The Consumer Electronic Show, or simply CES, is the most significant annual consumer electronics event. It was at CES that the first home VCR, DVD, Xbox and plasma panel were presented. What was interesting at the exhibition in 2020?
Battle of the Chips
CES 2020 has become a kind of arena for a duel between Intel and AMD for the title of the coolest processor manufacturer. And it looks like this "tournament" was left for AMD. Intel threatened to present 14-nanometer Comet Lake-S processors for desktop PCs, but this never happened.
According to some media reports, the matter may be in the top model of the line, which turned out to be too hot - in the truest sense of the word. And the innovative cooling system, which Intel announced in December, was not shown at the exhibition.
But Comet Lake-H mobile chips were announced, which are part of the tenth generation Intel Core CPU line. They will appear on the market within a few months, and a little later, ready-made devices with such processors will go on sale. The maximum frequency of such processors will exceed 5 GHz. The lineup will include models of three series: Core i5 with four processing cores and eight threads, Core i7 with six cores at 12 threads and the top Core i9 with eight cores and 16 threads.
AMD's Ryzen 7 4000 series chips, judging by the developers' statements, will be less productive. Their maximum operating frequency will be only 4.2 GHz. But, unlike Intel, AMD has already switched to a more advanced seven-nanometer architecture, which makes the chips more energy efficient and compact with the same performance. The new Ryzen processors will also have up to eight cores and eight megabytes of cache.
It is highly probable that AMD will continue to gnaw off market share from its competitors. So far, Intel with its 80-plus percent looks almost a monopoly, but very soon it may end. Do not forget that two new generation consoles - PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X - will also run on AMD processors.
More displays, nice and different
The trend for flexible displays, which started a year ago, is becoming clearer and encompasses not only smartphones, but also tablets with laptops. Lenovo showed its first prototype of such a device back in May 2019, and at CES 2020 brought the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold - "the world's first PC with a flexible display," as the developers proudly call it.
The gadget will go on sale in the second half of the year, its declared price is $ 2499. The tiny device, thanks to its carbon fiber and lightweight alloy casing, weighs less than a kilogram, is equipped with an unknown Intel Core processor with integrated graphics of the first generation, eight gigabytes of RAM and a one terabyte SSD. And the gap between the folded halves of the case is proposed to be used for storing the keyboard.
Dell, Intel and TCL also took part in the folding screen race. The first showed the 13-inch Dell Concept Ori. TCL brought to the exhibition a smartphone with a 7, 2 "screen, and Intel - a Horshoe Band laptop, which has a 17, 2" diagonal when unfolded. True, unlike Lenovo, none of the three companies announced the detailed characteristics of the gadget or the date of its appearance on the market.
Saving energy costs the machine manufacturer as much as saving space. The Chinese company Hisense presented a smartphone with an E-Ink screen - yes, not an ordinary one, but a color one. For those who have forgotten: E-Ink is the so-called electronic ink, a technology used in "readers": the energy in the screens of such devices is spent only on generating a new image, and not on maintaining an already generated one.
According to the developers, the innovative screen will be able to display up to 4096 colors and will have a higher refresh rate than its predecessors. A video with display tests has already appeared on the web, and it should be said that although it looks nice, it cannot replace smartphones with "classic" OLED and LCD screens.Still, the delay in response to finger movements is too noticeable, and the camera image is generally difficult to make out. Watching movies or making video calls from a Hisense smartphone will obviously not work. Nevertheless, the novelty deserves close attention.
The idea with e-ink was picked up by Lenovo: another novelty from the Chinese company is the ThinkBook Plus laptop, in which the main screen is complemented by an E-Ink display. The second display should be the “hit of the season”: Dell paired with a tablet with a flexible screen, showed a tablet-two-screen Concept Duet.
Asus presented the Zen Book Duo, which, in addition to the main 14-inch screen, has an additional 12.6-inch screen above the keyboard: it looks very strange, but, according to the developers, it will be useful when launching additional applications. Another dual-screen laptop from Asus is the gaming ROG Zephyrus G14. Here, however, the additional screen is triangular and more for beauty than convenience.
Robots are helpful and cute
Well, where can we go without robots? There were a lot of them at the exhibition, and most of the developers focused on practical properties, and not on external originality and futurism. On the one hand, this is, of course, more boring. On the other hand, for the better: it means that robots from the category of the unusual are moving into the category of the ordinary.
One of the most original robots is Meeting Owl Pro, an owl for meetings (you can even do without quotes). It is a kind of electronic moderator of online business meetings. Thanks to a wide range of sensors, Meeting Pro Owl is able to pick up and differentiate the voices of different people and transmit the picture and voice of exactly the person who is speaking at the moment - while the interlocutor will hear him as if the person is speaking directly to him. The $ 999 device won one of the Best Product Awards in the Robot category.
Another original robotic assistant is Ballie from Samsung. The device is simultaneously similar to the BB8 from Star Wars and Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the name clearly refers to WALL-E from the cartoon of the same name. Unlike the previous development, Ballie is designed for home, not for work: it can start a vacuum cleaner, open curtains, entertain a dog, follow the owner around the house (if the dog is absent) and transmit an image from home while the owner is absent.
