Google is going all in on Google Assistant at CES this year

Steve Koenig

Steve Koenig

South Korean industry leaders are absent for the second year in a row on the keynote schedule of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's biggest IT fair, having been replaced by fast-rising Chinese counterparts.

Television manufacturers have been eager to jump on the talk-to-me bandwagon, with Samsung Monday announcing it would bring the Bixby voice assistant now found on its Galaxy phones to its television sets in 2018, and LG opting for an assist from Google Voice.

This year, more than 180,000 of our closest friends will converge on Vegas with more than 4,000 exhibiting companies and 7,000 media members covering the show.

This is just a sample of some of the technology we can expect to see coming out of CES this week.

The huge displays from LG and Samsung seem like aspirational headline grabbers more than actual shipping products, but both were incredible to see in person.

The competition to build software people can manage with their voice is one of the hottest topics in consumer technology, drawing, in addition to Amazon and Google, the attention of giants like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung.

Leslie Rohrbaugh
Leslie Rohrbaugh

This year is expected to be another big one for cars, with the technology behind electric vehicles expected to continue advancing.

It's not hard to get lost at a large conference, and CES 2018 isn't a small gathering by any means. Expect similar functionality for really every other appliance in your home. There's even a refrigerator that automatically opens its doors when you approach it.

Even though bigger and bigger screen sizes might make it feel that way, not all of the space is covered by flat screen TVs. In fact, Toshiba announced the Symbio today, which is a smart home solution with Alexa inside. Following Alexa's path by moving off the smart speaker and on to other household items seems like a no-brainer at a show like this.

Rick Rohmer, a product engineer with electrical-systems specialist Legrand, said the power outage affected only part of a booth for Qi, a consortium of companies that make wireless chargers. Expect more big TVs and a shift from virtual reality to augmented reality as two of the major themes of the 2018 event, while Google facing down Amazon's Alexa will also be an interesting topic. Reportedly, the branding that Google is using all over the convention center where the event will be held is that of "Hey Google" - clearly hinting that many announcements about the Google Assistant are on their way. Google's overwhelming presence at CES indicates one thing and one thing only in my eyes: The momentum and dedication behind Google Assistant hasn't waned one bit. Intelligent speakers, like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home, are "quickly becoming the core foundation of smart homes", he said.

Cars took centre stage past year too, with CES making itself a date as important in auto makers' calendars as any of the hottest motor shows.

Home-entertainment equipment is expected to be among the technologies overhauled at CES this year, with LG promising to unveil the largest OLED television to feature an 8K resolution - more than double the sharpness of top televisions now on sale. But with Mesh WiFi, that doesn't happen, as it gives your Internet-of-Things devices less bandwidth than your laptop or smartphone.

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