The theme of this year’s tech show was “All On,” a play on words that tells me that anything with an on button is getting its moment at the annual gathering of consumer electronics companies, and CES 2024 didn’t disappoint. Robots were on, interoperability was on, every home appliance was on and listening, and your car’s on button could be pushed from the comfort of your couch via smartphone. And lots of what was on display in Las Vegas also tapped on via AI in a myriad of ways.
I won’t be so ambitious to think we can cover everything under the sun — we’re covering just what caught our eye, but I also link to some coverage worth reading.
If you’re familiar with “The Jetsons” animated cartoon, it’s looking a lot more like that kind of future as robots evolve with more sophisticated utility.
Samsung trotted out Ballie, and it became the robot darling of CES. It’s not lost on me that it kind of resembles BB-8 from the “Star Wars” movie franchise, sans cleverness. The takeaway here is that it works with autonomy to monitor the goings-on at home, with limited interaction. Competitively, LG also showcased its home monitoring robot, appropriately named Rosie.
Ogmen’s ORo is aimed as a human helper substitute, but for your dog. The image and video capture can come in handy, as can the tidbit launcher and automated food bowl, and it can also open up an audio gateway so you can talk to your pet through it. I suspect my dog’s ears would prick up, wondering how this thing has swallowed its owner, and ignore it/me. What appears promising, though, is the training feature they half-heartedly touted, so I’ll believe it when I see it.
Practical consumer tech
For more practical technology for the smart home, the darling of CES 2023, the Matter standard, has expanded its reach within a year, with Matter features being built into locks, lighting, speakers, home control systems and home networking. We’re almost at that point where I can ask Siri or Alexa to control the lights as I walk from one room to another without saying a word — almost.
You know where interop might be useful? New sharing tech that’s coming from Google and Samsung. If you’re familiar with Apple’s AirDrop feature that lets you share docs and images by dropping them onto nearby devices, that’s what Google and Samsung are offering for their phone ecosystems. Sharing is cumbersome, and if only companies would play nice and just make it seamless across the board. For now, the fact that Google and Samsung are offering the service is a step in the right direction. I’ve used Quick Share and it’s nearly seamless, and the gap that iPhone users like me need to leap is nearly closed.
So, moving back to more practical uses that got my attention (over the holidays, I attended quite a few home parties where a Roomba did its work in silence, and now I think I need one), among the various home robots at CES this year, the ones that would perk up Rosie the lovelorn robot maid‘s sensors would be Dreametech’s DreameBot X30, with interchangeable floor and carpet-cleanings heads (the heads are changed autonomously), and Yarbo’s M1 lawn mower robot, which works Roomba-like but out on your lawn.
Put a ring on it
One other standout on the practical tech side was smart rings. As I get older, I’ve been more concerned with my health (I’ve seen my doctor more times this year than I have in the previous 20), and I’ve used smart watches in the past, but the variety of features and apps they come with can be distracting. (As well, I haven’t found a watch whose band won’t chafe my wrist raw after wearing it for more than a week.)
Smart rings offer discretion and simplicity, and the ones at CES 2024 looked inexpensive as well as utilitarian. The most well-known of the rings, the Oura Ring, is on its third iteration with a gen 4 coming this year that might expand health monitoring services. At CES 2024, though, worthwhile competition is catching up, like the AmazFit Helio Ring, with sleep and activity details to rival Oura, and the Evie Ring from Movano Health, which has specific tracking for women’s bodies, like menstrual cycles (Evie was recognized as a CES 2024 Innovation Honoree).
Well, there’s more, way more
Las Vegas was the center of the tech universe for a week, and while I covered just a little of what went on here, there was way too much good stuff:
- ZDNet covers the best robots this year, as did Tom’s Guide (a Future publication), which covers 9
- The Verge updates CES interoperability nicely
- TechRadar (a Future pub), rounds up smart rings here
- Here’s what the Idaho State Journal adds to its general roundup that covers car tech and and sighting of Robert Downey Jr.
- Always hot sellers in any year are tablets, and Digital Trends filters the best ones here
- NBC Select rounds up smart home, health, wellness
- Tom’s Guide gives in to hyperbole with this list of awesome tech, including the Rabbit R1, an AI assistant that looks like a smartphone, but doesn’t pretend to be, and will be available, coincidentally, around spring.
Missed CES 2024? Rewind it
You can take CES in one shot and wear out your dogs traversing all the widely spread venues, or you can sit back and click on the on-demand videos that CTA has made available for later review. Qualcomm’s keynote includes how chip innovations and AI are advancing electric vehicle efficiency and autonomous driving systems, and Walmart’s keynote on retail innovations, like cashierless checkout, point to a future that’s already here. All of the CES 2024 videos are on demand at videos.ces.tech.
Bonus: Listen to Future Content Director Jeremy Kaplan wrap up what he saw in the 26 or so miles he walked during the week at CES, in the “On Marketing” podcast.
As transportation technology has its own dedicated pavilion at CES every year, there were quite a few new innovations in-car and in the air, and we’ll cover them in SmartBrief later.