CES 2019: The latest news, technology and gadgets
From foldable phones and giant screens to the next generation of TVs and 5G everywhere, here's what happened at CES 2019.
Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show acts as the showcase for that year's technological gadgets. While it doesn't have the pure mobile focus of the mobile world congress, it's also where we start to see the mobile picture for the year develop as well as new approaches to everything from graphics cards to smart automotive technology.
Latest CES 2019 headlines
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And here's what we predicted ahead of the show:
CES 2019 officially kicked off on Tuesday 8 January 2019, with two "media days" beforehand where the world's biggest technology brands – except for Apple – joust to grab the headlines with keynote announcements around new products, approaches and features to come to their gadgets for the upcoming year.
New TVs have long been a staple of CES, and in recent years, we've seen upgraded AI-centric TV processors, immense wall-sized TVs and the ongoing war between those in the LED camp, mostly Samsung, and those touting OLED as the superior standard, headed up by LG.
For LG's part, it's already announced the Alpha 9 Gen 2 processor that it will use to power its 2019 OLED TVs, although curiously since announcing it, it's since pulled its original blog post revealing the new processor. That might be a question of rebranding – Alpha 9 Gen 2 doesn't exactly roll off the tongue – or it could point to LG having even more TV features to show off.
LG showed off rollable display prototypes from its LG Display division at CES 2018, and while the consumer electronics bit of LG is its own company, it's always free to leverage divisions like LG Display for new products. We live in hope, in other words, that CES 2019 might see the debut of a roll-up TV panel for consumers, even though such a product would be expensive.
For its part, Samsung used its 2018 CES presentation to show off the insanely impressive 146 inch "Wall" TV, using micro LED technology.
Samsung may continue down the micro LED path – hopefully with slightly more sane sizings in mind – but recent patent filings also suggest that it's looking into entirely transparent TV panels as the future of high-end TV offerings. That would extend the "ambient mode" feature we saw from its 2018 QLED range markedly.
Not that the TV space is only defined by Samsung and LG. Sony plays in both the LED and OLED spaces, and we've seen great things out of the Japanese TV maker in recent times with its Sony A8F 4K OLED TV.
Sony's pitch for its CES 2019 press conference is around "creativity", which could encompass anything from the rather more obvious TV space to a wider release for its super-cute Aibo robot dog – but we're rather hopefully guessing there.
What we will probably see the first proper glimmerings of at CES from most TV providers is talk – if not actual models – of 8K TVs. They're still a long way from their prime-time debuts, and there's that whole sticky question of 8K-ready content in quantities worth splashing out for a new set to answer too.
CES isn't, strictly speaking, a mobile trade show, but over the past few years, we've seen plenty of mobile launches at CES, either of mid-range models to clear the decks for Mobile World Congress where the premium players emerge or of full-fledged flagships in order to steal a march on their competitors.
The hot rumour du jour is that Samsung might use CES 2019 to debut the Samsung Galaxy S10 series of phones. That would mark a big change for the South Korean manufacturer because it has typically used MWC as its launch platform for the S-series.
The reason for the potential early launch has been flagged as Samsung wanting some breathing space between the launch of the premium S-series phones and its first foldable phone, alternatively dubbed either the Samsung Galaxy X or Samsung Galaxy F.
Of course, with CES having a focus on emerging tech, Samsung might just flip that script and show off – but possibly not launch – the Galaxy X/F at CES 2019.
Not that Samsung's alone in the foldable phone space. It's expected that the genuinely odd Royole FlexPai will be shown off at CES 2019 as the Chinese maker tries to get more enthusiasm behind its early entry into the foldable space.
Keeping with Chinese makers, Huawei may well also drop further detail on its own foldable phone ambitions; although, it's not expected to launch the successor to the Huawei P20 Pro at CES 2019. That's expected to happen between CES 2019 and MWC 2019 in an early February time frame.
LG has often used CES to announce wide ranges of mid-range handsets, along with a slew of other products, although we may not have to wait until CES 2019 to find out what they are.
LG has a long habit of releasing a lot of product details in the week before CES to gather headline space outside the chaos of CES, with the show itself more of a way for it to demonstrate what it has. It's also been rumoured that LG might finally start openly talking about its own foldable phone plans at CES 2019. For the past few years, LG has used its robotics division to draw attention at its keynote address, but could this year be the one where robots give way to folding phones?
2019 will also be the year that the first 5G networks start rolling out – including right here in Australia – and while here we'll see fixed 5G broadband first, we're still going to need devices to connect to it as well as proper mobile devices.
One rumour suggests that Samsung will have a premium Galaxy S10 with 5G capability baked in, but other vendors such as LG, Sony or Huawei may also use CES 2019 as a springboard for their 5G phone ranges.
Budget maker Alcatel – owned by TCL – used CES 2018 to detail its 2018 phone ambitions, and it may well use the space afforded by its parent company's stand to show off new devices, including possible new inclusions for its licensed BlackBerry devices.
Intel runs to its own – pun not intended – clock, but it could use CES 2019 to debut one of its more ambitious plays in the consumer space for years. It's been rumoured that Intel could be readying to properly take on NVIDIA in the standalone graphics card space.
Intel already provides its own graphics solutions baked into its processors, but as any gamer can tell you, they're a pale imitation next to the dedicated GPU business of NVIDIA. Intel will want to get its GPU business right for obvious commercial reasons, but even if it's not quite up to NVIDIA-killer standards, it could make a big change for gamers simply by providing competitive price points on high-end GPUs.
NVIDIA, for its part, is almost certainly prepping to launch its new GeForce RTX mobility products at CES, if not slightly beforehand.
Multiple variants of the hardware have already popped up in Geekbench and 3DMark records, suggesting the wait won't be all that long. However, NVIDIA isn't just a gaming company any more, with plenty of products in the pipeline covering everything from monitors to motoring that we'll at least hear talk of, if not launches for, at CES 2019.
AMD is set to show off its 7nm 3rd-gen Ryzen processors and a Radeon GPU at CES 2019, with the chip maker working hard to try to leapfrog Intel in the gaming and performance space.
In the wider computing space, we can expect a slew of new models from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, Razer and more. CES is typically where the big PC makers show off their wilder model ambitions, and in the case of Razer, plenty of prototypes of products that may never make it to market.
There's also the intriguing prospect – although this may be a stretch – of the same flexible display technology set to hit phones also being part of the mix. That could lead to smaller laptops that fold out into more accommodating models, or 2-in-1 style hybrids with external displays for tablet-style usage.
There's no doubt that IoT devices and software will make a big splash at CES 2019, with companies from Bosch to LG using the show in 2018 to showcase advancements in their connected tech. It's quite likely we'll see a bout of smart home devices on display, too.
Samsung has already teased that it will be showing off a slew of new apps and devices integrating IoT tech, and the promotional image for the event shows the company's flagship devices riding the Bixby wave, all interconnected with each other. Samsung's Galaxy Home, seen on the right of the image, may also make an appearance following its August 2018 debut.
Bosch announced its "solutions for the smart home" would be on display this year, including a kitchen projector equipped with a 3D sensor to recognise touch, and an Amazon Alexa-supported lawn mower.
Google also has CES plans this year, tripling its outdoor floor space from 2018. What Google will show off is anyone's guess, but it's sure to exhibit its own smart home tech and demo a few Assistant-enabled devices.