Always eagerly anticipated with purposeful pre-show leaks of new gee-whiz tech, wireless, and digital gadgetry, CES may be the lone exception to the ad slogan What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens in Sin City this week is shared around the globe immediately.
Nearly 200,000 accredited show attendees (industry and media types only, the show is not open to the general public) will get the first peek at new products, innovations and services on display or available to demo by 4,500 vendors from 150 different countries. Virtually all major manufacturers are present (though Apple is again conspicuous by its absence because it doesn’t like to share a stage) and more and more lesser-known, smaller tech companies have been present in recent years. That trend continues this year.
Industry insiders who got an advance peek at CES 2019 seem to be in agreement that this year’s show is a little lighter on the astounding and amazing and a bit heavier on the new-and-improved versions or features for earlier product innovations; things like microchips, GFX cards, cell phones, operating systems, etc. Even so, CES never disappoints. Let’s take a look at some of the trends and products from this year’s show.
You may not be “smart” enough… “wheel” see.
If smartphones, smart watches, smartlocks and smart doorbells weren’t enough, now there’s an Alexa-enabled bicycle from Halford’s that comes with a touchscreen display that offers voice recognition and connected services without the need for a smartphone connection. Available in a standard hybrid (Cybic Legend) and electric models (Cybic E-Legend), the bikes feature turn-by-turn navigation, cycling performance data, a music player and, no doubt, more to come down the road (pun intended). Developers see the “smart” bike helping to reduce vehicular congestion in urban and suburban areas, and providing an intelligent transportation alternative for business commuters and cycling enthusiasts alike.
So much for “getting your steps in”…
Hoverboards are so yesterday. Bring on hover shoes. You read that right, hover shoes. Very much in prototype phase, several companies are unveiling hover shoes that will whisk you from Point A to Point B by shifting body weight carefully to move in all directions without ever having to take a step. There are still questions about the devices’ ability to navigate uneven terrain but research is ongoing. And, no, we don’t know if they come in narrow widths, lace-up, or spiked heels. Time will tell, no doubt.
Tech Show or Car Show… or both?
Automobiles have had a greater presence in recent years at CES as “connected cars” become more mainstream. Ford, Nissan and Hyundai are on the list of vendors. Mercedes-Benz recently teased to a new CLA-class vehicle that will be on display, featuring MBUX, the Benz’s newest infotainment system that offers new input methods including “an AI-based (Artificial Intelligence) assistant that can respond to natural language commands” according to a media release.
A new twist on the old barbershop shave…
Too busy to drop by the corner barber shop for a steam-towel, warm-foam, straight-blade shave like your grandfather enjoyed way back when? Fret no more. Gillette has announced a new in-home, heated razor that’s already maxed out in pre-order even though it doesn’t even roll out to the public until the 2019 holiday season. An internal heating element warms your skin before the blade does its work. At $160, it’s no bargain but time is money and if this saves you the time necessary to hit the barbershop, it may well be worth it.
And now for the ladies …
You can’t make this stuff up… makeup products go high-tech.
The days of limited options in make-up shades that enhance standard skin tones and textures may be a thing of the past. Several companies are introducing product lines that are custom-made for you and you alone. Based on 3D imagery of your face, a skin moisture analysis and other innovative insights, the products are truly customized for an individual’s unique, ahem, make-up and, for the first time, rise above mass-produced offerings that may or may not make you as gorgeous as the model on the packaging.
Will Alexa and Google Assistant learn to play well together…?
Certain AI devices are already compatible but not all. One of the biggest hopes is that Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant will eventually strike up a relationship so that a smart home design can features products of your choice, regardless of manufacturer. CES may be where a new love affair is born.
Not all is candy and roses at CES…
While the sexy allure of CES is it candy store array of leading-edge products and services, some harsh realities face many of the entities that will be present. Amazon, Facebook and Google have seen their market values plummet in recent months and Apple’s decision to again remain aloof was probably made even more easily this year with the company’s stunning market-value hit in recent weeks. Unanswered questions loom regarding international tariffs and trade wars. Amid the super-cool, mind-blowing robots, increased cloud-based connectivity, and a greater variety of smart-enabled common household devices, there are some huge issues and more than a handful of genuinely nervous folks in Vegas this week.
No doubt in the coming days, you will see many more amazing products and highlights from CES on the evening network newscasts, as we do every year which begs the question: What will they come up with next …? Stand by … CES 2020 is just 12 months away!
Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m going to get a quick hot shave.
The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing this week and while the number of Wowza products may be down a bit from previous years, the show never fails to deliver!