It’s all systems go at the CES 2019, which kicked off today (Jan 8) at the Las Vegas Convention Center – the regular venue for the Consumer Electronics Show since 1998 – and will last until Jan 11.
Some four and a half thousand companies, including a number of start-ups, will be displaying their technological wares at the four-day event, ranging from the smartest of televisions, laptops and mobile phones to self-driving cars, smart home products and everything else in between.
Historically, the event has been about consumer gadgets, with manufacturers showcasing their latest and upcoming products at this increasingly popular global stage.
However, over the years the annual event has diversified extensively and now encompasses the artificial intelligence, virtual reality, automobiles, medicine and even marketing and agriculture.
While the big guns of technology always pull something new out of their bags of tricks every year, it has become a kind of a trend to hold back flagship products for standalone events; the Google Pixel 3 event in New York last October is a case in point.
Here are some of the main tech takeaways from day one of this mega event.
HTC unveils two new Vive VR headsets
Taiwanese tech giant HTC revealed two brand new virtual reality headsets – the Vive Cosmos and the Vive Pro Eye, each targeting a different set of customers.
While the Vive Cosmos has been designed as a consumer-first VR headset with virtual reality enthusiasts in mind, the Vive Pro Eye, as the name suggests, is intended for professionals in the business segment.
The Vive Cosmos will not only play games but will also offer new social experiences; plus it will be compatible with HTC’s new Viveport Infinity game subscription platform.
The Vive Pro Eye’s integrated eye-tracking technology will afford greater accessibility and improved training simulations to the professional user, while its updated CPU and GPU promises a more efficient performance compared to the previous-gen pro headset.
HP OMEN X Emperium 65 Big Format Gaming Display
While HP has unveiled a whole range of new devices at this year’s CES, what stood out among them was its all-new Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD), the OMEN X Emperium.
The OMEN X Emperium 65 is one of the world’s first BFGDs with a 120W soundbar and much more.
The idea behind big format gaming displays is to provide a TV-sized 4K gaming experience with features like top-of-the-line HDR, a high variable refresh rate, and SHIELD TV functionality.
The HP OMEN X Emperium 65 features a DisplayHDR 1000-certified 64.5-inch 8-bit AMVA display panel with a screen resolution of 3840×2160 pixels.
Some of the other features of the HP big format gaming display include:
- 120 – 144 Hz refresh rate (normal/overclocked)
- 750-1,000 nits brightness (typical/HDR)
- 3200:1 – 4000:1 contrast ratio (minimum/typical)
- 178° viewing angles
- 4 ms GtG response time with overdrive enabled
- 384-zone full direct-array backlight for an enhanced HDR experience
HP OMEN X Emperium 65 is expected to go on sale sometime next month and although the price has not been revealed yet, it’s expected to set you back by quite a bit.
Asus ROG Mothership
The Asus ROG Mothership is a powerful detachable gaming laptop, which at first glance looks strikingly similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro.
The device boasts high-end specs like a 17.3-inch FHD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate, Intel Core i9 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, up to 64GB RAM, and much more.
The 4.7-kilogram Mothership is equipped with a Kickstand that kicks out automatically as soon as the bottom edge touches the surface you’re placing it on, and what’s more is that it allows you to sit the display at three different angles.
The gaming device also features a three NVMe SSD RAID 0 array for top-speed file operations and offers advanced connectivity via an 802.11ax Wi-Fi (aka Wi-Fi 6) and 2.5G Ethernet.
Two of the biggest Huawei announcements at CES 2019 were the ultraportable 13-inch Huawei MateBook 13 laptop and the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite, a 10-inch Android-based tablet.
The MateBook 13 packs some great specs, including a 2,160×1080-pixel high-res touchscreen display, an Intel 8th generation Core i7 or Core i5 processor with up to of 8GB RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage.
The laptop also has two USB Type-C ports, a one-megapixel web camera, a fingerprint scanner on the power button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Huawei MediaPad Android tablet is powered by a Kirin 659 processor and offers 3GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, a microSD slot, a 7,500mAh battery, and a stylus.
Hyundai’s “Walking Car”
Enough of laptops and VR headsets; here’s a potential life-saving creation that will make a huge difference to how rescue teams respond to emergencies, particularly in areas that are inaccessible by wheeled vehicles.
It’s a Hyundai-developed concept vehicle called “Elevate” that actually walks on articulated legs and, hence, makes it easier to reach victims of natural disasters, especially where flood, fire, or earthquake has rendered the terrain inaccessible by regular wheeled transportation.
Not only can this walking car prototype walk, but, terrain permitting, it can also drive like a normal car using the wheels attached to each of its legs.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field,” said John Suh, VP and head of Hyundai’s Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences (CRADLE).
“They have to go the rest of the way by foot,” he said, adding: “Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”