The Morning After: CES 2021 starts with drones, 8K TVs and robots

Sony's self-driving car, Samsung's robots and a few routers were all part of CES day one.


The last time I wasn’t in Las Vegas for CES, the iPhone didn’t exist yet. A virtual show means that this year the Engadget team is experiencing things more like our readers. The upside is that it’s easier to get a broad view of everything going on, and I didn’t have to figure out how to pack a PS5 in my luggage. The downside is I’m not seeing any sweet new TVs in person.

Engadget CES 2021 stage

It’s the smallest of sacrifices, but being able to hop on live video and chat/argue with the team over our favorite picks is helping to fill the gaps. Our live stream will continue today starting at 9 AM ET with GM’s press conference — tune in and join the chat as we all get through what is (hopefully) a one-time-only remote event.

— Richard Lawler

LG briefly teases its rollable phone

The company offered a quick peek during its CES press conference.

LG rollable phone concept

LG hasn’t got into the foldable phone trend, but it’s long been working on a smartphone with a rollable screen. While no one’s seen it in person just yet, LG did offer a glimpse of the device, with its display that starts out phone-sized and stretches into a tiny tablet. Alas, other details were scant, but we’ve confirmed it’ll be called the LG Rollable when it actually arrives. The company isn’t alone in chasing rollable phones, however, as both TCL and Oppo are working on similar concepts. 2021 could be the year of the rollable.
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LG has bigger, brighter OLED TVs and a new OLED monitor

The UltraFine OLED Pro looks amazing, but we don’t know much about it yet.

LG UltraFine Display

How does the best keep getting better? For LG, they’re improving on OLED image quality at the high end with a new “evo” panel technology that promises better luminosity. While we love OLEDs for their deep, inky blacks and amazing contrast, they can struggle with bright scenes and this should fix that — if you’re willing to pay a bit extra. Meanwhile, its C1 series is now available in sizes up to 83-inches, assuming you have the space and budget to match, and will have Google Stadia streaming built-in.

But that’s not where the OLED developments end. Aside from the 77-inch 8K Z1 series of OLED TVs, LG also introduced the UltraFine OLED Pro, a 31.5-inch computer monitor that brings those individually backlit pixels to your desktop. We don’t have a price for either one yet, and probably for a good reason.
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Sony test drives its Vision-S prototype car on public roads

Filmed by its new camera drone.

Sony Vision-S prototype

Sony’s CES keynote touched on new TVs — revealed last week — speakers, a pro-level filmmaking drone and updates on its splashy announcement from last year: the Vision-S car. As promised, Sony started testing the EV in Europe in December, and even shared a clip of the car driving on snow-dusted Austrian roads. The company offered no other major updates on the concept car, but it seems Sony is intent on taking the project further.
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TCL pushes 8K and 'OD Zero' mini LED tech for its 2021 TVs

Its existing 4K 6-Series lineup will stick around this year, too.

8K Mini LED

Belatedly following up on a promise from last year’s CES event, all the new entries in its midrange 6-Series lineup will feature 8K resolution four times sharper than 4K. While it’s unlikely you’ll have much native 8K content to watch on the sets, they’re prepared to upscale lower-res content.

As Samsung and LG have added mini LEDs to their TVs, TCL is launching its third generation of mini LED backlighting, dubbed OD Zero. The name is Zero because the distance between its backlight layer and LCD panel has been reduced to 0mm, which should make for an even thinner display. Oh, and it’s launching an 85-inch 4K TV in the next few months that will start at $1,599.
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Samsung's latest home robots can do chores and nag you to stop working

Bot Handy's extendable arm can load your dishwasher and set the table.

Samsung Care Bot

Samsung is still working on robots for your home, and it has two new creations to reveal. Bot Handy might be the most interesting one: It has an extendable gripper arm to help you take care of things like loading the dishwasher, setting the table and pouring drinks. Using cameras on the robot’s head and arm, the advanced AI can identify objects of various sizes, shapes and weights. The robot can even extend vertically to reach higher spots.

The updated Bot Care is more of a personal assistant. It will monitor your behaviors and offer reminders, for instance, nagging you to get up and stretch your legs if it thinks you’ve been at your computer or watching TV too long.

Both are still in development stages. Samsung is currently testing those robots and didn’t say if or when you’ll be able to actually buy them to both do your chores and nag you when you’re not doing your chores.
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But wait, there’s more...

Intel's Rocket Lake S CPUs are up to 19 percent faster than last year

Intel's 11th-gen H-series CPUs are for ultraportable gaming laptops

Sony shows off its Airpeak filmmaking drone for the first time

Microsoft's Surface Pro 7+ has LTE, new CPUs and a bigger battery

BMW previews iDrive in the iX electric SUV

Netgear's first WiFi 6E router offers plenty of bandwidth for streaming

Verizon CEO pitches 5G as a 'platform' for services like drone delivery

Sony launches an exclusive streaming service for Bravia XR TV owners

PopSockets' latest iPhone grips are MagSafe-compatible

2020 was the best year for PC shipments in a decade

Linksys reveals a WiFi 6E mesh system starting at $450

Parler sues AWS after Amazon knocks service offline

Qualcomm says its new in-display fingerprint sensor is 50 percent faster

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Yoga gets a titanium upgrade

Dolby promises better call quality with Dolby Voice for PCs