There's a buzz in the air everywhere in Las Vegas this week, and it's understandable why: over 150,000 people are flocking into Sin City, and it's not for Celine Dion's or Britney's appearances, it's not for the gambling, and it's not for magician residencies: it's because everyone is dying to find out what is to be expected in the next year in consumer electronics. CES week is upon us and at the media day today, press conferences from LG, Samsung, Toyota, Sony and many more were busy doing what they're meant to do: trend setting.
LG vs. Samsung
LG's focus was on their massive new range of OLED TVs (available in 65in and 77in; when I say massive, I mean massive, and the price tag is massive too as they are going to set you back over $10,000 when they become available later this year). The Signature w (w as in "wallpaper") that received lots of praise is less than 3mm thick and sticks to your wall using magnets, it's got slick design, it has OLEDs that are 25% brighter and it's everything you'd expect and hope for from a flagship product from one of the biggest TV manufacturers in the world.
And as it was expected, later in the day Samsung unveiled its QLED TV, and given the support that Samsung has shown for quantum dot technology and the work it has put into developing its own quantum dots, with better lifetime and efficiency, the result is a brilliant display, that can and will go head to head with LG's OLEDs. And on a very different note, Samsung's lifestyle TV below, takes television to another level in many ways, as it almost becomes a piece of art.
Hub Bot, Alexa and the home that's getting smarter...
LG is also pushing ahead with smart homes and robotics innovations, and the Hub Robot is bridging the two: with all its devices from 2017 onwards being Wi-Fi enabled (Samsung's devices are by now at least 90% Wi-Fi enabled also; the key point being that ubiquity of communication capability in electronics is now on fast roll out), the hub robot is a little speaker-like device, a bit like Amazon's Echo; a lot actually as it is also powered by Alexa, and its purpose is to manage all of your home devices. At its press conference LG showed a range of devices the hub robot can manage, like that extra smart fridge whose door becomes a display if you tap it twice, a display that allows you to see what's in the fridge (you could just open the fridge door alternatively but that's not as flashy...)
And finally, Yui!
Toyota made a splash with its "Concept I" car, a vehicle that "learns and grows" with you, as you drive it, taking concepts of driving, machine learning, and how our devices are becoming extensions of who we are to another level.
Toyota was very honest about the fact that the beautifully designed Yui, as the company calls it, is many years away in its totality but that in the next few years we will see components being tested and introduced in precursor vehicles that will be leading to that final evolved type of vehicle, that's not going to be just my vehicle, it's going to be I, in a way...
Toyota also grounded us about how fast level 5 vehicle autonomy is going to happen: and the answer here was that it would take quite a few years and although that sounded discouraging, the good news is that level 4 autonomy, on the other hand, is going to happen much faster; it's that final gap between autonomy in almost every scenario and autonomy in every single scenario possible that's going to be a bit more tricky.
Overall, expectations are set to high, and the next few days are expected to be a sensory overload of devices of all types.
The future of consumer electronics
Dr Harry Zervos, Principal Analyst at IDTechEx, talked to CNBC's "Squawk Box" at CES about what to expect from the show, autonomous vehicles, the future of VR and more. See the full interview here .
Top image source: CES
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. Europe 2017 on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.