After a two-year hiatus, the Consumer Electronics Show, or simply CES, returned to Las Vegas, allowing consumer electronics manufacturers to showcase their latest developments in a wide variety of areas. We have selected the main, in our opinion, announcements that clearly demonstrate the direction in which various industries are moving and what consumers can expect.
Near wireless LG TV
LG brought to CES 2023 a new flagship line of OLED TVs M3, among which the top solution is a 97-inch model with 4K resolution, although “smaller” versions with diagonals 77 and 83 inches will also be available.
However, the main innovation in this line of TVs is not the diagonal or the type of matrix, but the fact that all the connectors and the main electronics in them are placed in a separate block, which in turn connects to the screen wirelessly. That is, such a unit can simply be hidden somewhere in a closet together with a TV set-top box and a game console.
Wireless video streaming is nothing new, people have been streaming content to their TVs from a variety of devices for a long time, but LG says it’s the first time they’ve managed to achieve stable 4K 120Hz video streaming from block to screen. At the same time, it is allegedly not affected by other wireless Wi-Fi networks.
The LG M3 unit itself contains a standard set of ports for TVs – three HDMI, two USB, Ethernet, antenna connection, and optical digital output.
Given that this is the first generation of TVs with this type of connection, it is possible that there may be some nuances in real use, but in general this is something that manufacturers have been trying to achieve for a long time in one way or another years – to get rid of wires in TVs as much as possible, which spoil the interior. I am sure that other large companies will follow the same path. Therefore, it is quite possible that in the future of the next 10 years, TVs will turn into a small black box that will stand in the closet, and for them you will have to buy a screen to your taste and wallet.
Lenovo laptop with two screens
Once upon a time, Microsoft was working on creating an electronic notepad with two screens and even created a prototype device called Microsoft Courier. It was later canceled and forgotten, but the concept itself lived on. Microsoft later released an Android smartphone with two screens – the Surface Duo, and Lenovo – the Yoga Book C930 laptop. Now the latter company has decided to develop this idea in the Yoga Book 9i model.
The device is formally part of the Lenovo laptop line, but it is much more versatile than traditional models. And all thanks to the fact that the Yoga Book 9i received two 13.3-inch OLED touch screens with pen support, as well as a magnetic keyboard and a stand. This made it possible to significantly increase the number of options for using the device. For example, you can put the screens on top of each other, you can next to each other, you can fold the laptop into a tablet, you can use one of the screens as a stand or put them as a “tent”.
You can also use the Yoga Book 9i as a normal laptop, for this you can display a virtual keyboard and touchpad on one of the displays, which provide a realistic feeling of pressing thanks to the built-in vibration system using a linear displacement drive.
But for those who just want to type on regular keys, there is an option to use a magnetic keyboard that attaches to the screen. It can be placed traditionally closer to the main display and get a large virtual touchpad, or on the contrary, move it closer to you and see a panel of widgets with various information.
This format with two separate displays now looks more reliable than solutions with a flexible screen and provides more options for performing everyday tasks. But I hope we will be able to find out how convenient it will be in real use. At least not yet, considering the cost of about $2000, the Yoga Book 9i is not designed for the mass market, so Lenovo will have time to evaluate the impact of the model and gather feedback from reviewers and users.
Samsung QD OLED S95C TVs
For the past few years, Samsung has focused consumer attention on QLED, Mini LED and Micro LED display technologies in its TVs, while OLED has received less attention, although the company has not stopped releasing models with matrices on organic LEDs. This year it presented a new line of TVs with QD OLED screens that use quantum dot technology. With this approach, the company was able to achieve a matrix brightness of more than 2000 nits and generally improve image quality.
The line of Samsung QD OLED S95C TVs will consist of 55-, 65- and 77-inch models with 4K resolution, 0.1ms matrix response time, 144Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 support and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro technology. As you can see, the line is also designed for players, besides, not so much console players as computer players.
In general, Samsung’s increased focus on organic LED technology in TV screens and the new QD OLED matrix in the S95C line will allow the company to increase competition in the premium model market, so buyers should get more attractive offers.
Afeela, the first electric car from Sony and Honda
Back in 2020, Sony showed a prototype of the Sony Vision S EV electric car, which turned into a commercial project this year under the new Afeela brand. In addition, it will be developed by the joint venture of Sony Honda Mobility. Not everyone will like the name of the new car brand, but the developers wanted it to evoke associations with autonomy, augmented reality and affinity, and, of course, with various pleasant feelings.
The car is still in the prototype stage, but is already closer to mass production, so compared to the version of two years ago, the Afeela design has become more aerodynamic, but also a little duller than the previous version. When looking at the body of an electric car, the eye doesn’t really have anything to “catch on”, but the high efficiency coupled with miniature cameras instead of mirrors should reduce air resistance and provide longer mileage on one battery charge. The only thing that attracts attention in the design of the car is the Media Bar displays built into the bumper, which show information, for example, about charging or the direction of movement of the car, so that it is more visible to pedestrians.
Technical details about the Afeela are extremely scarce, it is known to be a rather large 4.9 meter sedan with 21 inch wheels, claimed level 3 autonomous driving, which relies on an impressive array of 45 cameras and a Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis computing unit. Sony also notes that the car will have an unparalleled entertainment system, which is hinted at by a massive screen that spans the entire width of the front panel of the cabin. The Y-shaped steering wheel should not block the driver’s information on the display.
