CES 2019: what to expect

The Consumer Electronics Show ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.ces.tech/About-CES.aspx), held annually in January in sunny Las Vegas, is one of the biggest tech events of the year. Almost every major technology brand will be there showing off their newest products, some of which could be the ever-fabled “next big thing” in 2019.

As with most new technology releases, many CES 2019 products are shrouded in mystery. Even behind-the-scenes here at Android Authority, we often make appointments to meet with companies and don’t necessarily know all the details of what we’ll see until right before the show begins.

That being said, there have been some rumors floating around over the past few months about what we can expect at CES 2019, so we do have at least a few ideas of what we’ll see. Below, you’ll find our roundup of what to expect at CES 2019.

When do the CES 2019 announcements happen, and what will Android Authority be covering this year?

The CES 2019 showroom floor doesn’t officially open until January 8, but a lot of the announcements are said and done before things even begin! The majority of press events take place on Sunday, January 6 and Monday, January 7.

While Android Authority is traditionally a mobile-first publication, the reality is that mobile news only makes up a small portion of what will be shown at CES 2019. You can expect announcements related to PC and gaming hardware, smart home, VR, AR, car technology, robots, and lots of random things like electric toothbrushes or smart rubber duckies (yes, really ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/technology/sdut-edwin-smart-rubber-duck-kids-ces-2018-2016jan07-story.html)). Most of the year’s biggest mobile releases — including the Samsung Galaxy S10 — will happen a bit later in the year, likely at or around Mobile World Congress 2019, which happens at the end of February.

Obviously mobile is the bread and butter of Android Authority but at this year’s show we’ll also be covering plenty of other exciting technologies such as smart home, laptops, gaming computers, television/monitor technology, and just anything that we feel our audience would find compelling.

Our predictions for what you might see at CES 2019

Every year there seems to be a primary focus that’s hot and new, or trying to make new waves at least. Past years have focused a lot on AR/VR and smart home. This year, we expect much of the same, with a greater focus on refinement than emerging tech categories. Voice-powered devices will likely make a huge splash at CES once more, making their way into TVs, appliances, and even random things like toilets (which actually happened last year ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/http://mashable.com/2018/01/09/kohler-launches-smart-bathroom/#Oosu0Aj1o5qO)).

Of course you can expect at least a few new trends attempt to take off at CES. We expect foldables will get at least a little attention, though early whispers indicate it’ll probably be companies like Royale showing off its achievements, with LG and Samsung likely holding off until later in the year. It’s also possible we could see foldable tech show up in some unique places like laptops, tablets, monitors, and televisions.

While we can’t cover every rumor, below we’ll make a few predictions for some of the bigger companies that will be in attendance at CES this year.

Samsung

As mentioned, we don’t expect to see the Samsung Galaxy S10 at CES 2019. Samsung will still have a large presence at the show though, likely showing off its non-smartphone technology such as televisions, appliances, laptops, and more.

There’s a good chance Samsung will use CES 2019 to finally officially launch its Samsung Galaxy Home — the Bixby-powered smart speaker it unveiled at the launch for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

One of the laptops Samsung will likely show is the Notebook 9 Pen ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/samsung-teases-new-notebook-9-pen-with-15-hour-battery-life-before-ces-2019/), which is kind of like a laptop version of its Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. The Windows-based laptop features a similar color scheme as the Note 9 and even includes a pop-out S Pen which works and functions a lot like the one included with the Note 9.

However, televisions will most certainly be the focus ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-announces-2019-lifestyle-tvs-the-frame-and-serif-tv-will-be-on-display-at-ces-2019) for Samsung at CES 2019. The company is already promoting its new picture frame televisions, 8K resolutions, and projectors, too. It’s pretty likely 8K will be a big part of Samsung’s announcements at CES, as will its QLED lineup.

Last year Samsung unveiled its floor-to-ceiling display that used microLED display tiles and we’ve seen at least a few reports ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1537269397) around the web suggesting this year they will showcase a scaled-down more practical version of its microLED display at CES.

Appliances traditionally are a big part of Samsung’s showing at CES too, so be prepared for some new refrigerators and stoves (contain yourself with that excitement, folks!).

Huawei and Honor

Huawei logo MWC

Last year, Huawei CEO Richard Yu delivered the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show. He also stopped by the Android Authority booth to accept the Android Smartphone of the Year award for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

However, over the past year, the Huawei brand has been dogged with controversies surrounding its alleged ties with the Chinese government. Several countries — including the United States — have barred the use of Huawei networking equipment, citing security concerns. The government even stepped in to prevent Huawei smartphones from coming to the country.

As such, we can expect Huawei to have a much lower profile at CES 2019. There likely won’t be any Huawei smartphones launched at CES (considering the event happens in the United States). Huawei will instead most likely focus attention on its laptop and tablet offerings.

