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6 trends to expect from CES 2017

Connected cars, augmented reality gear, and Amazon Echo clones invade Vegas this week for the world's largest consumer tech show

CES 2017  is set to kick off this week in Las Vegas, with the world’s largest tech trade show celebrating its 50th anniversary and promising to deliver all-new innovations.

While it doesn’t officially kick off until Thursday, many big name manufacturers are here already showing off their wares, so we’re here too to cover it all. Keep checking this blog each day for update, as well as make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Instagram.

Based on current trends and what’s already been announced, here’s our top five predictions for CES 2017.

1. Seriously smart cars


Last year automakers really moved it up a gear at CES, Volkswagon showed off cutting-edge concept cars, General Motors launched a long range electric vehicle you can actually afford in the Chevrolet Bolt, while Nvidia also announced it getting into the self-driving game. This year, smart cars are likely to go into overdrive with Nissan, Toyota, Fiat/ Chrysler, Honda and BMW all hosting big press events. BMW have already revealed it will be showing off its HoloActive Touch system (pictured), which will add a ‘virtual touchscreen’ to your dashboard. Meanwhile, would-be Tesla killer Future Faraday promises to unveil ‘the quickest production car in the world’ later today.

2. Endless echoes of Amazon Echo


Smart home tech is always well represented at CES, but this year’s event will likely see an emphasis on integrating voice assistants like Alexa and Siri into familiar appliances. Lenovo has even teamed up with Amazon to make its own Echo, called the Smart Assistant, that works the same but comes in more colourful designs. There will also be some ambitious attempts to establish new assistants to take on Alexa, with Mattel making its own smart speaker, while Concierge (a hotel bell that calls you an Uber as well as controls your home) and Kuri (an adorable robot on wheels) offer a twist on the genre. Meanwhile, the Wynn Hotel & Casino here in Vegas is adding Amazon Echo to every single room.

3. VR explosion


Don’t expect a new Oculus Rift or HTC Vive to launch in Vegas this year (in fact, HTC have flat-out denied it), but there will be a raft of associated tech. Lenovo is showing off a prototype for its new Windows 10 virtual reality headset, which looks similar to a PlayStation VR, but has so-called ‘inside out’ tracking built into the headset, so doesn’t require external sensors like the PlayStation Motion Camera or Vive Lighthouse set-up. Ahead of CES, Asus have already announced its new VR-ready VivoPC X and we expect to see more affordable VR-ready PC launch at the event.  If you think VR is so 2016, AR is also going to be big at CES 2017, with the event hosting its first dedicated Augmented Reality Marketplace for exhibitors. 

4. Super real screens


TVs are everywhere at CES, no matter what year it is. CES 2017 will no doubt have an emphasis on ultra HD (aka 4K) televisions, with increasingly affordable screens relegating 1080p HD to the slightly out-of-focus past. HDR TV’s richer depths and colour might gain ground now that all PlayStations now support it and HDR games, movies and TV shows now all in the works. A new HDR standard called Hybrid-Log Gamma (catchy, right?) developed in partnership with the BBC, might also mix things up. However, the most exciting screens might not be televisions. Samsung are expected to wow with its 31.5-inch UH750 4K PC display, which will also be curved and have quantum dots for added realism, while LG and Dell have also be showing off new HDR monitors. Acer’s have announced a new range of gaming laptops with superior screens, with the Aspire V Nitro Black offering Ultra HD and dynamic colour adjustment and the Predator 21X (pictured), which has a 21-inch curved screen with 2560 x 1080 looks like something out of science fiction. 

5. Wearables go beyond your wrist


Last year Google delayed Android Wear 2.0, but it seems likely we’ll see some of the first next-gen smartwatches this week, making the most of new features like Google Assistant and Android Pay. However, wearable tech is having a tough time of it lately, with sales failing to live up to the hype, so don’t expect many high profile launches. The Martian MVoice, which brings Alexa to your wrist, and Matrix Power Watch, which runs off your body heat so never needs charging, offer some glimmer of hope. But with tech lovers more like to strap a cheap fitness tracker to their wrist than an expensive smartwatch, profit-seeking tech makers are looking to coat the rest of your body in smart kit . Much of this will take the form of the aforementioned AR smart glasses and VR headsets, as well as companies like Under Armour sewing sensors into sportswear.