Next year’s Consumer Electronics Show is going digital

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Ces 2020 image 1

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Ces 2020 image 1

(Pocket-lint) – The biggest tech event in the calendar, CES, rolls around each and every January, bringing heaps of news announcements and product launches. 

However, next year’s event is set to be rather different – the event will be online-only, like many shows and launches we’ve had in 2020. 

The organiser of the show, the US Consumer Electronics Association (CTA), announced on 28 July 2020 that next year’s event will all be online, providing clarity to a situation that could have run and run. The decision is in contrast to the approach of IFA 2020 which continued with some in-person media events.  

Going virtual with new dates

There’s also a slight date change, too. CES 2021 will take place Monday, 11 January through Thursday, 14 January, 2021.

Expect most of the announcements to take place on 11 January as that’s the press, analyst and media day. 

  • January 11: Exclusive media-only access
  • January 12: Exhibitor showcase and conference programming
  • January 13: Exhibitor showcase and conference programming
  • January 14: Conference programming

The CTA says CES 2021 “will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. The new format will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world.”

So expect a full roster of launches and press conferences from all the usual names – you can see what was launched at the last show below. The CTA adds “we plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.”

CES – or the Consumer Electronics Show – is a good barometer for the year and reveals the defining products and technologies for the months ahead. The show has been going on every year since 1967 although wasn’t held in Vegas originally. 

Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg will deliver the kick-off keynote address at the start of the event while AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su will also present a keynote speech. 

We’ll be updating this feature up to and throughout the 2021 show, so you can see all the announcements that actually matter.

What happened at CES 2020 last January

Acer at CES 2020

Acer kicks off CES each year with a refresh of laptops and 2020 is no different. There’s new convertibles in the Spin 3 and Spin 5, the latter of which is the more premium model with a 2K display, along with a new Acer Swift 3 – of which there will be an AMD 4000 version.

The designer-focused ConceptD also gets an update, with more power and more options.

Arlo at CES 2020

Arlo has announced another addition to its portfolio of home security devices with the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight. This is basically the 2019 Arlo Pro 3 camera – 2K, two-way audio, night vision, etc – but with a massive array of LEDs for illumination. That makes this a battery-powered floodlight, so you’ll get easy installation, lots of illumination and easy access to your video with an Arlo Smart subsciption.

Asus at CES 2020

One of Asus’ announcements joins the ranks of premium Chromebooks coming out of the show – and that’s the Chromebook Flip C436.

But Asus has also boosted the ranks of its gaming machines, with the 14-inch ROG Zephyrus G14 wanting to give you gaming chops in a compact package. It also has a customisable LED array on the lid, to help you stand out. 

At the affordable end of the spectrum is the Asus TUF A15, F15, A17 and F17, a range of affordable gaming laptops in 15- and 17-inch sizes, all with 144Hz displays, plenty of hardware options and starting under £1000.Dell at CES 2020

Dell is an interesting one, as it doesn’t occupy space on the CES show floor. Instead, it’ll operate a take-over of a restaurant space in The Venetian, showing off its latest wares.

Ahead of the show the American company announced its new XPS 13, with far less bezel than previous outings. It looks mighty impressive, as does the new Dell G5 15 Special Edition, a 15-inch gaming laptop sitting on AMD hardware and launched under the Dell brand rather than Alienware. 

HP at CES 2020

HP has announced that it’s teaming up with Tile to provide Bluetooth tracking of your laptop – that should help you if you’re prone to losing such things. The first model to offer this is the new HP Elite Dragonfly G2, also announced at CES. This model integrates 5G too.

Jabra at CES 2020

Jabra has announced a couple of new pairs of Bluetooth headphones, including the Jabra Elite Active 75t, sporty versions of the excellent true wireless earbuds announced in 2019. They offer more protection, more colours and more customisation. They are also going to introduce models with wireless charging for the case.

JBL at CES 2020

JBL has made a run of announcements including a Dolby Atmos soundbar where you can detact the surround sound speakers to place them elsewhere in the room. The Bar 9.1 follows the design of the 2019 Bar 5.1, but brings that immersive Atmos experience to the party.

JBL also updated a number of headphones, including the Club which come in a number of different styles including a pair with noise cancellation. They are said to be inspired by “touring musicians”.

Lenovo at CES 2020

Lenovo likes to showcase its technical skill and is often the most disruptive in the latops segments – and 2020 is no different. With the ThinkPad X1 Fold, it has shown off a folding Windows laptop, either to be used as a tablet, or with a magnetic keyboard like a laptop. It’s certainly a different approach.

Then there’s the ThinkBook Plus. This is another twist on the laptop, with an external E-Ink display which could be used for reading, note taking and can even call up Alexa, and all without opening up your notebook proper. Might it be overkill? 

If you’re after something more conventional, then there’s the new ThinkPad X1 and X1 Yoga models, as well as a thin and light gaming laptop, the Legion Y740S. The secret to this is the Legion BoostStation an external GPU that gives the performance power when you need it, leaving the laptop to be light and portable when you don’t – so it’s not entirely conventional.

