Those are some of the myriad new items that are expected to be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, the annual splashy tech conference that usually sets the stage for the year's biggest trends.
Once again, home automation, wellness and 5G will be buzzy subjects, but many businesses will also adopt pandemic-specific characteristics to reflect our increased time at home.
Reporters, exhibitors and investors usually explore showrooms in Las Vegas each year packed with giant TVs, smart cars and robots fixing martinis, but because of Covid-19, CES will be live only for the first time in its 54-year history.
The Consumer Electronics Association, the non-profit behind the four-day event beginning on Monday, said that this year 1,800 exhibitors from around the world will fill its "digital venue"-a figure that is substantially down from last year's 4,000 in-person exhibitors. The move would encourage tech giants from countries that have never participated before to participate in the online spectacle, but may also make it more difficult for smaller businesses to get noticed without stumbling upon a physical showroom booth.
Registered participants will be able to stream (and re-watch) keynotes from companies such as Verizon (VZ) and General Motors (GM), tap into breakout sessions—on how, for example, technology plays a role in the implementation of vaccines—and scan for new product presentations through an exhibitor register.
Any of the trade show's signature ingredients, such as hands-on time with the new products, demonstrations and networking, would be absent. But as we continue to navigate a global pandemic, the technology which makes our lives more connected and convenient will still resonate. All the big announcements and then some will be tracked by CNN Company.
At CES 2021, 5G would dominate debates in much the same way as last year.
With a keynote based on what the company has learned from testing out its 5G network and teasing its future plans, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg will kick off the presentation. And AT&T Business's CEO, Anne Chow, is expected to do the same in a breakout session. (CNN's parent company, WarnerMedia, is owned by AT&T.)
As described on the CES website, about 20 sessions will look into how 5G will reinvent different sectors, from cars and smart cities to healthcare and agriculture. According to David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, 5G-connected laptops can also make an appearance. Manufacturers, including Dell (DELL) and Lenovo (LNVGF), have yet to announce their 5G plans, pricing and overall strategies, and will use them to lay them out this week.
In many of our largest products, including the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, 5G is here, but it definitely has not achieved what its capacity is assumed to be yet. A guide for how it gets there could be given by these
Technology in Health
Health devices, fitness equipment and wearables have been common at CES for a long time, but this year the category will be supersized, both due to a rise in demand from the pandemic and even before, the industry will gradually step in this direction.
Like the one that claims to affect your dreams, next-level wearables will go beyond conventional monitoring. New fitness services and appliances will also emerge, keeping you linked to others, and there will be no lack of devices that show how we live now.
"Look for a number of health solutions, especially those that claim that they can tell you if you are showing signs of possible infection — raised body temp, elevated heart rate and respiration — or if you are socially distanced enough," said Ramon Llamas, director of research at IDC, a market intelligence company. "Or look at different disinfection solutions for the home, similar to the ones that claim they can zap unwanted or dangerous microbes on your phone."
The switch to online-everything last year—telehealth, working from home, remote learning, streaming—will be a key point of discussion at CES, but so will the position of technology to better support those changes.
According to Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO, Microsoft (MSFT) President Brad Smith is expected to explore expanding global broadband by using unused broadcast spectrum during the company's presentation. Meanwhile, with new virtual reality technologies, telehealth visits could get more advanced, and a rumored chip from AMD may help computers navigate multiplayer games better. As millions of students learn from home, Samsung (SSNLF) has already revealed new Chromebooks — a cheaper alternative to higher-tier laptops.
Smart Home Home
With millions of individuals staying at home, businesses expect to bring more smart devices and systems to living rooms, kitchens, and elsewhere. Appliances such as robot vacuum cleaners and air filters can get smarter with voice integration, beyond devices such as smart refrigerators and washers.
The pandemic helped improve the attractiveness of home care, social and educational robots, according to ABI Research research manager Jonathan Collins, so we can expect a lot more of that at CES this year, too.
Galaxy S21 from Samsung
Samsung's launch event for the Galaxy S21 is not technically part of CES, however the company will use the last day of the conference to unveil three new smartphones. (Typically, before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it hosts its annual Unpacked event — the first major conference that was canceled due to Covid-19 last year). We expect the lineup to include an enhanced camera this year, a flatter design and a lower starting price.
AUGENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL
See the latest virtual reality and augmented reality innovations and discover how immersive experiences are used across sectors, from health care to agriculture and production to retail.