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The Biggest Trends to Watch at CES 2019

These are the biggest trends we expect to see at CES 2019, ranging from TVs that roll up like a poster to 5G networks that are finally becoming a reality.

Over the next week, over 180,000 people and 4,400 companies will converge in Las Vegas for CES 2019 to see the latest technology that will soon be in your home, car, and hand.

Some companies have already begun to announce new products, but we spoke with several experts, examined rumors, and made some logical assumptions based on last year’s show to identify what we believe will be some of the major trends at this year’s CES.

TVs are getting bigger, sharper, brighter, and more portable

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TVs will become larger and sharper as MicroLED and OLED technology advances. Last year, Samsung debuted its massive 146-inch The Wall TV, while LG unveiled a 65-inch rollable OLED set that unfurled itself from a base. Expect more iterations on these themes as the two companies try to outdo each other once more.

While the rollable TV was only a prototype last year, according to Bloomberg, LG will unveil a production-ready model at this year’s show. This means that when you’re not watching TV, you won’t have a massive black square taking over a wall.

MicroLED panels are just as thin and colorful as OLED panels from LG and Sony but are technically brighter and less expensive.

Expect those sets to be sharper as well. While the technology is still in its infancy, 8K televisions are expected to proliferate. But it’s not the resolution that should pique consumers’ interest in these TVs. “The true benefit of an 8K set in the medium and long term is simply brightness,” said Avi Greengart, GlobalData’s research director for consumer platforms and devices. “Some of these 8K sets can get insanely bright, allowing for a remarkably good dynamic range.” This means that explosions will appear more intense, and dark scenes will appear even darker.

Smart Homes are becoming smarter

Google made a big push with Google Assistant and Google Home at last year’s CES, demonstrating that the company’s voice assistant was inside and compatible with dozens of smart home devices.

Expect more of the same this year, but don’t be surprised if Amazon pushes back.

While there will be plenty of smart plugs, switches, robot vacuums, and appliances, expect a greater emphasis on the AIs that power these devices and how those AIs can make all of those devices work together. And what advantage will these assistants have for the consumer?

“I don’t know if we’ve uncovered many of these use cases yet, but I do know that there’s a desire for devices to be interoperable in the home,” said Ben Arnold, CTA’s senior director of innovation and trends.

Companies will or should emphasize the privacy and security of their smart home devices; expect these companies to emphasize that their products will not snoop on you or provide others with access to or insight into what you’re doing in your home.

“How do we ensure that we can secure these devices to the best of our ability now that they are in so many places and have so many entry points into the home?” Dinesh Narayanan, Microsoft’s director of partner and channel marketing, was asked.

Laptops are becoming smaller, faster, and more powerful

According to Microsoft’s Narayanan, PCs will become more like smartphones. To that end, Microsoft is collaborating with partners to create notebooks that are always connected and only require charging once per day. “Consider how powerful phones have become, and then consider how much computing has shifted to the phone. We also see a demand for phone-class experiences [on laptops].”

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx chip, announced a year ago, promises long-lasting battery life and improved connectivity, but PC makers have been slow to adopt it. In our review of the HP Envy x2, we praised the laptop’s integrated 4G LTE and 14-hour battery life, but we were disappointed by its slow performance.

The concept of always-connected extends to gaming systems, where Microsoft is looking for ways to make it easier for gamers to live stream their sessions. “How do we allow gamers to keep their hands on the controller while also initiating streaming because it’s become so fundamental?” Narayanan asked.

More health, less fitness with wearables

Features like the ECG monitor in the Apple Watch 4 and improved sleep tracking in devices like the Fitbit Versa have signaled a shift in wearables, as they transition from purely fitness devices to ones that look at your health holistically. Don’t be surprised if more companies demonstrate how their wearable will help you not only look better but also live better.

As basic fitness trackers have become commoditized — you can easily find $15 gadgets that accurately count your steps — device makers are taking one of two approaches: making specialized, expensive watches for niche sports, as Suunto and Garmin have done, or going for a wellness angle, which can include everything from notifying you if you have hypertension to notify you if a loved one has fallen.

“There will be a lot of sometimes-wacky, sometimes-interesting wearables at the show,” Greengart said. “Some of it is fitness-related, but much of it is genuinely medical.”

This year’s show should also feature a greater emphasis on sleep technology. Companies like Fitbit are already looking into ways to diagnose sleep apnea, but there is no definitive product that can help you get a better night’s sleep.

“Last year, I walked into some booth in the Sands and there were a bunch of people in sleep chairs,” Arnold recalled. “And that was one of five similar booths.”

More smartwatches will feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 3100 chip, which promises improved performance and longer battery life. However, because the Wear OS platform is fairly rigid, most of the innovation will be cosmetic at best.

AR and VR are getting closer to reality, but not quite there yet

There should be plenty of augmented reality and virtual reality companies exhibiting at CES, but widespread consumer adoption is still a few years away. However, pioneering companies such as Pico Interactive, which will be displaying its new 4K VR headset, will be present. HTC will also be present, demonstrating new VR experiences with its latest headset, the Vive Pro.

Vuzix demonstrated Alexa-enabled Blade AR glasses at last year’s CES, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a more refined version at this year’s event.

“Based on my inbox, there will be a lot of people showing off smart glasses, but none of them have stood out as the next big thing,” Greengart said. “Augmented and virtual reality have bright futures ahead of them, but we’re sort of post-hype, pre-usefulness right now.”

While hardware issues have mostly been resolved, consumers still need a reason to wear these devices. “Now it’s all about content,” Arnold explained. “How do we get enough users on any of these platforms to warrant the additional investment?”

Everything is getting 5G

While CES isn’t known for smartphone announcements (for those, who go to Mobile World Congress a month later), Qualcomm’s recently introduced 5G-ready Snapdragon 855 processor is bound to influence other products announced in Las Vegas.

“Every keynote will include a mention of 5G,” Greengart predicted. The faster speeds of this next-generation networking technology will have implications for every type of connected device, from smart home devices to cars to laptops.

5G promises to speed up to 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE, among other things. This will enable live 4K video streams, which will be useful for watching movies or performing open-heart surgery from a distance.

Samsung announced plans to launch 5G phones on both Verizon and AT&T networks in early 2019, while LG will launch its 5G phone on Sprint’s network. However, 5G service will be quite limited at first. AT&T’s service will be available in only 19 markets at first, while Sprint’s service will be available in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., as well as Kansas City, Missouri.

“The promise is substantial,” Narayanan said. “It allows us to innovate our hardware around that. How would we architect a system from cloud to edge if connectivity was not an issue or a requirement?”

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The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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