All the news from CES 2018

Alex Kidman 10 January 2018 NEWS

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CES 2018 is where the world's biggest electronics manufacturers will show off everything from the latest TVs to electric cars to new mobile gadgets and plenty more besides.


The latest news from CES 2018


Latest:

07 January 2018: LG's promising rollable TV panels, while DJI's upgrading its gimbal stabiliser offerings with a lower-cost Osmo 2 and DSLR-friendly Ronin-S ahead of the official opening of CES 2018.

02 January 2018: With only a few days to go until CES 2018 kicks off, LG is grabbing headlines with an 88 inch 8K OLED TV rumoured to debut, while smaller manufacturers are promising new smart gadgets covering everything from luggage to drones to baby monitors.

27 December 2017: Sony is rumoured to show off its next flagship Xperia handset at CES 2018

19 December 2017: The laptops, phones and tablets are coming, as LG and Samsung gear up for new laptop and mobile releases at CES, while Huawei is rumoured to announce a new Android tablet as well.

14 December 2017: More details are emerging around the TV technologies we're likely to see at CES 2018 from major players such as Samsung and LG.

8 December 2017: There's a renewed push for more female keynote speakers, led by Sonos, who will host a space dedicated to allowing "diverse voices" to be heard. Honda will use CES 2018 to debut new robotic concepts, and Yamaha will show off a new version of its robotic motorbike rider, Motobot

23 November 2017: The hot rumour is that Samsung may show off the Samsung Galaxy S9 at CES in a bid to capture the public's imagination very early in the year, although Samsung now says this is "unlikely".

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) boasts that it's the world's biggest show for general consumer electronics, which these days covers everything from whitegoods to smartphones to personal robots, all increasingly networked together with a range of voice assistant technologies.

Held annually in Las Vegas, the 2018 edition will officially run from 8 January 2018 through 12 January 2018, although we can expect news to start flowing out of CES much earlier than that, with two media days taking place on 6 and 7 January 2018.

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Televisions

CES is always where the big brands such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Hisense and plenty more besides show off this year's crop of big, shiny panels to tempt you to upgrade. While specific details are thin on the ground right now, we can expect to see plenty more focus on advanced TV technologies, early talk of 8K compatibility and further integration with smart voice technologies on the roadmap. With 4K and HDR available on quite affordable TVs now, CES is more the playground of advanced concepts in the high end than just regular TVs. In previous years that's seen screens that were wallpaper-thin, or some with speakers built into the display, and this year should see even wilder concepts than that emerge.

The fierce battle between LCD and OLED is also likely to play another round, and an interesting one at that. Samsung has stuck to its LCD strategy for TVs, even though it makes its smartphone lines with AMOLED displays. The latest rumours suggest Samsung will switch towards MicroLED models, showing off a 150-inch MicroLED TV at CES 2018.

That's basically a wall that also doubles as a TV, although don't expect it to be all that inexpensive if it does go beyond concept or possibly commercial applications at that size. If you're curious, the difference between MicroLED and Samsung's existing LED-based QLED TVs essentially boils down to the way the technology works, with the new MicroLED panels tipped to do away with the traditional LCD display altogether in favour of an array of LEDs that can power all the way up or down, giving better black displays than previously possible with LCD technology.

The king of TVs for displaying blacks remains OLED, and we don't expect OLED stalwarts LG to simply lie down and let Samsung eat their market wholesale. LG was joined last year by Sony and Panasonic, both of whom brought OLED TVs to market in 2017. Competition in this space is always a good thing for consumers whether you're buying at the cutting edge, or just reaping the rewards of technology trickling down from previous years.

In LG's case, it appears that it's going big for CES 2018, although that's hardly a new trend in TVs shown off at CES. At CES 2018, it's expected that LG will show off a truly mammoth 88-inch 8K OLED TV. Not only will you need plenty of wall space to mount such an immense panel, but you'll also need plenty of wallet space too.

LG is also going to show off highly flexible OLED panels at up to 65 inches at CES 2018, although these are likely to more be pitched at display advertising than being something you can flexibly store at home.

While we're likely to see new technologies behind the panels of the TVs of CES 2018, you can also expect to see an increased focus on how you interact with them on the outside too. Forget remote controls, and think voice controls, with manufacturers expected to adopt Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa (or possibly both) to handle TV controls. While that's not an entirely new feature, with Amazon's Alexa set to debut on Australian shores in early 2018, it's more likely than ever that we'll see an increasing range of voice-controlled TVs land on our shores in 2018.


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Motor Vehicles

Cars have emerged as a big technology winner at CES, although it's not traditionally been a "car show". The two hottest trends here are in the fields of in-car smarts and the emerging field of electric vehicles.

On the electric car front while Tesla has often dominated the headlines, it's other makers who have often used CES to pitch their upcoming wares. Faraday Future showed off an electric car amidst significant controversy about its ongoing viability as a company at CES 2017 and is expected to make a fresh push in 2018.

It'll be joined by Fisker, showing off a car it's already confirmed will debut at CES 2018. Dubbed the EMotion, it's a US$129,000 electric car with some fascinating hype behind it, including the ability to fully charge in just 9 minutes and an autonomous driving system.

However, it's not all about challenger brands, with established brands such as Ford, Toyota and General Motors all expected to show off new developments in their 2018 model lines. How many of these improvements actually make it out of the US domestic market can be a little tricky to tell because parts of CES can be very US-centric.