Finally you might be interested in the Lenovo Ideapad Duet Chromebook. This is a Chrome OS 2-in-1 with a tablet and keyboard arrangement.  

LG at CES 2020

LG took to the stage to talk TVs, home appliances and AI, its themes for the show, as it revealed the future of television. The big push is really in 8K TV. LG has partnered with CTA to announce the Real 8K standard, and is offering a range of OLED and NanoCell models in 2020 that want to push 8K into homes. There will be eight 8K models to choose from.

Those sit alongside a refreshed range of 4K OLED TVs too, with BX and CX models – with the CX introducing a smaller size – 48-inch – for the first time. LG has also confirmed that it will be bringing the Apple TV app to its 2018, 2019 and 2020 TVs.

OnePlus at CES 2020

After a very busy 2019, OnePlus is continuing the mass output of its phones, with CES the launch ground for OnePlus’ first ‘Concept Phone’, called Concept One, as part of the company’s sixth anniversary celebration.

Panasonic at CES 2020

Panasonic has launched a pair of Technics true wireless ear buds, which are promising great sound quality and noise cancelling. There’s no price, but we don’t expect them to be cheap. Panasonic has also launched new headphones under its own brand, again, true wireless and noise cancelling.

There’s also the Panasonic HZ2000, an update on the GZ2000 of 2020, now offering Dolby Vision IQ – more intelligent HDR – and Filmmaker Mode, which allows you to switch to the TVs settings to match those of the original director so you know you’re seeing what they intended.

Ring at CES 2020

Ring announced updates to its lighting range, with updated indoor and outdoor lighting options that integrate with Ring’s other devices. But in the wake of growing concerns about privacy, it’s the announcement of the Control Center that will garner more interest – so that customers can keep a closer eye on their privacy.

Roku at CES 2020

Roku has announced the Roku TV Ready programme, a scheme to ensure that accessories are compatible with your Roku TV. That should mean easier setup and that you’ll be able to control your AV receiver or soundbar with your Roku remote, with minimal setup. Roku is getting serious about hardware, expanding partnerships to make sure that Roku is at the centre of your streaming.

Samsung at CES 2020

Samsung likes to show us what it can do technically and TV is a huge battleground right now. Top of the list is the new Samsung Q950TS, an 8K TV that’s almost totally bezel-free. It certainly looks stunning and it’s smart too – looking to take 8K into the mainstream.

Samsung is also introducing its Sero TV to a wider audience. Already available in Korea, this 43-inch TV will rotate to vertical so it’s the right shape for all those videos you might be viewing on social media. Yes, it’s an admission that vertical video is a thing, but wouldn’t you just watch it on your phone instead?

As for Micro LED – heralded as the future of TV – Samsung has made things smaller, with 88 and 150 inch versions on show, but the message is that Micro LED is coming and will soon replace your TV. Samsung is also pushing its lifestyle TVs with the Serif and Frame lines, as well as offering a couple of new 2020 soundbars.

It has also announced the Galaxy Chromebook, another premium Chrome OS device.

On the concept front, Samsung showed off Ballie, a small security robot ball that can roam around you house, watching for intruders and being a general sort of companion.

Sony at CES 2020

The surprise of the Sony press conference was the unveiling of the Vision S. It’s a Sony car. Ok, so it’s a concept and it’s designed to allow Sony to demonstrate its automotive prowess, packing the car with sensors and hardware that’s going to be essential to future autonomous vehicles.

On a more practical level, Sony showed off its new line-up of TVs, which also includes a 48-inch OLED TV, like LG. Small OLED seems to be the thing. The star is really the Sony Z8H, a flagship LCD 8K TV, while there’s an update to the company’s OLED lines too in the A8H, before you get to the A8S, the small OLED. 

Suunto at CES 2020

Suunto has announced the Suunto 7, a new Wear OS watch that wants to combine sports and smarts. It’s the first Wear OS device from the company, offering all the normal sports tracking that Suunto offers, but with all the connectivity and support for all the functions that Google brings to smartwatches. You get offline mapping, up to 12 hours of activity tracking and a great looking watch.

Visio at CES 2020

Visio, one of the biggest TV manufacturers in the US, has announced a range of launches, introducing the company’s first 4K OLED TV. This is ranged alongside a number of 4K quantum dot TVs, with new SmartCast 4.0 tech and voice control from remotes on the more premium models.

On the soundbar front there’s a range of updates, including a new Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Elevate, that will rotate some of its speakers to give a more pronounced 3D effect when required. Visio also announced support for HDR10+.

Who attends CES? 

CES is an industry event so, unlike IFA in Berlin, the public can’t attend. But anyone connected to the consumer electronics industry can apply for a pass. In 2019 over 182,000 people attended, which is the show’s capacity. That includes 69,000 exhibitors (across more than 4,000 represented companies) and almost 7,000 members of the media.

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