Brace yourself, the first-ever all-virtual CES 2021 is finally here

The event is being held between 11-14 January, with over 1,000 companies showcasing their new and upcoming products and technologies

CES, the world’s largest tech show, is quite something to behold. Or it would be if you could actually behold it in person. Almost inconceivably, the industry extravaganza spans the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, the nearby Sands Expo and a dozen or more hotels up and down the Strip. As WSJ best describes it, it is like a Disneyland for tech. This year, you can also see it all - however, only from the little screen through which you see pretty much everything else these days.

Vegas and CES will be without each other for the first time in decades as a result of the ongoing Coronivirus-led pandemic.

The tech industry saw many conferences go virtual during 2020 amid Covid-related lockdowns, travel restrictions and a general desire to reduce viral spread. But CES isn’t an event based on the agenda of a single company or organization: It’s a global crossroads where, just last year, over 170,000 attendees interacted with more than 4,500 exhibitors. It’s been a media spectacle, but also much more: a forum for innovators, manufacturers and retailers to meet, by plan or by happenstance, and figure out what comes next.

For CES 2021, which starts today, its organizers had to pivot hard into digital space that, perhaps ironically, is unfamiliar - and a bit of a gamble. Fortunately, the major brands including Samsung, Sony, LG, Microsoft, and Intel are still scheduled to feature at the event this year in a similar capacity to how we've grown accustomed to seeing them every year. Also we don't expect it to be less impressive when it comes to showcasing futuristic technologies.

How to attend?

As already mentioned, the event starts today (11 January) and will go on till Thurdsday (14 January) with users being able to livestream the event on the CES 2021 official website. The CES 2021 livestream will be open for both media and the general public, but they will need to register for online event first.

Those who are willing to attend CES 2021 online should however register for the event on the official CES 2021 website. According to the guidelines listed on the CES 2021 website, industry professionals and media will be verified through a credentialing process. Registrants may be asked to submit proof of industry affiliation, the website says. Further, viewers need to create a new CES 2021 profile to register and access the digital venue, the website said. The attendees are also expected to be at least 18 years of age. After registering successfully, viewers can log in to their CES 2021 account using their username and password and access the digital venue from the website.

What to expect overall?

The biggest announcements at the event will come from the television segment. Ahead of the event, LG has already unveiled the world's first Eyesafe-certified TV display at CES' preview event. The display is scheduled to be showcased at the tech event and is said to be in line with EyeSafe standards for low emissions of blue light without actually compromising on the colour performance.

Samsung is meanwhile set to announce its Neo QLED and MicroLED TV models at its virtual event. The company claims that the TVs will offer better TV-viewing experiences with "improved contrast and better backlighting". Samsung also says that its new TVs will offer next-generation accessibility via features such as Sign Language Zoom and Multi-Output Audio.

Of the TVs to be showcased at the event, the Neo QLED will be the most interesting. It uses a combination of Quantum Mini LED and Quantum Matrix technology to improve the luminance of the TV to 12-bit with 4,096 steps.

Sony and LG are also scheduled to unveil 4K and 8K TVs which will bring with themselves futuristic technologies. Companies such as Asus, Microsoft and Intel are also scheduled to make big-ticket announcements at their events during CES 2021.

As for smartphones and tablets, we expect far more foldables. We saw a couple of foldable smartphone announcements in 2020 from brands like Samsung and Motorola. At CES, smartphones are usually not the focus of brands, but since the technology has been around for some time, there could be a few foldable smartphones announced. We expect prototypes or concept designs of different foldable phones to be showcased at CES 2021 this year by multiple brands, including TCL, LG etc. Dell has showcased a foldable tablet earlier while Lenovo already has a foldable laptop – we expect more devices in these two categories with foldable displays to be announced and launched as well.

Of course, you should not forget to tune in Samsung's Unpacked event at 7 a.m. PT on Thursday, where it will show off its new Galaxy S2 lineup in an effort to regain its status as an innovation powerhouse, while also delivering on its promises to make consumers' lives easier.

While we are on the topic, at CES 2021 you should expect lots of next-generation hardware, as well. AMD is giving a keynote, Intel has announcements on the media day, and Nvidia also has a broadcast event. These three are the most prominent names for hardware components, and we expect them to announce the next generation of hardware at CES 2021. AMD and Intel are expected to launch new processors for the consumer as well as server usage. Nvidia, on the other hand, could launch a new range of mid-range graphics cards for gamers. Expect laptop and desktop announcements from brands such as Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP etc., that would be powered by these new components at CES.

Apart from this, the pandemic has resulted in a lot more focus on hygiene over the past few months so we expect more hygiene focussed personal tech. We already have UV cell phone sanitizer boxes available for use. You should expect similar products to sanitize all personal gadgets, including phones, tablets, headphones etc., to be announced at CES. LG already announced their earphones (LG Tone Free) with an UVnano charging case that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria on the earphones. We expect other brands to follow suit, so expect more true wireless earphones with UV cleaning cases at CES 2021. 

Speaking of hygiene, another area where Covid-19 will probably highlight its influence is the development of touchless smart home appliances. We already have products that can be integrated with voice assistants to use with voice. At CES 2021, we expect a range of such products for a smart home to increase exponentially. Expect various brands to launch products ranging from Vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, water filters to disinfecting lights that can help keep your home clean with just your voice. LG already shared details of an InstaView refrigerator that has voice recognition and boasts of UVnano technology that cleans and delivers hygienic and germ-free water from the built-in dispenser tap.

Similar articles