Because each individual day of 2019 felt like it stretched on for 100 years, you would absolutely be forgiven for forgetting that the largest technology show of the year immediately follows the start of the new year. But readers, the Consumer Electronics Show is happening – mere days from now, in fact – which means that the Gizmodo staff will be heading to Sin City to cover the conference’s most innovative, peculiar and covetable tech at the event.
If you’ve missed some of the news and rumours leading up to this year’s event, we’ve got you covered. From this year’s oddball appearances to wearables to sex tech, here’s what you can look forward to hearing about during this year’s consumer tech showcase in Las Vegas.
One of last year’s CES highlights was the FlexPai, a foldable phone from Royole – and while cool, it was also pants. But it did kick off a big year for foldable tech. Then, in mid-2019, Lenovo showed off a concept laptop with a flexible OLED display but didn’t reveal anything about price, specs or even an official name, which makes CES a perfect time for Lenovo to follow up with new developments.
And with Microsoft having surprised everyone with multiple dual-screen gadgets last fall, we’re expecting even more dual-screen systems from other laptop makers, especially following releases like the Omen X 2S and ZenBook Pro Duo from HP and Asus back in the fall. Like it or not, there’s a big wave of dual-screen notebooks on the way.
Mountains More Wireless Earbuds
The sea of options for a truly wireless earbud grows steadily by the day, meaning no one is really forced to contend with Apple’s one size – and one very high price! – fits all AirPods (even the AirPods Pro buds with their silicon tips aren’t for everyone). In 2019 we reviewed several veritable AirPods competitors in the Jaybird Vista, the Master & Dynamic MW07 and Powerbeats Pro. But everyone’s looking to muscle their way into the space. Even Amazon is looking to get into the wireless earbuds space – expect quite a few of them to crop up at CES.
Well, well, well! Look who decided to show up at this year’s hottest tech party after publicly shaming its competitors during last year’s event!
That’s right, Apple’s senior director of global privacy Jane Horvath is set to speak alongside other tech giant moguls during a Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable on Tuesday. (The panel will also, ironically, include an appearance by an executive for privacy bastion and known protector of the people Facebook.) Apple will also promote its HomeKit, and Bloomberg reported this week that the company is “likely to roll out new software capabilities”. But don’t expect new hardware.
We Have the Meats
As someone with an absolutely shameless enthusiasm for plant-based meats, I’m thrilled to share with you, reader, that CES once again has the (faux) meats. Impossible Foods, maker of the remarkably delicious Impossible Burger, will be at the conference again this year to reveal some presumably new and almost assuredly delicious news. Trust that you’ll be the first to know when we find out what that is.
— Impossible Foods (@ImpossibleFoods) January 2, 2020
CES is home to impressive debuts of masterclass displays (if not highly, highly expensive ones). Samsung, Sony and LG will all be expanding their 8K lineups, so expect to hear plenty on this front at this year’s event. Perhaps some rollable TVs to look forward to?
Wearable and Pleasure Tech
Remember all that hubbub when Consumer Technology Association, which puts on CES, revoked an award it had given to sex toy while at the same time calling it “immoral, obscene, indecent, [or] profane”? Well, CES shags now. Following last year’s fiasco and the ensuing public relations nightmare, the conference announced that it would permit sex tech under its Health and Wellness category but that it must “be innovative and include new or emerging tech to qualify”.
Elsewhere, as always, expect more wearables in the wellness category. Many of the changes to tech in this category may be iterative, but expect to see hybrid devices and advances in medical applications and wellness tracking.
Technology and innovation are inherently political, from security and privacy to social responsibility to manufacturing to lobbying efforts and foreign trade. But politics aren’t necessarily always front-of-mind at a consumer trade show. This year, CES is ensuring they will be.
The conference this year is hosting a “fireside chat” with Ivanka Trump and CTA chief Gary Shapiro for a discussion about “how the administration is advocating for employer-led strategies that invest in reskilling workers, create apprenticeships and develop K-12 STEM education programs”. In a highly controversial move, the trade show named her a keynote speaker. This, coupled with the ongoing Huawei mess, and a U.S. trade war with China that’s focussed on technology ensures that no one will be escaping the politics of tech at this year’s event.
AMD gets serious about laptops
Last year, AMD surprised attendees with its AMD Radeon VII processor. It’s possible AMD could upstage Intel and Nvidia again this year, with the company’s CEO Dr. Lisa Su rumoured to be announcing Ryzen 4000 APUs. These APUs would likely be mobile-based processors intended to compete against Intel offerings like those Ice Lake CPUs we keep praising, and the Comet Lake ones that have left us confused.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good of the scale of announcements we’re expecting to see in the coming week as news trickles out of the conference. We’ll be on the ground keeping tabs on all the highlights, so be sure to check back with us to make certain you don’t miss a beat.
Additional reporting by Sam Rutherford.
Featured image: Gizmodo, Sharp