It’s the world’s biggest showcase for gizmos and gadgets and it’s almost guaranteed that something unveiled this week at a huge trade fair in Las Vegas will end up on your wish list.
Particularly if you have $16,900 to spare and you’ve always wanted a toilet that solves the perennial problem of people leaving the seat up. Or you want to watch TikTok videos on your fridge.
LG, Samsung, Sony, Facebook and Instagram owner Meta, Canon, Google owner Alphabet, GM, BMW, Microsoft and many more besides are set to jostle for attention at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, otherwise known as CES.
The mammoth event kicks off on Thursday, January 5 (US time) at the Las Vegas Convention Centre and runs until Sunday.
This year, expect the metaverse and artificial intelligence to all feature prominently alongside sustainability and digital health.
In terms of actual electronics, there will be new TVs, gaming systems, motoring products and household appliances.
However one big name will not be at CES. Apple is the elephant NOT in the room, eschewing the exhibition for its own launches held at its headquarters in Silicon Valley.
CES is not open to the public. It’s an industry-only affair, so if your name’s not on the list, you’re not getting in.
Usually big and busy, around 175,000 people attended CES in 2020. But, of course, a pandemic then intervened.
After going fully online in 2021, CES returned to an in-person event last year but numbers were well down in Las Vegas amid the Omicron wave with only around 44,000 people turning up.
This year, if 100,000 attend the organisers will be happy.
“CES is the world’s most exciting technology event, from start-ups to global brands on the main stages,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association which stages the fair.
“Tech advances are helping to solve the world’s greatest challenges, and CES 2023 will set the agenda for the year ahead.”
Here are some of the CES highlights to look out for.
Advances in the metaverse
Meta, the company behind Facebook, has reportedly already spent an eye-watering $US50 billion ($A73 billion) in the metaverse with $US15 billion ($A22 billion) being invested every year.
It’s fair to say there is some nervousness around whether the metaverse will pay off and if consumers will take to it.
Meta has admitted the firm will lose money in the next few years building the metaverse.
It has recently launched the Quest Pro headset so will be showing that off – with perhaps some more products or advances – hoping to get people enthused.
Rival HTC is set to debut its Vive XR Elite headset at CES that could give Meta’s Quest Pro a run for its money.
AI – more than just a gimmick?
Many of us may have spent Christmas busily using AI to create digital art pieces or getting programs like ChatGPT to write, if not a novel, at least a quick bit of poetry.
It’s all very diverting, but CES may have some better applications with AI to make everyday life that bit easier.
LG’s new TVs and retro appliances
The South Korean electronics giant will be going hard at CES. It will launch its flagship monitor, the LG UltraGear OLED as well as a new range of OLED TVs stuffed full of new tech. Expect them to be crisper and brighter.
In a previous year, LG launched a “rollable” TV – we’ll have to see if it has something as eye-catching this year.
But if your eyes glaze over at appliances brimming with knobs, dials and displays, LG is set to launch a “back to basics” minimalist range of fridges, washing machines and cookers, which pares down the gadgetry. Think fewer buttons and more intuitive controls. The company states the retro range is “refreshingly unadorned” but still gets the job done.
If you actually want your fridge to go the other way and look like the future, LG will also be displaying its MoodUp appliances that can change colour including a new vivid pink shade.
Samsung’s TikTok fridge
Another Korean powerhouse, Samsung, is also debuting some fancy new fridges. The Bespoke Refrigerator Family Hub Plus (rolls off the tongue) will feature a display where you can scroll through photos stored on your phone and make digital shopping lists.
If you so desire, Samsung says you can watch up to 190 TV channels, if in the US. And you can even get your fill of YouTube and TikTok on your fridge.
Samsung is also releasing ultra-wide QD-OLED gaming monitors.
A toilet with Alexa inside
One minute we’re being told not to take Alexa into the bedroom, now we’re being encouraged to take Alexa into the toilet.
American manufacturer Kohler will show off a $16,900 toilet which has Alexa inside. So you can get the weather report while sitting on the throne.
The Numi 2.0 it also comes with LED lights that illuminate the bowl, jets that can power wash all of your bits and bobs and a mist to help disguise smells.
And that perennial problem of people leaving to toilet seat up is a problem no more. The Numi can automatically lower the seat after every use so the interior of the bowl is banished from public view.
The Numi has been around as a concept for a while but the manufacturer says it is now ready to be installed.
Fancy cars of the future
While motor shows were once the preserve of big auto launches, CES is stealing some of their thunder.
Hyundai, BMW and Stellantis – the car company behind Peugeot, Fiat and Chrysler – will make big announcements at CES.
Stellantis will debut the Peugeot Inception Concept which it has said will sport a “cockpit that reinvents the car experience, redesigns the interior space and reshapes driving gestures around the next generation”.
The RAM 1500 Revolution BEV Concept, the firm says, will “redefine” pick-up trucks.
As ever at CES, there’s a lot of razzle dazzle but among all the new “concepts” and blue sky thinking about the future there are always some rock solid, in the flesh products which will be tempting consumers in stores just down the track.
News.com.au will be at CES and we’ll bring you the lowdown on all the latest must-have – or just must-see – gadgets.
Originally published as CES 2023: New products from LG, Samsung, Sony, BMW, Meta – and a $17,000 toilet
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