If we do see any mobile announcements it’ll be from Honor instead. The Honor View 20 recently debuted in China and is expected to be globally launched in Paris in later January, but it’s certainly possible it could make an appearance at CES as well.

LG

Foldable smartphones are going to be one of the hottest topics in 2019 as we start to see the first commercial rollouts. Originally, we expected to see an LG foldable smartphone at CES 2019. However, it’s looking a little less likely now.

LG is scheduled to deliver the pre-show keynote address at CES 2019, so even if we don’t see a foldable phone from the company, we will see a lot of LG products. Television and display technology will be LG’s primary focus but we will also see some new smart kitchen appliances ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lg-presents-the-future-of-smart-kitchens-at-ces-2019-300766008.html).

Last year LG unveiled a rollable TV prototype, but this year we expect to see a commercially-aimed rollable LG television ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/01/rollable-oled-tv-lg-ces/) for release later in 2019. A rollable TV uses a flexible OLED display and pairs it with components that let the whole TV roll up so you can tuck it away and out of sight, perfect for those who want to keep their living spaces as minimal looking as possible.

As far as LG smartphones go, we don’t expect to see a new G or V model at the conference.

Google

Last year was Google’s first time at CES. While the show was mostly a showcase for existing Google Assistant products, its biggest announcement was Google Pay and smart displays. Although there haven’t been any specific rumors about Google this year, we think it’s pretty likely the focus will be on Assistant once again.

Given what we know from CES 2018, most of these Assistant announcements will probably be in the form of partnerships, but it’s certainly possible Google could have some of its own hardware on display.

HTC

If any smartphone manufacturer has had a difficult year, it’s HTC. The company’s financial performance in the mobile sector (and in general) has been pretty bad.

Although HTC’s mobile division is in turmoil and unlikely to show off anything at CES 2019, that doesn’t mean HTC will be absent. We expect HTC to focus all of its attention on the HTC Vive this year. That means you can expect plenty of new game demonstrations, accessories, and maybe even new VR hardware.

While the HTC Vive Pro ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://dgit.com/htc-vive-pro-worth-it-57677/) isn’t particularly old, HTC hasn’t had a ton of success with it and the original HTC Vive is certainly starting to show its age a bit. Could we see HTC attempt to compete with Oculus by offering a stand-alone device similar to the Quest? Anything is possible.

Sony

Sony typically uses CES as a launching ground for new Xperia products, both flagship and mid-range. Initially, we heard rumors this might be the case again this year, and there have even been a few rumors for mid-range devices like the Xperia XA3 Plus. ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://techthelead.com/sonys-xperia-xa3-plus-might-be-making-an-appearance-during-the-ces-2019/) Although anything is possible, a trusted source has suggested to us that Sony Mobile won’t have a major presence at the show this year.

If our source is accurate, Sony is expected to focus most of its attention on display and television technology, audio products, and possibly smart home or accessories. Sony has actually been pretty quiet on the rumor front recently, though we imagine 8K will certainly be a big part of its presentation.

Could it have a few wild cards in store for us as well? We hope so.

Lenovo

Lenovo logo MWC

Lenovo typically focuses on its laptop lineup and we expect that to continue this year. A recent listing from Lenovo for the Legion Y530 and Y7000P mention the NVIDIA GTX 1160, so it’s certainly possible these machines could make an appearance. ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/new-lenovo-listing-confirm-the-gtx-1160/)

In addition to laptops, we could also see some VR or smart home related announcements — at least if previous Lenovo CES presentations are anything to go by. In fact, the Lenovo Smart Display made a big appearance at CES last year.

TCL: Alcatel / BlackBerry

BlackBerry continues to surprise us with successful releases of Android smartphones with physical keyboards — something most would assume wouldn’t sell well in 2018, let alone 2019. That being said, we don’t expect to see a new BlackBerry smartphone at CES 2019. Instead, we expect BlackBerry to push its automotive-based software, BlackBerry QNX ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.blackberry.com/us/en/events/2019/ces-qnx).

Alcatel will also likely also make a few announcements in the smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch categories — at least given what we’ve seen from them in past years.

Asus

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

Asus typically uses CES as a showcase for its laptops and Chromebooks, and we have every indication that Asus is set for a major Chromebook push again this year ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://chromeunboxed.com/news/ces-alert-asus-could-drop-an-armada-of-chromebooks/). At least one Chromebook is expected to utilize Intel’s Gemini Lake series chips ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.androidheadlines.com/2018/12/gemini-lake-asus-chromebooks-ces-2019.html), and a rumor from Android Headlines ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.androidheadlines.com/2018/11/asus-chrome-os-tablet-ces-2019.html) suggests we might see a high-end Chrome OS tablet as well.

