CES 2020: What to expect from the annual tech bonanza

There’s now just a few days to go until the world’s leading manufacturers take to the stage in Las Vegas to showcase their latest hardware at CES 2020. Everything from toothbrushes and refrigerators to smartphones and televisions — and even internet-connected toilets — is set to be unveiled during exclusive media events on January 6. Here’s what to expect.

What is CES 2020?

CES — once short for Consumer Electronics Show — is an annual trade show held in Las Vegas each January that revolves around the latest innovations in the consumer electronics space. But being a trade show, CES isn’t open to the public, with attendees having to submit credentials in advance to score an invitation to the Las Vegas Convention Center, where it’s hosted.

While we’re expecting a myriad of announcements from the show itself, some companies have already made big announcements before the official start of CES, including Samsung, which unveiled two new affordable phones: the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

When is CES 2020?

CES 2020 will kick off with a handful of introductory conferences on January 5, but the fun won’t start until the household names take to the stage to showcase their latest hardware during invite-only media keynotes on January 6. Then, on January 7, the exhibition floor will open for all attendees to get hands-on with the goods (the best bit) right through January 10.

There’s already a map available showing the sprawling floor that encompasses several hotels over multiple blocks.

CES 2020 schedule

CES will be overflowing with events for both the media and general admission ticket holders alike — so much so that the schedule itself is a little overwhelming. That’s where we come in. In addition to predicting what will be announced, we take on the all-important task of trawling through the seemingly never-ending list (below) and separating all the must-see events.

The show floor at CES

What trends will we see at CES 2020?

If there’s one thing we can count on seeing at CES 2020, it’s an abundance of 5G hardware — be it cellular-connected refrigerators, televisions, or vehicles. We can also expect to see a strong focus on Artificial Intelligence, as was the case at CES 2019, and the introduction of a slew of 8K TVs. Oh, and now that sex toys are permitted, there should be a fair few of them on display, too.

Digital Trends Smart Home editor John Velasco is making one prediction: Robot vacuums are about to get a lot more advanced, and CES will give us a sneak peek at some interesting new versions. Combination Roomba/security cameras could be coming your way very soon, for example. Meanwhile, Computing Editor Luke Larsen is expecting a deluge of dual-screen PCs.

Managing Editor Nick Mokey is excited about all the insane car tech we’re expecting at CES, including electric trucks, 3D-printed vehicles, and in-car entertainment for self-driving cars, while our A/V and Entertainment Editor Ryan Waniata is forecasting an influx of noise-canceling true wireless earbuds and an attempt to push 3D audio into the mainstream.

Shaking things up a bit, Mobile Editor Corey Gaskin is predicting one trend we won’t see at CES 2020, and it’s bound to come as a surprise: Foldable smartphones — at least, foldable smartphones from the mainstream manufacturers you and I know, like LG and Samsung. Instead, Gaskin foresees some from little-known Chinese brands, including Oppo and Vivio.

What will be unveiled at CES 2020?

What to expect from AMD at CES 2020

Press Conference: 2 p.m. PT on Monday, January 6

AMD announced a host of desktop and mobile CPUs this year, so it’s unlikely it will refresh them in January. Instead, it’s likely we’ll see a successor to the 7nm Radeon VII GPU it showcased at CES 2019, and possibly a line of flagship GPUs. Some pundits suspect we could see a range of laptop-based CPUs and GPUs. Rumors are sparse though, so we’ll have to wait and see.

What to expect from Apple at CES 2020

Roundtable: 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, January 7

Apple will use CES 2020 to share its views on consumer privacy with executives from Facebook and a commissioner from the Federal Trade Commission. It will also demonstrate the capabilities of its HomeKit smart home platform, while also calling on partners to show off hardware that works with its Siri digital assistant — like Belkin and Philips — reports Bloomberg.

What to expect from General Motors at CES 2020

Press Conference: N/A

Nothing. That’s because GM has canceled its conference at CES 2020, claiming that it couldn’t finish the electric, autonomous car it’s been working in time for a debut at CES, with a spokesperson professing the October strike is to blame for the hold-up. Instead, the firm will hold a standalone event in January to make all its would-be CES 2020 announcements.

What to expect from Intel at CES 2020

Press Conference: 4 p.m. PT on Monday, January 6

Intel has long used CES to announce its latest chipsets, notably taking the wraps off the first 10nm Ice Lake CPU at CES 2019. Pundits expect it to follow suit for CES 2020, using the trade show as a platform to announce some new, more advanced 10nm CPUs. We could even see some fresh low-end and midrange CPUs thrown into the mix and the launch of its Intel Xe GPUs, too.

