Rich Warren | Consumer Electronics Show returns — mostly | Science-technology | news-gazette.com – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

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Updated: January 9, 2022 @ 9:58 am

Last year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) went virtual. This year, it returned to Las Vegas on Jan. 5-7 in a diminished and shortened form with a virtual component.
Many major companies and much of the press sent regrets because of the omicron COVID-19 variant. Participating companies toned down their usual extravaganza of innovation and invention. However, that doesn’t mean CES lacked some tantalizing introductions.
Samsung stole the show with The Freestyle, its $899 portable HDTV projector that turns any surface into a TV screen up to 100 inches diagonally. You can even watch video on the ceiling. It also plays music and radiates 360-degree sound. Optional accessories range from lens caps for ambient lighting and/or projecting patterns on walls, a waterproof outdoor case and a battery pack. The screwiest thing of all, so to speak, is a base that allows you to screw it into a light-bulb socket.
Samsung promised its first OLED large-screen TV. In attempting to one-up LG, which currently owns the OLED market, Samsung designed a Quantum Dot OLED display that it claims is brighter and clearer than existing OLED TVs.
Not to be outdone, LG brightened the field with new OLED sets, specifically the G2 series that are considerably brighter than previous models. It also stretched the boundaries of OLED TV with screen sizes ranging from 42 to 97 inches, the largest yet for this technology. Considering Samsung’s entry into OLED TVs, it’s unlikely prices will rise much this year, even with inflation.
Sony also refused to let Samsung kick sand in its face, so it, too, debuted Quantum Dot OLED with the XR-A95K Bravia TV. Since Sony does not make its own panels, pundits assume Samsung makes the screen for its new line. Previously, Sony incorporated LG screens.
CES continued evolving into a high-tech automotive show. Cars competed with TV sets.
GM revealed its first electric pickup truck, the 2024 Silverado EV, with a 400-mile range. There may be a base version for about $40,000, but the fully loaded model with greatest range will break the $100,000 barrier.
Ford plans to double its production to 150,000 of its upcoming F-150 Lightning EV pickup.
Cadillac revealed a concept of a super futuristic sedan, InnerSpace, that lives up to its name. This fully autonomous two-seater has more in common with the Batmobile than a normal car.
Sony again flirted with entering the automotive business, displaying its Vision S-02 EV SUV. It announced a new division, Sony Mobility, working with a major automotive company that builds cars for others, so this might not be a fantasy. Sony crams the S-02 with more electronics than just about any other company. While it doesn’t promise self-driving, Sony intends to provide the human driver with every possible safety feature as well as immersive surround audio.
Not to be left out, Chrysler announced the Airflow, a concept electric vehicle targeted for 2025. It aims for a 400-mile range. The name refers to Chrysler’s revolutionary car of the same name in the early 1930s. Each seat will include a display screen and camera so that those not driving can participate in Zoom meetings on the road.
BMW showed off the iX Flow coated with E Ink that allows it to change colors at a touch. Henry Ford would be pleased, because initially those colors are black, white and shades of gray.
The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold laptop Windows computer takes the smartphone concept of foldable screens one step further with an expansive OLED screen that folds when you close the computer. It can be a single screen or two separate screens, with the keyboard sliding in beneath.
Technics joined the noise-cancelling headphone market with the EAH-A800. Besides being feature rich, it promises up to 50 hours of battery life, almost double most of its competitors.
Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at [email protected].
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