Other possibilities include routers, computer accessories, and smart home accessories. While it’s not completely impossible that we might see something on the Android phone or tablet front, we haven’t heard any substantial rumors on that end.

Nvidia, Intel, and AMD will be in full force

For fellow PC geeks, this could be a really interesting year for Intel. First, Intel is rumored to be preparing a new 10-core 14nm CPU codenamed Comet Lake ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.extremetech.com/computing/281258-intels-comet-lake-s-rumored-to-pack-10-cores-debut-on-14nm). Even more intriguing, Intel might be preparing to introduce its own discrete graphics card ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://appmarsh.com/intel-discrete-graphics-cards-arctic-sound-gpu-2020-launch/).

What does this mean exactly? Well, Intel historically isn’t a big player in the high-end PC graphics game, with its graphics chips mostly used in lower-end devices and laptops. If this latest rumor proves correct, Intel might be preparing to challenge Nvidia in a big way. Of course, Nvidia isn’t going to be sitting idly by while this happens. 

The rumor mill is abuzz with Nvidia’s plans to reveal its GeForce RTX Mobility graphics cards at CES 2019, which will take laptop gaming to whole new heights. According to appmarsh ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/leak-reveals-more-on-geforece-rtx-2050-gtx-1150/), the RTX 2070, 2070 Max-Q, 2060, 2050 Ti, and 2050 could all make an appearance. There are also rumors suggesting we might see the MX250 as well.

We can’t completely discount AMD either. AMD has already confirmed its plans to show off new graphics cards and 3rd-gen Ryzen processors at CES 2019 this year. While they haven’t told anyone the specifics, recent leaks ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.techradar.com/news/amd-ryzen-3000-next-generation-16-core-processors-leaked) suggest there will be three Ryzen 3 processors, three mid-range Ryzen 5s, and two Ryzen 7s. We could also see new mobile variants of the Ryzen family as well.

Not much is known about their graphics card plans, though it looks unlikely AMD will have anything quite as impressive as NVIDIA on show this year.

That’s just scratching the surface

We’d be here all day if we listed every single company we could think of but here are a few other players we expect to see at CES but don’t have any concrete details on:

  • Acer: So far there haven’t been any juicy rumors regarding Acer but, given tradition, we can expect plenty of Chromebooks and laptops on show. Acer also isn’t a stranger to VR, AR, smart home, or mobile so it’s possible there could be a few surprises in store.
  • Razer: For those hoping for another Razer phone, it’s a bit too early for that! Razer will instead focus on laptops and accessories at CES. Razer also has a tendency to show off wild concept devices at CES.
  • Plenty of other TV/display makers: Hisense, Vizio, Toshiba, Sharp, and others will be there showing off their television and display technology.

We wouldn’t expect much from HMD Global, Motorola, OnePlus, or Essential

Unfortunately, we have word that HDM Global won’t make an official appearance at CES this year. Instead we expect big announcements from them closer to MWC 2019. The same story goes for Essential, who is having a bit of a hard time right now.

OnePlus never formally participates in CES and that’s not going to change this year either.

We’re a little less sure about Motorola. In the past, Motorola hasn’t done much at CES and we expect a similar situation at CES 2019 but we can’t say this with 100 percent certainty.

Buzzwords at CES 2019

5G signal on Galaxy Note 8

While every company will be trying to push its own product as being innovative and original, we can expect a few buzzwords to get repeated ad nauseam during CES 2019. Here’s our list of the words we’ll probably be sick of by the end of the event:

  • 5G — The network of the future is coming in 2019, and many companies will be touting how its products will take advantage of the new speeds.
  • XR — As if VR (virtual reality), MR (mixed reality), and AR (augmented reality) weren’t already buzzwords, the new all-encompassing XR (extended reality) is starting to make the rounds.
  • AI — Even though AI has been a big buzzword in 2018, it will continue to be a hot topic in 2019, with more and more products having AI capabilities.
  • 8K — Televisions and computer monitors will be at CES 2019, and some of them will have 8K resolutions. Now that 4K is more ubiquitous, companies are looking to 8K to entice consumers to upgrade their current displays.
  • Blockchain — Gary Sims explains Blockchain here. We expect a lot of companies to use this in advertising materials.
  • IoT — IoT stands for “Internet of Things.” As smart home products become more accessible to everyday consumers, IoT is going to be a big buzzword.
  • Big Data — Although this has been a buzzword for years now, it will continue being a buzzword in 2019 for sure.

And that’s a wrap for now ladies and gents! We’ll be sure to add more rumors over the coming days, and of course will be updating this post once announcements become official!

Author: Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).