The annual Consumer Electronic Show is usually held in Las Vegas, but CES 2021 was virtual this year with perhaps around half the exhibitors. Still there was the usual range of laptops and gaming announcements, new TVs but also with plenty of strange gadgets and robots on display, testing out ideas.

GM showed its concept for a ‘flying car’, in the face of many other car makers teaming with established eVTOL aircraft, and there were many news apps for many markets, particularly health.

But the show is also the place where serious technology is discussed and groups come together. The acquisition of chip designer Nuvia by Qualcomm was very much about the direction of the consumer market for laptops, smartphones and automotive, while augmented reality and haptic technology is coming to maturity.

One of those ‘gatherings’ was also around the standards for the latest 8K resolution TV sets, the future generation of TV displays and controllers and various startups from around the world.

Automotive has also used CES as a showcase for technology for several years, and CES 2021 was no exception. Mobileye was highlighting chip plans while there was more detail on the AI technology in Sony’s Vision-S vehicle now testing on the roads.

5G is also a key technology area, but the engagement with the show was somewhat quiet, perhaps as there has not been time for the networks ot be fully established, especially in the US.

Component makers also use the show, both to talk to customers but also to launch new devices, from GaN chips to connectors.

The success of CES 2021 was that it happened at all in the second wave of the global Covid-19 pandemic. But is also marks the start of a signficant year for the industry with new CEOs at the top of Intel and Qualcomm that will see dramatic change.

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