Let’s talk CES gadgets – TechCrunch
It’s been a long time Back in the days when CES actually stood for ‘Consumer Electronics Show’ – CTA has made sure that in its various fine print. I recommend you check out our recent best of CES 2012 story for a throwback to when things like smartphones took center stage at the event. Mobile World Congress took the breath away at CES, while also providing more incentive for companies to launch flagship products at their own events.
This year we got, what, the budget flagship Samsung and a preview of the latest OnePlus device at a side event? Things certainly haven’t been helped by the fact that LG and HTC – both of which were involved in the show in one form or another – are largely or entirely out of the smartphone game. And Huawei, which was very present at the show a few years ago, will not be attending CES anytime soon.
Much of this void has been filled by transportation. Over the past decade, CES has evolved into a major auto show, as automakers seek to prove to the world that they are at the cutting edge of technology, from range to in-vehicle systems to sending robots to the Martian metaverse. The show has certainly kept Kirsten and Rebecca busy this week.
CES continues to be a major event on the consumer hardware side, even though there aren’t as many phones as there used to be. It’s still a major showcase for PCs, connected health, smart home gadgets, accessories, and even robotics. It is also a fascinating look at the evolution of the industry. Get in good shape – the sheer volume of wearable clothing has declined, although companies are experimenting with new form factors like rings. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in the number of companies looking to take on Peloton and Mirror.
In what was a fairly subdued performance for wearables, Garmin managed to grab headlines with its Sport hybrid smartwatch. Granted, hybrid smartwatches have been a mixed bag over the years, but Garmin has proven to be a surprisingly strong brand in the clothing category. And the Vivomove Sport is a very nice watch, with a clean design that will appeal to those who reject flashier smartwatches.
Trackers have had a bit of time, in the wake of the popularity of products like Tile and Apple AirTags. This year the former got another PC partner, in Lenovo, as the ThinkPad X1 supported tile tracking, allowing users to find their lost laptop for up to 14 days, even when it is turned off. Targus, meanwhile, has integrated Apple’s Find My support right into its latest backpack.
But Chipolo gets the green light here with the introduction of CARD. The device, which also supports Find My, is slightly larger than a credit card and designed to live in a wallet, so you get an alert whenever you leave the product behind. I currently have an AirTag, which I use for my keys. As someone who’s lost their wallet more than once in my adult life, I’d say this is a pretty compelling use case that would make me consider paying for another.
Devin ditched the AXE11000 Tri-Band 6E Wi-Fi Router at the end of all of what my work from home would look like if I were a wealthy, independent bunch (paraphrasing here). This thing is pretty wild, especially when it comes to the router world. The system includes a motorized antenna that adjusts for a stronger signal. No word on the price there, but you’re likely going to pay for that luxury on top of TP-Link’s already steep base price. But can you really put a price on faster Wi-Fi?
Scream for what is likely to be a remote prop at a much more reasonable price. At the very least, Anker knows how to cut costs; $ 220 will get you the video bar, which is sort of an all-in-one webcam solution. You get a 2K camera with AI-based framing, paired with a light bar and built-in speakers. It won’t replace more advanced studio setups (or, for that matter, the Opal), but it’s a solid plug and play solution for those looking to upgrade their home video game at a (relatively) good price. Marlet.
Earlier this week, I wrote a lot about the evolution of CES as a robotics show. One of the biggest sticking points is the general lack of viable home robotics, beyond the Roomba and an army of other robotic vacuum cleaners. I was happy to get a better overview of the Labrador system this week, however, as it fills a very real need – especially those with limited mobility looking to remain independent. The system is effectively a mobile helping hand for the home.
It’s not a CES without some fun new form factors, and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED takes the mile pie this year, adopting the foldable phone form factor into a full laptop. What’s most amazing about the thing is that the company is actually planning to release the thing. Guess I’m not the only one guessing this thing was just a concept the first time I saw a render, but Asus plans to release the system in the second quarter of this year. So we’ll see soon enough how close the commercial product comes to these clichÃ©s.
Samsung skipped its usual sensory bombardment this year. There weren’t any robots, just custom-made washing machines and budget phones, but he managed to squeeze in a fun spotlight, of all things. Despite their relatively limited appeal, companies keep trying to create projectors, and at the very least, this one is small, well-built, and looks good. It’s $ 900 too, which means it’s probably destined to stay in its niche.