Technology

Sneak Peek: What’s Worth Watching at CES 2017

By / Jan 2, 2017 (Sam Levin/Flickr)

The latest edition of the long-running electronics tradeshow, now in its 50th year, will feature lots of potential breakthrough technologies and even the reemergence of a familiar brand.

For tech fans, 2017 will get off the ground with a little bit of excitement.

That’s because, starting January 5, the latest edition of the Consumer Electronics Show takes over Las Vegas. And it’s not just any CES. The event represents the 50th anniversary of the long-running Consumer Technology Association tradeshow, which started as the Home Entertainment Show in 1967.

CTA is working to reflect its history, with an interactive timeline highlighting both technology milestones and the work of the group’s leadership, including late CES cofounder Jack Wayman and current CTA head Gary Shapiro.

As for what’s happening this year, here are just a few of the highlights observers are keeping an eye on:

An electric jolt. Faraday Future, a budding electric-car company, has been hyping its presence at CES this year, repeatedly hinting on its Twitter account that it’s about to come out with a production-quality electric vehicle. The company’s strategy of going big and splashy is a good fit for CES, but it has suffered recently from a precarious financial and leadership situation. No matter what happens to Faraday Future—make or break—it’s going to be a moment worth watching at CES.

A BlackBerry comeback? The longtime favorite phone of the Capitol Hill set is about to be making a grand return under the auspices of a new corporate owner. TCL Corporation, a Chinese manufacturer known for its television sets, bought the branding rights for BlackBerry phones recently and is expected to launch new Android-based devices that take advantage of that branding. Will they live up to the former parent company’s high standards? We’ll see at CES.

A faster connection. Interest in 5G wireless networks has been growing in recent months, as industry groups help to firm up the speedy new standard. CES 2017 will be ground zero for an experimental test of the technology, reports FierceWireless. Ericsson, which has conducted similar tests in the past, will also host a SuperSession, during which the ramifications of 5G on the broader market will be discussed.

Potential sector breakthroughs. Emerging sectors, such as robotics, virtual reality, and 3D printing, are expected to take center stage at CES 2017. (Mainstays like audio, television, and phones will be easy to find as well.) One sector that might be due for a big breakthrough is the smart home, which has gained new attention in recent months, thanks to devices like Amazon’s Echo. From locks to thermostats, it could be a big year for home automation. “The washing machines will likely gain sentience before the week is through,” jokes TechCrunch.

CES 2017 will take place January 5-8.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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