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CES 2019: Tech firms show the best of the best

Tech firms gathered at CES 2019 to show their new products and gadgets - Credits: CES

The 2019 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) invaded Las Vegas last week, with thousands of startups, entrepreneurs and the biggest technology firms sprawling through the conference to demonstrate what products you should expect in 2019 – and you should expect quite a lot.

The event was so big that it was divided into three separate blocks: Tech East, Tech West and Tech South, all three held at different hotels throughout the city. Over 180.000 people attended this year’s event, covering 2.9 million square feet and with 1.200 new startup debut products at the show.

If there is one trend that CES 2019 confirmed, it is that this is the year that the 8K TV makes its grand debut. Although native content of such high quality is yet to be created, the biggest names in electronics have already made the switch to 8K one of their main announcements.

CES has been quiet on the smartphone front. Nonetheless, it was expected that companies such as Samsung or LG would jump on the opportunity to showcase some devices – especially in the wake of the recently teased Infinity Flex Display, better known as Samsung’s folding phone.
Yet Samsung kept things under the wraps. What it did confirm was that connectivity would be a priority in the coming year, and that it would introduce 5G smartphones to the market in the first half of this year. A 5G-enabled Galaxy S10, therefore, looks set to hit the market soon.

In the smart home, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are fighting for users’ time and attention. So naturally electronics companies around the world are working hard to incorporate both voice assistants in their devices.

LG announced, for example, that Amazon’s Alexa would be coming to its smart TVs this year alongside Google Assistant, claiming that the two combined would let users access 85 per cent of devices on the smart-home market. Many other manufacturers are showcasing products geared towards security, with smart doorbells and cameras proliferating.

This year’s CES saw more iterative developments on laptops and tablets, rather than ground-breaking new technologies. Samsung announced a new line of PCs to work more flexibly called the Notebook 9 Pro, which comes with a new Notebook 9 Pen, that lets you take notes, sketch and draw directly on the screen. LG announced a bunch of new lightweight Gram laptops – a 17-inch model that is 1.3 kilos and a 14-inch version coming in at 1.1 kilos. The latter, called the LG Gram 2-in-1, has a fully rotating screen that lets you flip between a laptop and a tablet. And HP staked everything on the Chromebook, with a new 14-inch Chromebook.

In the past few years, CES accelerated with new automotive innovations, leaving the traditional auto shows in the dust. This year, Toyota took a new route in the field of autonomously driving cars. Rather than dispensing with the driver, it uses advanced electronics to make the driver a better driver, correcting serious or fatal human errors or oversights.

Using tech to combat climate change emerged as one of this year’s big trends and CTA, the organization that puts on the show, honored seven startups as “climate change innovators”. These companies presented innovative ideas about how tech can help conserve energy and clean up the environment.

This included a smart valve that detects leaks in pipes, a personal digital gardener that matches plants to locations in your garden, a hybrid solar cooker that allows to cook with only solar power and a smart solar LED street light adaptable to any lamp post, among others.

CES once more proved there’s still a lot of room for inventions, gadgets and tech breakthroughs in many areas. This year proves to be an exciting one as all the new developments arrive in the market. In the meantime, we’ll all be looking forward to CES2020 and whatever kind of announcements companies are already working on to introduce in Las Vegas next year.