Tech round-up for January 9: CES 2019 is underway

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If you’re interested in consumer technology, you’re interested in what’s going on in Las Vegas this week. After all, CES 2019 is upon us.

The trade show runs January until Friday this week, and there’s lots going on.

TVs and more TV

There’s always lots of television news at CES and this year is no exception.

  • LG has a 4K OLED television that disappears when you’re not using it. It’s the Signature OLED TV R, and the screen rolls up into a box. You can also have a quarter of the screen exposed for smart home controls and notifications.
  • Sony showed off 85- and 98-inch LED screens that have an 8K resolution (nearly 8,000 pixels horizontally; two times bigger than 4K) and can reportedly upscale 4K content to 8K; the company also has OLED screens in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes.
  • Samsung, meanwhile, is updating its line of excellent screens, and adding something nobody thought possible: iTunes. Yes, you’ll be able to access your iTunes movies and TV shows on your Samsung television. You’ll also be able to stream content from your Apple devices to Samsung screens with AirPlay 2.

Folding smartphones

  • While Samsung briefly showed a folding smartphone last November, the company did not have anything to say about the device during a briefing at CES. It was showing the device to select media behind closed doors, however. While no name has been announced, Galaxy Fold and Galaxy X have both been rumoured as possible. According to media who saw the device in Vegas this week, the Samsung folding smartphone has an outside screen that is 4.5 inches. When unfolded, the display becomes 7.3 inches.
  • Royole FlexPai is actually in the wild already, and the company is showing off the foldable smartphone in Vegas. Reports out of CES are that the foldable screen is very interesting, but that the device itself is far from being ready for primetime.

Smart homes and digital assistants

  • Almost all new smart home technology at CES is supporting Amazon’s Alexa. From cleaning robots to mesh networking platforms, from smart plugs to LED arrays to speakers, every tech company wants to work with Alexa.
  • Google, meanwhile, is pushing its Google Assistant hard by creating an entire ecosystem for it, in the same way Amazon has with Alexa. And tech companies are creating products for Assistant to work with. Case in point is the Lenovo alarm clock which works with Google Assistant (and doesn’t have a camera).

Samsung profit down, too

Just a few days after Apple revised its earning guidance, Samsung revealed an estimated 30 percent profit drop leading from “stagnant” smartphone sales and weak demand for its processing chips.

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