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 meeting 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 dates
2021 breaks with tradition. Usually, CES starts just a few days after New Years, the first week of the year. We will have to be a little patient this time since CES 2021 is officially 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 2 p.m. (Paris time).
- LG: January 11, 2021 at 2 p.m. (Paris time).
- Samsung: January 11, 2021 at 3 p.m. (Paris time).
- Panasonic: January 11, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. (Paris time).
- Philips: January 11, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. (Paris time).
- TCL: January 11, 2021 at 5 p.m. (Paris time).
- Canon: January 11, 2021 at 5 p.m. (Paris time).
- Intel: January 11, 2021 at 7 p.m. (Paris time).
- Sony: January 11, 2021 at 11:00 p.m. (Paris time).
- AMD: January 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. (Paris time).
- Nvidia: January 12, 2021 at 6 p.m. (Paris time).
CES 2021: smartphone announcements
While a very wide variety of tech products are 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 Motorolo 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 Electronic 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 with such definition this year, perhaps for a slightly more affordable price.
The two South Korean manufacturers will in any case this year again 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 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 a 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. So much for LG’s ultra premium for its LCD televisions, which also continues its efforts on OLED, still considered the best TV experience by the manufacturer.
Samsung hasn’t cut all of its cards yet, but the manufacturer shouldn’t be left behind. It has already filed numerous trade names that 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 and that we are not ready to see marketed to the general public in the short term. term.
Samsung has already announced that its 2021 QLED TVs will be compatible with the new standard HDR10 + Adaptive, which competes with Dolby Vision IQ. This technology makes it possible to optimize the live image, scene by scene, like the HDR10 +, but with an 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 during these 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, which on the contrary is doing very well, announces that it will take advantage of 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 to 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 us concerning other GPUs under RDNA 2.
CES 2021: new Nvidia graphics cards?
Nvidia struck a big blow by announcing a few months ago its GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090, then its RTX 3060 Ti. Four graphics card models with an extremely interesting quality-price ratio that allow the American giant to see the future with serenity despite the stock-outs during the first months. And the brand should not stop there since at least two other GPUs are expected in the coming weeks: an RTX 3060 and an RTX 3080 Ti. Knowing that Nvidia is holding a conference on January 12 for this CES 2021, we can hope that the teams of the group will take the opportunity to reveal one of these graphics cards, or both.
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 get out of the game. ultrabook, these thin and light laptops with a very important autonomy and sometimes a connectivity to the mobile network cut out 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: even more monitors?
As for the previous category, here we are dealing with a type of product which is historically already well represented in the various editions of the CES, and which is currently benefiting from a boost from the health situation. Computer monitors are also benefiting from the rebound in the PC market, whether oriented towards productivity or gaming. With in the latter case technical sheets that should be even more insane than what the manufacturers have accustomed us to: QLED, OLED, 240 Hz, QHD, 4K or even 8K on the menu.
CES 2021: Sony to watch on audio
We will not escape new True Wireless headsets and headphones. And inevitably, all eyes are on Sony, which markets products of excellent quality. The WH-1000XM4, the latest iteration of its flagship headset, is still recent and we shouldn’t see a successor as of CES. But we can dream of new in-ear devices that would take over from WF-1000XM3.
There are many other brands that are expected to provide us with mobility audio solutions, hopefully with new gesture or motion control options and more efficient ambient noise cancellation features. Soundcore, the audio branch of manufacturer Anker, will present TWS headphones. Panasonic could also offer TWS with noise reduction after having surprised us last year with its RZ-S500W.
CES 2021: finally the photo and the video in the spotlight?
CES is not necessarily the favorite meeting place for camera and camera manufacturers, but sometimes we get a few nuggets. New references should arrive at 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.
CES 2021: webcams and microphones to meet demand
2020 will have been the advent of teleworking, confinement and social distancing rules oblige. But since you still have to communicate well with your colleagues, superiors or clients other than by email, Slack or other collaborative work platform, the demand for webcams and microphones has exploded in recent months. Manufacturers should ride the wave to announce new products in this area. And since the quality of your Internet connection is essential when working at home, routers, amplifiers or Mesh WiFi network devices should also show the tip of their nose.
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: connected 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 (even sex toys!), We should see a host of connected objects of all kinds during CES.