On Monday, the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks of in Las Vegas, and we can expect lots of new tech: better televisions, self-driving cars, drones, and wearables, as well as many new gadgets from all corners of the globe.
What is the Consumer Electronics Show?
The Consumer Electronics Show is a huge annual event where lots of new gadgets are released and tech announcements made. This year, it will be held from January 6-9 in Las Vegas.
The companies attending are already putting the finishing touches to their booths (and there will be lots of “booth babes” on the show floor as usual), but what can we expect this year? Here are some of the key trends that we’ll see next week…
Better televisions and Ultra-HD
As always, the latest televisions are shown of at CES. It was back in 1998 that HD TV (1,920 x 1,080) was first shown, but it took almost a decade to become mainstream. But even since then, the TV manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Sony, and Panasonic are making clearer, better televisions. Some of the latest developments in the past few years look like they’ll go on to huge success – such as Ultra-HD, but others have been a decided flop – like 3DTV, which was popular at the show in 2012 but failed to catch on with consumers.
This year, Samsung and LG plan to demonstrate so-called quantum dot displays, which are made with tiny crystals in front of a backlight which gives a much better range of colours and a brighter picture. We also expect to see some Ultra-HD OLED displays – they have more than four times the picture clarity of HD. Besides that, there will also be lots of new curved displays from the likes of Samsung. You may have seen some of last year’s models in electronics stores in Thailand for 100,000 baht or more…
Self-driving autonomous cars
Google recently unveiled a self-driving car, but there are lots of similar inventions from other car companies such as Audi and Mercedes, which will no doubt be demonstrated at the show.
German car maker BWM already showed off its self-driving technology in 2013, but now we expect better versions that even allow the cars to navigate obstacles and handle all sorts of complicated driving situations.
There will of course be lots of connected car tech on display – such as Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto. They allow a smartphone to be hooked up to the car to show videos, music and maps for navigation. The main idea is that your phone will wirelessly communicate via Bluetooth with your car, and display various things on the car’s dashboard display.
Wearables and VR headsets
Wearables still haven’t taken off as a mainstream product category, but that didn’t stop companies showing off hundreds of new devices last year, such as smart watches, fitness bands and bracelets. This time around, there is expected to be a wealth of new and improved devices such as a smart watch or two. But the biggest event in wearables in the next few months (the Apple Watch) will not be on display – you’ll have to wait another month or two for that!
Besides watches, bands, fitness trackers and bracelets, we’re also sure to see some more weird and wonderful wearables, such as Internet enabled clothing. Virtual reality glasses such as the Oculus Rift also look like breaking into the mainstream in the next year, so it will be interesting to see new devices from the likes of Sony and maybe even GoPro (the sports camera maker) who is rumoured to be working on a VR headset.
Drones, such as those made by DJI, will be everywhere at this year’s CES. The chips and flight control systems are becoming ever more sophisticated, meaning smaller and more intelligent drones that are easier to fly. Most can be controlled via a smartphone and have built-in cameras for taking cool pictures and video.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. It refers to the growing number of smart devices such as fridges, door locks and smart thermostats that connect to the Internet and can notify you of relevant events – e.g. when you are low on milk, or a front door that can be unlocked using a smart phone.
All the major electronics companies are investing heavily in the Internet of Things, in terms of the networking technologies, energy saving batteries and cloud infrastructure that ties everything together. There aren’t really any mature standards yet for the Internet of Things, but it’s steadily coming as more and more products include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
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The Consumer Electronics Show this year will see hundreds of new product announcements, and we’ll bring you the best of these right here on Thai Tech. The category that holds the most promise might be wearables and VR goggles, as those products are more affordable than the huge Ultra-HD televisions, and allow the wearer to do lots of weird and wonderful new things.
We can’t wait to see what amazing new tech will be unveiled next week, so keep watching this space for more details!