Last week at CES, the world got a glimpse of the trends that will dominate technology for the rest of this year.
The electronics trade show is one of the biggest of its kind and draws thousands of people to Las Vegas from all over the world. Established tech firms and startups bring their latest and greatest gadgets to the show in hopes that they’ll remain part of the conversation as the year progresses.
But in reality, few products that are shown at CES really take off.
Here are some of the top tech trends from CES that won’t be going away anytime soon.
Slim, large HDR TVs
Just as 4K TVs finally become mainstream, manufacturers have decided to up the picture quality with HDR — that’s high dynamic range.
The TV technology shows viewers a better picture with wider color range and higher contrast between darker and brighter spots on the screen. There are also, technically, four kinds of HDR formats, but this shouldn’t result in a platform showdown. At least not to the extent of VHS vs. Betamax or more recently Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD.
Mixed realities push forward
Virtual reality — and to a lesser extent augmented reality — was again a big deal at CES. Neither mixed reality experience is really mainstream, yet, which is probably why so many attendees appeared to be trying out VR for the first awkward time.
People can already buy headsets like the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and the Samsung Gear VR. But so far, the segment showing the most interest in the technology are gamers. That’s partly because of the great cost associated with a proper VR setup.
In the long run, it's still not clear if mixed realities will be accepted by non-niche shoppers. Until then, the novelty of VR has not worn off.
Assists at home
There’s a good chance that in the future every person’s home will be completely connected and watched over by a virtual assistant. As a result, some manufacturers are trying to make even the most basic tools Internet of Things (or IoT) ready.
At CES, the internet-connected devices ranged from hairbrushes to appliances — and in one company’s case the whole bathroom became “smart.” The next step for consumers will be picking an assistant — Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, etc. — and figuring out which IoT devices will work with that assistant.
Wearables gain momentum
Smart watches and wristlets are the first things that come to mind whenever the buzzword “wearable” is thrown around, but the tech segment is actually a lot larger — and growing.
That’s because a wearable is literally any smart device you can wear on your body, and there were a ton of these at CES. There were smart garments — shirts, leggings, and socks — rings, earbuds, mouthguards and so much more.
The most promising wearables at the show had this in common: They were focused on a problem that as of 2017 still had not been solved.