And the Chinese company PuduTech decided not to invent anything and turned to a proven recipe for winning customers - cats. Moreover, those who will be of benefit, and they will let themselves be stroked. The development, called BellaBot, is designed to serve people in restaurants: the robot has four trays with a maximum load of up to 10 kilograms, motion sensors and a touchscreen display.
And instead of a tip, such a waiter accepts scratching and stroking. But you shouldn't caress him for too long: BellaBot is a robotic cat with character, it can get angry, showing an evil face on its display.
Gradually growing competition in the market forces developers to come up with new "chips" for their robots. For example, UBTech's anthropomorphic Walker can do yoga with a master and teach him new poses. Walker is also able to play a simple melody on the piano, draw, bring water to the owner and close the doors behind him.
Of course, there were robots for affection, tenderness and friendship at CES 2020. The Groove X company showed at the exhibition the final version of Lovot - "robot for love". The device is in many ways reminiscent of the famous robotic dogs Aibo, created back in the late 1990s, but it is more advanced. At least Lovot is not afraid to approach strangers himself, and the soft “cape” makes tactile contact with the robot more pleasant.
Car news: surprise from Sony, admiration from Mercedes-Benz
Of course, CES is not a car dealership, but global automakers find something to surprise visitors every year. In 2020, Sony suddenly became the main newsmaker in this segment. The exhibition hosted a presentation of the Vision-S electric vehicle, created in cooperation with Bosch, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Blackberry and other high-tech giants.
The Sony Vision-S has 33 different sensors and sensors that form a so-called safety cocoon. The car has been assigned a second level of autonomy, in which the autopilot can independently control acceleration, braking and lane changes on the road. The car will be able to accelerate from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.8 seconds, and the maximum speed is 238 km / h.
Sony is still saying that it does not plan to start mass production of electric vehicles. They say that Vision-S is nothing more than a demonstration that the company is capable of contributing to technical evolution. But, given how seriously the company approached the development of the concept, Sony will not miss the chance to break into the still relatively free market in the coming years.
Another high-profile auto premiere at CES 2020 is the AVTR concept car from Mercedes-Benz. The approach of the German company turned out to be completely opposite to the pragmatism of the Japanese: Mercedes gave the imaginations of the AVTR developers complete freedom and got a car from a sci-fi movie. Moreover, it is even clear from which: the concept is inspired by James Cameron's film "Avatar". The car should contribute to the unity of man with nature and the machine itself: this is similar to the principles of the existence of the Na'Vi race from the film, which lives in harmonious symbiosis with the surrounding world.
The exterior and interior of the AVTR are a delight for all biodesign lovers. Wheels resembling wood cuts; wing doors; seats that pulsate with light to the rhythm of the driver's heartbeat; "Spiracles" in the back - it is unlikely that such a car will become serial, but it may appear in any of the sequels to "Avatar".
Things and houses are getting smarter
In the XXI century, any thing, in order to somehow surprise, must have the prefix "smart" and be able to a little more than you might expect from it. The era of smart things is already on the doorstep: everything is getting smarter, even the simplest things like a sun visor in a car. This was presented by Bosch at CES 2020: a camera and an LCD panel are built into the driver's visor, on which only a small area is darkened, the light from which falls directly into the driver's eyes. A special sensor monitors the movement of a person's head and moves the "dark spot" after him.
What else can you do smart? Yes, even the soles of the shoes! For such a device, Wahu representatives received an award in the Wearable Technology category. Their adaptive soles are able to adjust according to weather conditions and the nature of the surface. If more traction is required, special rubberized pads extend from the soles.
The extension takes place with the help of microcompressors, which fill the cavities with compressed air at a pressure of 2.5 bar. Such a sole can last up to 24 hours on a single battery charge, and it can be controlled via an application on a smartphone.
The list of smart things at the exhibition is very long, and you probably won't be able to list them all. What is definitely worth mentioning is the smart pajamas from Xenoma. She does not know how to program dreams, as well as to drive a cat out of bed - but she is equipped with sensors that track heartbeat, pressure, breathing rate and temperature. If suddenly something is wrong with these indicators, smart clothes will send a signal to relatives or doctors.
Smart things have a place in smart homes: many large companies have paid close attention to the Smart House concept. Lenovo presented the Connected Home Security system, which protects the smart home system from hacks and cyber attacks. The Czech startup Perenio IoT presented at CES 2020 a whole set of smart devices that are combined into a single hub: a router controller of devices, smart sockets, smoke, motion and leak detectors, and a battery to work during power outages.
But Toyota approached the issue of smart life most globally: the Japanese company announced the construction of an entire smart city for 2,000 people. A settlement called Woven City will be located near Mount Fuji, most of the houses in it will be occupied by the company's employees, and the city will also become a kind of testing ground for innovative technological solutions. All public transport in the city will be unmanned, and at home - robotic.
It's hard to say if all the developments shown at CES will hit the market. However, thanks to the Consumer Electronic Show, we know exactly what technological advances are being made by leading IT companies and daring startups. So get ready for the era of flexible screens, helpful robots, and smart clothes.