February 28, 2021
Our Best of CES 2021 - Video

Our Best of CES 2021 – Video

Well, here we are, folks, this is it.
This is the end of our coverage of CES2021.
Today, this is Wednesday of CES week.
In a very different CES Of course.
I’m Brian Cooley and coming to you from the hallowed halls of my house, as all of us have been this CES of course being a virtual show, as you certainly know by now they want to wrap it up for you with a bow and do our best of CES.
And joining me so capably is someone who has the rare honor of saying from Hollywood Ashley Esqueda.
I feel like I need to hire you to just record that intro for me for everything I do.
from Hollywood actually.
I’m so excited I finally get to do best of CES with you and then it ends up being like this.
It ends up being remote, but we do not need to be physically Present with each other in the same room to celebrate all of the good things we saw this week at CES 2021.
And at the first all digital CES, 2021, it’s been a weird week, but.
That’s a little more compact and obviously completely distributed.
It’s not like part of it was in Vegas.
This is not a hybrid show this year as you’ve probably noticed by watching our coverage, all of you.
This is a purely virtual show, but we want to kick things off now and get right into our list.
We’ve got about four 14 pics for you.
I think nine or 10 of them are coming to market and then we save at the end about four that are still prospective.
We’re not calling them vaporware, but they’re still TBD on delivery and price.
Let’s get started now with the device that became as category anyway that became the heart of daily life for so many people the laptop and in this case, our favorite was not the flashiest one we saw but perhaps the most capable the HP DragonFly Max, what do we like about this, Ash?
I think that everybody this year kind of realized man, my laptop needs an upgrade, my computer needs an upgrade.
And a lot of people found out that they had terrible web cams, and so HP really went out of its way Just sort of made these upgrades, it’s, it’s blue it’s it’s a little, a little flashy but we won’t say it’s an ostentatious as some of the other laptops we saw this week, but it does have four microphones on board, instead of five megapixel webcam and IR camera so you’re gonna have a little bit better audio and video quality which is obviously something people are looking for now.
And what’s so interesting as we were discussing this with some of our other editorial colleagues, the phrase kept coming up, it has a phone quality camera.
Not too long ago, that would have been an insult.
But now, a phone quality camera is actually the gold standard.
So that’s kind of what you’re gonna find in that laptop and a few others in terms of a very different device.
And this is real even though it may not look like it.
LG showed off a rollable.
Extendable phone so that doesn’t crease and fold like previous foldables but the screen gets bigger or smaller by unfurling and furling part of its display.
Yeah, this reminds Me of the the hidden television from from CES is where it sort of, it’s got this hidden compartment where the screen retracts and then it kind of pops back out.
I have been wrapping my brain around this idea for the better part of three days and I can’t quite figure out.
Many more use cases beyond.
Okay, well I wouldn’t mind having something a little bit larger for maybe reading the news or checking out a magazine saying like Apple news plus like I would love to see a magazine layout or Something to that effect on a rollable screen to be able to expand it and then shrink it back down.
Seems nice but I don’t know coolly like can you think of anything else that you would use this for?
Well, we were choking off the air.
It’s great for boomers.
Who want to watch old episodes of I Love Lucy, you can turn this thing into like a 403 and not have a bunch of black space [LAUGH] on one side or the other.
But I doubt that’s their intended market.
I do think there’s something interesting about the fact that it rolls and scrolls and doesn’t project fragility, the way I believe the folding phones do and it’s causing I think a lot of consumers, I’m not sure if that’s going to be durable.
Let’s take a look at something completely out of left field.
This is a smart Ceiling lamp from Nobi.
Aside from the B roll we’re about to see being a little disturbing work to do.
Speaking of the boomers, [LAUGH] This is so interesting to me.
But also again, like you said this video is a little disturbing.
It appears that the lamp is alerting this nice woman in the blue shirt that her Hi, he’s a younger gentleman.
So I release her husband, friend, so spouse has fallen down and cannot get up.
To steal a catchphrase from as seen on TV, [LAUGH] As seen on TV moments of your, but yeah, so this is a ceiling bulb that has sensors in it, and it’s meant to help, seniors, Live independently for longer it can sort of watch for things like falls and then send out alerts to get out help.
