Welcome to CES, today is the kick off with a few small press previews. I will be updating a few interesting points of today's events here from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas.
First up we have the Showstoppers event, where businesses will pitch their startups to a panel, think Shark Tank / Dragons Den kinda, almost similar with added journalists and investors on the panel. If anything interesting is presented I'll be sure to report back, I have been promised a stir-fry cooking robot. Tech to reduce carbon emissions and achieve Net zero. Immersive holographic communication – peak Star Trek. Extending the shelf life of foods. A breakthrough in thermal insulation. Music that relaxes animals. An AI research hub. Curved speakers for better audio. And more gripping stuff, maybe, no camera specific stuff is expected but I will know shortly.
Meanwhile as I sit in the media room I notice one media attendee is using a Lenovo handheld gaming system with a full sized bluetooth mechanical keyboard. Not sure I could do that and ignore the games while connected to the internet, game of Doom anyone ?!
Lots of interesting innovations around AI are incoming and hopefully the whole show isn't bogged down with the same buzzwords. Saying that, I think AI is here to stay unlike 3D TV from many moons ago.
During the week I'll be seeking out the regular news from the big camera brands, but that doesn't mean the weird and wonderful will be ignored, for example one company have figured out data transfer through your skin, we have some amazing Pet cams that use AI and I will look at how Adobe are using AI in post production software, are our creative juices going to run dry or become obsolete ?
The first presser has started and off to a flier with a company whom are doing something I don't understand, Asuene. I'll be downloading the press kit afterwards as it goes over my head. More quality reporting next.
The company founder is getting questions from the panel now, answering questions about data collection from the investor. Carbon questions next from the panel journalist. Still not sure what this is all about but a short presentation.
Next a company that is called Closer, makes compact modular robots to reduce overheads on packaging automation for food, I think. Answers are a bit vague on who the customers are. At least this presentation is clear on the company vision.
Holotch next, hologram commutations. I don't like using FaceTime so no idea how this will work out. Wearing glasses to add AR/VR mixed reality into a meeting, although it's unclear through the Q and A. Using a mobile phone to capture into an API which can be used in many apps. Sounds fun but not sure I want extra hoops to do online meetings. Does this mean you have to be dressed from the waist down for meetings ?
Inter Holdings with some claims about vacuum packing for food, reducing packaging claiming to reduce waste. Milk and wine packaging increase the life of the product. Gets my vote. Technology to be licensed out.
One by One Music making tech to reduce stress in animals via music. Aimed at dogs, the tech will monitor the levels of stress in your pet and play music according to their stress levels. Of course an AI camera will be used to figure out the mood of the dog, and the service is through a subscription model. Expanding to other animals including cattle and other at home pets. Can't wait to blast my cat with Taylor Swift.
Audio company Mirai Speaker. Making a special kinda speaker. Amusing listening to the presenter destroying the Japanese speakers' names. Anyway, aimed at the “elder” market who are hard of hearing. The curved panel speaker helps create a clearer sound stage without turning up the TV, and improves dialogue listening.
Stir fry robot next, my local Asian restaurant will be a bit upset if I can cook the same dish at home, or not. TechMagic says this robot system is for businesses (B2B) and can be used for pasta, stir fry and fries as well. Creating end to end food recipe creation without manual labor. Demo of a restaurant using this tech including automated washing of pans between uses. Self automated cafeterias. Neat. At home products are coming. Robots have to be designed for the specific food type, which sounds like this could get expensive.
A few more companies are talking but not much else to report, been a bit death by slide deck but interesting in parts.
“Trends to Watch” presentation with several keynote speakers, however lots of mic problems preventing anyone from hearing anything meaningful. Talking mostly about how Gen-Z are changing the way technology is used, driven by global connectivity acceleration.
