Nathan Landale

The Technology for The Next Generation

Jackery solar panels and power station
Computer, Gadget & Technology

CES 2024: AI everything, what we expect in Las Vegas and all the announcements so far


I know we say this every year, but it feels like just yesterday we were all crammed in a single room in Las Vegas eating mediocre takeout and voting for best in show in Engadget’s annual Best of CES Awards. But CES 2024 is, in fact, just around the corner. The show officially runs from January 9 to January 12, though we’ll be on the ground well before that, with the first CES-related events expected to kick off on January 7. 

Last year we saw a focus on accessibility and a rather disturbing amount of stuff that you were supposed to pee on or into. While we’ll probably see a good amount devices designed to help those with hearing impairments and mobility restrictions again this year, we anticipate some new trends to steal some headlines. Here’s a few predictions from our staff about what to expect from CES 2024 in Las Vegas — plus a digest of what’s been announced in the run-up to the show.

User-friendly solar 

Jackery solar panels and power station
Jackery

I suspect CES 2024 will be full of clean energy technology, packaged in the form of consumer hardware. Solar panels have traditionally been the purview of professional contractors but standalone setups are gaining in popularity. Two or three years ago, this gear would have been targeted at RV users but now it’s cresting into the mainstream. Pop-up panels, coupled with inverters and batteries that look like air conditioning units, sitting unobtrusively in the corner, are all the rage. It’s a plus that most of these setups are plug and play, removing the need for a professional to get involved.

There are a couple of drivers for this beyond the niche audience of folks looking to get off of the electricity grid. In many places outside the US, the cost of energy has spiked dramatically and it’s folly to think the same won’t happen here. Not to mention that, in places like Texas, people have seen the power grid fail with devastating consequences. It’s going to be a big market in the next few years and I’d expect to see more and more consumer brands follow Anker and Jackery into the home battery world. — Dan Cooper, Senior Reporter UK

MEMS earbuds

Exploded view of an xMEMS headphone.
xMEMS

If Engadget’s audience stats are any indication, audio nerds are extremely excited about MEMS earbud drivers. As my colleague James Trew has detailed in his reporting, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) may very well be the next big thing in headphones. A California-based company called xMEMS is the first to bring the solid state components to market, and the first true wireless earbuds that use them have recently gone on sale.

Some of the benefits of MEMS drivers are said to be improved response, better durability and more consistent fidelity. They also don’t require the calibration or matching that balanced-armature or dynamic drivers need on a production line. The only downside is that in their current state, they still need a hybrid setup with a secondary driver for bass. In its next-gen MEMS speaker, though, xMEMS is promising 40 times louder bass response.

The new model is called Cypress and the company will be demoing it for attendees at CES. xMEMS says its performance is consistent with the bass performance of “the best” 10-12 coil speakers currently being used in earbuds. What’s more, Cypress can improve ANC performance, which xMEMs says will cover higher frequencies – including crying babies. The company has already said the components won’t go into mass production until the end of 2024, so consumer products are over a year away. But the promise is too good not to be excited about a very early preview in Las Vegas. — Billy Steele, Senior Reporter

Wi-Fi 7 in everything

Wi-Fi 7
Netgear

While it may not be the most exciting development, I’m expecting to see a number of new devices with support for Wi-Fi 7 at CES 2024 — from laptops to TVs and everything in between. Currently, it’s still a work in progress, but with the official Wi-Fi 7 spec expected to be finalized sometime in early 2024, gadget makers are looking to get an early jump. Some benefits of Wi-Fi 7 include maximum speeds of up to 46 Gbps — more than twice as fast as what’s available using Wi-Fi 6/6E — along with a 320Mhz channel width that offers double the capacity compared to previous generations.

