CES 2021 is still a reality and will be huge for PC games Nvidia, Intel and AMD could surprise with great news!
Last year’s CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, marked the last time in a long time that many of us chatted face-to-face, exchanged greetings, tampered with the same devices with all the attendees’ germs, and enjoyed food and drink in windowless restaurants. .
This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, the annual CES is being held completely online on our computer screens. The first completely remote staging of the flagship event of the consumer technology industry begins on Monday, January 11.
Experiencing CES from afar poses some obvious challenges for those of us who report on the program. We can’t wander through the nearly 3 million square feet of showroom space or sample the new products on display. But at Somagnews we will do everything possible to bring the best technological festival of this year. So turn on your computer, put on your virtual reality headsets and get ready to follow it live.
CES 2021 will be smaller
On the bright side, if you want to visit CES this year, you don’t need to spend money on registration fees, airfare, or accommodation. You can see all the ads and activities in your pajamas.
But there is no doubt that this year’s CES is down. The Consumer Technology Association, which hosts CES, says about 1,800 exhibitors will be part of this year’s show. That’s less than half of the 4,400 exhibitors that featured technology last year. The CTA also noted that as a fully digital event, “the program will be accessible to audiences around the world,” but declined to say how many people have actually registered for this year’s virtual CES. Last year, some 170,000 people attended in person.
Some tech companies are opting out of CES this year or posting product news on their own hours. Amazon won’t have an official presence, although you can probably expect to see your Alexa voice assistant appear on hundreds of products. Google, which has installed massive Googley facilities around Las Vegas in recent CES, says it will host partner meetings, but will otherwise withdraw from the program.
Microsoft President Brad Smith will give a keynote address on technology as a weapon and a tool, a particularly relevant topic, but most of the Microsoft-related news at CES will be from its PC manufacturing partners.
Facebook and its Oculus division will also not participate. Instead, the company decided to tease its upcoming “smart glasses” in a blog post earlier this week. And most of the focus on Facebook right now, anyway, is its role in disrupting American democracy.
Samsung and LG Electronics will host virtual press conferences and give briefings on their new displays and appliances. But it’s worth noting that Samsung will hold its annual Galaxy phone unveiling on January 14, during CES week, but it’s not really a part of the show. We will also be on the lookout for Monday’s press conferences with Intel and Sony. And some of the highlights include talks from the CEOs of General Motors, Verizon and AMD.
Look without touching
So what new technology will we see virtually next week? Some interesting things are happening in television land, says WIRED’s Parker Hall. The most impressive TV we’ve seen before the conference is a new 110-inch MicroLED model from Samsung. (MicroLED is a relatively new display technology that uses tiny, non-organic LEDs, three per pixel, and is supposed to offer perfect contrast.) More TV makers are also pushing 8K displays, including Samsung, LG, and Sony, as well as lower-cost set makers like TCL and Vizio. And this may seem like a small thing, but many new TVs will ship this year with improved HDMI 2.1 ports, so that the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game consoles can perform at their full 120Hz potential on displays.
Some TV manufacturers may put off their announcements until spring, when most new TVs start to hit the market. It’s hard to generate the same kind of buzz for displays when you can’t flaunt an impressive OLED waterfall in person. And 8K displays come with the same caveat as 4K a few years ago – it will take a while for 8K content to become widely available.
CES generally presents a good opportunity to try out new laptop technology, even if we don’t see some of it until fall. (Turns out, laptops are essential devices when you do everything from holding a job to homeschooling your kids during a pandemic.) You often hear “the PC is dead, the PC is not dead,” says Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “But I’m seeing a lot of action on computing devices, particularly around the ACPC, the always-on personal computer.” That means we can finally start to see more ARM-powered PCs with cellular capabilities, so that if we can be “on the go” again in the future, we’ll always have a data connection.
Scott Gilbertson of WIRED says this is also “the year of the AMD laptop.” From Chromebooks to high-end gaming machines, manufacturers offer AMD models alongside the usual Intel-powered options. AMD’s Ryzen 3000 C-series chips, optimized specifically for Chromebooks, will arrive in new models later this year from Acer and other PC makers. Scott also says that Wi-Fi 6 support and better-looking displays with higher refresh rates will become standard on laptops in 2021, to keep up with the demands of modern gaming. And the entire WIRED Gear team is hopeful that laptop webcams will get much better in 2021. It’s a long-needed improvement.
A glimpse into the future
Most of the major smartphone makers will host separate announcement events sometime in 2021, as they have for at least a decade. But some of the mobile announcements made during or around CES point to lasting trends.
This year, we are likely to see nearly every phone maker offering a 5G phone priced under $ 400, says WIRED Senior Associate Editor Julian Chokkattu. Qualcomm just announced 5G support on its Snapdragon 480 chip for low-cost phones. The result is that Qualcomm can now offer 5G across its entire lineup of phone processors, rather than just the high-end chips. Of course, wireless service providers will continue the conversation about building 5G networks; We look forward to hearing more about that during Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg’s keynote address on Monday night. Although Moorhead says he doesn’t expect any “swing-me-around-the-room announcements” around 5G.
It’s also coming later this year on smartphones, even if it wasn’t announced at CES: more foldable and roll-up displays; high-end Android phones powered by the Snapdragon 888 chip; support for the new Wi-Fi 6E standard; higher screen refresh rates; And, following Apple’s lead, there are fewer phones that ship with charging adapters in the box.
Stay at home
If there is another trend that has emerged in full force during the Covid-19 pandemic and is likely to continue into 2021, it is our obsession with our homes: working from them, exercising in them and renovating them. Or, as senior writer Adrienne So puts it, “Companies are betting that we want to keep our carpets vacuumed, our abs toned, and our bottoms fresh.” (We might even see a commercial version of a toilet that analyzes your poop.)
Companies like Samsung, Roborock and Eufy will reveal robotic vacuums with eye-catching designs and new cleaning technologies at CES this year. Bathroom fixtures will get “smarter” – yes, more appliances with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips embedded in them.
On the connected fitness side, most wearable device makers skip CES this year, Adrienne says. But that means it may be a year when hardware innovation takes a back seat to software, with more emphasis on smart training and recovery apps, AI-powered running coaches, and personalized training services, all in the phone or smart watch you already own.
And of course, when there is a serious health crisis, there is always a bet on technological solutionism: there will be many arguments for high-tech cleaning devices. Think portable air purifiers, antimicrobial screen protectors, and non-contact sanitizing stations that sanitize while showing you ads. Some of these will be more legitimate than others, but it’s safe to bet that for many of us, even after the pandemic ends, sanitizing things can be a lingering obsession.
We won’t be able to really get the CES vibe this year: the oddities, the novelties, the size and scale of the screens, the elegance of the concept cars. Not to mention, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Las Vegas hospitality and tourism industry, and canceling massive events like CES will only add to the trauma. But the CTA says this year’s CES is not intended to replace or recreate an in-person trade show and that the organization “looks forward to returning to our home, Las Vegas, in 2022 and beyond.”