Lots of talk about Starlink and other alternative connectivity solutions, “NextG,” 7G etc. etc. Li-Fi which may be 2-5 years from being on trend. According to the speakers, AI, sustainability, inclusivity, and health tech are pushing the next advancements. Only 9-10% of US consumers are familiar with AI and even fewer are aware of the possibilities of AI across the board with regard to its applications. 74% of those familiar with AI said there should be a balance and the need for regulation at the national level, 65% are concerned with privacy.
Sustainability in solar, wind, and smart farms of devices to generate power.
Mobility gets a mention of EV, E-Bikes, Scooters, Self driving cars, construction vehicles etc; Lots will be featured here at CES. Dealing with range anxiety and delivering value in EV cars is an issue that the industry needs to be addressing with greater focus. Electrification is moving to the air, and sea through all kinds of new technology.
Now streaming is getting a mention and how additional streaming services are consumed in the US and how they are bundled together. I'm not sure I like the heavy bundling but here we are, are we any cheaper than a regular cable service ?! Hybrid mobile and cloud gaming is increasing, future state includes immersive features such as controllers and VR.
So, in short, the future may hold the need to generate more 3D content (and people will be able to watch it while their car drives for them)!
Long event this; 5 hours of walking the halls as small companies pitching their wares, and hoping the big companies might be here with a few surprises. Had to get in early to hussle a seat. Last year LG presented several new Gram super light laptops and I hope for some new ones to come this year with better graphics handling for my use of Capture One, I've been “told” something might be mentioned in this session but nothing concrete yet.
6:40pm local time...
LG does indeed have some new Gram laptops which I'm super excited about. LG also showed some cool monitor tech that can toggle from QHD @240hrz to FHD@480hrz which is pretty cool. I will confirm more during the week when I visit LG, and a new vacuum cleaner which is very unexciting to me but there you go.
MyRow is here with their connected rowing experience, why this is a big deal is because it attaches to a Concept 2 RowErg which is maybe the #1 rowing machine on the market. Concept 2 does not offer any connected rowing experiences of note, but the new Myrow is an attached screen for $499 which gives you a “peloton” experience especially for rowing. As an owner of Concept 2 equipment, I'm very excited about it (and fitness vloggers will be too).
Phonecam by Slimdesign is a wearable AI bodycam which looks amazing, offering some great AI tech to identify all kinds of threats and such in a very compact wearable, has some really good safety features, of course at a price but I'll explore more on that later after a proper interview. A step up from the other bodycams I have reviewed here on Digital Camera World.
Also a GPS pet wearable featuring AI that can record biometric heart health information for cats and dogs from French company Invoxia.
So much to cover but I’m signing off for a hard-earned sleep.
At 9 am in CES Las Vegas, today are the big pressers from Panasonic, Sony, and Hisense.
LG has already been on this morning, revealing an array of exciting products including new soundbars, QNED TVs, OLED TVs, and a sleek and sexy projector. I assumed the Korean giant had concluded its AV innovation announcements at CES but they also announced a see-through TV. Not convinced it's something I need and this does smell very 3DTV-like (my favorite tech dodo comparison), a theme among the TV OEMs this year at CES seems to be going this way. How popular it will be? Who knows. It does look super cool though, very stylish and a great show-off bit of tech. Does this mean I have to dust behind the TV now?
I anticipate that it will be added to the lineup alongside the other alphabet-named OLEDs, marking a noteworthy addition to LG's Signature series.
Later this week I'll be visiting the LG stand to do a deep dive of their new laptops and TVs.
Hisense came on the stage just now and talked a lot about its displays in cars and TVs of course. Interesting to me that Hisense has become more like the Sony of the old than the new Sony of today.
Panasonic is up next and I am looking forward to what they announce, can they bring back the plasma TV please? I'm sure more see-through TVs and whatnot throughout CES. Genuinely excited about this as I always enjoyed Panasonic products, I'd also like an old-school midi system to be remade for the modern market, not that will happen ever. Reminiscing, ahh I remember that.
