Here’s What CES 2016 Gave Us This Year

From drones to smart cars and smart home automation products, here’s what we saw at CES 2016.

Updated
Tech News
4 min read
Segway robot. (Photo: Segway)   

Crunch these numbers – about 20,000 new products were launched in the past week by nearly 3,000 exhibitors spread over 2.2 million square feet of floor space. That’s why CES 2016 is the baap of consumer tech events.

From smart cars and drones to wearables and smart home appliances, here’s our take – reality check included – on some of the big trends we saw emerge out of CES, stuff that invariably shines a light on what will be hot in consumer tech in 2016!

Drones

Parrot Disco. (Photo: Parrot)
Parrot Disco. (Photo: Parrot)

Drones were practically everywhere at CES, despite the fact that you or I don’t really need them to go about our daily lives (they are cool, though). The batch of 2016 from the Drones Academy sported a bunch of cool new tricks – Parrot’s Disco could take off, fly around and land on its own while DJI brought 4K recording to a relatively cheaper version of the Phantom drone and E Hang’s 184 drone was large enough for you to ride inside!

But by far the smartest upgrade drones got this year was the ability to sense obstacles and avoid them automatically, making the process of actually flying one of these (and not crashing) much easier for the average person.

We fully expect drone usage to go up and spotting a drone to become much more commonplace this year. With this will come the inevitable regulations to govern them in Indian airspace.

Virtual Reality

HTC Vive. (Photo: HTC)
HTC Vive. (Photo: HTC)

It spent the better part of 2015 waiting in the wings, but 2016 is likely to be the year VR goes mainstream, with launches from Nikon, Ricoh and GoPro all offering 360-degree video capture devices and goggles from HTC, Samsung, Sony and Oculus looking to hit the market as early as March.

Nikon 360-degree VR camera. (Photo: Nikon)
Nikon 360-degree VR camera. (Photo: Nikon)

Unlike phone-based VR systems, Facebook-backed Oculus and HTC’s Vive have really pushed the category forward significantly, but at $600 (Rs 40,000 before duties) plus the inevitable PC upgrade they will require, you’re going to be asking yourself how much you really want this.

Televisions

We’ve seen the TV industry’s (mostly futile) attempts over the last few years to get us to upgrade to the latest range – 3D TVs, Curved TVs, 4K TVs, SUHD TVs, 3D 4K Curved TVs… you get the drift. This year, the buzzword was high dynamic range (HDR) TVs. Much like HDR images shot on your phone, HDR TVs show you better detail in the shadows and a better range of colours and, not to forget, brighter whites and deeper blacks.

Sony UHD TV. (Photo: Sony)
Sony UHD TV. (Photo: Sony)

And much like the content challenges we’ve seen with 3D and 4K TVs, HDR TVs will need the production houses to get on board to shoot new HDR-ready content. Probably the best bit of news on the TV side of things was the Netflix launch for India, though whether that’s a cord cutter’s dream come true or not will have to be seen.

Cars

Self-driving cars are coming, and they’re closer to reality than you’d think. Practically any big name you can think of, including Ford, VW, Toyota and GM, have their fingers in the autonomous driving pie. And these aren’t just concept cars – they’re actually being tested in live traffic.

Faraday Future car. (Photo: Faraday Future) 
Faraday Future car. (Photo: Faraday Future) 

But clearly, CES showed that the here and now are electric cars, and stuff like the FFZERO1 concept car from Faraday Future wowed our socks off. It looks like a Batmobile on steroids, pushes out 1,000 horsepower and does 0-60 in under 3 seconds – not bad for something that runs off a battery, eh?

Smart Homes

The average person may not be taking the bait, but that doesn’t stop the big guys from plugging the smart home concept. Samsung showed off a refrigerator with a touchscreen and – wait for it – dual internal cameras to keep an eye on how much milk and vegetables you have left.

Segway robot. (Photo: Segway)
Segway robot. (Photo: Segway)

Others had smart shower heads that would alert you if you’re using too much water for your morning shower while Whirlpool and LG focused on smart home hubs which allow you to control all these appliances centrally.

Samsung Family Hub refrigerator. (Photo: Samsung)
Samsung Family Hub refrigerator. (Photo: Samsung)

There’s even a new WiFi standard being developed, HaLow, that’s meant to work on low-power devices across your home. But the one product we’d want to buy right away is the joint effort by Intel, Xiaomi and Segway, called the Segway Advanced Personal Robot – it’s half hoverboard, half butler and wholly awesome!

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