Another important feature is MLO (multi-link operation) which allows Wi-Fi 7 devices to use two bands at the same time, essentially turning a single wireless connection into a two-lane highway. For people with larger homes, this should improve the performance of mesh networks by allowing devices to switch bands without losing speed or connection. QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is also getting a significant boost from 1024-QAM on Wi-Fi 6/6E to 4096-QAM with Wi-Fi 7 which allows devices to pack more information into the same carrier signal.

The downside is that while there are some gadgets on sale today like the Samsung Galaxy S23 that already support Wi-Fi 7, you’ll need both a compatible device and router (not to mention a sufficiently fast internet connection) to take advantage of the spec’s full capabilities. In short, you should keep an eye out for new devices that work with Wi-Fi 7, but don’t rush out and upgrade everything in your home until prices stabilize and they become more widespread. — Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter

The year of the AI PC

Intel Core Ultra
Intel

If there’s one buzzy term you’re guaranteed to hear a ton throughout 2024, it’s “AI PC.” It’s a phrase both Intel and AMD are using to describe computers equipped with chips featuring NPUs, or neural processing units. Similar to the way GPUs speed up graphics processing for gaming, an NPU offloads AI tasks to handle them more efficiently. For Windows 11, that’s mainly limited to Microsoft’s Studio Effects, which can blur your video chat backgrounds or punch up your lighting. But more Windows AI features are rumored to be on the way (Microsoft’s push to bring its Copilot AI everywhere is a big sign), and companies like Adobe and Audacity are also developing NPU-powered features for their apps.

For years chipmakers have been chasing higher clock rates, smaller process designs and a wealth of other architectural upgrades like 3D transistors to make their hardware faster and more efficient. The move towards mobile chip designs, like Apple’s Silicon, is yet another way to reduce power consumption while also speeding up computational possibilities. Intel, AMD and other companies are also focusing more on GPUs to beef up basic gaming performance, while also offloading some creative tasks like media encoding. NPUs are the latest tool chip designers can rely on, and they also have the potential to change the way we use our computers entirely (or at least, deliver a bit more power and battery life for ultraportables).

While it’s easy to be skeptical of marketing terms, the phrase “AI PC” is at least functional. There are still plenty of laptops on the market without NPUs — Intel only got into the AI game with its new Core Ultra chips — so consumers will need an easy way to differentiate between different types of systems. After all, if you’re upgrading your laptop to take advantage of Windows Studio effects and AI powered software, you don’t want to be stuck with a non-NPU system for several years. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Reporter

Truly wireless TV

A Displace TV unit attached to large windows.
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Displace made a splash at CES 2023 with its truly wireless TV that could be mounted anywhere, even suction-cupped to a window. The company’s demo left us with a lot of questions as it wasn’t yet ready to discuss key details of the product since what it showed off were CES-specific prototypes. The company is returning to Vegas this year and it’s already announced what it plans to have on display.

First, Displace says two sizes of TVs will be demoed: the 27-inch Displace Mini and the 55-inch Displace Flex. The display we saw earlier this year was also 55 inches, but a key difference between it and the Flex is that this new version attaches to an optional magnetic wireless charging stand. Both the Flex and the Mini pack enough battery life to last a month if you watch six hours of content per day, according to the company. There’s no pricing available for these yet, but they go up for pre-order on January 9, so we’re bound to find out soon. Displace said it will also show off a 110-inch model at CES, although details are scarce.

The original version has gone up in price since last CES: it’s now $4,499 and orders won’t ship until mid-2024. The new Mini and Flex aren’t expected to ship until late next year either. The main thing we’ll be looking for at CES is a status update. Are the units any more polished? Have there been any notable upgrades since that first prototype? How much will the extra swappable batteries cost? Does it look like the company will actually be able to ship in the next 6-12 months?

