5 Amazing Takeaways From CES 2020
Updated: Jan 14
CES, Consumer Technology Association's annual trade show on all things innovative, has been losing its edge for years. The technologies it showcases have been getting more and more repetitive, so much so that many tech journalists and editors don't even bother attending the event anymore.
Don't get me wrong, there are still lots of new startups cropping out and big announcements coming the way of Silicon Valley. However, there's hardly anything head-turning going on. CES used to be our window into the future, a glimpse of the wonderful things yet to come. But as hype and fandom lead time and again to disappointment, people have started to realize that the future might not be as exciting as we thought it might be. Thankfully, this year was different.
The Wall in the North
I know, I know. I can hear your collective groans from here. Game of Thrones is long gone, but the spirit behind weekend family binge-sessions and heated dinnertime discussions around TV shows might just live to fight another day.
Especially so, since Samsung just unveiled a new television that's big enough to cover an entire wall. The Wall MicroLED TV comes in two models: a 4K model sized at 292 inches and an 8K one boasting a screen size of 152 inches. It literally doesn't get any bigger than this.
Okay, I'll admit that I just made up that word. But it's cool, you have to admit. What's even cooler is Impossible Pork, the newest in the line of synthetic vegan meats from the house of Impossible Foods. This is the same company that was behind the much-loved Impossible Burger, so you know it's gotta be good.
As climate change threatens the very fabric of our society and the planet we live in, it's time to think sustainably in terms of the food we eat. Slaughterhouses are a massive contributor to greenhouse emissions, so if one company can come up with a cheap way to make burgers that taste like meat without actually having any, what's wrong with it?
Some days you're just lonely. Others, you want to talk to a friendly robot without human judgment constantly shoved in your face. Whatever your reasons, Neon, a company born out of the Samsung Technology and Advanced Research Labs, is building totally realistic virtual humans who'll talk and interact with you and learn from its experiences. Yes, bring on the DC Comics references.
These are essentially video chatbots. Virtual pets, except for the 'pet' part. They aren't all-knowing. They won't be able to answer your general knowledge questions, play music, or tell you about the weather. Instead, they're an imitation of human intelligence and will simulate emotions that can be likened to a real person. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, you're not alone.
Why are we so obsessed with foldable phones? Yes, they have the advantage of being able to fit a large screen size into a small pocket of space. But the potential hurdles that we'd have to overcome simply outnumber the benefits.
In this year's CES, new foldable phones were announced by Samsung, TCL, and Lenovo. Of these, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold is the only one that came with a slated release date and a proper price tag, even if that price tag is a ridiculous $2,499.
This is the year that CES finally decided to have an open conversation about S-E-X. Sex toys have made it to the show before, of course, just not officially. This year, CES has finally decided to allow sex tech on its platform on a one-year-trial basis, with added rules to follow.
The biggest show-stealer in sex tech was the company Lora DiCarlo, which showcased two new products: the Baci and the Onda. These devices use micro-robotic technology to simulate the sensation of lips and fingers on a female's genital area. I have to admit, it does feel good to finally see women occupy the sex tech space for a change.
Of all of this, I have to admit that Neon's AI companions are my favorite takeaway from the show. Yes, it might seem a bit cringy. But to be honest, I'm always a bit biased when it comes to anthro-tech and I really want to see where this goes.
What technologies took you by surprise on this CES? What are your favorite companies to watch out for the coming year? Let me know in your comments!