The biggest tech show is about to kick off in Las Vegas. Here’s what to expect | CNN Business
A new version of a folding phone. an expensive toilet sensor which controls hydration and vitamin levels. And an oven powered by artificial intelligence.
The Consumer Electronics Show, now in its 56th year, kicks off this week in Las Vegas with a familiar mix of cutting-edge technology and wacky gadgets. The event, which is the largest consumer technology conference of the year, it is known for the robots that wander around the theater; eye-catching presentations on next-generation TVs; and quirky products like last year’s health-tracking bulbs and dehumidifying headphones.
But the event also fosters negotiation between executives, manufacturers and retailers from various industries and sets the stage for some of the year’s biggest technology trends. And this year’s event, in particular, could show how companies are thinking about products as pandemic worries ease for some consumers but recession worries remain.
The Consumer Technology Association, which hosts CES each year, said it expects about 100,000 in-person attendees this year, a significant increase from the 45,000 people who attended in 2022 amid concerns about the Omnicron variant of Covid-19 . (CTA is again offering a live stream for attendees who prefer to watch the event remotely.)
This year, featured speakers will include executives from traditional tech companies like Samsung, Sony, and Amazon, as well as other brands like John Deere, Delta, and BMW. While CES is traditionally a gadget show, and there will be no shortage of gadgets this year, around 60% of Fortune 500 companies are participating this year, allowing for more diverse product launches and discussions across all areas of technology
“Despite a pretty tough economy, the companies we’re seeing [attending] they’re very strong,” Gary Shapiro, president of the CTA, which is hosting the event, told CNN before the event.
Some of the key themes at this year’s CES will include sustainability, artificial intelligence and foldable devices.
Among the products unveiled ahead of CES 2023 is Samsung Display’s Flex Hybrid prototype, which features a foldable and sliding screen (the right side slides out to provide more screen space). Laptop maker Acer will show off a bicycle desk called eKinekt, which will allow users to work and pedal to generate kinetic energy that is used to help charge smartphones and laptops through the desk itself.
Health and wellness companies will once again dominate the showrooms, even as pandemic concerns ease for some. Kohler already announced an aromatherapy shower system that attaches to shower heads and infuses the water stream with aromas, such as lavender and eucalyptus, meant to help soothe the skin. Meanwhile, there will also be a large supply of fitness items.
Meanwhile, Withings’ U-Scan device collects about $500 of your urine stream to detect vitamin deficiencies, check hydration, and monitor metabolism (an additional device called the U-Scan Cycle Sync tracks your periods and cycles ‘ovulation).
Cars, trucks and boats will also be featured this year. Stellantis will show a concept version of its upcoming all-electric Ram pickup that will show where this brand is headed. Meanwhile, BMW will unveil an all-new user interface for its cars because, in today’s luxury car market, that matters to consumers at least as much as engine power and handling. Marine companies will also be showcasing the latest in electric and autonomous boat technology as this market also turns green.
“CES is moving away from being a consumer electronics show and increasingly becoming a consumer experience show,” said Ramon Llamas, director of IDC Research. “We might see a new device pop up here and there, and it’s easy to expect big TVs, cool cars and gadgets galore. But the secret sauce is what the software can do.”
He believes AI will especially enable companies to “make sense of how a consumer behaves and shape the device experience to better meet those needs.”
But at least one hot topic of the previous year may be less of a focus now: the metaverse, or the Metaverse’s idea.
In late 2021, Facebook ignited a wave of interest in the metaverse by changing its company name to Meta and announcing plans to invest heavily in continuing to develop virtual and augmented reality technologies that support more immersive online experiences.
Months later, at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, the metaverse was the talk of the town. As Axios reported at the time, “many CES observers suggested a drinking game in which the main observers shot up every time the metaverse was mentioned, but that would have been a recipe for alcohol poisoning “.
Interest in the immersive virtual world now appears to have been simmering, as Facebook has so far struggled to gain mainstream traction for its VR offerings.
Even so, the topic of virtual reality products will remain a focus for some companies. HTC is expected to launch the Vive Focus 3 this week at the show, with an emphasis on the metaverse.
The CES will last until Sunday, January 8.
– CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report