Tech & Auto

What to Expect at the All-Digital CES 2021

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This story initially appeared on PCMag

For many years, tech journalists have kicked off the new 12 months with a visit to Las Vegas for just a little playing and a number of tech information. But this 12 months, with COVID-19 nonetheless raging uncontrolled round the globe, CES 2021 is an all-digital affair.

In-person occasions and networking occasions are off the desk, however main tech firms which have grown accustomed to working on-line occasions are doing the identical for CES. This 12 months’s present runs from Jan. 11-14; we have already seen a few pre-show announcements, however here is what PCMag analysts count on to see at the reimagined CES 2021.


CES is continuously chock stuffed with revolutionary laptop computer designs, and regardless of the present being digital this 12 months, we don’t count on the secure of improvements to subside. In truth, we count on the 2021 present to be brimming with new laptops at each worth and have set.

There will undoubtedly be a gaggle of cheap Windows laptops and Chromebooks, since they’ve been exhausting to come by over the previous few months as individuals working and studying from residence have snapped them up. Even earlier than the present formally began, Samsung announced a brand new midrange Chromebook, and we count on different producers to observe swimsuit. 

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook2

There may even be loads of new cutting-edge options accessible for premium laptops. Expect more OLED screens and extra fashions accessible with 5G. Laptops aimed at enterprise IT prospects may even be in abundance this 12 months, as Fortune 500 firms, group faculties, and each group in between adapts to the new work-from-home surroundings. New Dell Latitude and Lenovo ThinkPad fashions aimed at enterprise customers are sometimes a few of the hottest laptops at CES. 

As for quirky designs, we’ve already seen a number of prototypes and ideas introduced, together with a lookalike Nintendo Switch laptop from Lenovo, full with a sport controller. We additionally count on loads of different gaming improvements. Rumors and leaks suggest that Intel might announce extra particulars about its next-generation CPUs for gaming rigs. We may also see new laptop computer chips from AMD and Nvidia; each firms are holding press conferences throughout the present. —Tom Brant and Matt Buzzi

PC Components

Though most of the component-introduction insanity—GeForce, Ryzen, Radeon—from late 2020 has handed, 2021 is already forming up a possible robust second wave, with rumored releases from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD all probably simply round the nook.

Related: What Will Happen In 2021? Here’s What People In 1921 Predicted.

First up: Intel. The firm has had a tough go of it over the previous couple of years, with AMD hammering it on all sides on desktop silicon (and now, to an extent, cell chips) and successful practically each battle it enters. Intel hopes that its subsequent (and reportedly last) deployment of its getting older 14nm lithography, chips based mostly on the subsequent “Rocket Lake” microarchitecture, can be sufficient to carry its stack of desktop CPUs over the line till the firm can reliably produce its personal 7nm choices at scale. The firm hasn’t but introduced any official plans to current “Rocket Lake” at CES, however we’ll maintain an ear to the floor as extra rumors flow into about an early 2021 launch date for Rocket Lake chips. (Last week, it was leaked that motherboards based mostly on the Z590 and B560 chipsets can be launching imminently, and simply this week Gigabyte confirmed that Rocket Lake CPU silicon needs to be due out in March.)

Image credit score: Intel

Meanwhile, on the GPU entrance, each AMD and Nvidia spent the second half of 2020 duking it out, with the latter’s GeForce RTX 3080 going toe-to-toe with AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT (and coming out the victor on the different facet). Now, each Nvidia and AMD have rumors swirling about new introductions into their 30 Series and 6000 Series of desktop graphics playing cards, respectively, which might additional prolong and complicate the midrange, with choices like the GeForce RTX 3060 (presumably known as GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra) and Radeon RX 6700 and Radeon RX 6700 XT deliberate for launches someday in 2021.

