Best of CES 2020: The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is home to the biggest trade show in the world. Over the course of the last couple of years, its star has waned as the apex show-case for the latest and greatest in the world of technology. That being said, this year, things changed for the better with CES being home to some impressive technology showcases. Let’s take a look at some of the best technologies that graced CES this year, potentially setting the time for the decade.
What’s your favorite piece of new tech as we kickstart 2020? #LenovoCES
— Lenovo (@Lenovo) January 8, 2020
1. Foldables: While foldable screens were a major theme on smartphones in 2019, at CES 2020, they became a theme for laptops. Intel showed off the “Horseshoe Foldable” which folds in a “U” shape rather than folding flat. Lenovo ended up announcing the ThinkPad X1 Foldable which has a 13.3-inch plastic OLED screen folding into a compact 9.7-inch screen, replete with a magnetic keyboard with a trackpad apart from having usual niceties like Intel’s latest processors, typical Lenovo ThinkPad enterprise sturdiness giving it potential to be either a large tablet, a mini all-in-one PC or a compact laptop.
Like Lenovo, Dell also showed two concepts the Ori foldable and the duet dual-screen notebook. While the Ori is more in the mould of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable with a foldable screen, the Duet is essentially an XPS 13 notebook with an extra screen instead of the keyboard but primed for unique workflows where content can be spread across two screens in either portrait mode or standard laptop 16:9 aspect ratio.
2. CPUs: Unlike previous CES shows in the last decade, this year we saw both Intel and AMD bring their “A” game where they showed off the next generation of their silicon that will power a majority of the notebooks this year. Intel launched its “tiger lake” CPUs based on the 10nm+ manufacturing node with 2x levels of graphics performance based on its new Xe GPU architecture touting graphics for AAA games. It even announced its DG-1 discrete GPU. AMD was not to be left behind with the launch of its Ryzen 4000 APUs for notebooks based on the Zen 2 platform using a new 7nm manufacturing node. AMD has APUs for both ultrabooks and workstation-class notebooks which have a higher voltage requirement. These chips are arguably faster than what Intel is offering with superior graphics based on its VEGA GPU architecture and 2x better battery life than the Ryzen 3000 CPUs AMD launched last year. Both these chips could be transformational for notebooks in 2020.
3. OnePlus Concept One: Perhaps the most hyped phone at CES this year, the OnePlus Concept One, isn’t even a product that people will be able to buy. It’s a concept that integrates forward-thinking tech on a phone that’s essentially the OnePlus 7T Pro. Designed in tandem with McLaren, it features an electrochromic glass sheet on the back which masks the camera array at the push of a button, just like one can make the windows on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner go opaque. This is the same material that’s used on the aircraft and the sunroof of McLaren’s supercars. In addition, this adds a filter to the camera which makes photos brighter in pro mode. The point of this glass isn’t just to explore a new material but to provide a solution to the increasing encroachment of cameras on the rear of smartphones. It may not be needed right now, but this will increasingly become a theme in the next couple of years with the advent of computational cameras and AR/VR as the number of lenses mushroom.
4. Samsung Q950TS 8K TV: CES is traditionally home to the latest and greatest TVs and this year was no different. Like usual this year we saw many crazy TVs, but the one that pops out is the Samsung Q950TS which is a bezel-less 8K TV that has a screen to body ratio of 99%. The display is also amongst the slimmest around 15mm across the panel. It even leverages AI using a new Quantum processor and Samsung’s Tizen operating system to upscale content to 8K in a more defined way while also maintaining contrast in brightly lit rooms. While TVs are all about image quality, this TV also reinvents the audio capabilities that one expects from a premium TV. It has speakers on each side of the display and a sub-woofer on the back coupled with an object tracking AI giving almost Dolby Atmos-like directional sound and 5.1 surround. It is the most practical “expensive” TV we’ve seen at CES and it could be something most people are using in their homes as we go deeper into the decade.
5. Sony’s Electric Car: Sony’s electric car was perhaps the biggest surprise of CES 2020. The Sony Vision-S concept is an electric car integrating technologies from almost every division from the sprawling Japanese conglomerate. This includes a dashboard that is riddled with screens embedding a smart user interface for movies, music, and games produced by Sony. The backseat passengers have a high-end sound system embedded in the headrest alongside a tablet-like screen for entertainment, all derived from Sony’s iconic consumer electronics division. On the outside, apart from LIDARS and ultra-sonic sensors for drive assistance, there are 10 Sony image sensors from its camera unit providing the potential for a self-driving vehicle. As this is also an electric vehicle that has been produced in partnership with Magna, it can achieve Tesla-like performance achieving 0-95.5kph in 4.5 seconds propelled by twin 200kW motors on each axle and a top speed of 240 kph. At its core, the Sony Vision-S is a classic example of how a consumer electronics company can integrate various technologies in the car of the future in a meaningful way. This doesn’t only look like Sony’s future, it could also be Apple’s future.