This year’s Consumer Electronics Show, which took place during the first week of January, had the same buzz of excitement that it always does. The best thing about this globally recognized event is that it covers most aspects of the life we live today, from cars that drive themselves to the latest in Virtual Reality (VR) tech. It’s where those in the tech world gather to learn all about what to expect for the future of technology.
In this article, we are going to take a look at exciting takeaways from CES. These takeaways involve developments in technology we are used to as well the latest gadgets that we are all still getting to know.
The Future of the PC
It’s no secret that the growing use of mobile technology has had a significant impact on the PC market. That being said, the hardware developments that were on show in January seem to present some hope that sales figures for 2017 might not be as lackluster as expected. Developments include welcome benefits such as thinner, lighter laptops and improved battery life. There was also an emphasis on powerful gaming solutions from giants such as Samsung.
What is Happening in the World of TV?
Much like PCs, TVs are not at the strongest when it comes to the consumer market. However, the story is slightly different in the world of 4K/HDR which seems to be continuing to grow in popularity as purchase prices reduce. Anyone interested in the high end of the market could not fail to be impressed with the offering that Samsung unveiled at CES. The quantum dot (QLED) LCD TV is pretty awe-inspiring when it comes color quality.
Of course, there is likely to be an ongoing battle between high-end LCD and OLED as the future of TV technology unfolds. It will be interesting to see what happens if the current high prices of OLED sets ever drop to a level of general affordability.
The Latest from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Last year, CES was buzzing with news of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Since then, people have acquired a better understanding of the technology and have become a little warier and difficult to impress. Perhaps that is why the emphasis was placed on the VR experience this year.
Anyone attending this year’s event could try out some of the VR offerings from Intel and Samsung. It has to be said that while there is a lot to enjoy about the experience, the GPUs probably are not at the stage they need to be just yet. They cannot provide the type of high resolutions that are needed in order to optimize the VR experience.
It’s a slightly different story when it comes to Augmented Reality (AR). Acceptable visuals are easier to produce when you are only dealing with a section of the field of view. There are also plenty of real worlds uses for AR technology. Some of these were discussed at the show. One that we found especially interesting was using the windshield of a car to display information that can help make the drive safer and easier.
The Growth of the Smart Home
The smart home market is an interesting world. It certainly seems likely to continue to grow but there is always that question about too many companies chasing relatively niche opportunities. There are only so many smart household items that you can actually produce. One of the items on display at CES was a smart hair brush which had a retail price of US$199. The device gives you feedback on the quality of your hair and your brushing style. This may seem pretty cool when you first use it, but is it actually worth the hefty price? After all, we have all managed pretty well with a normal hairbrush up to now.
The real benefits to be had in the smart home market lie with those companies that enable smart products to be manufactured and used. These companies include Skyworks, that produces RF chips and Amazon with its Alexa voice assistant that interacts with many of the smart devices out there.
What is Happening with Wearables
The wearables market has definitely fallen off since the original hype. There was certainly a much different feel to the displays and presentations at this year’s CES. It’s likely that the industry leaders, such as Apple and Fitbit will continue to build on their current market, but many smaller players will probably decide to bow out.
Even Fitbit was speaking more about software improvements than products this time around. There is an obvious emphasis on improving the user experience.
It was interesting to see the difference in the reaction to many tech areas at this year’s show. The hype around VR and wearables has certainly died down. It’s also interesting to see PCs and TVs continue to develop despite diminishing sales. It will be interesting to hear what people say after next week’s show.