As someone who has always been hugely interested in gadgets and technology, conventions like CES 2017 make me inherently happy. Though I am often critical of the tech industry and cynical at heart, I cannot help but stare with glittering eyes at new tech announcements.
Like every other year, CES 2017 was certainly filled with its fair share of zany and useless products but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about it.
Amazon wins with Alexa
Amazon’s digital assistant is, without a doubt, the winner of this year’s CES. While Google is trying to create some presence in the market with Google Home, Amazon basically sidelined its competitors completely.
In a brilliant move, the company made Alexa available in dozens of different devices including refrigerators, power strips, speakers, and TVs just to name a few. Instead of having dozens of different apps to control a dozen different devices, you will be able to do everything by uttering Alexa’s name and your command.
The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and most similar devices are simple harbingers of the larger IoT movement. Amazon was never going to restrict Alexa to the Echo and I am plenty sure that Google has similar plans for the Home.
Watch more TV
CES has always seen its fair share of TVs and various displays and this year was no different. LG stole the show with its new W7 Wallpaper TV, a stunning OLED display that could be yours in a few months for the low price of $8,000.
There were plenty of other interesting revelations, including a new NVIDIA Shield. Another interesting box was AirTV which promises to bridge over-the-air TV channels with fan-favorite online services including Netflix and YouTube.
Autonomous, self-driving vehicles are likely to be the future. However, that future seems further away than many would have you think. There were plenty of impressive demonstrations at CES 2017 but almost nothing you will see on the road soon.
One of the most redeeming qualities of the industry is the fact that manufacturers seem quite eager to adapt new technology. There were various concept vehicles, new self-driving demos, and even a full HUD from BMW.
A decade ago, I was a dedicated PC gamer with a (at the time) powerful rig. The thought of gaming on a laptop was laughable at best and anyone who suggested so was clearly insane.
Now, a decade later, I couldn’t be happier with my gaming laptop. CES 2017, however, proved to me that it’s time for an upgrade with new laptops from a variety of vendors. Of course, Razer’s insane triple-screen offering and the $9,000 Acer Predator 21X are not going on my list
Real frustrations in virtual reality
Admittedly, virtual reality has never been much of a contender at CES. After so much hype, however, one could certainly expect manufacturers to make a strong appearance at CES 2017. Alas, that was not the case as virtual reality was certainly one of the most disappointing areas in the show.
As many in the industry have already said, two of the biggest problems right now are the lack of content and the fact that VR is quite expensive for newcomers. Devices like the PlayStation VR might solve that issue but that needs to happen soon.
While some will say that this year’s CES was not really exciting, I would gladly disagree with them. Amazon has made such a huge bet with Alexa that watching things unfold will be interesting whether it fails or not and other tech companies should certainly take note.