Technology never stops. It could be a gadget or an innovation that will power an entirely new category of products. More than 3,900 companies and 170,000 people coming to Las Vegas for the biggest technology show of the year at CES 2018. Will it be artificial intelligence or some other technology? Who knows? But people who visit CES 2018 will be the ones to witness first hand what’s to come and what’s to be expected technologically speaking, in the near future.
Here are the biggest trends for CES 2018.
Over-the-air Wireless Charging
You probably have a phone that charges wirelessly. But you have to put them on a Qi-compatible charging mat with a wire that goes from it to an outlet. The next big thing – true wireless charging. That means charging your device over the air. Enter WattUp Mid Field transmitter from Energous. It has recently been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, and sends RF-based power to devices at a distance of 3 feet. That’s not much, but the technology could power phones and smart watches to wireless keyboards and smart speakers. Another company, Powercast, will unveil its PowerSpot transmitter at CES in 2018. The transmitter can charge multiple devices at around 80 feet by creating a Wi-Fi-like coverage area on a 915-MHz ISM band transmitting RF energy to a small Powercast chip in a separate device.
Move Over Alexa, Here Comes Google Assistant!
CES 2017 saw dozens of products with Amazon’s assistant inside. That trend will continue, but Alexa will witness severe competition from products that work with Google Assistant. LG is set to bring out its ThinQ smart speaker, compatible with Google Assistant, with the ability to control LG’s smart appliances. Expect more smart TVs with Google Assistant at CES 2018. Google will have a huge presence this year with sizable installation dedicated to “Hey, Google” and Google Assistant. You’ll also see the Vobot Halo, a stylish smart light clock with Alexa, as well as the Blink Video Doorbell, which is coming next year. In fact, Amazon has agreed to acquire Blink to accelerate its smart home domination.
Apple is also in the running. It is expected to continue with Siri and its HomeKit protocol, and is asking smart home device makers to build software support rather than using a dedicated HomeKit chip. At the moment, around 21 HomeKit products are listed on Apple’s website as coming soon. Many of these will probably be shown at this year’s CES.
Home security will be a huge theme at CES covering all-in-one security systems riding on the success of products like SimpliSafe. Look for Angee with its 360-degree camera, voice recognition and motion sensors. You’ll also witness home security support for HomeKit, Alexa and Google Assistant.
Micro-LED TVs, But OLEDs Are Still King
It is expected Samsung could debut a 105-inch micro-LED at CES 2018. Apple is reportedly using this technology in its Apple Watch. Smaller than 100 micrometers, that’s thinner than the human hair, each red, green and blue subpixels in micro LEDs produces its own light with high contrast ratios and deep blacks. And the displays consume less power and won’t suffer from burn-in like OLEDs do.
But OLEDs are not down and out just yet. LG and Sony are coming out with improved picture quality, as well as new features and capabilities like smarter interfaces such as voice interaction, eliminating the need for a separate streaming box. Also, watch out for 8K TVs at the show. LG is coming out with an 88-inch 8K set – the largest OLED TV yet.
Augmented Reality Will Take Over From VR
Augmented Reality or AR is expected to have a showcase year in 2018. Previously we have seen Augmented Reality games like PokemonGO, Ingress and others gaining popularity. I used to play the game using Cox Internet Services at my home. Other companies are also bringing their wares to the show including Carl Zeiss, Occipital, Kinmo, Kodak, Royole and Sony. Netflix is also expected to come to the show. Magic Leap, with its One Creator Edition specs that connect to a small wearable computer, called the Lightpack will make its mark at the show. The glasses come with a small Control wand providing six degrees of freedom. But we don’t know if Magic Leap will be at CES 2018. Another company, Third Eye with its X1 Smart Glasses delivering a 90-inch screen size and will come with integrated AR applications.
But CES 2018 won’t just be about AR hardware. We’ve seen several promising apps in recent months, including ones like Chalk, which allows you to draw on the live camera view of someone else’s phone. We’ll see a lot of different AR apps and creative uses for iOS and Android redefining your mobile experience.
Let the Laptop Chip War Begin
Intel’s 8th-gen core processor is powering a wide range of laptops. The company is also pairing its 8th-Gen Core i CPU with AMD graphics. Expect to see some models at the show with its own Ryzen Mobile chips, which means great performance at a good price. Three very light LG Gram models, the 13.3-, 14- and 15.6-inch ones have been announced for CES 2018, promising to last 19 to 22.5 hours on a charge. Samsung is also showcasing its Notebook 9 laptops, including one with an S Pen.
Qualcomm is also debuting its first Snapdragon-powered laptops running Windows 10 S on Asus and HP models. These ultraportables are lightweight with more than 20 hours of battery life. Expect to see more designs at the CES.
Robots Take Over (again)
Although exciting to watch, robots either don’t make it to the market or fail to impress when they finally ship. Take for instance, the $800 Ubtech Lynx robot with Alexa inside. All it does is yoga.
But there are others that do more like the Root, a robot that teaches kids to code, shipping this spring for $199. Sony has launched a new Aibo robot dog in Japan that forms an emotional bond with members of the household. Meanwhile, Honda is poised with four robot concepts with the company’s vision of a society in which robotics and AI can assist people. The best so far is 3E-A18, a companion robot that shows compassion with a variety of human expressions.
Riding the Affordable Wave with Phones
May be we won’t be seeing the Samsung Galaxy S9 at CES, one of the biggest trends is low-cost phones with premium features. For example, the Honor 7X from Huawei is expected to draw a lot of attention with its large 5.9-inch screen, minimum bezels, dual cameras and solid performance for just $200. Sony is also rumored to unveil its first Snapdragon 845-powered phone with its 18:9 display. For a crystal-clear home phone connection, people try to take up a decent phone service that makes it convenient for you to stay in touch with your loved ones easier than ever. Also, the amazing phone service with great voice quality on your phone line, you’ll have no excuse not to call.
Modular Self-driving Car; Electric Cars Get Smarter
Safety features or infotainment systems, the auto industry is focusing on technology. We’ll be seeing self-driving vehicles and electric cars at CES 2018. With its high-wear chassis and a passenger safety pod, the Rinspeed Snap, has three screens per occupant, an optional robot personal assistant and six onboard projectors to warn pedestrians and other vehicles.
Move over Tesla, there’s a new player in the electric-car arena. Chinese startup Byton calls it a “Smart Intuitive Vehicle” or SIV. The car comes with a revolutionary user interface that will recognize your face, understand your voice and read your hand gesture. The SIV will also offer suggestions based on where you are and your entertainment preferences.
And there are add-ons. For instance, Raven from Klashwerks could be your ultimate dashboard companion with access to real-time driving info in your line of sight. It comes with internal and external cameras, mobile app integration, GPS and more. But like all technology, it isn’t cheap – preorders start at $269, and you’ll need LTE connectivity as well.
Another app, Muse from Speak Music, will add Alexa to your vehicle for just $59. This Bluetooth app can stream music, close your garage, order items with your voice, check your next appointment, and more. Keeping the trend in mind, a number of car manufacturers will be partnering with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.