2020 could be a tough 12 months to high in the world of element releases, however 2021 is kicking issues off in full gear. Stay tuned as Dr. Lisa Su takes to the digital stage at this 12 months’s CES keynote on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 11 a.m. ET for an concept of what AMD has deliberate, whereas particulars about Nvidia’s subsequent strikes will come an hour after after that.Chris Stobing


The largest cell launch at CES is not taking place at CES: it is the Samsung Galaxy S21, which can arrive at Samsung Unpacked at 10 a.m. on January 14, the final day of CES. Unpacked is coincidental with CES however not a part of it, and on this digital world there is a legitimate debate over whether or not which means it is “during” CES or not.

Samsung and Apple dominate US and Canadian cellphone gross sales; the S21 can be the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 888-powered cellphone in the US, and it’ll set the tone for the first half of the 12 months. The factor I’ll most be trying at is the worth. Last 12 months, Samsung grotesquely miscalculated how a lot individuals would need to spend on telephones in 2020. I’d love to see the firm proceed the pattern it began with the S20 FE, bringing nice options again down to Earth by way of worth.

Related: 10 Ways to Have Productive Zoom Meetings, Even With Kids in the Mix

Motorola could also be bringing a number of new telephones to the desk, in accordance to skilled leaker Steve Hemmersdorfer. He’s promising a brand new Moto G Stylus and Moto G Pro; on SlashLeaks, they observe up with a brand new Moto G Power and Moto G Play for a complete of 4. Quad-camera techniques abound in these telephones, however what I’m most excited about there can be the chipsets: will they be utilizing the Qualcomm 690, or will they be highly effective however very low-cost telephones on the new Qualcomm 480?

There’s a TCL press convention on the calendar for Jan. 11, however there have not been many rumors on the market about what it’d entail. TCL being TCL, we must always count on some low-cost 5G phones, presumably as soon as once more based mostly on that quick but cheap Snapdragon 480 chipset.

Most different smartphone firms have a tendency to maintain bulletins for the Mobile World Congress timeframe, however that is been thrown into chaos as MWC, usually at the finish of February, was moved to late June due to coronavirus. I nonetheless suppose we aren’t going to see a number of different cellphone bulletins at CES. Rather, they’re going to trickle out in separate digital occasions over the subsequent a number of months. (The subsequent massive ones for the US are possible to be LG, in February, and the OnePlus 9, in March.)—Sascha Segan


Lots of exhibitors are going to be speaking about 5G, nevertheless it’s going to be exhausting to discover any who actually have one thing to say. We’ve already had three years of occasions with distributors exhibiting off personal networks, distant surgical procedure, drone management, holographic communication, multi-angle video, and different options that both nonetheless aren’t actual or work completely properly with Wi-Fi or 4G. I count on to hear much more of the identical.

That places a number of stress on Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg’s keynote to clarify to customers why they need to care about 5G when all three of the main US carriers are popping 5G icons left and proper with no higher efficiency than 4G—and often worse. Vestberg has a set speech he is been giving for some time about the “eight currencies of 5G,” however customers have no of these “currencies” of their wallets. He wants to present up with the equal of an enormous money cannon and shoot “5G currencies” into the crowd. I’ll be watching his keynote with nice expectations.—Sascha Segan


CES has lengthy been a spot the place coloration E Ink-like applied sciences—together with Color E Ink itself—make massive guarantees that too usually haven’t ended up in client merchandise. Along with Color E Ink, there have been years of guarantees round Mirasol, a Qualcomm-backed show technology that by no means actually panned out. Now TCL is getting into the enviornment. At CES 2021, we count on to see the first e-readers or tablets with TCL’s NXTPAPER, which was introduced in September with guarantees of a product “in the near future.” NXTPAPER is supposed for tablets and e-readers; it is transflective like E Ink, however presumably will not battle with the manufacturing points and refresh price issues which have made Color E Ink readers so exhausting to discover. Sascha Segan



