After a busy week at the world's largest gadget trade show, Quartz 'time in Las Vegas has come to an end. We have eaten delicious fake meats, we have met with more than a few robots, we have seen televisions larger than our apartments, and we have captured all we could of what the 4,400 CES exhibitors had to offer.
In recent years, we have considered that a company or a product is the winner of the CES, since, in our opinion, it is the one that best reflects the spirit of what consumer electronics is supposed to be: the new technology, just on the horizon, that we believe will have a great impact on our lives. This year, we felt that there was nothing that matched that. This is why:
Who won the CES: nobody
This CES, the predominant theme were two incredibly rich companies, Google and Amazon, who struggled to sell essentially the same product (their virtual assistants, Assistant and Alexa, respectively). Companies that had once supported the quality of their own product suddenly have made the compatibility with the ecosystem of Amazon or Google to define the characteristics of their own devices. The result is a sea of similar and disappointing products, with some outstanding features, such as the Bell autonomous helicopter concept, some 8K televisions and a new HTC VR headset. None was big enough to claim to be the "winner" of the conference.
A little more than a decade ago, the smartphone revolutionized the way we communicate and live, but now that almost all phones are really good (even the cheapest), it is extremely difficult for a manufacturer to differentiate their offers without resorting to tricks . In contrast, technology companies are less focused on putting new devices in their pocket and more focused on surrounding them with them.
The thirstiest company: Still Google
Like last year, the search giant covered Vegas with ads from its Google Assistant, which included a wrapping around the city's monorail, an amusement park-style ride, and a huge gum-filled machine. free booty Google also hired hundreds of people to wear white Google Assistant overalls and represent the company at the partners' booths.
The cure for the common car ride: Audi
Automotive companies are preparing for a future in which vehicles drive most of the driving, rather than humans, by making it more fun to be a passenger. Among the automotive companies that showed technology to entertain passengers was Audi, whose startup, Holoride, created a virtual reality experience with Disney that moves with the car to prevent seasickness. Audi itself turned a sedan into a low rider that can shake and vibrate along with the action in a movie that passengers are watching.
Almost all the car manufacturers present brought a futuristic concept car, with the intention of showing how they think about how to travel in a self-driven car and what the car of tomorrow will look like. Micro tried to document each one He saw, and the total number in this technology conference is still surprising, especially considering that one of the most important salons in the world, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, starts on Monday, January 14.
The tastiest in the show: Impossible food.
The food technology company Impossible Foods presented a new recipe for its "meat" of vegetable origin, made in the laboratory, which is more tasty and better for you than its original formula. The new recipe is designed to be sold in grocery stores and cooked by home-made chefs. And it does more than hamburgers: tacos, empanadas, tartar and other dishes that use the meat were served during the technical conference.
The most impressive product: DS3
Procter & Gamble, one of the largest packaged consumer products companies in the world, introduced a line of new soaps and other cleaning products that do not contain water or require plastic packaging. The small and square samples, called DS3, are activated when they are placed in the water. So far the company has been testing the products on Indiegogo. If it reaches the market completely, as P & G plans, the line could eliminate tons of water and plastic waste, and it would be easier to transport than heavy bottles of soap and water-based detergent.
Honorable mention: Source hydropanels
The panels are not for energy, but capture the water vapor from the environment in the air and convert it into drinking water. The company, Zero Mass Water, has shown that the product works in humanitarian efforts and is even integrated into public works projects. Conceptually, it is like a great dehumidifier, in tune with the task of making drinking water. The promise of infinite clean water without the need for infrastructure could be a technology that alters the world.
Biggest surprise: Samsung is a robot company now.
While Samsung is known to produce almost all electronic devices under the sun, it generally focuses on more traditional products, such as washing machines, televisions and telephones. That's why it was so surprising that the biggest announcement of the company at CES this year was a new division focused on robotics. The company showed three robots and three exoskeletons aimed at helping people with mobility problems. Samsung hastened to say that these robots, in which he has been working in Korea for more than six years, will not be available for purchase this year, but represent a new direction for the company, as they focus on welfare.
Samsung's rugged and attractive Bot Care robot is designed to help people track their medications, monitor vital signs and send information to their doctors. The company could not confirm if it was running through the approval processes in the US. UU (Such as compliance with HIPAA or approval from the Food and Drug Administration), but it may be too early to think about that.
Samsung also showed a robot meant to be used in retail or a customer service that is almost as cute as Bot Care, and can be used to make and deliver orders in a restaurant, or to help customers to find products in a store. Samsung is far from being the only company that works on products like these, but few of them have the resources at their disposal that Samsung has.
5G is finally arriving
The issue of CES is always "more". Higher resolution, faster processors, larger screens. Therefore, it only makes sense that all the main technology companies defend 5G, a connectivity technology focused exclusively on offering "more" to consumers. 5G, which means that the fifth generation of wireless cellular networks, promises that our smartphones and auxiliary devices will have the ability to transmit 4K video, download a movie in seconds and allow developers to write larger and more robust applications.
Although large telecommunications and technology companies are enthusiastic about 5G, it is likely to be an uncomfortable transition for us, the consumer. Its speed is based on a denser network of specialized towers than the existing infrastructure, which means that not only a switch can change from 4G to 5G. Coverage will probably be irregular in early implementation, and it is also likely to be a more expensive service at the beginning.
CES by numbers
Quartz reporters Dave Gershgorn, Mike Murphy and Ashley Rodriguez spent the last five days in Las Vegas. Here is a quick summary of what we did:
- Total miles traveled by quartz reporters: 88.38.
- CES written briefs: 4
- Lost game dollars: $ 2
- Betting dollars: $ 48
- Casinos visited: 12
- Backup battery charge energy used: 32,387 milliamp hours
- Assisted events: 17
- Lost events: 27