LAS VEGAS — The CES 2019 gadget show opened its doors Tuesday, with tech companies from giants to tiny startups showing off their latest products and services.
In recent years, CES’s influence has declined as Apple, Google and other major companies throw their own events to launch new wares. Still, more than 180,000 people from about 150 countries are expected to attend. The sprawling event spans 11 official venues, plus scores of unofficial ones throughout Las Vegas. The four-day show in Las Vegas opened after two days of media previews.
Google transformed CES into a Disney-like theme park — complete with singing animatronic macarons — to showcase new features of its voice-enabled digital assistant.
This includes an “interpreter mode” that enables some of Google’s smart home devices to work as a translator. It’s being piloted at a hotel concierge desk near the Las Vegas tech conference and rolls out to consumer devices in several weeks.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty used a keynote address Tuesday to unveil a new global forecasting system that promises more accurate local weather reports in places that never had them before.
Up next for Samsung: a robot that can keep its eye on grandma and grandpa.
The rolling robot, which talks and has two digital eyes on a black screen, can track medicines they take, measure blood pressure and call 911 if it detects a fall.
The company didn’t not say when Samsung Bot Care would be available, but brought the robot out on stage Monday at a presentation at CES. Samsung also said it is working on a robot for stores and another for testing and purifying the air in homes.
Samsung also unveiled TVs, appliances and other high-tech gizmos — but not a foldable phone it hinted at in November. But a startup called Royole did. The Royole FlexPai smartphone was first shown in November but the California-based company has more details. The phone will have a 7.8-inch display that can be folded like a wallet, priced at more than $1,300.
Sony brought some star power to CES with a visit from musician Pharrell Williams, straight from trip to Anguilla.
The star of hit songs such as “Happy” came to talk about a mostly secret project that he and Sony are supposedly undertaking. But in the end, it was clearly an attempt by Sony to sprinkle some stardust on launches for TVs and other products.
“I was a little bit worried that he was still on holiday, but he is here,” Sony Music head Rob Stringer told the crowd.