Displace has also announced an AI-based shopping platform for its TVs. Using the same gestures that control TV viewing, the tech can analyze a paused scene for products that might be available for sale. The system also allows you to quickly make a purchase by either bringing a phone or watch near the NFC-enabled TVs or by using a mobile app. Displace says the goal for its products has always been ambient computing, and the first step towards that is this shopping platform. It’s also a way for the company to make money off the TVs after the initial sale. — Billy Steele

Announcements so far

Although CES 2024 officially kicks off on January 9, that hasn’t stopped some companies from making their announcements a few days early. Here’s some of the bigger news items we’ve reported on so far:

  • Dell unveiled new XPS 13, 14 and 16 laptops, plus a curved 40-inch 5K monitor.

  • Speaking of laptops, expect to see a bunch at CES that have shortcut keys for Microsoft’s Copilot AI assistant.

  • LG has been one of the most prolific pre-CES newsmakers, with a two-legged AI-powered robot; a line of new OLED TVs (plus a 98-inch QNED model); updated Gram laptops; an odd-looking 4K projector; 480HZ OLED panel for gaming; 4K monitors with webOS baked in; and the DukeBox, which puts vacuum tube audio behind a transparent OLED display.

  • More OLED gaming monitors! Samsung unveiled three anti-glare OLED monitors of its own.

  • It wouldn’t be CES without TVs. Roku will be at CES with its first self-branded premium sets.

  • Not all headphones with active noise cancellation need to be expensive. JLab unveiled a pair that costs just $80.

  • Qualcomm has an improved Snapdragon chip for virtual reality and mixed reality headsets.

  • TomTom and Microsoft are teaming up to bring generative AI to cars.

  • For the foodies, GE will be showing off a $1,000 smart indoor BBQ smoker.

  • Razer’s new Razer Blade 16 laptop will have the world’s first 16-inch 240Hz OLED display. Here’s more on the rest of the lineup, too. Later in the run-up, Razer also announced two gaming chairs, one with an HD haptics cushion.

  • A company called Clicks wants to bring back iPhone cases with physical keyboards.

  • Samsung is teaming up with Tesla and Hyundai to offer more deeply integrated smart home and EV controls.

  • Later, Samsung also unveiled a boatload of home theater gear, including its AI-infused 2024 TV lineup, a soundbar with HDMI 2.1, a Music Frame speaker to pair with Frame TVs, a smart monitor that doesn’t need a PC, and projectors that turn any surface into an interactive display. 

  • Perhaps Samsung’s biggest showstopper was this transparent MicroLED screen. No, the company didn’t say anything about pricing or availability.  

  • You can always count on Kohler to show up at CES with luxuriously decadent bathroom fixtures. This year, it’s a voice-controlled bidet seat that turns a regular toilet into a smart one.

  • Acer refreshed its Swift and Aspire laptops and also unveiled an enormous 57-inch ultrawide monitor.

  • Xreal is billing the new Air 2 Ultra as an affordable alternative to Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro headset.

  • Withings unveiled the BeamO, an all-in-one thermometer, ECG and stethoscope.

  • Mui’s latest whimsically designed wooden smart home controller brings Matter support, which the previous-gen model would have been too old to have.

  • Govee has an AI chatbot that programs your lights for you.

  • You’ve seen Concept2 rowing machines — they’re the most ubiquitous rowers around. Your local gym probably has one. Anyway, a company called Myrow made a Peloton-esque third-party display for it.

  • Unistellar has some new smart telescopes.

  • Definitely one of the weirdest things we’ve seen so far: an AI-powered cat door that keeps your cat from dragging in dead mice.

  • Belkin has a $175 iPhone dock that can track you around a room.

  • HP unveiled what it says is the world’s lightest 14-inch gaming laptop.

  • JBL announced a ton of new audio gear, including six new headphones, replaceable batteries for its portable Bluetooth speakers, a smart earbud case with a touchscreen, and some new microphones.

  • Garmin has a “first of its kind” heart rate monitor that can work even when attached to sports bras. Imagine women also being your customers!

  • AMD had a couple announcements, including its desktop Ryzen 800G chips getting AI and a new entry-level Radeon RX 7600 XT GPU.

