After unexpected travel delays drained the entirety of my first day on the CES show floor, I was eager to hit the ground running today at CES 2018. Making my way through the North Hall, a prominent theme that I caught early on was the strong presence of autonomous driving. We’re familiar with AI, AR, VR…and now “AD” has made its way into the common lingo on the CES floor.
Major manufacturers such as Ford, Jeep, Kia and Hyundai envisioned the future of autonomous driving, including BMW showcasing a test model that would be available in 2021 and will be Level 3 on the Vehicle Autonomy scale:
The driver will still need to remain alert and able to take over at a moments notice, but with level 3 only a few years away, many 10 year timelines for the major car manufacturers include visions of fully autonomous vehicles.
Even NVIDIA, whose claim to fame lies within its powerful GPUs, had very little to show in terms of desktop performance and gaming. Instead, they debuted the world’s first autonomous machine processor: “Xavier”. (I later found out NVIDIA GPU and monitors were on display somewhere top secret inside the Wynn and was invite only. If anyone from NVIDIA is reading this – we’d love an invite!)
After spending quite a bit of time in the North Hall, I began making my way towards the Central Hall, only to discover what caused a large kerfluffle throughout the day: the now-famous CES blackout. The entire central hall lost power for nearly 2 hours at the height of CES, causing delayed meetings and mayhem, and re-routing many of the visitors to the south hall and other hotels to kill time while the issue was addressed.
Making my way to the south hall, I stumbled upon one of my favorite parts of the conference: the gaming and virtual reality booths! I spent the bulk of my time at the Razer booth, where a member of the marketing team spent quite a bit of time with me going over their latest accessories and laptops, including the “best of both worlds” – Linda.
Seated in the area where the trackpad is normally housed, the Razer phone serves as the brain of the computer once docked. With 8 GB RAM, a powerful Snapdragon processor and impressive dolby atmos speakers, it provides a laptop experience once docked, and also serves as the trackpad.
There was also an exclusive demo for Soul Calibur 6 alongside Razer’s Raiju controller and Panthera Fight Sticks, but you can see and learn more about those in our Razer spotlight, which will post tomorrow.
Making my way from the south hall to the newly-reinvigorated Central Hall (lights on!), yet another buzzword began to fill my ears: 5G. Qualcomm announced 5G a number of years ago, but as the infrastructure for 5G continues to grow, more and more companies are imagining a future where 5G networks allow the internet of things to expand even more rapidly. Ford’s mission statement for the event was that in the future – the streets themselves will be “alive”. Not in a creepy way, but in a give-and-take of information: from vehicle speeds to map data and foot traffic.
Also being shown off was the new standard for wireless speeds: 802.11ad. Once again a technology that we began to see properly a couple short years ago, it is now expanding beyond short-range uses and into the new standard upon which future home networks will be based. Although, this does assume that our home internet companies will provide us with high-speed, high-quality internet that will allow us to enjoy this new technology. When I mentioned this to the booth rep, she laughed.
My last stop was Huawei, where the Mate 10 Pro was prominently on display. The 3rd largest phone vendor in the world, Huawei has been notably absent in US markets. That was due to change when a deal with AT&T began to form, but this deal fell through just days ago. The Verge covered the Huawei CEO’s sincere reaction, and upon seeing the phone myself I can agree that there’s certainly a major player missing from the game as it stands. Despite this, Huawei plans on releasing the Mate 10 Pro independently. Time will tell if it will gain traction, but if I were a betting man I would say that it’s better poised for success now than it would have been 5 years ago. Consumers are growing accustomed to paying a premium out of pocket amount for their phones. With the allure of a new phone manufacturer, and the polish of a phone that is obviously the result of multiple generations of design, the Mate 10 Pro may find itself in more hands than previously expected.
— The Geekly Grind (@TheGeeklyGrind) January 10, 2018
Overall, the day was an exciting initial foray into the major themes of CES this year. Cryptocurrency is certainly buzzing in everyone’s ears as well, and while I haven’t yet encountered a major presence, I’m planning on seeing how blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is being represented when I go back in for another full day tomorrow.