CES 2018 finally showed what gadgets will adore your household this year. Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony and others tried to match or outdo each other with own range of 4K televisions. With 4K TVs getting significantly thinner, these companies also showed the future home audio system in the form of soundbar and home projector with integrated audio system.
LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Qualcomm, Sony held their press conference and outlined their vision for the world of consumer electronics this year. While 4K TVs were mainstream with small showing from 8K TV and audio turning into a soundbar, the most common trend was arrival of Google Assistant and Amazon and Alexa on these devices. LG, Sony and Panasonic are integrating Google Assistant into their TV while Acer, HP and Asus are bringing Amazon Alexa to their Windows 10 PCs.
While CES is not the home for companies to introduce camera gear, Nikon and Panasonic surprised with the launch of a super telephoto lens and an improved camera respectively. Virtual Reality, both compact and mainstream ones, were showcased at the event. Here are the top announcements from the second day of CES in Las Vegas.
LG is making its 4K and Super UHD TVs smarter by integrating AI with the launch of a new range at CES 2018. Ahead of CES, LG detailed its new ThinQ AI architecture that will serve as the underpinning for machine learning and AI applications including voice assistant. LG confirmed that its television will use an advanced processor for processing AI information and will come with Google Assistant built-in.
Samsung showcased an 85-inch 8K TV, a 146-inch modular TV based on microLED technology and at its CES 2018 keynote, the company showcased its own smart TV system that will power its 2018 TV lineup. The most important aspect here is to connect TVs with mobile devices using its SmartThings app. The mobile connectivity will also serve as the module to serve notification about a show or offer personalized recommendations. Samsung is also integrating its Bixby voice assistant with the TV for voice-assisted home entertainment experience.
Panasonic is updating its GH5, one of the favorite video camera among YouTubers, with enhanced low-light capability. The new Panasonic GH5S has a 10.2-megapixel "dual ISO" sensor with much better low-light sensitivity with native ISO up to 51,200. It has full sensor 4K video capability at 60 frames per second and supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture making it competitive against Sony A7S II. It also includes other features like dual UHS-II SD memory card slots, USB Type-C port, WiFi and Bluetooth and will retail at $2,499 for the body only.
Xiaomi and Qualcomm announced their collaboration to launch Oculus Go, a standalone virtual reality headset powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR platform. Oculus confirmed that Xiaomi will be its hardware partner for the global launch of Oculus Go and the device will be available as Mi VR Standalone in China. Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone feature fast-switch LCD screen and will ship later this year for $199 (around Rs 13,000).
At CES 2018, HTC is announcing Vive Pro, a refreshed version of its existing Vive VR headset. With Vive Pro, HTC is increasing the resolution of the dual OLED displays to 2880 x 1600 from 2160 x 1200, a 78 percent increase in resolution from the current Vive. The new super sharp display puts it ahead of Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets and will offer improved graphics on the headset. The Vive Pro also offers redesigned headstrap and adds built-in headphones. The VR headset will make it stand apart before Oculus starts shipping its Santa Cruz standalone headset.
Google and Amazon are engaged in a war with the search giant removing YouTube access from Echo Show. If you were scratching your head for the reason then Google answered that with its Smart Display platform. Google is collaborating with Lenovo to launch Smart Display, a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker that also includes a display. Lenovo is offering Smart Display in 8-inch and 10-inch models and it runs Android Things, a customized operating system with support for Google Duo, Google Maps, YouTube and card-like UI for a smooth experience. The 8-inch Smart Display will be available for $199.99 while the 10-inch model is priced at $249.99.
Nikon isn't announcing a new camera at CES this year, but it's introducing a new super telephoto lens aimed at professional photographers. The new AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E lens is the first Nikon lens to feature a built-in teleconverter. The lens when connected to a FX-format lens has a focal length of 180-400mm, but can be extended to 252-560mm with the 1.4x teleconverter. When paired with a DX-format DSLR, the focal length is equivalent to 270-600mm and with the teleconverter, it goes to a whopping 378-840mm. The lens is aimed primarily at sports and wildlife photographers and will retail for $12,399.954 (approximately Rs 800,000) starting March 2018.