  • Speaking of GPUs, meet NVIDIA’s $999 4080 Super graphics card. NVIDIA will also offer streaming day passes to paid subscribers.

  • Not to be outdone on chips, Intel used the occasion to reveal its full family of 14th-generation CPUs.

  • Volkswagen is integrating ChatGPT to improve (?) its in-car voice assistant.

  • Would you spend $1,499 on this Victrola streaming turntable?

  • More AI: Mojawa put an AI running coach in its bone-conduction headphones.

  • Shokz also came to CES with bone conduction headphones, except these are waterproof.

  • TCL came to CES with a 115-inch MiniLED Quantum Dot television in a bid to rebrand itself as a possible competitor to premium TV brands like Sony, Samsung and LG.

  • Sennheiser announced some sport earbuds and over-the-ear headphones rated for 50 hours of battery life.

  • Remember Mophie’s Juice Pack? It’s back, baby!

  • Well, that’s one kind of palm reading: Philips has a smart door lock that can unlock by looking at your palm.

  • Samsung Ballie, the aptly named robot of CESes past, has returned for CES 2024 with a new look and a built-in projector.

  • MSI has three — count ’em, three — 18-inch gaming laptops at CES.

  • Lenovo also has some gaming laptops at the show. These make use of Lenovo’s proprietary cooling tech and, like so many other laptops at CES 2024, have AI-infused chips.

  • Alienware teased a 32-inch 4K QD-OLED gaming monitor.

  • ASUS’s first homegrown NUC is a mini gaming PC. The company also released a new gaming phone.

  • Lenovo’s Yoga 9i and Yoga 9i 2-in-1 have AI chips — surprise, surprise.

  • Kia announced some cute, modular vans.

Early CES 2024 hands-on posts

  • Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low got hands-on with the new LG Gram Pro 2-in-1, which comes in 16- and 17-inch screen sizes and boasts a faster-refresh OLED display.

  • Senior reporter Billy Steele had a brief demo with LG’s two new soundbars.

  • This isn’t the first homebrewing device we’ve seen, but beer enthusiast Terrence O’Brien had to try it out anyway.

  • TCL’s NXTPAPER 14 Pro is somewhere between a tablet and giant e-reader, says Engadget’s UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith.

  • How do you pronounce ViXion01? Still not sure, but the tech is interesting: These glasses claim to reduce eyestrain by doing the focusing for you. Senior reporter Richard Lai got hands-on.

  • Senior reporter Sam Rutherford says that Acer’s new Predator Helios 18 gaming laptop has a “mesmerizing” hinge.

  • Sam also describes the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 as “funky,” which is enough to get us interested.

  • ASUS’s new ROG Zephyrus G14 and G16 gaming laptops are sophisticated, he says.

  • Sam liked Alienware’s m16 R2 gaming laptop as well for its sleek design. Basically, let him get hands-on with all the gaming notebooks.

  • Senior reporter Dan Cooper was prepared to hate this audio setup dreamed up by Mercedes-AMG and will.i.am, wherein the playlist matches the way you drive. But in fact, he loves it! 

How to watch the first CES 2024 press conferences

  • How to watch AMD’s CES 2024 press conference. Plus watch our recap in under seven minutes.

  • How to watch NVIDIA’s CES press conference. Check out our recap, which lasts under 10 minutes.

  • How to watch LG’s CES 2024 press conference. We have a 10-minute recap for this too.

  • How to watch Sony’s CES 2024 press conference. And watch here as the company announces a ‘spatial content creation’ headset and also drives its Aleefa EV onto the stage.

  • How to watch Hisense’s CES 2024 press conference

  • How to watch Panasonic’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch TCL’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch Sennheiser’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch Hyundai’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch Samsung’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch Kia’s CES 2024 press conference.

  • How to watch Honda unveil its new EV series at CES 2024.

  • How to watch Intel’s CES 2024 keynote.

We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ces-2024-what-we-expect-in-las-vegas-this-year-140040145.html?src=rss



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