At my seat now and it's a much bigger room than the Hisense presser – the Hisense room was a bit of a bun fight. Ok so enough of my complaints, other than my laptop has run out of juice already.
Kicks off with some sustainability messages via video. Green solutions for home and hydrogen gets a mention – nice. Lots of green and environmental tech updates. Panasonic is a very different company than in the 90s and is being positive with a discussion about STEM and encouragement of young students to venture into technology, rather than products. DERMS talked about which is used to recycle and save energy in the home, and detect power outages.
'Neuron' announced to reduce parts and increase firmware upgrades. Fisker added additional audio but with reduced power needs by 50%. Infinity and Klipsch on stage to talk about QX80 car with new audio system by Klipsch as a reference audio product, powered by Panasonic.
Akira was on the stage to talk about entertainment and TVs. 2024 TV range will have Amazon Fire TV built-in, coming to the US and the primary OS for the future of Panasonic TVs. OLED TVs with 144hz refresh rate, great for gaming, are coming.
Men's stubble shavers now; looks fun, be interested to try it out as my beard is super thick. Now skincare and grooming products, my bathroom will look like Best Buy / Currys at this rate.
Smart home cooking ovens with connection to apps and stuff. Move over Ramsey, my attached microwave is going to choose a recipe and cook my food perfectly because my phone told it to. Not a fan of microwave food, but Panasonic seems to think the app will dynamically adjust power to cook food perfectly. Sounds interesting! I'll be trying the food at the booth later this week.
Cameras at last! Yes! Lumix! A video showing filmmakers competing to make content. Talking about L mount, and the alliance we all know about it. DJI with a 2-way connection to L mount-based lenses. The new Lumix 100mm f/2.8 S Macro lens is small and being shown off with its fast lens focus system. Now AF motors using magnets to speed up the motor by 2x over its competition. More on that when I visit Panasonic and Lumix this week for a deep dive.
That's it from Panasonic at their presser. `they saved the best – photography - for last!
TCL up now and talking about “unparalleled” immersion for entertainment, and best in class out of the box experience for all products. Sounds like lots of buzzwords but I like the message about Inspired Greatness as they are placing their new marketing campaign.
Aiming to be #1 consumer choice of home entertainment products. TCL “Gameday” sports-style presentation is fun. Some sports personalities on the panel, no idea who they are but that's because I'm English, ESPN, and NFL people of some note. Crowd seemed excited at least.
If you have seen pre-game football / soccer talk on TV, then the presentation is just like that, recap of last year, saying TCL were #2 TV brand in the US. I have a TCL QLED TV and I must say (and we reviewed the TCL NXTWEAR S XR glasses), it's quite brilliant. 98” TV sales are up, that's great but wow that's a pricey set ! Does anyone know the weight of that? I guess the wall mount option is a bit of an issue.
TCL is doubling down on social media marketing. I'm guessing that's cheaper than creating adverts for the Super Bowl and the cost is much lower.
Samsung now, of course AI is central to their opening pitch. Knox secure connection is including Samsung TVs and Fridge Freezers via Knox Matrix from this Spring. Knox Vault is expanding to Galaxy A series mobile phones.
Now 8K OLED TVs are included with Knox Vault, no mention of Tizen yet, a new record?
Amazing we have to have this kinda of tech in the home now. What a time to be alive.
Before talking about reducing the plastic in the TV sets, they mention the reduced power usage. No mention of the packaging mobile phones or TVs come in, which needs to be reduced somewhat. Certified Renewed is promoted for recycling, I am a fan of official refurbished items. Saves a load of waste and cash to get the same item for a large discount.
Hopefully, this conference livens up, all a bit dull and well, corporate.
MicroLED 8K TV screens are now being pitched, with AI upscaling. 2x better performance than previous gen sets. Gaming settings will adjust to the type of game you're playing. Premium 8k wireless projector announced, lots of specs to be looked at. Q Symphony adjusts to the acoustics of your house on the fly, creating a unique audio experience.
