A look back at CES 2018

Tech that will be in our homes, in the near future

A few days ago, I wrote about some interesting tech at CES 2018. There were some new TVs, projectors, VR headsets, speakers, home security devices, a thermostat, and even a laundry folding robot!

Of course, there was a lot more on show at this year’s CES than could be covered in a single article. So, we decided to take a look back at every new piece of tech introduced over the past week and list a few that stand out from the crowd.

Google Assistant in _________ (read as ‘everything’)

Google Assistant in smart displays | Video Credit: Google

For the past year or two, Amazon’s Alexa has dominated CES without actually having an official presence at the expo. Seriously, we saw Alexa being featured in the craziest of gadgets last year, including a toilet.

This year, Google came out with guns blazing, with Google Assistant being baked into everything — speakers, screens, TVs, infotainment systems, light switches, and more!

While the Amazon Alexa vs Google Assistant battle is yet undecided, a large number of gadgets now support one if not both technologies. Consumer choice for the win!

Black Box VR — play and stay fit

The Black Box VR Teaser | Video Credit: Black Box VR

If you’ve ever played video games like Dance Dance Revolution as a way to exercise and stay fit, Black Box VR will tick all the boxes on your checklist. Using HTC’s Vive VR headset and proprietary exercise hardware, Black Box VR has turned working out into an immersive video game.

Black Box VR plans to open boutique gyms where patrons will step into an 8 feet by 8 feet black box, and strap on the HTC Vive headset and motion tracking armbands. Next thing they know, they might be facing a stadium full of fans cheering them on as they battle it out against opponents real and imaginary (all imaginary) while they exercise. Will this make it easier to lose the pounds? Time will tell.

Blade Shadow — PC as a Service

Meet Shadow | Video Credit: Blade

A French startup named Blade showed off what it considers the best cloud-based streaming service for gamers. The Blade Shadow PC is really a streaming service that gives you access to a dedicated machine with an Nvidia graphics card that can handle 4K gaming at 60Hz, with 12GB of DDR4 RAM, 8 threads on a Xeon processor, and 256GB of storage.

Users will be able to access all this gaming power on Windows PCs, Macs, and Android devices through a dedicated app. And it will cost users up to $49.95 per month for the service. I think Blade might succeed where OnLive failed, despite its scaling-up problems with setting up dedicated machines for users.

Synaptics’ Clear ID — In-Display Fingerprint Sensor

Vivo + Synaptics showing off Clear ID | Video Credit: The Verge

Feeling left out because Apple dropped the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone X in lieu of the Face ID tech that sounds like black magic? Worry not. Synaptics showed off what it calls Clear ID i.e., in-display fingerprint sensor for the rest of us.

After years of development, Synaptics partnered with Vivo, showing off a biometric scanner that sits just under the display of a smartphone and works just like any other fingerprint scanner without, you know, taking up space at the bottom of the display.

So, yes, 2018 will usher in sleeker “no-bezel” smartphones with fingerprint scanners. And I hope the iPhone 11 will have one of these chips and no notch.

Mercedes-Benz’s voice assistant — LINGUATRONIC

Revolution in the Cockpit at CES 2018 | Video Credit: Mercedes-Benz

As if there was a shortage of voice assistants, Mercedes-Benz decided to create a new voice assistant for its in-car infotainment system. Appropriately named LINGUATRONIC, the assistant answers to, you guessed it, “Hey, Mercedes!”, and helps you change the temperature, among other things.

The new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with LINGUATRONIC will launch this spring in the company’s compact vehicles and be expanded to other models over the next 2–3 years.

Nvidia’s Big Format Gaming Displays — they are BIG!

Nvidia’s BFGD | Video Credit: Nvidia

Nvidia unveiled a monstrous 65-inch 4K HDR screen with its own G-SYNC technology that smooths out game performance. Designed to be used with PCs (read gaming PCs), these screens have 120Hz refresh rates, 1,000 nits of peak brightness, full backlighting, and full DCI-P3 color gamut support.

With built-in SHIELD support, these displays can do everything Nvidia’s SHIELD set-top box can, and the company is throwing in a remote and gaming controller. Now, to find a desk at work or home that can hold a 65-inch monitor…

LG Display’s Rollable OLED TV — Finally!

Hands-on with LG’s Roallable OLED TV | Video Credit: Digital Trends

A decade after I first saw rollable displays in a Nokia concept video, LG Display showed off a 65-inch 4K TV that can be rolled up like a sheet of paper and blew my mind!

The TV comes with a 16:9 ratio as well as a more cinematic 21:9 ratio option, with a notification panel that houses weather info. All the regular benefits of OLED tech — the viewing angles, deeper blacks, and richer colors — are packed in. Also packed is a box that the TV rolls into.

Raise your hand if, like me, you’re now expecting smartphones with rollable displays at next year’s CES, if not earlier.

There were probably a thousand other interesting things unveiled at CES 2018, and I loved too many of them to list them all. An honorable mention goes to Sony’s reboot of Aibo, the robot dog that is cuter and more lovable than ever. If I could, I would move to Japan today to own one. Seriously.

What about you? Did some innovation showcased at CES 2018 get you pumped up about the future? Maybe it was L’Oreal’s UV Sense, the so-tiny-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wearable? Let us know.