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Consumer Electronics Show: Gadget buzz

8 Jun 2024 by BusinessTraveller

New wonders from the Consumer Electronics Show.

Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest trade events in the world. Thousands of companies show off their latest, greatest and future products to 135,000 attendees. From transparent TVs to artificial intelligence embedded in just about everything, this year’s show featured fascinating upcoming tech. Here’s a look at some of the near and distant future gadgets generating buzz.

Transparent TVs

Both Samsung and LG showed off transparent TVs using versions of their MicroLED and OLED technology, respectively. These are exactly what they sound like: when the TV is off, it looks like a translucent piece of glass. When it’s on, you can still see through it, but the image is “hovering” in the air. These certainly have a wow factor that has been lacking in the television market for a while, but it’s doubtful you’ll see these in most homes. They’re going to be very expensive and won’t look as good as a normal TV. Rather, expect to see them in shop fronts, sports stadiums and anywhere a company wants to show info or ads without spoiling the view. lg.com; samsung.com

XREAL Air 2 Ultra

AR and VR headsets have been on the fringes of the mainstream for years. Cost, weight and unimpressive performance have always been an issue. The Air 2 Ultra, however, looks like a big step in the right direction. Don’t let its bulky sunglasses design fool you – it can display a virtual big-screen TV wherever you are. Will you start to see everyone wearing it? Certainly not, but it could be the next accessory seen on aeroplanes, in offices or at your local trendy coffee shop. £699; uk.shop.xreal.com

Air 2 Ultra

Clicks

On a more practical front, Clicks adds a Blackberry-esque physical keyboard to certain iPhone models, including the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Honestly, it’s surprising to me it hasn’t been available for ages. It’s an entire case, and although it makes the phone rather long and bulky, it’s a great idea and aid. Clicks can potentially increase your texting speed, minimise typos when taking notes or writing emails, and give back display real estate that was previously taken up by the on-screen keyboard. Hopefully, it will expand to non-Apple phones in the future. £109; clicks.tech

Rabbit R1

AI was a huge part of this year’s show. In most cases it was embedded in other products, but in the Rabbit R1 the hardware only exists to let you access the AI. Billed as a “pocket companion”, it features a small screen, speaker, microphone, rotating camera and scroll wheel. The idea is to talk to the Rabbit and have it perform tasks such as finding a hotel or flight, ordering food, playing a song on Spotify and so on. Could you do this with a smartphone? Yes. Is this a solution in search of a problem? Also yes, but that’s often the case with CES products and prototypes. US$199 (£160); rabbit.tech

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Far more typical AI integration is what Samsung showed with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. AI will assist with things like real-time translation, photo editing and manipulation, note summaries and more. There’s no doubt it’s a great phone, but expensive, and some of the AI features are available elsewhere for less or free. That said, expect other high-end smartphones to adopt similar AI features this year and beyond (if they haven’t already). From £1,099; samsung.com

Words: Geoffrey Morrison

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The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
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