What to expect from LG at CES 2020

Press Conference: 8 a.m. PT on Monday, January 6

What won’t LG announce at CES 2020? The South Korean company has a long history of announcing everything from smart washing machines and home-brewing systems to mirrored doors with built-in touchscreens at the tech bonanza, as well as new OLED TVs, envelope-pushing developments, like rollable and transparent screens, and midrange Android smartphones.

But that’s just speculation. What do we actually know? Well, LG announced on December 11 that it will unveil three new LG Gram laptops — a refreshed LG Gram 14, LG Gram 15, and LG Gram 17, each of which will feature the latest 10th-generation Intel Core (Ice Lake) CPU and a maximum of 24GB of DDR4 32000MHz RAM — and one 2-in-1 at its press conference on January 6.

As if that wasn’t enough, the tech titan has also confirmed that it will be showcasing a range of 8K TVs at CES 2020, which the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) says are the first to have received 8K Ultra HD certification. This has resulted in LG branding them the first “real 8K TVs” — a dig at arch-rival Samsung’s current 8K TVs, which lack the accreditation.

Plus, the company has revealed that it will announce its 2020 lineup of soundbars, which will feature an interesting new capability called AI Room Calibration. This new tech automatically adjusts the sonic properties of the higher-end models to better match the acoustics of the room. The manufacturer notes that this complements Dolby Atmos particularly well.

However, the pièce de résistance will be a roll-down OLED TV that unfurls from the ceiling. It’s based on the rollable OLED TV it showcased at CES 2019, but instead of retracting into a piece of furniture when it is not in use, this model will rise up into the ceiling. Just how LG has dealt with the ceiling-height issue remains to be seen. We don’t have much longer to wait, though.

What to expect from Nvidia at CES 2020

Press Conference: TBA

CES 2020 isn’t just for brand-new hardware announcements: Manufacturers also use it to showcase their recent innovations. In Nvidia’s case, this will no doubt include a demonstration of the shiny new Nvidia Shield TV and Nvidia Shield TV Pro, which were unveiled back in October, but could see the introduction of some new components (think: graphics cards) as well.

What to expect from OnePlus at CES 2020

Press Conference: TBA

OnePlus has started teasing an event it’s holding at CES 2020 next month, marking its first appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show. But what does it have up its sleeve? Well, the Chinese company revealed on December 17 that it will use the conference as a chance to show off the OnePlus Concept One, a handset that brings its vision of what the future holds to life.

It’s unclear exactly what this device will look like, though. Some have speculated that it’s foldable, while others are certain it’s holographic. OnePlus is also expected to launch a new set of true wireless earbuds at CES 2020 and possibly even the OnePlus 8 Lite. Who knows? Maybe it will detail the U.S. launch of the OnePlus TV — motorized soundbar and all — as well.

What to expect from Samsung at CES 2020

Press Conference: TBA

Samsung is a name synonymous with CES, with the manufacturer often using the trade show as a platform to showcase its latest televisions, including 4K TVs and 8K TVs. So what does Samsung have in store for CES 2020? Well, it looks like its event will be headlined by a line of all-screen, bezel-less QLED TVs. We should also see some new computing equipment.

In typical fashion, Sammy will also use CES to show off a selection of its latest C-Lab projects — hardware that came to fruition through the in-house startup incubator it set up in 2020 to enable its employees to bring new business ideas to the market — including a virtual keyboard, a smart highlighter pen, a hair analyzer, a source of virtual sunlight, and an interactive humanoid robot.

What to expect from Sony at CES 2020

Press Conference: 5 p.m. PT on Monday, January 6

TVs, TVs, and more TVs. That’s what Sony will bring to the table at CES 2020 because let’s face it: That’s what it has done in the past. It’s safe to assume it will announce a couple of Dolby Atmos soundbars in tandem, and maybe even some teasers for the much-anticipated PlayStation 5 (PS5) and PlayStation VR 2 (PSVR2) — so don’t rule anything out for this one, folks.

What to expect from TCL at CES 2020

Press Conference: 12 p.m. PT on Monday, January 6

TCL announced a load of new gear at IFA 2019 but failed to detail information surrounding a U.S. launch, so our money’s on the company detailing stateside availability of its latest soundbar and headphones at CES 2020. There’s a chance we could even see some new midrange and high-end 4K TVs, and potentially an LED 8K TV or souped-up Mini LED 8K TV.

What to expect from Qualcomm at CES 2020

Press Conference: 11 a.m. PT on Monday, January 6

With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit only just in the rear-view, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new hardware at CES 2020. Instead, the American company will probably use the event to showcase developments in 5G in consumer technology from both itself and its partners, including new milestones in self-driving cars and home appliances.

We’ll be keeping tabs on all the latest pre-CES news and announcements, so check back for the latest on CES 2020.

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