The 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicked off on January 9th in Las Vegas, with companies and startups showcasing the latest innovations in consumer technology. This year’s themes centered around artificial intelligence (AI) and automotive technology.
AI takes center stage
AI was featured prominently at CES 2024, powering many of the new products and prototypes on display. Companies emphasized how AI will create more intuitive and “humanized” technology experiences.
Samsung unveiled an AI-powered robot butler named Bot Handy to automate household chores. Sony showcased an AI agent named Gran Turismo Sophy that can race cars better than the world’s top Gran Turismo players. Other exhibitors highlighted AI chips, PCs, robots, and digital avatars aimed at replicating human creativity and emotions.
Industry experts noted that while some AI concepts shown at CES won’t become commercial products soon, the technology is reaching new levels of sophistication. Over time, AI looks set to transform many aspects of consumer technology.
Automakers showcase concept EVs and self-driving tech
This year’s CES had a major automotive presence, with most large carmakers present to demonstrate electric and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Hyundai’s Supernal division displayed a full-scale model of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft it aims to launch for urban air mobility by 2028. Luxury carmaker BMW exhibited its i Vision Dee concept car with an intelligent AI companion, and Sony Honda Mobility showcased the Afeela prototype sedan packed with 45 cameras and sensors for autonomous driving.
Several automakers also announced partnerships and strategies centered around software, data and services to improve vehicle experiences. Industry analysts viewed this as car companies positioning themselves as “mobility technology platforms” in light of the industry’s electrification and automation trends.
Chip innovations aim to power uptick in PC and device sales
CES 2024 saw major processor and chip manufacturers showcase innovations to meet demand for more powerful computing devices.
Intel demonstrated multiple new CPU designs as well as its first discrete graphics card. It also announced the launch of its 14th Gen Intel Core mobile processors later this month, which offer big performance gains for laptops to handle data-intensive workloads like AI and graphics.
Similarly, Nvidia and AMD showcased powerful new GPU and AI accelerator chips to drive advances in areas from gaming laptops and virtual reality headsets to data centers and self-driving cars. Industry executives said these chip advancements will allow newer thinner and lighter laptops, tablets and smartphones with strong performance and battery life.
Several analysts were optimistic that the combination of chips enabling better experiences and emerging technologies like AR/VR could help spur an uptick in PC and other device sales after the decline in 2023.
CES 2024 showcased technology getting more personalized
A theme across many CES exhibits this year was technology getting more tailored to individuals’ preferences, needs and contexts. Demonstrations spanned health tracking wearables, intuitive robot companions, vehicle cabins with user recognition to customize settings and recommendations, as well as AI-generated art and content based on a person’s style.
Market research firm Gartner identified “hyper-personalization” as one of its top strategic tech trends for 2024. Several CES attendees commented that products were showcasing human-centric designs and sensitivity, after public scrutiny around ethics of data collection and AI systems in recent years.
Chinese firms’ absence felt at tradeshow
The absence of major Chinese consumer tech companies like Huawei and drone-maker DJI was noticeable at CES 2024 amid ongoing US trade restrictions against Chinese firms. Several regular attendees lamented fewer exciting smartphone reveals in particular.
In place of the usual prominence, smaller Chinese startups took the opportunity to unveil global ambitions in areas from smart home devices to electronic scooters. But industry observers viewed significant ongoing uncertainty around how Sino-US trade relations could impact technology supply chains and innovation pipelines looking forward.
Metaverse garners mixed reactions
The potential emergence of immersive digital worlds dubbed the “metaverse” has been touted as a new frontier for consumer tech companies, but early metaverse exhibits drew mixed reactions at this year’s CES.
Some attendees were impressed by lifelike digitally rendered scenes and avatars from companies like Qualcomm and T-Mobile showcasing 5G-enabled virtual communication capabilities. Others critiqued sparse metaverse demonstrations as gimmicky, with a lack of coordination between companies on unified ecosystems or standards.
Forrester VP and analyst J. P. Gownder summed up sentiments, commenting that “the metaverse in its fullest sense doesn’t quite exist yet.” He added that it could take another decade before affordable extended reality gear and ubiquitous connectivity make sophisticated shared virtual environments a mainstream reality.
Smart home tech gets more expansive amid security concerns
Products aiming to make homes more convenient, energy efficient and secure were out in full force. Lighting, home appliance and security companies exhibited connecting technologies across more device categories, as home networks pivot towards automation.
However, attendees also voiced worries around cyber risks with more sensitive functions like doors, cameras and cars increasingly connected to the internet. Several demonstrations incorporated advanced security provisions into their offerings to mitigate breaches, unauthorized access or remote hijacking. Ultimately consumers still face trade-offs balancing smart features against vulnerabilities.
Health tech develops amid regulatory uncertainty
CES 2024 saw health monitoring wearables get more precise with additional sensors, while health-focused gadgets like air purifiers, smart mattresses, and medication management tools aimed at various lifestyle and chronic conditions. Voice tech giants Amazon and Google both announced healthcare partnerships.
However, these forays into regulated medical use cases face uncertainty. The FDA offered regulatory clarity for some low-risk health devices this year but signaled more diligent oversight ahead for products making clinical health claims. Some investors at CES were consequently cautious on health sector prospects.
Sustainability concerns prompt “green-washing” accusations
With spotlight on environmental issues, CES exhibitors this year widely touted energy efficiency, ecologically sustainable materials and circular lifecycle designs in their approaches. However general sentiment was that brands weren’t backing claims with sufficient specifics or third party audits. This prompted widespread “green-washing” criticism – cases of selective or misleading messaging exaggerating sustainability merits for marketing.
Industry consortium Sustainable Brands summed up questions around validity saying consumers need better transparency and validation on corporate eco claims by pointing to independent rating systems like UL and GreenCircle Certified. Ultimately CES showcased how the sustainability conversation is maturing, but standards and accountability remain works-in-progress.
|AI chips, PCs, robots and avatars showcased to replicate human creativity and cognition
|Mainstream emergence of more intuitive, personalized and emotionally-attuned technology experiences
|Electric and autonomous vehicle prototypes and partnerships centered around software and mobility services
|Carmakers positioning as experience and platform companies, expanded shared mobility options
|New powerful chips and GPUs enabling immersive experiences and longer battery life in thinner devices
|Performance uplift driving new use cases in gaming, AR/VR, AI workloads to boost hardware refresh cycles
|More health monitoring wearables and lifestyle condition management devices
|Uncertain outlook amid closer FDA oversight on clinical claims and efficacy validation needs
In conclusion, CES 2024 kicked off the new year with an extensive showcase of upcoming innovations in artificial intelligence, electric and self-driving vehicle technologies, advanced semiconductors, as well as expansions across categories from smart home gadgets to health tracking wearables.
However some bleeding edge concepts face tricky pathways to mainstream adoption amid factors from lingering metaverse standards uncertainty to the growing scrutiny around moving fast and breaking things that companies like Facebook and Uber faced in recent years. Several industry commenters viewed some sustainability commitments marketed at CES as promising but still largely aspirational without sufficient accountability.
Nonetheless, the 2024 CES overall offered an intriguing window into the experimentation and next-gen R&D happening across the consumer technology landscape, even as time will tell how quickly these forward-looking concepts materialize into products improving people’s real lives versus just making for flashy demo fodder.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.