What to expect from CES 2021: MicroLED TVs, Laptops, Galaxy S21?

Paper-thin televisions that roll up like a newspaper. Robots that can destroy you while playing table tennis. Eight thousand pound mech suits.

CES never disappointed the spectacle, but the biggest blockbusters always had one thing in common: You have to see them to believe them. It’s getting a little trickier now that CES 2021 is only going online, but if there’s one industry you can trust to adapt to digitization, it is … you know, the industry that invented the digital.

While we’re not flying to Vegas, camping in conference rooms, or drinking stale coffee this year, you can bet we will cover the virtual show remotely. And if the whispers we hear from manufacturers are indicative of that, there should be much to be pleased about. Here’s what we expect from every corner of the industry.

A cleaner, smarter home

By John Velasco

The smart home has seen tremendous growth over the past year, largely due to how individuals and families continue to cope with this new norm of working and learning from home. However, CES 2021 should deliver even more specific smart home solutions that adapt to the current conditions. Sales of smart speakers, air purifiers, and robotic vacuum cleaners rose during the quarantine. We therefore assume that we will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the people at home.

Expect innovations in home security systems, robotic vacuum cleaners, small appliances, charging solutions and lighting. In the past year alone, germ-zapping blue light technology was implemented in almost every conceivable home device. For many people, keeping your home safe now means keeping it clean. And sometimes clean means hands-free. Do you remember the Alexa-enabled toilet?

Many of the established brands in the smart home sector will not be represented at the big trade fair, but often the smaller companies have drawn more attention to think outside the box – especially when it comes to multifunctional products.

Laptops galore

From Luke Larsen

Much about CES this year feels unfamiliar. But one thing you can count on: many laptops are started. PCs have seen a surprising increase in sales thanks to the quarantine, and you can expect laptop manufacturers to double in size.

Companies like Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Acer have to bring a number of new laptops to the show. From slot machines to commercial PCs, there won’t be a shortage of new laptops making their debut at CES.

Beyond laptops, you can also expect these companies to play gadgets, accessories, and devices to enhance the work from home. Working from home and mixed offices is not going to go away anytime soon, and these companies have been quick to focus on supporting this drastic change.

After all, the dynamic rivalry between Intel, AMD and Nvidia can always be seen at CES. Everyone has press conferences planned, with AMD taking center stage as the official CES keynote. The balance of power between these companies is constantly changing, and CES is always an important moment that will set the tone for 2021.

The courage to do the next big thing

By Andrew Martonik

CES hasn’t been a big mobile show for a few years, but there are still plenty of products and innovations pointing to upcoming trends. Lots of big names are likely skipping CES entirely, but there is no way they made us big announcements. The mobile vantage point at CES is really about seeing new component innovations like cameras, screens, and sensors that could make it into the next generation of phones, tablets, and folding devices. It’s easy to expect that new low-end and value-driven phones will round out a company’s portfolio for the year. But that could all be turned on its head if rumors suggest that Samsung will tease the upcoming Galaxy S21 during the show.

The only area we could see a typical range of products in is the wearable area as CES has built a reputation for being a health and fitness show. New smartwatches as well as fitness bands of all kinds and the usual crazy concept glasses are likely.

High-end televisions are becoming mainstream

By Caleb Denison

Televisions have historically been the focus of attention at CES, and this year it won’t be an exception, even if that stage is virtual. Samsung announced a 110-inch MicroLED TV ahead of the show, and we’ll likely hear about more models. After TCL leads the way with another TV technology, Mini-LED, there will be competition from other major TV brands and their own mini-LED TVs. After entering selected high-end televisions in 2020, HDMI 2.1 will also find broader acceptance and offer inexpensive televisions a variety of player-friendly functions. And while ATSC 3.0 – AKA NextGen TV – is still in the early stages of deployment, it will make its presence known as more TVs with built-in ATSC 3.0 tuners are announced. The theme this year is high-end TV technology that goes mainstream.

Imagine life in the autonomous lane

From Ronan Glon

Car manufacturers no longer have to book a space at CES to present their electrification projects: electric and hybrid cars are either already in showrooms across the country or are expected to arrive there in the coming years. Autonomy is the next frontier for many businesses, and it’s a topic we’re likely to learn a lot more about at CES 2021. While the technology is better than ever, there is still a lot to be done and a lot of hurdles (including regulations) that have not yet been overcome.

How users – whether they drive or drive – interact with their car will change significantly in the 2020s. Infotainment systems are learning new tricks like shopping in the car and playing in the car, and those advances go hand in hand with autonomy. Looking to the future, your car’s touchscreen will have the same functions as your smartphone in five or ten years. It all starts at CES.

Just absurdity

By Drew Prindle

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting parts of CES is the weird and unexpected technology that is popping up on the exhibit floor, grabbing the world’s attention with a brute force novelty. It happens every year. In January last year, for example, we came across a laser-controlled mosquito blaster, a hydrofoil e-bike and a stunningly nifty robotic prosthetic arm.

This year there will almost certainly be some strange announcements along these lines, but due to the fact that CES 2021 is considerably smaller than in previous years, it is also certain that the weird and unusual devices will be a little less numerous.

But don’t get angry. Despite the low number of exhibitors this year, we have the good authority that there is still a lot of strange pieces of equipment waiting to debut. Unfortunately we can’t provide details just yet, but be prepared for curiosities like kitchen robots, VR workstations, and one-handed drone controllers. Weird and Wild Technology will be on display at CES 2021 – you have my word.

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