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CES 2020: Samsung’s ‘artificial human’, transport pods, Trump controversy and everything else to expect

Major announcements about PS5 and 5G could also be coming

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 03 January 2020 18:36 GMT
CES 2020 kicks off in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 7 January
CES 2020 kicks off in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 7 January (AFP via Getty Images)

The world’s largest and most influential consumer tech show gets underway in Las Vegas this week, ushering in a new decade of technologies.

CES 2020 is the 53rd edition of the annual showcase, which now accommodates more than 4,500 companies and startups.

Between 7 and 10 January, around 175,000 people are expected to trudge the halls of the World Trade Center Las Vegas looking to get a glimpse of what tech might soon be making its way into our lives.

There will of course be new TVs, computers, smart devices, and plenty about 5G from the world's biggest tech companies, as well as some more peculiar offerings.

We've rounded up what to look out for and all the details you need to know.

Transport 'pods'

The technology of travel has been a consistent theme in recent editions of CES, and 2020 is no different.

Attendees will be able to try out a "smart transporting pod" built by Segway. The pioneering personal transportation firm claims its S-Pod is designed to ferry people across university campuses, airports and theme parks.

"It is a safe, self-balancing vehicle that is operated by an intuitive assistive navigation panel," Segway states in press materials.

The Segway S-Pod can travel up to 24mph (Segway)

Swiss automaker Rinspeed is also unveiling a next-generation transport solution in the form of a modular pod system called MetroSnap.

The battery-powered "pod-type chassis" can carry people or goods across cities and Rinspeed hopes it can provide a new method of carpooling.

Samsung’s ‘Artificial Human’

The routine absence of Apple at CES means Samsung is typically the marquee brand, despite typically saving its biggest phone announcements for Mobile World Congress later in the year.

The South Korean technology giant seems to have something unusual planned for CES 2020, having teased details of an “Artificial Human” called Neon.

Very little information has been provided beyond a few cryptic tweets from a recently established Twitter account. There have been images of jellyfish, plants, water droplets and peculiar patterns, as well as various iterations of the question: “Have you ever met an ‘artificial’?”

Speculation about what Neon is initially centred around Samsung’s artificial assistant Bixby, though these rumours were quickly dismissed.

“Honoured to have so much coverage even before we unveil,” Neon tweeted last week. “But contrary to some news, Neon is NOT about Bixby, or anything you have seen before.”​

A countdown for the official unveiling is ticking towards midnight on 7 January.

Ivanka Trump controversy

CES has frequently been criticised for not inviting enough women to give keynotes and other presentations.

For 2020, the trade show is attracting a different sort of controversy for inviting a “terrible choice” of woman for the keynote address: Ivanka Trump.

The US president’s daughter has no real tech credentials, with CES spinning it tenuously as a talk on “the role tech plays in creating the workforce of the future”.

Tech commentator Rachel Sklar was among those who tweeted their dismay at the decision.

“This is a terrible choice on so many levels but also – what an insult to the YEARS AND YEARS of protesting how few women were invited to keynote and being told it was a pipeline problem while similarly-situated men were elevated,” she wrote.

“There are so many great, qualified women. Shame.”​

Keynote times and dates

Beyond Ms Trump’s talk, which many are calling for attendees to boycott, there are a number of major presentations to keep an eye on.

The biggest press events will take place on Monday before CES officially opens its doors to the public. Here are all the times of the major conferences:

  • LG – 8am PST (4pm GMT), 6 Jan
  • Panasonic – 10am PST (6pm GMT), 6 Jan
  • Intel – 11am PST (7pm GMT), 6 Jan
  • Sony – 5pm PST (1am GMT), 6 Jan
  • Samsung – 6.30pm PST (2.30am GMT), 6 Jan

The most eagerly anticipated of these for gaming fans is Sony's, as some rumours suggest new details about the PS5 console could be announced.

Sony's teaser page for the event says it will unveil “a unique vision of the future, bringing creativity and technology together like never before, to unleash new sensations and emotions".

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