According to Sony Honda Mobility’s plan, the first Afeela will hit the roads in the spring of 2026, so by then we will have more information about the electric car.
3D is back, but for now only in ASUS laptops
The technology of 3D screens, on which you can see a three-dimensional image without special glasses, disappeared from the consumer market many years ago, along with the decline of the idea of 3D TVs, as it was difficult for users to find content for them. However, this year at CES 2023, ASUS decided to revive the idea of an autostereoscopic display, but to offer it for professional laptop models – ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED and Vivobook Pro 16X 3D OLED.
Using a lenticular raster and eye-tracking cameras allows this display to form separate images for each eye, creating an autostereoscopic three-dimensional effect. At the same time, users can switch between 2D and 3D modes without using special glasses.
ASUS expects their laptops with 3D screens to empower content creators, architects, designers, drafters, and others who can visualize their work faster without waiting for physical prototypes to be created. And of course, creating content for the metaverse on ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED and Vivobook Pro 16X 3D OLED should also be easier, so ASUS is aiming for a fairly wide audience of creators here.
How many content authors can be interested in laptops with 3D screens is still difficult to say, everything will depend on how they will show themselves in real tests, but ASUS is very confident in its technology. Therefore, maybe we will hear about 3D in consumer electronics.
What color is this BMW?
As in the case of Afeela, Vision Dee is a rather non-standard name for an electric car, especially from BMW, but there is little standard in this concept. The manufacturer has been experimenting with E-Ink screens for many years, using them as a coating for the car body. Last year it was the BMW iX with monochrome E-Ink screens that could turn the color of the car from almost black to several shades of gray.
This year, at CES 2023, BMW showed the Vision Dee, a continuation of the idea of a car that can change the color of the body at the owner’s request. But it already uses color E-Ink screens, which makes the concept much more interesting. In total, the body of the electric car is divided into 240 segments, each of which can display 32 colors.
Crazy variety and customization options, but it is unlikely that we will ever see this on the roads. A car that can instantly change color is a nightmare for the police. Unless, in the distant future, there will be another reliable way to quickly identify cars, apart from the number plate, make and color of the body.
Be that as it may, the Vision Dee’s ability to change color was a nice showstopper, allowing BMW to show a wider audience its other developments, such as the car’s augmented reality windshield, which really may go into production as early as 2025. This will allow the manufacturer’s cars to offer wider options for visualization of navigation and provide drivers with effective hints about the road, road signs, traffic lights and pedestrians.
Withings U-Scan – home urine analyzer
Every year, the market is more and more filled with various health tracking devices, but we are more used to news about smart watches, scales or tonometers than about a device that needs to be installed in a toilet bowl. However, the Withings company was not stopped by this necessity and at the CES 2023 exhibition it showed U-Scan – its first urine analyzer.
The device is designed to be installed in the toilet, which gives users free access to urine analysis. Although urinalysis is a routine procedure in medical facilities, it is hardly used for health monitoring at home. That could change a lot in the next few years if the Withings U-Scan becomes popular. The company notes that urine has more than 3,000 metabolites, which gives an immediate snapshot of the body’s balance and health.
U-Scan has a built-in battery and can tell the difference between wash water and urine and only collects it for analysis. During use, urine flows into the collection inlet, activating the pump, after a thermal sensor detects its presence. The sample passes through the microfluidic circuit and is injected into the test capsule. Here, the reaction is read by an optical sensor and transmitted to the application. Each subsequent flush of the toilet clears the system, restarting it for the next sample collection.
For now, the device will only be available in Europe and through its U-Scan Nutri Balance app, it shows the specific gravity of urine (an important indicator for understanding the correct functioning of the kidneys), pH, vitamin C and ketones level. Combining these measurements helps people monitor their metabolism to optimize daily hydration and nutrient intake. In addition, the system can recommend workouts, offer dietary suggestions and recipes, all to help health-conscious users achieve their goals.
Razer laptops with Mini LED screens and variable refresh rates
Mini LED matrices are gradually appearing in more devices, although they remain a rather expensive solution. However, compared to already familiar IPS panels, they have undeniable advantages, such as high brightness and deeper black color, thanks to the ability to turn off individual backlight zones. Razer is one of the few manufacturers that showed at CES 2023 flagship laptops with Mini LED matrices, they are the Razer Blade 16 and Razer Blade 18 models.
Both versions are equipped with Mini LED displays, the brightness of which reaches 1000 nits, and which have 1000 separate backlight zones, which will allow you to get better contrast and get rid of unnecessary halos around bright objects. Interestingly, at the maximum resolution of 3840×2400 pixels, the screens have a refresh rate of 120 Hz, but if you switch to a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels, the refresh rate increases to 240 Hz. Accordingly, you can change this setting between work tasks and game sessions.
Not only bends, but also extends – the new screen from Samsung
4.2-inch screen that can be folded into a 10.5-inch diagonal with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and if that’s not enough, the slider mechanism allows you to move it up to 12.4 inches, getting a 16:10 ratio. Isn’t that beautiful? Samsung also thought so and showed a prototype of such a display called Flex Hybrid OLED at the CES exhibition.
In the future, such screens could be used in a variety of universal transforming devices, allowing you to turn a smartphone into a tablet and, if necessary, change its size and screen ratio for different tasks, for example, 4:3 convenient for reading books, while 16:10 is better for watching videos.