CES logo - A sneak preview
Consumer Electronics Show has entered the consciousness to such an extent that only the acronym CES is now needed. For more than 50 years, Las Vegas has been the backdrop for thousands of exhibitors to showcase the most innovative tech of the near future. CES 2019 sees 4500 manufacturers, suppliers and developers come together in 11 venues covering 2.5 million square feet. There are 24 product categories showcased and they’re cleaved into 20 separate marketplaces at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’re here today to give you a quick glimpse at what’s on the agenda at CES 2019. As with any glance at the future – like CES itself – there’s a certain degree of speculation. Just like in our recent look at smart homes of the future, though, it’s always interesting to see what’s likely to pan out. Also, several major manufacturers have already spoke out ahead of media day to make it clear what they will or won’t be rolling out at CES 2019 so we haven’t just whipped out the crystal ball and hoped for the best! Bigger and better than ever before, we’ll dive straight into some predictions for CES 2019. You can see what’s likely to be on offer even if you’re back in the office on January 8th and far from Sin City which, for a few fun-packed days each year, becomes a smart home lover’s dream. Be on the lookout for smart home devices!

10 Predictions For CES 2019

1) Foldables

Perhaps the leading trend to emerge in the run-up to CES 2019 is foldables. Samsung, Huawei, and LG are all liable to showcase folding cell phones… Samsung’s Infinity Flex might well make an appearance in Vegas. Huawei has already demonstrated a completed version of a bezel-less folding handset at a private event for Korean telecom companies so there’s every chance this will be rolled out next month. Although LG have already secured a patent for a foldable handset, this might not be revealed until Mobile World Congress in February 2019. One thing’s clear, though: 2019 will feature this new approach to mobile technology so it’s only a matter of whether these companies show their hands at CES 2019. Foldable will extend beyond smartphones with laptops and tablets giving you more flexibility than ever before. Expect to see expansive OLED screens spanning the breadth of the keyboard so you can operate with a regular laptop, break it down to a book format or even open it up so your laptop is more like a monitor. As with all elements of technology, things are getting more personal, the choice is getting increasingly wider. All that remains to be seen is how Android and Windows will adapt their operating systems to achieve this. We leave Apple out advisedly since they will be not be attending CES 2019 as usual and there’s been no hype about folding screens from that direction anyway.

2) 5G: Finally The Rumors Become Reality

5G has been a hot talking point for some time, but it’s not until we edge into 2019 that we’re finally seeing some traction. Speeds are meaningfully increasing while latency continues to fall giving networking the foundation it needs to leap forwards into a new generation. Don’t hold your breath and expect to see a bunch of 5G-enabled gadgets at CES 2019. That’s not likely to happen until Mobile World Congress in March. 2019 will, though, see all major carriers piloting functional 5G. What you will get in Vegas is a deeper understanding of how this will be applied and what it means to you, the consumer. While faster phones are a given, the reach of 5G will extend to virtual reality without the lags brought about by sluggish networks. T-Mobile and Qualcomm are at the vanguard of 5G. AT&T and Verizon will be sure to reveal much more in their Vegas keynotes. While we won’t know the specifics for just over a week now, we’re confident that 5G will be one of the key talking points for all 180,000 attendees of CES 2019.

3) The Smart Home of 2019: AI and Beyond

Smart home technology in all its forms will be seen across the board at CES this year but how will things develop? Well, underpinning everything is the Internet of Things and this is a dead cert to feature heavily at CES this coming January across all industries. As smart speakers continue to evolve, we’ll see more smart displays with a screen to ramp out functionality further. Samsung’s Galaxy Home complete with Bixby should make a cameo. Wireless kitchens are on the horizon – we’ll be taking a detailed look at the future of cord-free kitchens next week – with the possibility of robot helpers not too far from entering the mainstream. Bathroom tech is getting smarter and more luxe as we looked at recently right here. LG’s president and CTO, IP Park, will outline how his company envisions AI evolving within the smart home. Smart devices and appliances are set to get a whole lot smarter in the real sense of the word and it’s not too much of a push to expect them to start anticipating what you need to an extent that makes the connected devices of recent years look pretty dumb by comparison. AI is set to strongarm its way into everything in your smart home from mattresses and security cameras to memory chips and TVs. And thinking of TVs, this is one area where CES this year is set to drop some jaws…

4) TVs: 4K, 8K, 85-inchers and Integrated Voice Assistants

The world of home theater is about to explode in a way that will make you want to stay permanently inside your connected home! In many ways, display technology dominates CES and you’ll get no shortage proudly rolled out this January in Vegas. You’ll see plenty of 4K technology along with the advent of the first 8K TVs. Samsung, as usual, lead the pack here with their first commercial 8K model already unveiled at Berlin’s IFA 2018. Due to the near-complete absence of 8K content, the emphasis is currently more on AI than 8K but the future is here already. Japan has already stated it wants the 2020 Olympics to be delivered in stunning 8K resolution. While the bulk of TVs will still feature 4K resolution, the more upscale models have already started veering toward the new order of 8K. We’re sure, though, that 4K OLEDs will still be a strong presence in Vegas. HDMI 2.1 is not only crucial for 8K TVs but will also enhance 4K models so expect to hear a little more about this next-gen video interface at CES next month. Toshiba is introducing far-field mics integrated into their new range of smart TVs with Alexa also on-board. 65-inch screens will start seeming pedestrian with 85-inches and above coming out to play at CES 2019. To throw into the mix, you’ll see Dolby Atmos soundbars adding fully immersive sound to your home theater so you really do feel like you’re at the movies rather than just kidding yourself that you are. And it’s in these soundbars that voice control will continue its inexorable journey into every corner of our smart homes…