Ballie is a new AI pet by the looks of it. Some smart tech for house control and projecting images into your wall or floor. Think Buck Rogers robot for your home, a really odd personality for your usage to do stuff. What could go wrong?
Fridge that monitors what goes in and out. The data Samsung is collecting from your home could be biblical, amazing technology and most is potentially very useful.
Ah Tizen. Took them 32:23 seconds to mention it. Laptops with refreshed GPU and CPUs, Galaxy Book 4 will get the new capabilities from Microsoft AI Co-Pilot this year, Bixby is maybe unwell?
There are lots of things being talked about which I'm sure are maybe only interested by a very small percentage of the population. Smart home/things experiences coming to the car with Hyundai. Setting this all up sounds very painful.
I'm signing off the Samsung conference as I head over to Sony at the main conference center in Las Vegas.
Last conference of the press only days, 4 days left to go. So now we wait for what Sony and Sony Alpha have to announce.
Seems a good turn out and the stage is set, new cameras, TVs and anything else ? AI should get some airtime.
Here we go, some VT about creatives etc being played. Yoshida San, Sony CEO is talking about creatives, and starts with 100yrs of Columbia Pictures, which Sony bought many moons ago.
Waiting to see if any Hollywood stars get rolled out. Creativity is the center of the message through, music and creative arts. There is a Kando style connection meeting for musicians which is kinda cool.
Authenticity birth certificate for validation of images as they are created, and the Sony a9III is being talked about and it's usage. Torch Light facility announced, to help experiment with new concepts for creatives to use. Find new ideas and learn new pre-production techniques.
Sony Pictures CEO talking about new IP and spin-offs like The Boys Gen V. Expanding game IP for TV or movies. God of War for Prime and Horizon for Netflix coming soon. Nice!! More IP from Nintendo, Legend of Zelda for TV or movie – they didn't say no mention of which.
Sony VAR tech used for Premier League (boo) – I didn't know that was a Sony creation, but it's probably the use, not the camera to blame!!
PlayStation is being talked about, PS5 sold over 50m units, PS has132m monthly active users. Video playing showing various controllers and add-ons for PlayStation including VR of course. Sony did sneak in a big reveal here: a new XR head-mounted display and controllers.
They didn't seem to give them any kind of title though which was odd. A controller-wand and a ring-sized peripheral are part of the new hardware, targeting creators and artists working in virtual spaces. The release dates are unclear, with pricing details to be revealed at a later date, so also no news there. I assume the device is stand-alone and doesn't need much hardware to run it, like the Apple Vision Pro. I think there might be some more info available as the week plays out.
Update on the Sony car maybe with the Honda CEO on stage, there seem to be lots of CEOs around these days. I haven't seen the car since CES 2022. Lots of chatter but no car was displayed. More CEOs are being wheeled out to talk cars (no pun intended). I spoke too soon, the new car being shown and controlled with a PS5 controller. Just for kicks but not an official feature.
Afeela is the new name, was called the Sony S or something the last time I saw the car. Talking about the technology that stops you from crashing, using various tech though a Snapdragon CPU. Some cool tech recreates the real world using Unreal Engine as a virtual space for the car to monitor its surroundings.
Car has some AI, to speak with the car through tech delivered by Microsoft.
This needs a bit of a deep dive to understand what's the impact of all of this, not much explanation in the presentation. Buzzword noodle soup, Microsoft talking about how their platform is being used in mobility for cars. Will this have an ultimate impact on Google and Apple with in-car entertainment too?
No more cameras today, sadly.
Sony didn't reveal that much today, in contrast to what I was expecting, but the XR stuff looks cool at least. The car has been teased for years now and I wonder if it's a show and pony project for now.
That's it from Sony and Day 2 of CES for me. I'll be visiting various booths for some proper short-form stories so look out for those.
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