In Depth

CES 2018: all the big announcements

From roll-up TVs to driverless cars, there’s something for every tech lover

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is in full swing, providing a look at the latest products and concepts from some of the world’s leading tech companies.

CES is one of the most significant technology events of the year. The show attracts some of the world’s biggest software and hardware firms. 

It has also gained popularity with car manufacturers in recent years. An increasing number of companies are developing hi-tech driverless vehicles and many are keen to exhibit at the show. 

Here are the main announcements:

Apple’s secret meetings 

The tech giant hasn’t appeared at CES before, choosing instead to announce its latest products at its own private events. 

But Trusted Reviews says that Apple held “secret meetings” with suppliers at CES about developing augmented reality (AR) glasses, a technology that layers computer graphics over real-world images.  

Little is known about the meetings, but the website says it would be “no surprise” if Apple entered the AR hardware market as the technology has become popular with the tech industry’s biggest companies. 

According to BGR, the rumoured AR glasses are set to run on a platform similar to the company’s iOS mobile software. If Apple continues to develop the technology, it could arrive in shops as early as 2020.   

The Cupertino-based firm already has AR apps on the market – its recently released iPhone X supports the technology, for instance. A growing number of third-party developers are also creating AR programmes for the smartphone.

Sony Aibo

A new version of Sony’s Aibo robot dog has made its debut at CES 2018, 12 years after the company discontinued the droid.

The revamped Aibo “has far more artificial intelligence and sensors” than its predecessor, reports Tech Radar. Sony has modelled the robot after “an untrained dog”, with the aim of the game being to train it “through voice commands and positive reinforcement”.

It is currently available only in Japan and costs around 198,000 yen (£1,300), the website says.

HTC Vive Pro

HTC has taken the wraps off its updated Vive Pro headset, offering a higher resolution and a tweaked design. 

The new Vive Pro gets dual-OLED displays with an impressive 2880 x 1600 picture resolution - a 78% increase in clarity over the previous model, says The Verge. HTC has also redesigned the Vive Pro's headstrap and added built-in headphones.

The headset is expected to go on sale “in the next few months”, the website says, although there is no word on pricing yet. 

Kia Niro electric concept
‘Boundless for all’: Kia presents vision for future mobility at CES 2018

‘Boundless for all’: Kia presents vision for future mobility at CES 2018

Korean car giant Kia has unveiled its all-electric Niro SUV concept, which features driverless technology that could filter down to production models next year.

The electric concept boasts a range of 238 miles on a single charge, with a 64kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor, The Verge reports. It also features a host of safety features, including a visual and audio warning system for pedestrians and cyclists if they get too near.

According to the website, Kia also plans to begin trialling level 4 autonomous driving systems - which can brake and accelerate without human input - by 2021.

Samsung Galaxy S9 launches next month

The launch window for the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus has been revealed at CES. 

Fans can expect to get a look at the tech giant’s iPhone rival at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona “at the end of February”, only ten months after last year’s Galaxy S8 launch event, says Engadget

Rumours suggest the next phone will be equipped with face-scanning security features similar to the company’s larger Note 8, as well as the next generation of Samsung’s mobile processing chips, adds the website.

Intel’s quantum computing ‘breakthrough’ 

Driverless cars and artificial intelligence took centre stage during Intel’s keynote at CES, says Alphr. But the firm’s biggest announcement was arguably its focus on quantum computing, a technology capable of solving complex tasks that can’t be carried out by conventional computers. 

Just hours before the Las Vegas show opened to the public, Intel revealed it had made a “major breakthrough” in understanding the technology and announced a 49-qubit quantum processing chip, the website reports.  

There’s no word on when the company plans to release the chip, the site adds. The technology is still in its infancy but it could one day “solve the biggest problems humanity faces”.

LG Cloi
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 08:LG Electronics's CLoi robot is displayed during a LG press event for CES 2018 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on January 8, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, th

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2018 Getty Images

The centrepiece of LG’s product conference is a small robot called Cloi, says BBC News, which is designed to help users control their smart home.

But the news site says the robot gave “no response to three consecutive commands” given by LG’s marketing chief, David VanderWaal, despite behaving as expected earlier on in the company’s keynote. 

The blunder was “mocked on social media” and labelled a “disaster” by industry experts, says BBC News.  

Byton concept
Byton

AFP_VY1ZG

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The first car to make its debut at this year’s CES, an all-electric SUV concept, comes from the Chinese start-up Byton.  

According to Autocar, the “premium” SUV is equipped with the latest interior technology, including a large touchscreen panel that spans the width of the dashboard. The screen can be controlled using hand gestures or through a smartphone app.  

It’s expected to enter production in 2019, the magazine says, and sales will begin in China the same year. Byton plans to enter the US market in 2020.  

You can read more about the Byton concept here.

LG rollable display

LG kicked off this year’s tech show by revealing a 65ins OLED TV that can be rolled up like a poster, Cnet reports.

Flexible screens have been around for some time but the website says that LG’s TV concept is the first display “flexible enough to spin up into tube form”. When it’s rolled up, the screen sits in a long container that also doubles as a sound bar. 

LG has yet to announce a release date for its fold-up display, says The Verge. At this stage the TV is only a prototype. 

Samsung’s The Wall

Samsung will be taking the wraps off an “enormous” 4K TV called The Wall at CES, says The Verge. The TV measures 146ins. 

The screen uses MicroLED technology where each “microscopic” LED emits its own light, according to the website. This removes the need for a backlight, creating the “deep blacks” that are “normally reserved for OLED sets.”

The device is currently in the concept phase of its development, says The Verge, but the Korean tech giant plans to commercialise it. More details are expected in the spring.

Nvidia’s driverless cars
Nvidia car

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US-based chipmaker Nvidia has announced partnerships with Volkswagen, Uber and the Chinese search provider Baidu to expand its presence in the autonomous car industry, says CNBC.

The website says that Uber will use Nvidia’s processing units for its artificial intelligence (AI) systems, while Volkswagen plans to integrate the company’s Drive IX platform. This allows the German car giant to use interior tech features such as gesture controls and a virtual assistant “similar to Amazon’s Alexa”.

Meanwhile, CNBC says that Nvidia plans to create a “production-ready AI autonomous vehicle system” for the Chinese market with the help of Baidu and the automotive component maker ZF. 

Black Box VR Workout 

2015 @fudojahic

Tech start-up Black Box VR first unveiled its 30-minute virtual reality workout experience in Las Vegas, BBC News reports.

Participants can challenge digital “avatars” by wearing an HTC Vive VR headset and following the steps of the virtual workout, the news site says. Eventually, the US-based company plans to pit players against people in the real world who are taking part in the experience. 

Black Box VR hopes to open “boutique gyms” across the US, the website adds, where members will have their own space to take part in virtual workouts.

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