So and then there’s also i’m curious goalie, like there’s some monitoring activity, functionality that I I’m not 100% sure what that means, like Just constantly watching you like, what, nobody’s making a very interesting ceiling lamp which I never thought I would say.
Yeah, she asks the boomer.
Yeah, basically what this is gonna do is do motion and object detection, as I understand it in a simple way.
And like you say, to tell if someone is falling down versus just being in the room, turn on the light, obviously, to help them but then I think the interesting part is the alerts and notifications and we’ve seen more and more of this.
The senior sector because let’s face it, a lot of seniors are aging in place.
And that also means aging alone in place.
In some cases, I hear repeatedly from people that are watching the smart home market as analysts they go, a little more attention could be paid to the needs of seniors because they have more needs and they have more money to buy gear that will help there those needs, then a younger consumer who may have very little Have either.
And speaking of smart home alarm.com came out with a touchless doorbell.
This is just one example of a slew of touchless, no germs, no scheme, kind of smart home technology.
How does this thing actually know to ring the bell?
So there is a doormat, that’s sort of like you likened it previously to a baseball home plate and so you step up there, the doorbell knows that you’re present.
If it’s a quick drop off, I think that you stand on that two ring doorbell.
So it stands there and if I assume you’re there for a longer period of time, there’s not just a quick drop off then the doorbell.
Hey, go ahead.
I’m gonna ring the doorbell for the person who’s inside.
But yeah, this is very interesting.
And I think that there, we gonna see a lot more of this, this year.
I think we gonna see doorbells like this from everybody.
We gonna see them from Amazon and ring and we’re gonna see them from security companies like alarm.com they’re gonna be all over the place.
Very, very prevalent.
Yeah, I think a lot of this is gonna emerge from a touchless revolution with Let’s face it, we’re not probably not gonna be as sensitive about touching cross contamination as we are now forever.
But along the way, touch also becomes convenient.?
touchless is good when you don’t wanna get
It’s also good when your harms are full, whether it’s a faucet, whether it’s a toilet handle whatever it might be.
So I think it has to move beyond just being a germ story or I think it becomes a very 2021 thing rather quickly.
Quickly I’m gonna talk more about a touchless bathroom in a minute.
But first let’s stop down and have a little bit of fun.
We’ve seen table size Electronic Gaming products before, but usually their video game platforms.
This is an electronic board game platform.
I really like this.
So the Infinity game table was a crowdfund effort.
They raised quite a bit of money.
And this is they’re starting off with Hasbro games.
So you’re gonna see sorry we’re seeing right now you can see they’re kind of scrolling through looking at different games they can play.
And it is also WiFi connected so if somebody else has an infinity game table anywhere else in the world they say you were gonna be able to sync up with your friends and play this board games From a distance which I think is really cool and also the price point is really compelling it’s 600 bucks, which is about the same price as an iPad and off contract iPad Wi Fi pen so it’s definitely something that I think a lot of people Are going to be interested in.
It is kind of large.
So if you don’t have space in your home, this might be a tough purchase.
The legs do come off it does seem to store pretty easily.
But then I am also very curious if they’re going to expand it.
Into tabletop gaming was something like a d&d campaign where you can customize your maps and have them sort of load them into this table.
I think that would be a really great expansion on that technology, but overall still really cool.
I think the best thing about it is that they have licensed legendary big name games that are classics as opposed to inventing their own games and nobody would care.
That’s key.
The rendering of those games looks really good.
They did a beautiful job bringing those games life.
And you and I were wondering why the screen is not a square ratio because board games.
Typically are more or less square.
And they’re using pretty clearly a 16:9 it looks like, maybe because it’s an initial product and they wanted to grab some off the shelf panels, which I understand.
Another thing I was thinking is the popularity of video poker and video gaming in casinos.
I don’t know if they have any pseudo-casino games on there, but I suspect that could be a winner as well.
Great point.
Let’s go back to [INAUDIBLE] Kohler had a whole bunch of touch lists the bathroom technology, from faucets, to toilets.
