CES 2021 will provide us with a host of new products, mature and ready for commercialization or even at the state of concept or prototype, which will print the tech trend of 2021, but also of the following years. This “All Digital” edition will be full of announcements despite the particular circumstances of its holding.
The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is the first major technological event of the year and sets the pace for innovations, new technologies, and future products marketed in the months or years to come. This edition is of course held in special circumstances due to the COVID-19 epidemic preventing any large gathering. This CES 2021 is, therefore “All-Digital” and is held exclusively online, and not in Las Vegas as usual. This will not prevent hundreds of brands from presenting their latest work through online conferences or press releases. So what to expect in this special year?
CES 2021 conference dates
2021 breaks with tradition. Usually, CES starts just a few days after the new year, more precisely the first week of the year. This year, We will have to be a little patient this time since CES 2021 is officially being held from January 11 to 14. But we must expect announcements from the manufacturers upstream, as was already the case for previous editions. During the period from January 11 to 14, we will mainly be entitled to round tables and conferences as well as awards ceremonies, the announcements will be spread over a larger period of time.
Below, find a few conferences that may interest you, knowing that many manufacturers have not yet communicated an exact date or time.
- HiSense: January 11, 2021 at 1 p.m. GMT.
- LG: January 11, 2021 at 1 p.m. (GMT).
- Samsung: January 11, 2021 at 2 p.m. GMT.
- Panasonic: January 11, 2021 at 3 p.m. GMT.
- Philips: January 11, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. GMT.
- TCL: January 11, 2021 at 4 p.m. (GMT).
- Canon: January 11, 2021 at 4 p.m. GMT.
- Intel: January 11, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. GMT.
- Sony: January 11, 2021 at 10:00 p.m. GMT.
- AMD: January 12, 2021 at 4 p.m. (GMT).
- Nvidia: January 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. (GMT).
CES 2021: smartphone announcements
While a very wide variety of tech products will be showcased at CES 2021, we usually don’t have a major smartphone launch at this event. Manufacturers have long preferred to reserve their products for the Mobile World Congress (MWC). And the trend in this industry is going more and more towards non-participation in this kind of big meeting, the manufacturers (Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi…) preferring to organize their own conferences without being associated with CES or MWC. Samsung, for example, will hold its Unpacked event to present the Galaxy S21 series on January 14, 2021, the last official day of CES, but a priori without any link with the latter.
However, it is possible that some new smartphone models will still be presented. Either entry or mid-range of reputable brands, or devices of outsiders, brands that are not or little known in the mobile sector and who want to gain visibility thanks to CES without fear of remaining in the shadow of the big builders.
One of the trends for 2021 will be the foldable screen. Huawei and Motorola have started to dabble in the market, Samsung has already embraced it, and other manufacturers will join them this year, including Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and maybe Google. It is possible that a prototype or a concept of a folding smartphone will be presented at this CES.
CES 2021: Mini LED, Micro LED, QD-OLED, and 8K for TVs
The Consumer Electronics Show is often the time chosen by brands to present their new series of televisions, which will then be launched on the market a few months later. The 2020 edition was particularly interesting since we had seen Samsung and LG 8K TVs intended for the general public. We can expect to see new models displaying such definition this year, perhaps for a slightly more affordable price.
The two South Korean manufacturers will again be the two major trendsetters in the TV market with the announcement of consumer televisions equipped with new backlighting technologies, which should allow the LCD to approach the performance of the ‘OLED. LG drew the first line by communicating on its future QNED TVs. These will be equipped with Mini LEDs, much smaller than conventional LEDs, but also more numerous, in order to offer better contrast than what the best current LCD televisions offer in Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) as well as increased brightness, much higher than that of OLED, very useful for HDR10 + and Dolby Vision. LG talks about up to 30,000 Mini LEDs on the backlight panel and 25,000 dimming zones. And not to spoil anything: support for 8K definition and a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
Samsung hasn’t cut all of its cards yet, but the manufacturer shouldn’t be left behind. It has already filed numerous trade names which seem to indicate that next-generation QLED TVs with new technologies are in the works. QLED Neo, QLED Platinum, QLED Z, Quantum Matrix, QLED +… we should know more on the occasion of this CES 2021. It is likely that at least one of these options does not hide the equivalent of Samsung at QNED from LG, the manufacturer also working on Mini LED TVs. We know that Samsung is also developing what is called the Quantum Dot OLED, which would make it possible to have a perfect TV with the contrasts of OLED and the brightness of QLED. But it may not be for this year. On the other hand, we should see at least one Micro LED TV from Samsung, a technology that is also almost flawless and better mastered than QD-OLED, but extremely expensive.
