needed)

Battery tech is critical not just for the devices in our pockets but the devices that take us to and from home and work and play. We’ll see better battery tech, but I’m also getting pitched on environmental energy harvesting technology that can power battery-less Internet of Things infrastructure … a game-changer for off-grid smart city tech.

14. Processors

Intel’s 9th Gen CPUs are still new enough that we don’t expect any announcements at CES for 10th Gen parts, but we expect to see plenty of new non-K 9th Gen parts. For AMD, 3rd Gen Ryzen processors are expected to arrive this year, probably sooner than later. AMD may formally announce the new processors at CES, or at least talk about them, but it could be several months (or more) before the 7nm Ryzen parts begin shipping.

15. Better privacy and PrivacyTech

If Google knows when your home is cold because you’re turning up the Nest, and Spotify knows when you’re sad because you’re playing old love songs again, privacy is a big deal. Futurist and 2017 Forbes 30 under 30 winner Will Masonsays “this will be a big year for consumer data and privacy protection, with all the data breaches in 2018 — CES tends to look to solve technological issues that permeated the headlines the year before.”

16. Augmented Reality (and some Virtual Reality)

We’re far from becoming disenchanted with either one of them. Now that it’s been a few years since both technologies were established, there’s a greater focus on making both more immersive and more widely accessible for both gamers and working professionals from a variety of industries. We fully expect to see something along the lines of camera-free VR/AR cross-platform controllers, like the FinchShift controller that has already been announced by Finch Technologies, along with other ways to creatively use VR/AR.

14. New Headsets

When it comes to gaming, having a stellar headset is a no-brainer. Sound quality is the most important aspect next to comfort, which is why we’ll see continuing innovations in headset design. Creative Technology already announced its returning to CES this year with its SXFI AIR series headset, which basically emit sound to make it seem like what’s going on in-game or on screen is around you instead of playing directly next to your head. Creative Technology won’t be the only headset brand there, but we also expect to see other interesting changes to other beloved headset brands as well, and maybe some things we haven’t seen before.

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