This is kind of getting into that germ paranoia thing that we have to there’s the lid going up all by itself and they’re going beyond handles.
They’re going to everything in this bathroom being almost like you glide through it.
Well, look, I am gonna just say right here and now that the United States of America has been lagging on its bathroom technology compared to other parts of the world for a very long time, and I’m so happy to see companies like Kohler, really picking up the pace here.
I mean, we’ve seen.
Some pretty amazing toilets specifically from companies like toto for a really long time.
And so Kohler making this touchless bathroom experience is I think that this is the type of stuff that we expect to see as a. This is the future we all want to live in, right?
Nobody wants to touch a surface in a bathroom.
So it’s except for my toddler who apparently wants to touch every surface in a bathroom.
But that’s a whole different story.
I hope they get this right in the very simple part of its responsiveness.
I go to an airport Go into the restroom there but as you’re waiting for your bags and I have never in my life in probably thousands of interactions with touchless faucet ever found one that didn’t do the opposite of what I want when my hands are under it, I get no water when I pull my hand away It gives me water.
It’s like it’s a whack a mole with me.
Well, they’ve got to get that right the bathrooms in our in our CNET offices here in San Francisco the same way You can’t get a damn water out of these things because they are opposite of what you want and look so the soap thing is the worst when you’re sitting there and you want so it won’t give you, you pull your hand away and a piece a bunch of soap into the sink.
So they’ve got to get the responsiveness right.
Okay, let’s turn out of televisions.
No bad TVs at the at this show.
Two from TCL that represent a similar trend.
The one that I’m big on is an 85 inch 4k television.
For a list price of 1599, that is a price breakthrough.
Not necessarily a technological wow.
But an absolute price breakthrough, and the other one kind of a twin of it is a Roku at 85 inch 8k.
So, same size, but 8k resolution.
Prices still TBD.
But the Smart Money says under 2700 what do you think about these two?
Do people need these big of a television at any price?
I read, I’m a person who needs the biggest television as cheaply as possible.
So this is exactly what I want.
[LAUGH] This is I’m obsessed with TVs at CES every year.
It’s one of my favorite things to go check out.
You know Coolly did you ever think when you were a small boy growing up during the American Revolution that we were gonna have TVs this big for so cheap?
I don’t think we’re gonna have TVs I sorry I had to shave just a little bit I you know I love you.
But no, this is this is amazing because, Anybody who wanted a 4k TV for a long time, that price point was not attainable for a lot of people.
And then we started seeing really inexpensive old LEDs that were 1080.
Then we started seeing really inexpensive 4k TVs that were 55 inch and 65 inch and now we’re seeing this 4k television, that is $1600, which is amazing, and it’s 85 inches, is a massive screen.
And that usually is the tipping point, for the next generation of televisions, for the next resolution.
And so, to see that TCL is not only focused on getting.
An 85 inch screen television at that price point, a 4K TV, to the masses is awesome.
But then to also know that their 8K TV is potentially not even going to be or is gonna be about $1,000 more then that, That’s pretty amazing and I’m hoping that, that means that the 8k tipping point will come a little bit faster when it comes to getting these TVs in people’s houses and also the creation Have that content.
So right now as you and I both know, you can’t watch 8k anything like there’s very.
Little content that’s what’s interesting and yet the good TVs upscale so beautifully that they do take advantage of their resolution fairly well but I’m with you.
This sets the table for the by a year from now here’s my prediction 85 inch, eight k Pretty much at $2,000 Street price and that’s pretty cool.
Just a year progressiveprediction.
That’s all very, very, very different display now AR I’m big on this company musics that makes maybe not the flashiest AR glasses, but these latest ones they’ve made are moving us rapidly toward normalcy.
They’re still intended largely for a work or business environment.
But the new musics are called next gen smart glasses, you can see everything they need is pretty much built into relatively slim temples, very ordinary looking rims, as a certain style to it it’s a slightly retro horn rim style, but that’s great.
It doesn’t say tech, it says fashion eyewear, These guys have do it.
They do a really good job with these sorts of things to give you assistance and AIDS in front of your eyes.
