I was super excited to finish my Christmas and New Year break in Europe returning to Hong Kong via Las Vegas to check out the Consumer Electronics Show. Dating back over two decades and with over 170, 000 others attending this year, CES has become an annual pilgrimage for those interested in all things tech.
Many of the clients we work with in Asia and beyond were there, a number of expected themes being discussed with Drones, Virtual Reality and Automotive Tech all major talking points.
Having taken the above picture with my DJI Phantom Vision 2+ on the desert road to Vegas, I was keen to see what our Shenzhen based consumer drone leader had in store. They weren’t alone in showcasing their newest technology. Another Chinese manufacturer, Ehang Inc. unveiled a drone that it said can carry a passenger at speeds of up to 100 km/h. The proliferation of drones has created newer regulatory challenges for the FAA so it might be a while before the Ehang 184 is the model of choice for your daily commute. I was struck by the sheer number of companies getting involved in this technology, with brands such as Intel showcasing their drone that is due to ship in the second half of this year. It’s hardly surprising when the value of the drone market is projected to reach US$8.4 billion in 2018.
Speaking of Transport, one could be mistaken for thinking you’d come to an automotive show with many household names as well as Tier 1 suppliers demonstrating mobile integration and projecting a vision of autonomous vehicle ubiquity. For many outside the industry, it's still difficult to envisage a world of driverless cars, but hardware like Nvidia's Drive PX 2 system suggest that time could arrive sooner rather than later. Delphi were also there having, in 2015, successfully completed a US coast-to-coast trip in their self-driving demonstrator.
Facebook owned Oculus had attendees suitably wowed for those who were prepared to brave the constant queues to trial their Virtual Reality Headset, ‘Rift’ which will ship later this year. More modestly priced headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and Zeiss VR One are already taking a share of what will be a growing VR market in 2016.
CES wouldn't be CES without a slew of new smartphones and tablets, and this year it was major Chinese players like Huawei and ZTE who made the most lasting impression. Huawei's Nexus 6P in Matte Gold really caught my eye, while ZTE's new budget smartphones, the Grand X3 and Avid Plus, got people talking for other reasons.
Unsurprisingly, Apple was a CES no-show for the 24th straight year but there was plenty to keep fans of the company intrigued over the course of the show. Expect more mobile but no Apple in a few weeks at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress.
Fitbit unveiled their new watch, the ‘Blaze’, but their share price tanked directly afterwards. Analysts suggested the product might struggle in the highly competitive Smartwatch space now dominated by the Palo Alto Giant .
My fitbit tracker told me I walked just under 37km over the two days which is not untypical for an attendee at CES. With a long road ahead in 2016, there’s a lot more ground to cover for those in the ever evolving tech world.