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CES 2019 : AI and 5G Main Technologies This Year

by Ville-Petteri Ukonaho | 1月 09, 2019

CES 2019, the world’s largest consumer electronic trade show is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. The show is scheduled from Jan 8 (Tue) to Jan 11 (Fri) 2019 and has a large team of analysts from multiple services of Strategy Analytics in attendance, including smartphones, drones, robots, tablets, wearables, smart home, semiconductors and automotive.

This year CES seems lacking any real innovations in smartphone area as the focus is more on home automation, autonomous cars, robots etc. No big new smartphone announcements has yet been seen. 

AI is the buzzword of CES this year.

AI is one of CES 2019 main technologies. AI is used in everything from home appliances to TV’s, cars, robots, and naturally smartphones where AI is becoming glowingly more important part of the user experience.

Major announcements in smartphone area came from Samsung and Google. Bixby that is Samsung’s own smartphone assistant is going through a renewal gaining a lot of new functionalities in the process. Samsung is supercharging Bixby through various partnerships and moving into new areas like robotics. Bixby will also gain access to some Google applications such as Maps and Gmail bringing more Google Assistant functionalities to the Bixby. Bixby will also become the hub that controls all Samsung’s new smart home appliances and robots.

Google announced new functionalities to Google Assistant as CES 2019. Some of the new features and improvements include: integration with Google Maps, voice controlled check-ins to hotels and flights, support for lists in different applications, lock screen support and overall better speech recognition capabilities. Google Assistant is the most popular assistant and its installed base is soon exceeding 1 billion smartphones.

5G is The Trend to Follow

5G was talked and hyped a lot but 5G smartphones are not yet ready for primetime, which is visible in the show. Qualcomm announced there are over 30 5G ready devices having their hardware coming from plethora of vendors in 2019 but seemingly all announcements will happen in MWC 2019 or later. Strategy Analytics forecasts 5G smartphones to gain less than 1% share this year with ASP almost three times that of regular smartphone. Samsung announced that it will bring one of the first 5G smartphones to the market during 1st half 2019. Samsung even had the phone on display at the show, although behind protective case. Official revealing of that phone will likely take place at MWC this year.

Foldable phones

Despite huge hype last year, foldables were a no-show at CES 2019. Only the ones we had already seen were showed again. Royole showcased their foldable smartphone they announced already October last year. This time the device seemed more polished and functional that during the announcement. As a recap of its specs, it will run on Qualcomm's recently unveiled Snapdragon 855 chipset, and runs a version of Android called Water OS that supports features like split-screen mode. The display itself is naturally Royole’s own proprietary flexible panel they have been developing for several years. Royole promised that the device will become available this year.
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Samsung also reiterated its plans to bring foldable phones to the market this year and showcased the foldable phone it launched at SDC 2019 behind closed doors. Only selected people were allowed to see the device but Samsung promised the device will come available mid-2019.

Strategy Analytics expects a slow start for the new form factor due high pricing, but the new category will eventually catch on as pricing becomes more reasonable.

The lack of devices and new technologies in CES doesn’t mean innovation is dead, on the contrary, this year MWC is again going to be the most important trade show for smartphone vendors to showcase their latest innovations. In addition to MWC, IFA in Berlin is becoming more and more important venue for vendors to bring new devices on display. At EDT we have already turned our eyes to MWC 2019 as it will be one of the most significant events in recent history regarding smartphone technologies. See you there!




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