The best — and most bizarre — from Day 1 of CES

Here’s a recap of the best -- and most bizarre -- announcements from the first day of CES.


January 7, 2020

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) kicked off its first full day yesterday in Las Vegas. As usual, the event featured the best, the brightest, and the most bizarre tech out there. 

Here are 3 trends we noticed on Day 1:

1. Car culture is still in the fast lane

The cars of the future may not look like your mom’s Mazda (and they may not guzzle the same gas). But judging by yesterday’s hype, car culture isn’t going anywhere.

  • Electric cars were everywhere. Established automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz showed off sleek new electric designs, but so did less-established car companies like Fisker, Faraday, and Byton.
  • Even Sony made a car, a shocking reminder that the future of automaking is wide open. But the Japanese electronics giant’s electric Vision-S raised a lot of questions (Sony didn’t make it clear if it plans to put the car into production).
  • An Avatar-inspired car from Mercedes-Benz was a glowing, blue symbol of self-driving hype. The scale-covered, steering wheel-less Vision AVTR (for Advanced Vehicle Transformation) ride recognizes the driver’s pulse and breath and moves sideways like a crab — but there are no plans to put the glowing blue beast into production.
  • And fancy in-car entertainment systems were a good reminder that self-driving cars will also usher in a new era where cars aren’t just vehicles but also mobile entertainment centers that have giant screens (see Byton’s 48-inch screen) and myriad infotainment features (see partnerships with Amazon and Accuweather).

2. For better and for worse, everything is connected now 

Technological improvements have made it possible for almost anything to be connected to the internet. But while some smart objects can be wonderful (e.g., the ones that improve accessibility for disabled folks), others can be worrisome (e.g., the ones that dish out personal data).

Some of the most noteworthy connected objects:

  • A razor that’s AI-powered and Bluetooth (The Next Bic Thing)
  • A toothbrush that maps your mouth (Plaqless Pro
  • A toilet-paper dispenser that delivers toilet paper via app (Rollbot)
  • A trash can that ties up its own garbage (Townew)
  • A bathmat that weighs you and tracks health (Mateo Bath Mat)
  • A pillow that analyzes your snoring patterns (Motion Pillow 2)
  • A fake kitten that purrs but has no head (Petit Qoobo)
  • A ball that… just rolls around after you? (Ballie)

3. We’re not sure why, but bendy screens are a big thing now

For years, flexible screens have been treated like a Holy Grail for electronics companies. And whether or not people actually want them, the flexy tech has finally arrived: 

  • Intel unveiled the Horseshoe Bend, a foldable tablet
  • Royole Mirage created a smart speaker with a wraparound screen
  • TCL also unveiled a foldable tablet 
  • Lenovo made a ThinkPad that folds 
  • Dell’s created Ori, which is — you guessed it — a foldable tablet 

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