The Consumer Electronics Show 2018 just finished in Las Vegas and brought us into the year of smart home gadgets connected to digital assistants. Other notable new concepts were in mobility and Electric Vehicles, Robotics and Beauty Tech. In this article you’ll find a round-up of the most interesting trends of CES 2018.
Smart Home Gadgets
Last year Alexa was the main protagonist but at CES 2018 her digital friends Google Assistant and Bixby presented major improvements and multiple connections to smart home gadgets. You can talk to all these digital devices and ask them what’s the weather like, to play your favorite music, to turn on a light or to make a video call. This information is personalized for each user, as digital assistants can identify different voices. The voice recognition field of artificial intelligence showed tremendous improvements in the last year. Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri missed the appointment with CES with almost zero smart home devices connected, the questions is if they will catch up during 2018.
Samsung’s Family Hub smart fridge features a grocery-tracking fridge camera system and is probably the best home gadget launched at CES. Thanks to the internal cameras the refrigerator can recommend recipes based on the ingredients you have, while taking your family’s food preferences and allergies into consideration.
Further features of the Samsung Smart Fridge include a Full Entertainment Center:
- You can stream and listen to music through the refrigerator’s built-in speaker that also connects to your Bluetooth wireless speakers, should you own one
- Enjoy your favorite TV shows using screen mirroring with Samsung Smart TVs
- Ask Bixby to connect whatever app you have on Samsung smartphone.
A future release will include artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically detect what you’re putting in the fridge. The indicated retail price for the Samsung – Family Hub 2.0 starts at $3,500.
Some of the most interesting Electric Vehicles concepts unveiled at CES come from the Asian market. To battle the deadly air pollution in their major cities, the Chinese Government is offering various incentives to boost its domestic EVs sector. China’s three most important internet companies, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba (BAT) are pushing into high-tech mobility, ranging from the ubiquitous bike sharing programs to self driving cars.
Tencent and Byton
Byton is funded with more than $200 million from various investors, including Tencent. At CES, Byton presented its new electric SUV with a Level 3 autonomous driving system (Level 4 by 2020). Byton, whose name was chosen to suggest “bytes on wheels” offers a new concept where the car turns into a 5G digital smart office with entertainment services; You can watch your favorite Nextflix series while going home.
Byton can drive up to 500 kilometers (300 miles) on a single charge, it will be able to top up its battery in 15 to 30 minutes and accelerates in 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h. Byton is positioned as a direct competitor of Tesla cars. The first cars will be available in the market in 2019 in China and 2020 in the U.S. with a starting price of $45,000, half of Tesla’s Model X and positioned as a direct competitor of the Tesla Model 3.
Apollo and NIO ES8
Baidu demonstrated the latest iteration of its Apollo’s self-driving platform, capable of autonomous driving even at night. Baidu also invested $100 million in NIO, an electric vehicle startup which last December started selling its first mass-produced model, the ES8, a seven-seat Electric Vehicle also priced at about half the cost of a Tesla Model X in China.
Alibaba and G3
In December 2017 Alibaba announced a 10% stake in Guangzhou-based Xiaopeng Motors, an EV company financed by a former Alibaba executive. At CES, Xiaopeng Motors unveiled G3, an electric SUV with a 360 degree camera on its roof that can take photos and videos, and a PM2.5 pollution monitor.
Mobility and Supercars
e-Palette: mobility as a service
Besides several models of electric self-driving cars, the main innovation was autonomous mobility as a service. Toyota “e-Palette”, a Level 5 fully autonomous vehicles, is a new vehicle concept offering a self-driving store experience. You can order anything you need from pizza to running shoes and e-Palette will delivery it directly to your home.
Ferrari electric supercar
Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV‘s CEO, just announced at NAIAS that the future of cars will be electric and that Ferrari NV will make a battery-powered supercar to challenge Tesla at the high end of the electric-auto market. Marchionne reckons that by 2025 more than half the cars sold will be electric vehicles or hybrid.
It seems like everybody from far east to far west wants to challenge Elon Musk and his Tesla electric cars, but Elon never stops: he just unveiled Roadster, the new Tesla supercar, alongside with Semi, Tesla’s new electric truck. The new supercar can go from 0 to 97 km/h in just 1.9 seconds and drive more than 1,000 km with a single charge. According to Musk, Roadster will go on sale in 2020, although that figure is speculative given the delays Tesla is facing getting its Model 3 cars to market. How about the price? A supercar must have a superprice! Standard retail price of the base model will start at $200,000 making it the most expensive Tesla to date.
Dressed in a suave black blouse, Sophia the “social robot” took to the stage at CES. Sophia is technologically advanced and looks surprisingly human. She’s an invention of David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, a company backed by AngelVest and Disney’s Accelerator. Sophia appeared on The Tonight Show and became the first robot to be granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia. Attending events around the world as a symbol of the upcoming robot-revolution she has almost 80K followers on Twitter: Sophia is a celebrity!
Aibo, Sony’s robot dog, is back and his adorable OLED panel eyes touched everybody’s heart. The new Aibo has touch sensors on its head, chin, and back and loves to be petted. All your family members can be recognized by the cameras on its nose and back. It will also search for its Aibone. Aibo gets two hours of playtime and takes three hours to charge and you can even train him to dance! Do want to order it? Starting from early February you can buy Aibo for only $1,800 and a monthly subscription of $27 for three years. Not for free but think about all the money you’ll save in dog’s food and cleaning out the hairs in your Roomba!
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?
Fairy tale or (augmented) reality? The Augmented Reality smart mirrors are interacting with you by showing videos and images of yourself wearing virtual clothes and recommending the best make up products for you to use.
MAC Virtual Try-On Mirror at the MAC Cosmetics retail store in New York City gives you the opportunity to virtually try on different makeup looks in real-time without having to put any on your face. Instead, Amazon is going for a fully integrated service: the Blended Reality mirror lets you virtually try on clothes while your digital friend Echo Look, gives you fashion advice and tells you what to wear, and of course buy!
Smart mirrors are the new digital personal shoppers!