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The world’s biggest consumer technology trade show, CES 2019, ended its four-day run in Las Vegas on Friday with attendees coming away talking about 5G wireless, 8K television, artificial intelligence and other hot tech areas for the year ahead and beyond.
Chipmakers Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm (QCOM) dueled over 5G chips, while wireless carriers Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) touted their plans for fifth-generation cellular networks. 5G networks are set to go live in some metropolitan areas this year. They will offer blazing-fast download speeds and low-latency data links for smartphones and other devices.
TV makers like LG Electronics and Samsung wowed attendees with giant-screen 8K televisions. The new TVs offer twice the resolution of today’s 4K sets for supercrisp pictures. But content will be scarce for some time.
LG also showed off a rollable-screen television. The LG Signature OLED R television has a 65-inch screen that retracts into a compact cabinet. The cabinet doubles as a high-end stereo speaker.
Google Assistant Takes People For A Ride
Meanwhile, Alphabet‘s (GOOGL) Google Assistant and Amazon (AMZN) Alexa blanketed the show, with the voice assistants providing their computer smarts to everything from bathroom mirrors to kitchen appliances.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant both had large exhibit spaces at CES and were featured prominently in third-party booths promoting their use of the technologies. Google set up a fun house in the plaza outside the Las Vegas Convention Center to show off all the gadgets that use its AI helper. The building even featured a Disney-esque musical ride called the Google Assistant Ride.
Amazon Alexa caused a stir during Qualcomm’s media briefing when it interrupted a speaker by saying, “No, that’s not true.” A Qualcomm representative was giving a live demo on how Alexa works with automobiles when Alexa gave her unsolicited commentary.
“Google was omnipresent for the second year with Google Assistant being featured, while Alexa was present at various booths,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said in a report Thursday. “The adoption of digital voice assistance is still early and Amazon and Google’s leadership creates halos around the respective platforms, reinforcing their leadership in e-commerce and search, respectively.”
Amazon boasted having more than 150 products with Alexa built into them, from headphones and PCs, to cars and smart home devices. At the show, it announced the latest devices getting Alexa voice technology, including Vuzix (VUZI) smartglasses and Sony (SNE) noise-canceling wireless headphones.
Apple Trolls Rivals With Billboard
As usual, Apple (AAPL) did not exhibit at the show, missing an opportunity to promote its Siri voice assistant and HomeKit smart-home technologies. Instead it trolled its competitors with a massive advertisement that wrapped around a building across the street from the convention center. With a nod to Vegas ads, the billboard promoted Apple’s commitment to privacy. It had a picture of an iPhone with the text: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”
Other tech areas turning heads at CES 2019 included self-driving vehicles, augmented reality glasses, robots and smart home devices. Electric scooters and bikes proliferated on the show floor.
Streaming video platform Roku (ROKU) announced on the eve of CES that its active accounts topped 27 million in the fourth quarter. But Amazon took the wind out of its sails by revealing Wednesday that its Fire TV platform has “well over” 30 million active users.
Impossible Burger 2.0 Named Best New Product At Tech Show
Tech-gadget website Engadget named the Impossible Burger 2.0 from Impossible Foods as its “Best of the Best” in its Best of CES 2019 Awards.
“It’s surprising to see a burger win best of show at a tech conference, but the new Impossible Burger is no ordinary slab of meat,” Engadget senior editor Nicole Lee wrote. “The second-generation version of the plant-based meal puts it far closer to the real thing. The new formula makes it a viable substitute ingredient in any ground meat dish, and Impossible Foods plans to bring it to restaurants and grocery stores across the country this year.”
Impossible Foods expected to serve at least 12,000 free samples of the Impossible Burger 2.0 during CES 2019. It dished out the product from a food truck parked outside the convention center.