It’s the first month of a new year and for tech fans, the party is only just getting started. That’s right, it’s almost time for CES 2018 – the marquee technology trade show held in Las Vegas.
This year’s extravaganza will take place between Tuesday, January 9th and Friday, January 12th in the grand halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, where exhibitors and media will come from around the globe to showcase the latest and greatest in the world of tech.
Be it mobile, smart home, VR/AR, electric vehicles, audio, computing, wearables, TVs, drones, or gaming, to name but a few key market sectors, CES has it all, and DGiT will be there to cover all of the biggest announcements live from the show.
Before it all kicks off, we’ve put together a few predictions for trends we might see coming out of the show based on both its long history and the current state of the industry as a whole.
What does CES 2018 have in store? Here’s what we think.
Smart speakers and digital assistants everywhere
Thanks to Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, the nascent smart speaker market has ballooned into an unstoppable phenomenon which shows no signs of slowing down. Amazon’s platform leads the emergent sector by quite some distance, with some reports suggesting the e-commerce giant’s Alexa-powered devices outsell Home speakers by three to one.
Rather than sticking to a firm two-horse race, however, CES 2018 will take the competition to the next level, with manufacturers all set to release their own speakers running on Alexa, Google Assistant, and other prominent AI companions. We already know LG is bringing its own Assistant-powered ThinQ speaker, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s the assistant tech inside the smart speakers that will dominate the show, though. From home appliances to car infotainment systems to TVs, 2018 will be the year where digital assistants truly take over our smart lives, and that all starts at CES 2018.
8K TVs and the HDR war
4K TVs are now more affordable and ubiquitous than ever, but the TV market leaders are kee to keep pushing forward. Thinner, brighter, and prettier is the name of the game, with Samsung, LG, Sony, and more all hoping to wow with their next-generation TV tech.
We already know LG and Sony are bringing refreshed OLED sets to the show, while Samsung is no doubt waiting in the wings with a new range of QLED models. LG has already jumped the gun with its ridiculously gorgeous 88-inch, 8K OLED set, but the real competition isn’t in the luxury tier.
With 4K established as the norm, High Dynamic Range (HDR) has become the latest battleground, with formats like HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR 10+, HLG, and Advanced HDR all vying for supremacy. You shouldn’t expect to see a clear winner at CES 2018, but there will be plenty of stunning sets that look better than your eyes will believe.
Virtual reality is dead, long live augmented reality
Okay, so VR isn’t totally dead, but it is on life support. From mobile headsets to high-end PC-powered rigs, the modern virtual reality devices launched over the past few years have failed to ignite consumer passion in a way some analysts expected.
But the same fate isn’t expected to befall its sister technology – augmented reality.
2018 is the year where the ‘next big thing’ in consumer tech enters prime time. Partly thanks to the recent release of development kits by Apple and Google, augmented reality will be everywhere in Las Vegas. It even has its own “Marketplace”, where companies like Sony, Kodak, and Carl Zeiss are all set to showcase the potential of AR.
Electric cars galore
CES has always been no stranger to ambitious ideas and prototypes, but the rise of electric cars has managed to somehow dial the ridiculousness up a notch.
In 2017, Calfornia-based startup Faraday Future wowed attendees with demos of the fabled FF91, but a year on the secretive firm has all but disappeared from the limelight. This year, established carmakers like Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Ford are all in attendance, as well as newcomers like Chinese startup Byron which has teased its own “intelligent” all-electric vehicle for the show.
As well as a slew of autonomous car concepts, expect to see plenty of upgrades to in-car infotainment systems as digital assistants and biometrics jump on board for the ride.
The age of 5G
While I’m confident that every entry on this list will be a major trend at CES 2018, there’s no doubt in my mind that almost every keynote or booth at this year’s show will mention the technology that will soon power our connected gadgets, cars, and our lives in general – 5G.
Fifth-generation wireless technology is just around the corner, with the first wave of networks set to go live by 2019. As well as lightning fast internet speeds, 5G will also expand the potential scope of Internet of Things (IoT) devices beyond anything we’ve seen in recent years.
The breakthrough technology even has its own 5G Mobile Innovation keynote on January 10th, which will cover everything from autonomous cars, smart cities, AR/VR, smart home tech, and much more.
Industry giants like Intel and Qualcomm have earmarked 5G as the future of both consumer and commercial tech. At CES 2018 we’ll get a glimpse of that future today.