CES 2020: Bigger, better... weirder

We are re-rounding up the hottest topics and most talked gadgets

CES 2020 kicked off a new year, and a new decade, in some style with one of the strongest line-ups of major tech launches and weird and wonderful startups the world has seen in a long time. Some of the products that debuted at this year's Consumer Electronics Show are set to be released in the months that follow, while other technologies shown off at the event are merely a taste of things to come down the road. There is one thing you can always count on though, and it’s that they are some of the most exciting technological breakthroughs of the year.

So what did CES 2020 brought us this year? Considering the fact that this year’s Las Vegas event featured more than 4,500 exhibitors in the electronics industry, it is impossible to cover every single product out there.There were cute robots, quirky gadgets and the sexy toys (yes, that, too). Devices like Samsung’s bezel-less 8K TV and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold with a foldable OLED screen have generated tons of buzz, and everyone is talking about the impact 5G will have on just about every different product category you can think of.

Nevertheless, one of the hottest topic at the event was the matter of privacy. From the face scanner that will check in some attendees to the cameras-everywhere array of digital products, the CES gadget show was all-in on surveillance technology — whether it calls it that or not.
Nestled in the “smart home” and “smart city” showrooms at the sprawling Las Vegas consumer tech conference are devices that see, hear and track the people they encounter. Some of them also analyse their looks and behaviour. The technology on display includes eyelid-tracking car dashboard cameras to prevent distracted driving and “rapid DNA” kits for identifying a person from a cheek swab sample.

All these talking speakers, doorbell cameras and fitness trackers came with the promise of making life easier or more fun, but they’re also potentially powerful spying tools. And the skeptics who raise privacy and security concerns can be easily drowned out in the flashy spectacle of gee-whiz technology.

“Many, many horrible stories have come out of consumer electronics,” said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who is speaking on a CES panel about the future of internet-connected devices. “It’s often about hyping the next thing you can buy and not considering the trade-offs.”

CES 2020 might have been also the most auto-heavy iteration of the consumer-electronics-focused show in its history. We saw not only tons of automotive gadgets, innovations, and technologies, but also actual cars, and perhaps more of them than you might expect. Perhaps the most talked about is Hyundai's S-A1 electric Urban Air Mobility concept vehicle. The electrically powered PAV, or “personal air vehicle,” will have the capability of carrying up to four passengers on trips of up to 60 miles at speeds reaching 180 mph and will be manufactured for ride-hailing giant Uber.

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