Notable trends coming out of CES 2021

CES this year is switching out of its prominent home in Las Vegas right into your living room. It is unimaginable that the remote experience will make up – to even a certain degree – for the excitement of going hands-on with devices in a face-to-face event. But one thing is for sure: this will be a great opportunity for tech enthusiasts who have always wanted to visit the Las Vegas Convention Center but couldn't. They can now sit back and watch the world's most influential tech event, as it happens.

CES opens Monday, January 11 and will be part of our lifestyle through January 14. The all-digital event will not be anything like the previous years with exhibitors trailed down to just over 1,000. It nonetheless promises to show off the latest innovations and ideas that will set track for what to expect in the year ahead especially in domains of health, privacy, artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity, automotive technologies, and more. Before the mega event kicks off, here's an idea of notable trends that will shape the CES 2021.

COVID-19 dominated alterations

It's incredible how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way of life. We are now socializing lesser and health has become a priority. Our homes are now turned into schools, workplaces, entertainment, and fitness centers – and tech companies realize the importance of tapping on to this change. Thus, much of new technologies and gadgets making their way to CES will be centered on our homes and altered lifestyle.

Most of the inventive technologies will be devised to enhance the at-home learning and working experience, while there will be an emphasis on smart masks, high-tech air purifiers, and other devices to monitor individual health and cleanliness of our abodes. Tech companies will also be tapping on the changing needs of home entertainment with state-of-the-art audio systems, televisions, and mobile devices.

TVs a big attraction

Mostly gimmicky and occasionally mainstream, TVs are generally the centerpieces of CES. With binge-watching surging to an all-time high, this trend is only going to continue with major focus on brightness, picture quality, and adjusting picture to room lighting – Samsung is working on something on these lines. For more creative use case scenarios, transparent OLEDs from LG are going to create a buzz this time. LG has already shown off QNED Mini LED 4k and 8k televisions, which pack in mini LEDs behind LCD panels to deliver a fresh experience we'll take time to get acquainted with, while Samsung has revealed Neo QLED TVs with the company's own Quantum Mini LEDs and solar-powered remotes.

In addition to bigger and bolder TVs, you can also keep an eye out for bendable options that vouch to enhance the cinematic experience in an all-new way. An example of this has already dropped out of LG's kitty in way of a 48-inch Cinematic Sound OLED display that flattens up to become a TV and briskly bends into a curved screen for gaming. Sony is another player with some tricks up its sleeve. The marque has unveiled BRAVIA XR TV lineup with models offering a Cognitive Processor XR and up to 8K video resolution.

Bespoke appliances a new way

As the focus of our time spent at home shifts from work desk to kitchen, we see an emerging trend for improving kitchen needs at home. The new route is more personalized and catering to individual needs. The tech companies are moving past their image of labeling refrigerators with touchscreens and robot cooking assistants to refrigerators consumers can design right from color to material and even configuration to meet their kitchen content and personal requirement.

Samsung is at the forefront of the bespoke approach and the company will be debuting it stateside for the first time at CES after being a huge success in Korea. The idea of customization is not going to be limited to fridges, Korean giant wants to make microwaves, vacuum cleaners, and even air purifiers completely customizable to user preference.

5G a bigger talk than before

5G promising high-speed connectivity and minuscule latency had been part of the discussion at CES last year. Now, making through hearsays of its health hazards and as a reason for the coronavirus, this year at CES, 5G will be at the mainstage for its use cases in remote working, driverless cars, and more. The scenario is going to be different also since over the gap of one year now, millions of users have added access to 5G.

This number is growing steeply as all network carriers in the US and other countries upgrade 5G support to reach a wider userbase and the possibility of 5G making appearance in devices beyond smartphones increases. At CES 2021 Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg will be kick-starting proceedings with keynote address centered around 5G and Samsung would be closing affairs (not really at CES per se) with the launch of 5G-enabled Galaxy S21 series at the Galaxy Unpacked event on January 14.