And also built in smart voice.
I know they have Amazon I think they might have Google built in as well.
I don’t recall there being a price announced on this there may have been But this shows that the normalcy of AR glasses might be starting now.
And it’s no longer something that screams.
i’m a dork but I want you to see what cool tech.
Yes like that.
That has always been as a glasses wear and that has always been my hesitation with these products it’s been they just look so dorky and I don’t wanna wear them.
You know, even something like Snapchat Spectacles was a very tough sell for me, right where it’s just these things and have these.
Well carries on so this abusix kudos to musics for for deciding specifically deciding to go with a design that is very subtle and almost dear we say it kind of cool kind of silent time of year kind of.
Very much Yeah, so keep an eye on musics.
They have a sense of normalcy that I think is is really good if they aren’t the most ambitious necessarily industrial headset wrapping up the thing that
I think it’s,
it’s got to be basically useful.
Before it has to be some kind of a space age technology that’s immersing me in a new world and by then you’re into VR.
Anyway, Panasonic had something in the workspace also, they did an announcement.
They’re working with a company called in physics, which has been on my radar for a while.
They are a highly respected, I believe pretty young.
Laser holography company in the UK and Panasonic is going to work with them to bring laser holography AR head up displays to car so that when you’re driving, you’re going to start to see the world out in front of you.
Augmented, whether that’s a hazard whether it’s a place name, whether it’s a navigation direction or whether it’s a color bar on the road that says slow down, you’re closing too fast on the car ahead of you.
All of this is long overdue.
I’m very big on AR making total sense in cars where it doesn’t necessarily make sense in other places yet.
You can see the demo there.
Here’s a garbage can in the road.
It’s alerting her.
On the windshield to avoid that, here’s another one about a hazard pulling out in the road.
So this makes sense to me because it’s all very much practical.
And the reason I’m excited about this it’s not the only company doing it is that this announcement puts together great tech with a company Panasonic that has deep roots in the auto industry.
They build cabin tech and other technology for almost every automaker so when they speak automakers listen.
So I look forward to this Yeah, this is a I think It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the first AR HUD in cars like it’s been we’ve seen these a lot at CES.
But this is the first time that it really feels like because Panasonic is partnering with in physics, it feels like this is a This could be a groundbreaking partnership in the way of getting this technology into cars, even at the lower price points that most people buy cars that, and so, this this could be a tipping point for For that AR HUD, which is really exciting for people because honestly, there are so many cool technologies in higher end vehicles that we just haven’t seen quite trickled down yet in a way that is real and tangible and usable by the masses.
And so something like this is just fantastic and I hope that it ends up in a lot of cars really, really soon.
Yeah, I think it’s the next big wave of driver assistance is not necessarily things that alter the driving for you.
Those are already deeply rooted but now things that sort of provide a superpowers, to your sense of strength.
Let’s move now to do a little lightning round of our concepts.
These deserve a little less time because we don’t know, if they’re coming to the world anytime soon or not.
But let’s give them a little quick nod.
First of all, General Motors announced a bunch of electric cars.
In a very big press conference, but aside from that they also kind of did a one more thing rolling out a well.
That’s not a flying car because it has no wheels.
It is a personal transportation drone and it’s not the first company to do that.
We’ve seen several others at CES from car companies, but there’s something about General Motors releasing a Cadillac branded concept of a flying vehicle that just got a lot of attention but.
What do you think of flying personal transport?
I okay so I am of two minds on this.
Obviously the first part is whenever I think of the future I think of flying cars.
I think of.
Things like this, this, this GM Vitol Cadillac, like it’s amazing.
But there are a lot of challenges that still have yet to be solved in the way of making sure these things are prevalent and, and usable by the masses.
I mean, obviously there are things like.
Flight plans and launch pads and landing areas that have to be sorted out before anything like this is usable.
Yeah, I agree.
I think there’s a real, it feels like it’s going to bring the elite transportation market down a little bit or expanded a bit as opposed to addressing anyone’s common real world transport needs and that’s fine.
They pursuing that market is fine.
