CES 2019: Tech preview of the expo’s hottest new gadgets


The CES trade show is powering up again in Vegas. Most of the biggest names in tech and stacks of start-ups you’ve never heard of will compete for attention over the next week.

Some products may launch new categories – past events presented a first look at video cassette recorders (VCRs), organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs and Android tablets. But many more will flop or never even make it to market.

Image copyright CES
Image caption More than 4,500 exhibitors are attending CES and more will take part in fringe events or host private demos in hotel suites

We’ve scoured the internet for hints about what will be on show…

AI assistants and smart living

One of the biggest developments at the last few CES expos has been Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant’s rival efforts to extend their reach in the home and beyond.

Last year things peaked with an Alexa-activated toilet flush, but over the past 12 months manufacturers have developed voice-controlled “skills” or “actions” for more products, and in some cases embedded one of the virtual assistants outright.

Image copyright Ling Lab
Image caption The Auri Lamp has Alexa built in, so you can use it to begin a meditation routine or to make fart sounds

For 2019, we’re being promised tags that will let smart speakers tell you where your pet or TV remote is hiding, as well as Alexa/Google Assistant-controlled pianos, heart rate monitors, lawnmowers, motorcycle helmets and meditation lamps.

That’s not to say others aren’t trying to muscle in.

Samsung is rumoured to be revealing a fresh Galaxy Home speaker powered by its smart assistant Bixby, and German start-up Autolabs will demo Chris – a virtual helper designed for use in cars.

Image copyright German Autolabs
Image caption The makers of Chris say it will only run apps that are safe to use while driving

Several firms will also urge developers to get behind “open source” alternatives, in which neither of the two tech giants act as gatekeeper to the apps on offer.

For example, Volareo will show progress on a crowdfunded smart speaker that lets you buy Bitcoin and stream any video to your TV.