5) Voice Control

LG’s soundbars have already been unveiled before CES 2019 kicks off so we know that the upscale trio (SL8YG, SL9YG and SL10YG) will feature prominently in Sin City. These soundbars are the result of a collaborative project with audio stalwarts Meridian. As well as the totally enveloping experience we just outlined, Google Assistant will come as standard allowing you to do more than just control your media. You’ll be able to take charge of other smart devices too using nothing but your voice and the powerful Assistant. Even though CES 2019 has yet to kick off, LG has already won a pair of CES Innovation Awards so we’ll learn more about the release dates and the soundbars themselves in just over a week. And while Google Assistant is sure to feature heavily at CES 2019, you can also obviously expect to see plenty from Amazon’s Alexa starting with the digital assistant baked into just about every TV on display and continuing with the debut of chatty headphones… check out more voice assistants.

6) Smart Headphones with Alexa

We know for sure that Qualcomm have an Alexa development kit integrating voice into headphones. While we’re still not liable to see headphones responding to a wake word next month, there will definitely be more truly wireless headphones proudly displayed along with improved battery life. Upscale brands like Bose will introduce Alexa firepower to their ubiquitous QuietComfort II headphones and we’ll more brands take full advantage of Qualcomm’s hardware/software package to bring your favorite virtual butler into your headphones. As a headphone-related aside, we should also see an injection of quality into the true wireless sector of the headphone market. While Apple’s next-gen AirPods are slated for release next year, we’re not going to see those at CES 2019 as Apple continue to boycott the tech extravaganza. Keep your eye on Sony, though and also on Mars earbuds offering real-time translation, ideal for travelers and likely to make a splash in Vegas next month.

7) HDR10+ Content

HDR10+ compatible TVs are already on the market courtesy of Samsung, Panasonic and Philips. While the hardware might be in place, how about the content? Despite noises from Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox, we’re still waiting so perhaps we’ll hear more about the new HDR format. Although there are a few Ultra-HD releases, we’re hoping for a little more concrete news next month as we’re already excited about this development and eager for it to hit the shelves.

8) Wireless Charging

If you’re sick and tired of constantly giving your devices a boost of charge while also being tethered to a cable, you’re in luck… Aircharge will be demonstrating a pair of wireless chargers delivering 10W of rapid charging for both Samsung and Apple phones at CES 2019. We’re not so sure about other manufacturers but there’s certainly high consumer demand for a sea change on the charging front so keep your eyes peeled in Vegas!

9) The Evolution of Self-Driving Cars

Smart technology obviously makes it way far beyond the walls of your home. At last year’s CES, self-driving Lyft cars powered by Aptiv were in evidence. Since more than 20 tech companies are working industriously to bring this concept to a wider audience, you can be pretty damn certain there will be self-driving cars galore at CES 2019. This kind of tech is the very essence of Consumer Electronics Show and one of the driving reasons people flock to the desert in such numbers each January. The desire to see a glimpse of the future today is insatiable and self-driving cars still seem sufficiently futuristic as to provoke keen interest from all angles. While there will be plenty exhibited about the tech behind these self-piloting vehicles, it’s the cockpit demos and glittering concept cars that make the headlines.

10) Robots

Robotics Business Review and RoboBusiness have an entire day of robotics content lined up on January 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This conference will give a deep insight into how robots are already becoming an important part of daily life and how their role in the way we purchase and use products is set to become even more prevalent. Robots always make for great press, too. Expect to see an array of robotic helpers for the smart home going far beyond the vacuum cleaners and pool cleaners already in common usage. Robots in the kitchen are pretty much upon us already and it won’t be too long until you can get some help with childcare from robots if you’re open-minded and welcome the idea of a little artificial aid. Just check out Roomba the Robot Vaccum! Where last year at CES, Honda exhibited four robots intended to appeal to your emotions, this year they’ll be debuting more with the intention of creating a “cleaner, safer, and more convenient world.”

Final Word

So… With little more than a week to go, we’re eagerly waiting to see how many of our predictions for CES 2019 come to fruition and, more importantly, what surprises are unwrapped at the Vegas event. After all, it’s this element of surprise that keeps people coming back year on year and while we have a solid overview of what will unfold, it’s always those unexpected moments that make any CES a truly special event. Come back soon as we’ve got plenty up our sleeve on our home automation blog schedule for the coming year. As we move ever closer to that magical year of 2020, smart homes of the future are already upon us.

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