Image credit score: Samsung

8K will proceed to be the largest subject throughout the board for TVs at CES. But whereas extra 8K TVs will arrive in 2021, content material suppliers should catch up to the increased decision, and we in all probability will not see that for some time. Besides 8K, count on enhancements to each newish and longstanding TV panel know-how. Samsung already unveiled its consumer-available MicroLED TV, a captivating huge-screen different to OLED that is been teased largely as a modular enterprise show for the previous couple of years. OLED itself nonetheless has room to develop, and the stalwart LED-backlit LCD panels on which the overwhelming majority of TVs run will in all probability proceed to steadily enhance.—Will Greenwald



Spatial audio is the largest new factor to hit residence sound techniques (and a few very intelligent headphones and gaming headsets) in the previous couple of years. It breaks freed from discrete channels to combine sound sources in a sphere, which may then get distributed to no matter quantity and association of drives you’ve got in your setup. Expect to see extra Dolby Atmos and DTS:X gadgets and different audio merchandise that do enjoyable and immersive issues with directional audio. While not technically a CES reveal, in the meantime, Samsung’s Jan. 14 occasion is anticipated to embody the launch of the Galaxy Buds Pro.—Will Greenwald

Virtual Reality

The virtual reality scene has been shifting and settling over time, and for customers the two largest names at present are Oculus with the Quest 2 and Valve with the Index. They each fill very completely different niches and have very completely different costs and necessities, and it is unlikely both system will see an enormous announcement at CES. That leaves loads of house in the enterprise sector for VR and augmented actuality (AR) shows to collect consideration, however you will not be seeing many new merchandise designed for customers.—Will Greenwald

Smart Speakers and Screens

This is one other class that is sectioned off so securely in its two main camps that we can’t possible see something mind-blowing at CES. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant stay the largest voice assistants in the smart speaker and smart display classes, and each Amazon and Google have a tendency to make bulletins at their very own occasions.—Will Greenwald

Health and Fitness

With no in-person present to demo new wares, CES 2021 goes to be fairly quiet on the well being and health entrance. Wearable machine makers usually debut new health trackers at CES, however count on all the main fitness tracker and smartwatch makers—together with Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin, Polar—to launch new bands and watches on their very own schedules in 2021. If final 12 months is any indication, we’ll possible see refreshed Fitbit and Samsung wearables in mid-to-late summer season, new Apple Watch fashions in the fall, with Garmin and Polar launches sprinkled all through the 12 months. 

The identical is true for the smart home gym equipment market, however we already find out about some attention-grabbing new launches taking place in Q1. Peloton simply launched its Bike+ and is gearing up to launch its new, lower-priced Tread on March 30. NordicTrack is planning to launch a brand new interactive residence fitness center known as the Vault, which seems to be like a cross between the Mirror and Tempo Studio, that includes a 32-inch HD contact display screen and a cupboard that neatly holds six pairs of dumbbells, kettlebells, and different exercise tools. 

On the software program entrance, Samsung is taking up Apple’s new Fitness+ exercise streaming service with a brand new Smart Trainer function accessible on its 2021 Neo QLED 8K and 4K TVs. The Samsung Health Smart Trainer guarantees to analyze your posture in actual time, provide real-time suggestions about your kind, and rely your reps.—Angela Moscaritolo

Smart Home and Appliances

If all the time you’ve got been spending at residence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has you interested by upgrading your abode with related gadgets you may management out of your cellphone or by voice, relaxation assured that there can be no scarcity of them at CES.

Expect new related fridges and ovens from high manufacturers, together with smaller sensible residence merchandise like robot vacuums and mopssecurity cameraslocksthermostats, and connected lighting solutions. Most big-name firms are maintaining their sensible residence bulletins below wraps till the present begins, however GE Lighting’s Cync model is launching a brand new out of doors sensible plug that works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in addition to a cloud-connected 1080p indoor security camera with night time imaginative and prescient, two-way audio, and 24/7 cell alerts with movement detection. 

And with COVID-19 nonetheless top-of-mind, we are able to additionally count on to see loads of air purification improvements at the present. —Angela Moscaritolo

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