CES 2019: 9 things we learned from the world’s biggest tech and gadget show

Been hidden under a rock this past week? Read our super-fast guide to the tech trends coming your way soon

If there was a theme to CES 2019’s dizzying array of exhibitors, gadgets, and retina-searing screens, it was ‘new from old’. Instead of bombarding everyone with the previously unknown, this was primarily a year of reimagining and rebirth.

In that sense, the Impossible Burger 2.0 fitted right in – a tech-savvy, forward-thinking take on a fast-food classic. Here are nine other trends that Stuff India found just as tantalising…

Tech becomes more flexible – literally

Whether you’re talking about the biggest screen in your house, or one in your pocket, they’re getting bigger. The tech industry’s cunning plan: make them flexible, so you can stash gadgets away but feast your eyes on a giant display at opportune moments.

Royole’s FlexPai beat everyone else to the punch with a whopping 7.8in smartphone you bend in half, but wows were mostly reserved for LG’s gorgeous roll-up TV R, which is giving wallets the world over heart palpitations in anticipation of its release.

Record players will again make your head spin

By rights, vinyl should be dead and buried by now, but its resurgence continues, while tapes and CDs can only look on and weep. Stuff was especially excited about the Technics SL–1200MK7 and its reverse playback smarts, Audio-Technica’s wooden (in terms of finish, not sound quality) AT-LPW30TK, and the Bluetooth-enabled Alva TT and Sony LX310BT. The future of vinyl, then: being able to dance around the entire room to Phil Collins spinning on your deck, with no-one nearby being any the wiser.

Gadgets have your back – and your heart

Apple rightly made a big deal about the Apple Watch Series 4 being able to monitor your heart – even if the electrocardiogram functionality remains restricted to the US. Withings is now in on the act – its Move ECG will be able to detect a dicky ticker, and the BPM Core blood pressure monitor is capable of listening to your heart, and giving you a readout for a health professional when it becomes a bit obvious you should hotfoot it to the nearest medical centre.

Hell froze over regarding Apple and TV

CES 2019 found one of Apple’s walled gardens tumble down. AirPlay 2 is going to be injected into a bunch of smart TVs, and Samsung announced one of its tellies will have an iTunes app. This shouldn’t really come as a big surprise – Apple’s TV ambitions mean it can’t lock content within its own devices; even so, you’ve now got to wonder about the future of the Apple TV – as in, whether it has one.

Doorbells at getting smarter - ding dong!

Because every part of your home must by law be ‘smart’ these days, doorbells at CES got some major upgrades. The latest Ring transforms your door viewer into a 1080p camera, so you can see every visitor’s nose hair in pristine HD; elsewhere, Netatmo unveiled its own sleek alternative. One of the best bits: the fact it includes a doorbell icon on the front, to tell people which bit they’re supposed to press.

Screens everywhere – even more so

This time last year, people wondered if screens would disappear. We’d all just bark at devices, only occasionally glancing at wearables. Nope. At CES 2019, screens returned with a vengeance. There was the splash-proof KitchenAid smart display, a ludicrously widescreen gaming monitor, a tablet/smart display combo, Lenovo’s rather swish Smart Clock, and Capstone’s Google-enabled Smart Mirror. Because God forbid you avoid checking your email or social feeds for the three minutes it takes to brush your teeth.

TV tech will keep outpacing content

There were loads of great tellies at CES this year, and still technology blazes into the future, while media struggles to catch up. This year, it was Sony’s turn to show off the admittedly lovely (if not particularly snappily named) Master Series ZG9 8K HDR LED. But it’s not like you’ll have a ton of 8K footage to throw at the thing; even 4K’s hardly ubiquitous. Still, here’s looking forward to inevitable upcoming 16K TV announcements – while the streaming services most people watch struggle to move beyond HD.

Laptops are game for change

You get the impression many laptop makers yell SEND IN THE CLONES after watching an Apple keynote, but CES shows some still very much do their own thing. Dell’s Latitude 7400 is a 14in 2-in–1 that marries portability and performance, while Acer’s Predator Triton 900 gives gamers flexibility with its various modes. Asus wowed, too, with its striking convention bucking ROG Mothership; and even if its ZenBook S13 whiffed a bit of MacBook Air, it at least introduced the world to the ‘reverse notch’.

Kitchens have gone countertop

Realising not everyone can live in a palatial mansion where they can hide kitchen appliances out of sight, tech is making the things smaller – so you can plonk them on top of a counter – and smarter. Whirlpool’s oven identifies food and evenly cooks it. Tetra’s eco-friendly dishwasher is designed for a single meal’s load. And if that still seems like too much effort, just bung a Sony GTK-PG10 in your kitchen instead. It won’t help you cook, but it will play Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise on repeat, while holding your beer as you consider that you should probably make some proper food rather than faff about with tech whilst munching Doritos.