Just like that, it’s over. As crowded with gadget announcements as always in the days leading up to the actual pageant’s beginning, as quiet and prone to hands-on time with showstoppers afterwards, and perhaps more diverse and eclectic than ever, due to market trends shifting in directions you couldn’t possibly have imagined a few years back.
Fearful you may have missed some of the CES 2016 action, given there was so much to keep track of? Fret not, as our team on the Las Vegas ground refused to get distracted by the town’s glitz (during the day, at least), bringing you the most thorough coverage on the web, which we neatly organized in daily wrap-ups.
Now’s the time for our final recap, where we’ll focus first and foremost on the devices the industry will be talking about come MWC in late February, IFA in September, likely even the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show next January.
Everybody owns one, and only some want to upgrade, but that’s enough to keep them in the limelight, above wearables and… other connected stuff. Unfortunately, to the surprise of no one, the high-profile next-gen flagships sat out this year’s CES. The Galaxy S7, LG G5, HTC “Perfume”, Sony Xperia Z6, etc., etc., they’re all yet to come.
Instead, we got the full scoop on the Windows 10 Mobile-powered Acer Liquid Jade Primo at last, the Asus Zenfone Zoom as well, we heard from Huawei on Mate 8’s semi-global expansion, received the ultra-low-cost yet more than respectable Honor 5X for America, and while we’re on the subject, budget was the main focus of literally every CES exhibitor.
LG unveiled the K7 and K10, Lenovo the Vibe S1 Lite, ZTE the Grand X3 and Avid Plus, Alcatel OneTouch the Windows-running Fierce XL and Pixi 4 Android family, and BLU the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL. Any standout among this pack? Probably the Fierce XL, courtesy of its “exotic” pre-loaded OS, or maybe the fashionable LG K-series duo.
Meanwhile, the LeTV Max Pro didn’t properly go official, with a full spec sheet and pricing details in tow, but the bits and pieces Qualcomm revealed about it made it one of the show’s main scene-stealers. Oh, and let’s not forget Lenovo’s in-development Google-backed Project Tango phone, or the unparalleled, closer-to-completion-than-ever Nextbit Robin.
Wearables and virtual reality
Thought there were way too many iPhone copycats around? Wait until you check out all the Apple Watch “clones” and “killers.” By far the most intriguing new one is the Fitbit Blaze, though we’re pretty sure sports fanatics will also very much appreciate Casio’s rookie Android Wear effort or the Mio Slice that unfortunately lacks the design flamboyance to contend the smartwatch heavyweights.
While we’re on the subject of not-so-pretty, ultra-affordable “smart bands”, we should call some attention to the Withings Go too, plus the Misfit Ray that could however also catch some eyes with its minimalistic looks.
In the opposite corner, the Fossil Q54 Pilot and Razer Nabu Watch aim to stick out visually first, catering to nostalgics of vintage aviation-inspired timepieces and regular old digital chronographs respectively.
Technically meant for you to wear them as well, VR goggles obviously fall into a different category, as they come off from time to time to let you get back in contact with the real reality. Look out, everybody, because the HTC Vive Pre and 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition can be both highly addictive, and the latter isn’t that expensive either.
Can you believe tablets have become an industry afterthought just a few years after single-handedly taking down netbooks and decisively contributing to the PC’s overall decline? Still, Samsung’s got that beautiful, versatile Galaxy TabPro S in the pipeline, the 4-in-1 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is technically a tablet too, and the revamped Acer Iconia One 8 and Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 8.0 target the novice users and children many OEMs have given up on.
Then you have the convertible Acer Aspire Switch 12 S and HP Pavilion x2, well, laptops, a new generation of tiny Intel Compute Sticks and a less gifted, equally small, cheaper and acceptably flexible Lenovo Link.
What else? That smartphone or tablet-incorporating Samsung smart fridge is wickedly cool too in a decidedly wacky way, and we should have probably touched on the HTC HealthBox earlier, but in all truth, it deserves a league of its own, separate of standard, boring wearables.
Back to the Internet of Things, it’d sure be nice if the Sevenhugs Smart Remote materialized to handle all your connected-home remote control needs, and the Remix OS is also something “different”, something special, something like no other, especially in a grown-up, polished form.
At the end of the
day week, the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show was a fun if tiring expo to follow, either on the ground or from a distance, previewing an outstanding year for mobile technology.