Despite the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place online for the first time in its 54-year history, the all-digital 2021 CES still served as a window to the near future, featuring more than 1,800 exhibitors showcasing their wares – virtually speaking. Granted, it can be tougher to assess how impressive these products are without seeing them with your own eyes – like the latest TV technologies or self-driving cars – but the show managed to surprise and delight with several innovative offerings. As an annual tradition during CES, the following is a few gadgets I'd actually shell out money for – even if they're not available for a long while. Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12?:How Samsung and Apple smartphones stack up Teased by Samsung earlier in the week, Bot Handy is a domestic robot that can roam around your home to perform chores – such as picking up clothes from the floor or loading the dishwasher – but my favorite feature is pouring a glass of wine and bringing it to you. After all, after the year we've just endured, who wouldn't want this kind of high-tech pampering.
If you think judging a product based on what you can see and hear in a jampacked and noisy convention center is hard, imagine doing it over a Zoom connection. That being said, these smart home and home entertainment products impressed us despite the limitations of the venue. The products below are presented in alphabetical order. If you'd like to see everything we checked out at CES 2021, just click here. Wait, three thousand bucks for a doggie door?
The technology show CES 2021 had the usual high-tech parade of TVs, laptops, phones and robots, but masks made this year's event different. Here are some of the highlights of CES 2021, which ends on Thursday. AirPop says its masks have the bacterial barrier protection of medical masks but the comfort of consumer masks. The AirPop Active mask with four filters that last for 40 hours each is priced at $149.99. A detachable ventilator regulates airflow and a charging case is lined with a UV light interior to kill bacteria and viruses as the mask charges.
Samsung has unveiled its latest range of flagship smartphones, with three models ranging in price from £769 ($799) to £1,149 ($1,199). The S21 range from the South Korean tech giant features an entry-level model, the mid-range Plus, and the Ultra – which is the first S Series phone to be compatible with the Samsung's S-Pen stylus. The stand-out feature on all three devices is the upgraded rear camera system, which was heavily leaked ahead of today's announcement and features night and portrait mode as well as its 100x'space zoom'. Pre-orders of the handsets open today, and the phones will be available as of January 29. The Ultra also comes with S-pen compatibility, the first Galaxy device to do so.
O2 has rolled out its 5G network in 53 new towns and cities across the UK, pulling ahead of its rival EE to become the nation's biggest provider of ultra-fast mobile internet. The new locations include Birmingham, Durham and Portsmouth, bringing O2's total number of locations with 5G to 150. The network also allows for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day help power technologies such as fully autonomous cars. O2 has rolled out its 5G network in 53 new towns and cities across the UK, taking it ahead of its rival EE to become the nation's biggest provider of the ultra-fast internet The network also allow for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day help power technologies such as fully autonomous cars. For most consumers, 5G will allow you to carry out tasks on your smartphone more quickly and efficiently.
Google has completed its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, more than a year after the deal was first announced. The EU approved the acquisition in late December, clearing the way towards Google's ownership over what is perhaps the best-known brand out there for mainstream fitness-tracking devices. Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park reiterated in a letter today that Fitbit would continue to be device-agnostic, making products that work with both iPhones and Android devices. Both Park and Google's Rick Osterloh also reiterated that this deal was always about "devices, not data." That's shorthand for Google and Fitbit's pledge to keep user data private going forward; Park said that "Fitbit users' health and wellness data won't be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data."
The upcoming Cadillac Lyriq SUV is the first electric car for the Cadillac car brand, but it's the reimagined dashboard display spanning 33 inches across that attracts the most attention. Mercedes-Benz also has a massive 56-inch Hyperscreen that will be available soon in its first EV. These car screens and others introduced at the annual tech show CES feature a new user interface that looks more like a well-rendered video game than an infotainment display to turn up the heat or play a podcast. Past CES shows used to wow with announcements about bigger and bigger dashboard screens, but now it's about what's on them. The Lyriq's 33-inch LED display stands out on its own, but its graphics feel almost too sharp for a screen stuck in a car.
British illustrator and visual-effects director Gavin Rothery makes his feature debut with this artificial intelligence thriller: a tale of love, death and robotics that has some nicely creepy moments. Set in 2038, it centres on lonely computer scientist George Almore (Divergent's Theo James), who is holed up in a remote research facility in Japan secretly working on an android version of his wife Jules (Stacy Martin); she has died in a car crash. His prototype, J3 (also played by Martin), is his closest yet to the real thing: a highly advanced humanoid with spookily pale skin who looks like she might be the ghost of his dead wife. Poor old J1 and J2, his earlier, clunkier prototypes: they look on bitterly as the newer, sleeker model gets all George's attention. The movie opens with sweeping helicopter shots over a snowy forest.
As Wednesday draws to a close, so does a grand social experiment: the first-ever online-only CES. In the end, the experience was invariably different. We particularly missed being able to wander The Sands and have learn about smaller, up-and-coming startups. And if seeing is believing, the oddest entries at the show remained locked behind our computer screen, with no chance of getting hands-on time. And yet, we were kept busy this week. Most of the usual tech giants had news to share, and many of those were able to show us their wares in person, ahead of the three-day gadget extravaganza.
Say the word Apple today and we think of Steve Jobs' multi-billion-dollar technology company that spawned the iPhone and the Mac computer. But a decade before the California-based firm was even founded, Apple Electronics, a subsidiary of the Beatles' record label Apple, was working on several pioneering inventions – some of which were precursors of commonly available products today. Apple Electronics was led by Alexis Mardas, a young electronics engineer and inventor originally from Athens in Greece, known to the Beatles as Magic Alex. He died on this day in 2017, aged 74, and was one of the most colourful and mysterious characters in the Beatles' story. Dressed in a white lab coat in his London workshop, Mardas created prototypes of inventions that were set to be marketed and sold. These included the'composing typewriter' – powered by an early example of sound recognition – and a phone with advanced memory capacity.