For many years now, one of the highlights of any geek’s calendar must surely be the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, or CES for short.
Starting as a spin-off from the Consumer Music Show in 1967 Chicago, CES is now an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Held since the mid-90s in January at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Nevada, United States, the event typically hosts presentations of new products and technologies in the broader consumer electronics industry. Why should you look at this? Well, whilst there have always been plenty of ‘concept’ items on show which never made the shelves, it has always hosted some of the first ‘hands-on’ looks at devices – and software – which may just change the world…
Amongst the developments on show this year which warrant more attention from development geeks are:
Foldable Displays for Desktops
Foldable-screen PCs are one of the biggest trends of CES 2020, but only one of the models on display could make a decent substitute for a desktop. Following-on from the Dell Ori and Lenovo X1 ThinkPad, Intel has created a 17.3” foldable computer that truly resembles a computer monitor when flat and an all-screen laptop when half-closed. The device, known as Horseshoe Bend, is intended to inspire computer manufacturers to come up with new ways to use flexible-screen tech. However, when visitors saw the device at the CES tech expo in Las Vegas they wondered how robust it would be in practice – especially at that ‘hinge’…
Why is this important? If successful, it will challenge screen designers to adapt their to new ways of working with systems. But for all of this to work smoothly, however, software innovation is required. Both Microsoft and Lenovo are working on enabling foldable-screen PCs to recognize and adapt to the folding screen and its orientation, but the former’s Windows 10X is still under development and Lenovo’s solution is by their own admission only a stopgap.
The Race To 5G (Continued)
Nowadays, you don't go to CES to see masses of new phones—the majority of those are held back for the Mobile World Congress show later this year. But there was plenty of new 5G tech, including a new mobile hotspot and a desktop computer with a built-in 5G modem. But to really reap the benefits of the next generation of cellular networks you must expect to wait just a bit longer….
Interestingly, one of the many engineering challenges along the way concerns your mobile phone casing (eh?). Correct – you may have thought it was just cheap black plastic (or rose gold, puce, electric-zebra etc). To get the best speeds out of any network, however, you want the best signal - and that's something that can be affected by the seemingly innocuous smartphone case. D30, the materials company that supplies several case makers, introduced a new plastic that doesn't block 5G signals. So, if watching the latest shows uninterrupted (or even working) is worth more than looking cool on the café table, you may want to bear this in mind…
The next CES will take place from Wed, 6 Jan 2021 – Sat, 9 Jan 2021 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Peter is one of our senior consultants and has many years of programming and software consultancy to call upon, having ‘seen the light’ and changed careers from the Public Sector back in the early 1980s when computers less powerful than your watch filled a room! More about Peter.