Yamaha will use CES to show off a new version of Motobot, its motorbike riding robot at CES 2018, because nothing says CES like wacky robotic gadgets.

While you'd traditionally think of Honda as a vehicle brand, its ambitions extend beyond the vehicular, with the company announcing that it will debut its new 3E (Empower, Experience, Empathy) Robotics Concept at the show.


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Mobile Devices

CES isn't, strictly speaking, a mobile show, with most vendors waiting until February/March and Mobile World Congress to pull out their big guns, but that hasn't stopped mobiles making their way to the Consumer Electronics Show. Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 835 that formed the heart of most of 2017's premium smartphones at CES 2017, for example.

It's still early days with regards to mobile rumours and CES, but we've already seen the suggestion that Samsung will offer a sneak peek at the Samsung Galaxy S9 at the show. Last year it was showing off the mid-range Galaxy A series of phones, but it's suggested that it wants to get the jump on the competition in 2018 by keeping the focus squarely on the successor to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ handsets. Samsung itself has said that it's "unlikely" that it will show off the new phone at CES 2018.

Samsung has pre-announced the existence of the Samsung Galaxy A8 handset, and it's more than likely that it will use CES 2018 to show it off to the world's media at the very least. That's not Samsung's flagship brand, but instead its mid-range offering designed to keep consumers within the Samsung product family in what is a heavily contested space. As such, expect the look and feel of 2017's Samsung Galaxy S8, but probably not the same level of processing or camera smarts.

LG, meanwhile, is also tipped to announce mid-range handsets at CES 2018, with the latest in its affordable K-series phones, the K10 expected to be announced. LG might even pre-announce the K10 before the show, a strategy it used for numerous products shown off at CES 2017.

Sony has a press conference scheduled for CES 2018 at its stand in the LVCC, and it's being tipped that it will use that launch to show off a new premium entry into its Xperia family. Given the pedigree of phones such as the exceptional Sony Xperia XZ Premium, that's a high bar to jump, although the rumours suggest that the inclusion of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 may see it jump ahead of the pack early in 2018.

Huawei CEO Richard Yu is scheduled to give a keynote address at CES 2018 on 9 January, and it's pretty likely that he'll use the opportunity to hype up some new Huawei devices, although whether that's new handsets, mobile devices such as tablets or 2-in-1s, or pure networking equipment is an open question. With Huawei's strong push into AI via the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, expect artificial intelligence and the future of mobile design to feature strongly in Yu's presentation.

Google has traditionally been represented at CES in a third party fashion with companies offering up Android devices, be they phones, TVs or gadgets incorporating Google Assistant, but in 2018, the search giant will have its own dedicated show booth. It's not clear if it will simply use it to show off Pixel 2 and related gadgets, or launch all-new Google branded gear for the upcoming year.


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Computing

CES is also where the world's big computing brands show off their new consumer desirables, although again it's also in competition with more tech-heavy shows such as Computex when it comes to innovations and launches. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is set to deliver a keynote address at CES 2018, and while we don't expect major new processor news to flow from that speech, it's expected that he'll touch on the future of 5G, AI and processors generally.

Dell used CES 2017 to show off new Inspiron gaming laptops as well as improvements to its Alienware gaming line, with a little Spider-Man assistance at its launch, and it's likely it will once again focus on its consumer lines at CES.

Samsung has already announced its Notebook 9 lineup of devices for 2018, and it's entirely likely that, while not strictly speaking news, that they'll be trotted out to grab the world's attention at CES 2018. Likewise, competitor LG is expected to show off updated versions of its LG Gram line of laptops. It's been a bit of a guessing game as to which (if any) of Samsung and LG's laptop lines will make it here to Australia, although both companies have made some impressive devices in recent years. Expect other brands such as ASUS, Acer, HP, Razer and Lenovo to likewise splash out with new consumer computing lines.

General Tech

Consumer Electronics is an incredibly broad term that encompasses everything from Smart Fridges to personal robots to drones to pinball machines to wildly improbable Kickstarter-backed gizmos. We expect that CES 2018 will continue this proud and often hard to predict trend.

Essentially speaking, if you can think of a way to attach an intelligent processor or mobile communications module to it, it's probably going to be at CES, although just appearing at the show is no guarantee that you'll ever make it to market. CES can be a weird and wonderful array of creative tech thought, and last year that included everything from wine in tubes to Razer's smart 3-screen laptop (that was later stolen rather alarmingly from the trade show floor!).

This year we've already been promised everything from robotic suitcases, burglar proof "smart" pet doors, a near endless array of wireless bud type headphones, doorbells with facial recognition, scrabble playing robots and plenty more besides. Will you really be lining up to buy one this year? That remains to be seen, with many prototypes shown at CES that never actually hit market, but it's a great opportunity to see innovative concepts regardless.

For its part, drone manufacturer DJI has announced new video stabilisers for smartphone and DSLR videography in the form of the DJI Osmo 2 and DJI Ronin-S.

Sonos has come out firing at the lack of female keynote speakers at CES, vowing to provide its own space for diverse voices to be heard at its "Big Tech Boom-Boom Room". Yes, that's actually going to be a thing at CES.

Second-guessing what will show up is a tricky business, with large brands often using CES to show off conceptual ideas while challenger brands use it to drum up crowdfunding support for their gadget concepts. Some will hit retail shelves in 2018, while others become little more than the punchline to jokes about improbable products.

We'll be reporting on everything that happens at CES 2018, so stay tuned for all the news.

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