It’s not illegitimate, but I don’t think it solves congestion as much as we are told it.
Well, I just don’t see how it gets there.
LG rolled out.
Jeff Bezo’s This is for John Bazel to take from, his volcano layer, to Amazon headquarters.
LG had an, transparent, television.
TV you can see through, while you are seeing, it a little mind bending, so you got to look at the video here.
Now it’s not the first time we’ve seen this technology, but they’re really expanding the use case in a COVID sense, to say look, you can have it at the foot of your bed like that.
And it’s it’s it’s a screen that lets you see what’s going on, but also see.
Through it and to what else is happening in your environment.
But this is interesting here it is as a shield at a sushi bar.
It’s also your ordering interface, while being a German sneeze sealed while not being off putting, when you have a clear plexiglass shield at a restaurant, It ,it is feels icky like you’re in an you’re in a hospital environment and I know we need them right now.
But in the future we might like to continue having them, but have them not be so prophylactic, but instead be useful and helpful.
And that’s what this does.
Yeah, this is very Star Trek.
If we’ve if you’ve seen Star Trek discovery, you see displays like this I got to take a tour of that set and they are real transparent displays which is awesome.
This is the first OLED led one and if I’m not mistaken LG Display is a different company than LG.
If the exact Is that right?
Yeah, like I’m pretty sure they’re different companies.
But this particular technology is absolutely the future.
This is the type of stuff that makes Make CES what it is.
And it is the thing that you see at CES and you go home and talk about, to everybody who said,>> Hey,>> I was seeing this you’re like, wow, I saw this amazing OLED, TV or screen, but it was also it was an interactive transparent display.
I mean, that type of stuff is just, it’s the stuff of future dreams and it’s, I can’t wait.
To have those things, because they’re non obtrusive like you were saying.
If they’re clear you can watch what’s through it.
You can interact with whoever’s on the other side or whatever’s on the other side.
But then when you need it, it’s there for you.
You can use it as a functioning surface.
And I think that’s really, really cool.
It’s got a certain augmented reality function that they’re showing me it’s a screen it can be used for anything, obviously.
But you see how they envision a sci fi display as being an excellent AR thing?
See automotive windshield.
I just hope that the real one works a little better because that one, if I’m not mistaken was labeling the tip of Manhattan.
That’s Hollywood.
So that wasn’t ideal.
Let’s wrap up with one last product, which is an N 95 active ventilator.
This is not some fiber map, second to the last product okay so I forgot about a butler.
Hold on a second, keep that as a
You’re gonnna talk about my favorite robot.
Samsung bought handy so why do you like it so much?
You know.
Again, when I think of the future I like to think of the Jetsons.
Everybody has the dystopia in their mind and I think there are some elements of technology that make us think of dystopian futures but something like bot handy reminds me of the the lofty ideals of the Jetsons future where you have a Rosie the robot type characters.
It looks like it’s on a Roomba.
It’s got one robot arm and it’s doing things like.
Picking up after the laundry, it’s pouring you a glass of wine at the end of a hard day.
And it uses AI to figure out how much pressure needs to be applied to the thing it’s picking up.
And so this is you see if it didn’t crush that glass of water all over the place like an older robot might have done.
Clumsier robot might have done Look, it’s loading the dishwasher.
I mean, when can I get one of these in my house?
I gotta have it.
What’s interesting about this is what you pointed out is that it’s got sensors and AI to figure out what am I about to pick up Cups which got material awareness which allows it to be more dextrose with a piece of fabric or a flower vase or a heavy plate or a light thin glass.
And the other interesting thing is I was talking to our colleague Megan Wallerton one of the lead editors at our CNET smart home center in Louisville and she said one of the things she’s showing the most of from our users these days is that they said, wait smart home is great with light switches and thermostats and irrigation timers and all that but I want smart home tech next That really cuts down the amount of labor I spend on everyday chores and cuts down the time I spend on laborious chores and you’ve got to get into anthropomorphic robots to do that, in many cases, you can’t just have things that are, you know, electromechanical, you’ve got to have things that are Heavily mechanical.
