From invisible screens to flying cars, what to expect at CES 2020

CES 2020 has arrived. We’ve dug through rumours, press releases and our inboxes to pick some of the most exciting tech you can expect to see at the world’s largest technology show in Las Vegas this coming week. Here’s a peek at what’s to come.

TVs at CES 2020: Transparent displays, 8K and more

TVs tend to dominate at CES, and this year is no different. South Korean heavyweights Samsung and LG will unveil fancy screens aplenty, with 8K the order of the day. LG will tout its ‘Real 8K’ TV lineup, complete with an industry-certified 8K UHD logo – a standard set by the Consumer Technology Association that runs CES.

We’re not going to torture you with the ins and outs of television standards, but you should take them all with a pinch of salt. Samsung and other manufacturers such as Panasonic, for example, have certifications from a separate body called the 8K Association, so it’s all a PR battle as much as anything else.

That aside, LG’s new TVs deliver 8K upscaling, courtesy of a new AI-powered processor, designed to make lower resolution content shine on its 65-inch to 88-inch screens. The same tech also promises to automatically detect what you’re watching and adjust the settings accordingly, while also letting you control your smart-home connected kit from your sofa.

There have also been whispers of an update to LG’s rollable TV. Revealed last year as a screen that unfurled from within a stand, this year’s version apparently houses the display in the ceiling, allowing it to magically unroll from above. The last trick in the LG camp is a transparent OLED display, which can be used as a high-tech partition or wall as has been aimed squarely at the business sector.

Samsung has played its cards closer to its chest this year. Leaks point to a completely frameless 8K QLED screen, called the Zero Bezel TV. According to rumours, Samsung has managed to glue the chassis of the TV to the panel with a miniscule distance, giving the appearance of a floating screen.

We also expect Samsung to reveal Neon, its ‘artificial human’, thought to be some form of AI that’s completely separate from the much-maligned Bixby (thankfully). We don’t know what products Neon is expected to infiltrate, but it could very well be TVs and phones. Expect all to be revealed during the company’s keynote on Monday.

Samsung will also be showing off the Sero – a TV with the dubious ability to rotate from portrait to landscape mode. While there are currently no details on Samsung’s site, we know from its announcement last year that it’s aimed at “young people” who want to enjoy Snapchat videos, Insta stories and other vertical video content in their full intended glory.

And a more general televisual trend for CES 2020: expect to see in TVs with faster refresh rates, in preparation of the upcoming new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Cars at CES 2020: flying cars and fancy displays

Let’s kick off with Hyundai’s flying car, or Personal Air Vehicle (above). Due to be unveiled as a concept, it’s designed to “alleviate road congestion and give back quality time to city commuters”, while allowing the rest of us to live out our Fifth Element fantasies in a (presumably) safe manner. The company will also show off a concept for its self-driving Purpose Built Vehicle, which can join its flying brother at Hyundai Hubs – locations in future cities which will presumably be used to recharge and maintain the vehicles.

Nissan’s CES showcase is a little more grounded in reality, showing off the previously announced zero-emission Nissan Ariya Concept, new Formula E and the Nissan LEAF e+ electric vehicles. Oh, and an electric ice-cream van which uses recycled energy cells from Nissan’s first generation of electric cars, with a solar panel to help charge the batteries.

Honda will kick show off its Augmented Driving Concept (above), which is described as a self-driving car in which the “autonomous driving system is constantly on standby, ready to intervene and control the vehicle when needed”. In other words, the driving system changes between automatic and manual with a switch, and features more than eight modes between fully autonomous and semi-autonomous operation. Sensors in the vehicle continuously read the driver’s intention, to smoothly shift between these modes.

In addition to new cars, we’re also going to see specific components steal the automotive spotlight at CES. Futurus Technology’s mixed reality windshield is one example, which augments the driver’s view with important information. The company is reportedly working BMW, amongst others, to implement this tech into future vehicles.

Smart home at CES 2020: Fridges, baby rockers and Apple

It wouldn’t be CES without a smart kitchen appliance, and Samsung’s latest Family Hub fridge is one of the biggest you’re likely to find. Beyond the obvious fact that it’s a fridge with a giant built-in display and cameras to show you the contents, this year’s model has an AI-powered Meal Planner feature, courtesy of recently acquired startup Whisk. It can, apparently, help you plan a week’s worth of meals by adjusting various factors such as your ingredients and number of guests, before creating a smart shopping list that consolidates ingredients from different recipes.

On the other end of the smart-home spectrum is the mamaRoo sleep bassinet (above) – a bed for infants which gently rocks them to sleep with five different motion modes – car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing and rock-a-bye.

In more dystopian news, Amaryllo Inc is displaying the Athena – “the world’s first dual biometric security camera with high power CPUs to remotely perform cloud data mining to actively identify voices and seek objects”. In other words, it’s a camera that’s capable of recognising people based on their face, voice and body, without requiring a separate computer to process it all.

Last year, Kohler stole the show with its ludicrously priced Alexa-powered smart toilet, and the company has returned to upgrade your shower. Its updated Moxie showerhead has a built-in speaker with sound designed by Harmon Kardon, with Alexa once again thrown in for good measure.

CookingPal’s Julia can apparently chop, mix, steam, knead, emulsion, weigh and cook – all while being controlled via your smartphone or dedicated Smart Kitchen Hub Tablet. Voice assistant smarts have been thrown in for good measure. It’s as easy as choosing from over 500 tailored recipes, chucking the ingredients in, and letting Julia take care of the rest.

The puripot airLamp hides air-purifying tech inside a regular looking lamp. Its two-part purification process involves a washable dust filter, followed by special light rays which apparently destroy unwanted airborne particles. The mind boggles.

Following on from the stranger end of the spectrum, Samsung’s stand will also host its new Shoe Care System – an all-in-one “solution” to store and look after your footwear. Featuring the ability to deodorise, dehumidify and dry your shoes, it’ll supposedly help them last longer, look better and feel fresher. We’ll see.

Lastly, Apple will be making an extremely rare appearance at CES this year, to show off HomeKit. There’s apparently nothing new to announce from Apple itself, but new HomeKit products from third-party manufacturers will be shown off.

Laptops at CES 2020: Screen dreams are made of these

Laptops aren’t the most exciting thing in the world, but there are a couple we’ve spotted ahead of time that warrant your attention. For starters, Dell will be showing off its latest model of the XPS 13 – widely regarded to be the best general notebook in the world. With refreshed innards including the latest Intel processors, even thinner bezels and a full-width keyboard, this could very well be the world’s best laptop.

On the more extreme end of the scale, we have Asus’s horrifically named ROG Strix Scar III (above). It’s thankfully more handsome than its moniker suggests, with enough power to run the latest AAA titles, packing the punch of larger gaming PCs. Its headline-grabbing feature is its 300Hz display, a refresh rate that’s a rarity even amongst the highest end of the gaming monitor spectrum.

Phones at CES 2020: A OnePlus Concept

CES isn’t normally a stage for smartphones to strut their stuff, but OnePlus has ignored the memo with its Concept One handset. The standout feature is its invisible camera lenses, developed with McLaren, which appear and disappear at will, thanks to the wonders of electrochromic glass – the same tech you see in fancy office windows which can become clear or transparent at the touch of a button.

The Twitter teaser video only shows off the rear camera lenses in action, but if OnePlus has managed to work the same magic on the front-facing selfie cam, then this could be a game changer for notch haters. Or if it anything other than lightning quick, it could equally be fantastically annoying.

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