Samsung has already announced that its 2021 QLED televisions will be compatible with the new HDR10 + Adaptive standard, which competes with Dolby Vision IQ. This technology makes it possible to optimize the live image, scene by scene, like the HDR10 +, but with additional functionality: by using the TV’s brightness sensors, it also takes into account the user’s light environment to deliver the image that best suits the situation.
Sony, HiSense, Panasonic, TCL, or Philips should also make announcements at CES 2021, but the projectors should focus mainly on LG and Samsung. During this edition, we should therefore see the democratization of 8K as well as HDMI 2.1 and unload the QNED (Mini LED) as the new best LCD technology at an “affordable” price. Demonstrations based on Micro LED or QD OLED are possible, but not for products marketed to consumers in 2021. It is not impossible that “roll-up screen TVs” like the LG Signature OLED R will also make an appearance. Finally, it cannot be ruled out that Google partners are talking to us about a transition from Android TV to Google TV.
CES 2021: Intel and AMD will talk about processors (and possibly GPUs)
The clash between Intel and AMD on the CPU market is exported until CES. Intel’s schedule promises to be busy with possible announcements for Tiger Lake processors that will power next-generation laptops, Rocket Lake CPUs for gaming-oriented desktops, and finally Ice Lake processors for servers. Intel, which has struggled to innovate in recent years and reduce the fineness of engraving of its processors, is playing big. The founder could also evoke GPUs, and present chips from its subsidiary Mobileye, specializing in autonomous driving.
Its competitor AMD, who on the contrary is doing very well, announces that it will use CES 2021 to share “its vision for the future of research, education, work, entertainment and games, including a portfolio of high-performance computing and graphics solutions “. We understand that we should have some news about the brand’s CPUs and GPUs, a few weeks after the officialization of the Ryzen 5000. It could be CPU also under Zen 3 architecture, but this time intended for laptops and not desktop PCs. We could also hear about processors for servers based on Zen 3. And after the new Radeon RX graphics cards exploiting the RDNA 2 architecture, AMD could have news to announce to us concerning other GPUs under RDNA 2.
CES 2021: laptops in shambles
CES is an opportunity for laptop manufacturers to present their upcoming releases for the first half of the year, and sometimes even for the next 12 months. Faced with the emergence of smartphones and tablets, the PC market had been declining since the start of the past decade, it experienced a resurgence in 2020 following the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic, which encouraged the ‘purchase of computers for telecommuting or entertainment.
Dell, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, HP, and their competitors will undoubtedly take advantage of this to try to pull out their game. We especially expect ultrabooks, these thin and light laptops with a very important autonomy and sometimes connectivity to the mobile network tailored for productivity. But we should also have our dose of gaming laptops, especially if AMD announces new CPUs and GPUs for laptops.
One of the industry trends to watch is of course the arrival of ARM architecture on our computers. Apple’s M1 chip is stunning and we know that Microsoft is developing Surface PCs under ARM. Huawei is also working on a homemade ARM processor for laptops. The Redmond firm is not known to communicate excessively except through its partners at CES, we should not see the famous Surface ARM land at the event. On the other hand, we should see new ARM laptops equipped with Qualcomm chips, as has been the case for two years.
CES 2021: virtual and augmented reality have their say
CES is often an opportunity to test products related to virtual reality and augmented reality. This year, it will be more difficult to realize the potential of the products without being there to get an idea, but we should still be entitled to announcements, especially concerning VR headsets, always more powerful and of which some models are starting. to become affordable. AR for its part will be of more interest to professionals than to the general public for its applications.
CES 2021: smart objects of course
The Internet of Things is developing more and more and has a bright future ahead of it with 5G which will gradually impose itself. In the meantime, home automation devices are still very dependent on the WiFi network. Between household appliances (refrigerators, coffee makers, etc.), lighting, heating, security, shutters, vacuum cleaners, and many others, We should see a host of smart objects of all kinds during CES.
CES 2021: finally the photo and the video in the spotlight?
CES is not necessarily the favorite meeting place for camera and photography manufacturers, but we sometimes get a few nuggets. New references are expected from Canon, Nikon, and Sony soon and CES could be an opportunity for such launches. For video, action cams, stabilizers, or drones could be presented, GoPro, DJI, and Insta360 being brands to follow in this area.