All right, so let’s finish up here-
Yeah, there’s always that back and forth between virtual assistant in a smart machine, and then also like you said this anthropomorphic physically able bodied robots.
And that’s a big difference.
It’s a tough nut to crack because of the ambition of that, but we see it get closer every year.
Let’s finish up with one more sort of pandemic inspired product of which there were many here at the show and this is an N95 Five mask, an active mask, but from a company that you would not normally associate with this sort of product, you associate them typically with gaming hardware.
Razer is the company and this mask is called Project Hazel.>> Project Hazel has been the talk of at least my Twitter timeline this week.
People are loving it.
People are posting pictures of it.
I think one of the things that this concept idea does, right is that it’s clear it’s transparent as I just showed, so people can see your mouth moving and that’s been a really tough problem or hurdle for a lot of People who either need to read lips, who use sign language and lip reading, a lot of people sort of need that or to smile at somebody for heaven’s sake.
Like, it’s hard to smile at people when you’re out and about now if you’re wearing a mask.
It also obviously it’s a very cool.
It’s very sort of cyberpunk.
Just again the dystopian thing.
It’s like very cool.
It’s got the lighting on it and all that stuff.
It’s got a silicone seal.
So they’re saying it’s like very well sealed.
I hope that something like this becomes a normal thing in the way of, let the way that we see countries use masks when it’s flu and cold season.
I hope that we take we take some lessons from the pandemic forward even After vaccines have happened, and we have things like this, but you know as we’ve discussed, Cooley, unfortunately razor has a lot of products they liked a lot of I won’t even call them products projects.
They like to announce that you’ll never see the light of day for the consumer market.
Yeah, no razor, sometimes I think puts off more vapor than a pot of boiling water but this is not that difficult to imagine.
And those little pods you saw on the side those are active ventilation pods, but again, nothing too hard to imagine being possible.
I can tell you that I, I can only imagine something like this being in my permanent rest of my life travel kit.
I don’t see ever getting on a plane again without a mask, I don’t know about everywhere else but I am never gonna be on a plane again without a mask ain’t gonna happen.
So this is the kind of thing I could keep living in my suitcase at CES unless I’m on camera.
I would want this thing on, sure.
All right.
So true.
Were at the end now of our CNET live coverage of CES 2021 and we wanna thank all of you and I mean we’ve there’s a hundred of us behind the scenes.
You see about a dozen of us here on the shows, but about 100 make the show.
Show possible as they do every year, same size team and same commitment that we’ve had at all previous CES shows this year, even if it’s virtual one.
So if you wanna see all of our content produced by that vast team, it’s at cnet.com slash CES, Or ces.cnet.com.
I’ve been told they both work.
And yet there’s a whole discussion about which one is easier to remember.
So whatever one works for you.
And I also thank you so much to everybody behind the scenes that helped produce Three Tays of Live coverage remotely, which has been Very Herculean task.
There are many, many people.
First up a huge thank you.
And shout out to the folks over at Pinnacle exhibits in Oregon.
They helped all of us on air, get our home sets ready.
And then another huge, huge round of thanks to NMR events who have been Literally switching this show.
Switching all of our coverage through not one, not two but three control rooms in New Jersey.
Thank you so, so much NMR.
You guys have just really made this experience a little less painless which this has been, it’s been tough but we all got through it and I’m really proud that we did it together.
We want that robot to pour a glass of wine pretty soon.
And thanks to all the CNET video, all of our colleagues so you’ve seen on the show and the producers who’ve been working like mad, who you don’t see on camera, typically, not just for the last three days but for weeks and months.
That we’ve been out there trying to help you make sense of things at an unusual time whether it’s with technology, or staying healthy, or qualifying for, and chasing down stimulus payments to keep your livelihood going.
We’re trying to do our best for you, no matter what technology Means as our era shifts left and right and up and down.
It’s always about getting things done.
And that’s the kind of technology that we stand for.
And I hope it’s been useful for you.
And we intend it to continue today.
And now with that I want you to see Finally, the real team that makes all this happen.
Here are some of the members of the CNET video and news team at home, on a zoom call all together at once.
Say bye bye, will see you next year.

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