The Best Bits of CES 2019
CES 2019 saw everything from talking toilets to machines that fold your laundry for you.
Now even though some of the products may have seemed a little off the wall, there were some displays that really highlighted how far we’ve come in technological advances. The most exciting part of all of this is debating where these innovations are going to take us next…
Chips, processors and everything in-between.
Intel’s conference showcased their 10nm processor Ice Lake with real-time performance testing on a laptop. It promises a multitude of things, including built-in Thunderbolt 3, Wi-Fi 6 and 11th gen graphics. We can probably expect to see this on store shelves at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.
If you are a Nvidia fan, gaming laptops will be receiving an upgrade very soon. The Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card is finally out and has a slightly more affordable price point of $349 compared to its predecessors. RTX will be implemented in several versions (2060, 2070 and 2080) for 40 laptops that will start to roll out at the end of the month. The announcement of this card combines ray tracing and machine learning for an overall, truer to life image and hopefully a more satisfying gaming experience. 17 of the 40 laptops are also being created with similarities to Ultrabook laptops. We seem to be heading in a direction where Max-Q designs are going to make those chunkier, overbearing laptop models a thing of the past.
CEO of AMD Dr Lisa Su also had something to offer this year, announcing the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU, the Radeon 7. The graphics core is said to provide a 25% increase in gaming performance at the same power, as well as 16gb of high bandwidth memory.
When it came to CPUs, Su didn’t divulge too much on the highly anticipated 2nd gen Epyc processors. We were however given a sneak peek into what we can expect compared to its competitors, with Epyc running 15% faster than two Intel Xeon 8180s on a standard NAMD test.
Our job is to push the boundaries of what can be done by a desktop processor.
Finally, Su revealed a 3rd Gen Ryzen processor, powered by a Zen 2 core as well as the 7nm technology. When showcasing its capabilities on Forza Horizon 4 and running the Radeon 7 GPU, we saw the game running at over 100fps at 1080p with ‘maximum settings’. Compared to a core i9-9900K, Ryzen achieves a higher score on Cinebench (A cross-platform test system that evaluates a computers performance capability).
Despite the popularity of streaming services rising, television was still a prominent topic of conversation at CES 2019. After all, everyone still craves a top tier screen, projector or monitor to watch their favourite films and shows on! One brand that showcased a wide range of their talent and technological prowess this year was LG. Whilst it’s not yet on the market (and was even originally debuted at CES 2018), the LG Signature Series OLED TV R is expected to be available towards the end of this year. The first of its kind, this 3mm wide tv is built onto a rollable mechanism so you can essentially make it disappear into a sleek, simple rectangular box that also doubles up as a soundbar with a 400-watt Dolby Atmos sound system. It’s a space saver when it’s switched off and doesn’t make your living space look ugly anymore, what more could you want?
Google Home was everywhere this year. It is even now optimised for an enhanced reading experience with your children. You simply say, ‘Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney’ and as you start to read a Disney story, you are accompanied by music and sound effects. Popular books such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland or Moana are augmented for this experience. Could this be the start of a new way to read?
Robotics has seen something a little different this year with the Lovot by Groove X. Unlike others in the field, Lovot is cuter, cuddlier and was created with the sole purpose of making its owner smile. It demands affection in the form of hugs and games, following you around like a baby duckling, encouraging your loving capacity to grow.
Samsung has declared a new robotics line to further use their AI technology skills that they have displayed so well in the past. One of three of their products, Bot Care is designed primarily to take care of the elderly. It can measure heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and sleeping patterns. It can even remind you to take your medicine.
UBTech also came back this year with their robot Walker. At CES 2018, Walker was all legs and moved with human-like precision down a set of stairs. This year we saw Walker return with arms. In the demonstration, it was able to retrieve items such as food or drink. It could fetch an umbrella if you left the mock-up house and it knew it was raining outside, and it can also dance. Some were underwhelmed by the advancement of this technology, but it is a promising insight into the reality of having robotic companions in the home to assist you with all manner of tasks. There is no rough price point for Walker yet, but we can bet it will be expensive.
Consumers are constantly searching for the next best thing. What’s going to match your style and simultaneously make your life easier? Well, a lot of brands have been paying close attention, and as a result, there is an increase in smart homeware on the market. Google Assistant alone has teamed up with almost all of the products listed below.
One piece of tech that really grabbed the media’s attention this time around was a wooden plank that marries together technology with a natural, more homey aesthetic. It serves multiple functions such as giving thermostat readings, weather information, a clock face, dimmer controls for your lights and the ability to read text messages or listen to voicemail. This device called Mui is compatible with Google Assistant too.
Interactive smart mirrors were a common feature at CES 2019. Brands such as Simplehuman are expanding its line of mirrors with the classic tru-lux light system as well as integrated speakers with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming capabilities. Their product Hi-Fi Assist also works with Google Assistant.
The LG ThinQ takes trying on clothes in front of a mirror to the next level. It scans you and provides you with an accurately sized, proportioned avatar of yourself. It takes into account your height and multiple measurements you would consider when shopping for clothes. You can then try clothes on in all styles and colours, right before you click the ‘buy’ button. Taking you to the relevant site that stocks that product.
Capstone’s Smart Mirror also has Google Assistant built in. Some of its selling points are that you can download apps from the Google Play store or stream via Youtube. You can even compose emails or messages on the mirror whilst you’re brushing your teeth in the morning!
Autonomous Vehicles and Transportation
This year, autonomous vehicles took the back seat somewhat. Perhaps it was in light of Uber’s tragedy in 2018, but many seem reluctant to be pushing this tech as much as they once were. The complexities of getting people from A to B are proving to be much more challenging than was originally thought. So, we could start to see a heavier focus on smaller ideals that assist commuters on their current travel methods instead of taking full control. There are still, however, some new technologies being introduced that I thought were of mention.
Whilst it might take time before this vehicle hybrid is transformed from a mere concept into a tangible object, Hyundai’s ‘Elevate’ has sparked conversation in the media. Their idea is that cars of the future will not necessarily hover like something straight out of Blade Runner, rather, they will gain legs and the ability to walk. Hyundai is confident this vehicle could come to great use, navigating all manner of terrains with ease. It would have 5 driving modes, enabling it to move with creature like precision, making it perfect for rescue missions following natural disasters. Whether it’s snow, uneven rocky ground or a normal road, Hyundai is aiming to take you wherever you need to go.
As well as cars, there was also a showcase of the Bell Nexus hybrid electric helicopter. They’ve partnered up with Uber, aiming to extend taxi services to the sky, all while allegedly managing vertical take-off and landing. Few details have been released, but there were full-scale Nexus prototypes at CES 2019.