CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019

CES is pretty much over for another year, and it was an interesting show for a lot of reasons. Perhaps not because as much as for the trends in technology. The big names like Samsung, Sony and LG had varying degrees of success this year.

Sony, I thought, had a pretty positive show for one main reason – the 360 degree audio demo. It was different to the focus on TVs from these three brands but Sony also demoed a new OLED that I loved. Samsung and LG had amazing TV tech on display, but most other things were really not that exciting.

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Sony’s massive new 98-inch TV

For Samsung, in particular, it feels like its focus on mobile means that other areas are less exciting.

There were fridges though, there are always fridges. Meanwhile I’d argue that LG is the leader in TV now. The OLED that rolls up onto a speaker bar was a truly impressive piece of tech.

The big problem with that TV though will be the price. I can’t see it being less than £10,000 when it launches later in the year. For those who have swanky penthouse apartments though, it’s the must-have TV for 2019.

8K TV

Honestly, 8K makes me roll my eyes a bit.

Of course TV companies will always want to create new technology but we’re not seeing anywhere near enough 4K content to justify 8K TVs. That said with upscaling tech improving it’s not the end of the world if you’re watching 4K upscaled to 8K. However I would always say that the best possible high definition experience will always be a 1:1 scale.

If everything is produced for 4K then a 4K TV will give the sharpest picture. We are some years away from any 8K production too. Movies are currently shot mostly on 4K or 5K cameras with 6K becoming more common for digital cinema.

Cars

The show now features an enormous amount of automotive tech as well as surprising launches.

I absolutely loved hearing from Meridian Mobility and Aurrigo about how the future looks for self-driving cars. It’s especially interesting to consider how Meridian needs to convince the public to accept these cars and even more fascinating to consider how they are programmed to understand the highway code.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019Britain really is a self-driving car leader

And while the experts think we’re a decade away from these vehicles hitting the road in meaningful numbers the technology is ready now. The remaining battles are about safety and legislation but the good news is the government is throwing support behind these vehicles and the companies involved are entirely focused on keeping other road users safe.

CES, increasingly, is becoming the launch event for cars. That’s because modern vehicles have an enormous amount of impressive technology built in and CES attracts a crowd that understands the advances being made.

Robots

There’s a lot of action in the robot world too. Although I think you’d struggle to define a lot of the products sold as legitimate robots.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019Robots!

What there is a push to more dynamic toys and business tools that are drawing on robotics.

At the show was everything from robots to read to kids through to semi-industrial machines that can safely help people on production lines.

Alexa is in everything

From toilets to cars Amazon is getting a lot of traction offering Alexa to other companies. This creates a bigger market for the company’s AI and puts it ahead of Microsoft and Apple.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019This is what a £7000 toilet looks like

Only Google’s Assistant can really claim to be as ubiquitous. But talking to a virtual assistant is certainly becoming something you can do anywhere.

Including on the porcelain throne.

Passenger drone launch

Not only was Bell Helicopter’s decision to launch its passenger drone at CES interesting it was also, by far, the show’s most exciting announcement.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019The passenger drone could be in the air sooner than you might think

Coming in 2025 (hopefully) the drone looked like a product that was ready now. The amazing interior and impressive exterior inspired me and other show attendees equally.

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CES is not a phone show

Anyone expecting huge numbers of new phones from CES will always be disappointed. This show isn’t about mobile phones, for that we need to wait until Mobile World Congress next month.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to play Tap to playThe video will start in 8Cancel

While devices like the Royole FlexPai did see a more widespread launch there wasn’t a lot else.

But we also now know that Samsung isn’t launching the S10 at MWC either, which confused thing more.

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CES roundup: All the best tech from the Consumer Electronics Show 2019Folding phone from Royole

Most phone companies now want to operate like Apple, with their own dedicated launch event.

How do retailers feel?

As tech journalists we have a very specific focus – what’s cool and what excites us. But for customers, the people who spend their hard-earned money on this stuff, things are different. So I asked retailer Argos how it viewed the show and Jon Wiltshire, the Tech & Electricals trading director at Argos, told me:

“The Signature R OLED rollable TV from LG was a world-first and shows the potential for making tech less obtrusive in the home. As does Samsung’s The Frame, which turns your TV into a piece on art when not in use”. “Super-sized TVs were a key theme with the biggest from Samsung reaching a whopping 98”.

Several brands showcased 8K TVs but it will be a while before this level of resolution hits the mainstream”. “In smart technology, innovations like the Numi 2.0 talking toilet, Mookie face-scanning cat feeder and the smart belt that helps you diet are a bit science fiction for the average consumer. But new smart products like the Ring Door View Cam, which requires no hardwiring or modifications to the front door, offer genuine benefits to customers right now”.

“One of the most exciting launches was Royole’s FlexPai, the world’s first smart phone with a foldable screen.

Our customers are increasingly buying into larger screens so this presents a really exciting solution for streaming and video calls”.

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CES 2019

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