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Has CES lost its tech fizz? - by Will Garner

23 January 2020 12:11pm

The Consumer Electronic Show is a trade show that started back in the 1960s sporadically but due to large periods of innovation, especially with technology growing so quickly, it became a yearly event from 2004 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

What makes CES so special?

CES has been responsible for some of the most incredible announcements over the years including the Commodore 64 in 1982, the Microsoft Xbox in 2001, all the way to 8K TVs at CES 2019 and 2020. There is undoubtedly some impressive concept products and creative lifestyle innovations, but over the last few years, this has started to be overshadowed by the titans of other industries.

This year Delta Airlines took to CES to show off their “in-flight entertainment experience”, while car manufacturers including the likes of Tesla and BMW have started to block up the CES halls with electric cars. Hyundai have gone as far as to show off their flying car, the

Personal Air Vehicle (basically an eVTOL aircraft) and for me this really starts to blur the borders on whether you can consider them as a “consumer electronic”.

Let me lay out my thinking. Yes, they contain electronics and contain very large batteries, but can you really claim that an electronic flying helicopter car is a consumer product?

Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for “everyday use” so I would be inclined to disagree.

I could hardly imagine the Mrs calling out: “Honey, please can you help me wheel the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) out of the garage? I’m popping to Asda for a few bits.” Let alone it actually fitting in a garage.

Surely the Mayor of London would have a field day with congestion charges, emission charges, speed limits, average speed cameras and of course there would need to be a separate lane for the “hover cyclists” and “hoverboards”.

CES highlights

The highlights from CES for me have been the awesome consumer electronics on display from Dell’s Alienware Concept UFO (a handheld PC gaming device, akin to Nintendo’s Switch), Lenovo’s foldable laptop, Hydraloop’s eco-friendly water recycler, all the way to (if you are inclined), the Lioness vibrator that tracks data to improve orgasms. A note to my kinsmen… we may start finding ourselves redundant.

One exciting development and one I’m particularly happy about is the revolution in smartphones. Other than the introduction of new foldable devices, is more high-refresh rate smartphones such as the 120Hz OnePlus Concept One device.

Not only does it have a bezel less display with a stylish electrochromic glass rear camera but it should hopefully force other manufacturers to finally introduce high-refresh displays with Samsung and Apple both currently slacking in this regard.

High-refresh rates has been revolutionary for PC gaming and has become an esports essential, providing a much smoother, faster experience that smartphones are in a great need of. With major gaming titles on mobile benefiting including Call of Duty, PUBG, Fortnite and other upcoming games including League of Legends: Wild Rift, it’s a must.

So CES is still pumping out some really interesting technology, but with car manufacturers, personal aircraft and even airlines attending, in my opinion it might be time to rethink the name of the prestigious event – maybe to the Electronic & Technology Show (ETS) to keep in line with current trends.

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