CES 2021: What to Anticipate From the First-Ever Digital CES

Final yr’s CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, marked the final time for a very long time many people can be chatting face-to-face, exchanging invisible respiratory droplets, dealing with the identical germy devices, and having fun with meals and drinks in windowless eating places.

This yr, because of the ongoing pandemic, the annual CES takes place totally on our laptop screens. The primary-ever utterly distant staging of the buyer tech trade’s tentpole occasion begins on Monday, January 11.

Experiencing CES from afar poses some apparent challenges for these of us reporting on the present. We will’t stroll the almost 3 million sq. toes of expo corridor area or truly attempt the brand new merchandise being showcased. However we’re going to do our greatest to provide you our knowledgeable analyses of the tech fest this yr, based mostly on an entire bunch of digital briefings and our collective dozens of years overlaying CES up to now. So hearth up Zoom, strap in your VR headsets, and prepare to observe alongside.

Let’s Get Small

On the upside, in case you’d like to take a look at CES this yr, there’s no have to spend cash on registration charges, airfare, or lodging. You possibly can watch the entire bulletins and actions in your pajamas.

However there’s little question this yr’s CES is scaled down. The Shopper Expertise Affiliation, which hosts CES, says that round 1,800 exhibitors might be part of this yr’s present. That’s fewer than half of the 4,400 exhibitors who showcased expertise final yr. The CTA additionally identified that, by being an all-digital occasion, “the present might be accessible to audiences across the globe” however declined to say how many individuals have truly registered for this yr’s digital CES. Final yr, an estimated 170,000 individuals attended in particular person.

Some tech corporations are opting out of CES this yr or are trickling out product information on their very own timetables. Amazon received’t have an official presence, although you’ll be able to most likely count on to see its Alexa voice assistant present up in a whole lot of merchandise. Google, which at current CESes has put up huge Googley installations round Las Vegas, says it’s going to host companion conferences however in any other case is bowing out of the present. Microsoft president Brad Smith will give a keynote tackle on tech being each a weapon and a device—an particularly related subject—however most Microsoft-related information at CES might be from its PC-manufacturer companions. Fb and its Oculus division additionally received’t be taking part. As a substitute, the corporate selected to tease its upcoming “sensible glasses” in a weblog submit earlier this week. And many of the deal with Fb proper now, anyway, is its function in disrupting American democracy.

Samsung and LG Electronics might be internet hosting digital press conferences and can give briefings on their new shows and residential home equipment. Nevertheless it’s value noting that Samsung is holding its annual Galaxy cellphone unveiling on January 14—throughout CES however probably not part of CES. We’ll even be conserving a detailed eye on Monday’s press conferences with Intel and Sony. And a number of the keynote highlights embrace talks from the chief executives of Common Motors, Verizon, and AMD.

Look however Don’t Contact

So what new expertise will we see just about subsequent week? There are some thrilling issues occurring in TV land, BestAppsIneed’s Parker Corridor says. Essentially the most beautiful TV we’ve seen forward of the convention is a brand new 110-inch MicroLED mannequin from Samsung. (MicroLED is a comparatively new show expertise that makes use of tiny, nonorganic LEDs, three per pixel, and it is supposed to supply good distinction.) Extra TV makers are pushing 8K screens too, together with Samsung, LG, and Sony, in addition to producers of lower-cost units like TCL. And this may increasingly seem to be a small factor, however many new TVs will ship this yr with upgraded HDMI 2.1 ports—in order that the brand new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X recreation consoles can run at their full 120-Hz potential on the shows.


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