This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.
CES being all digital is certainly weird, but the slew of luxurious and wacky products shown on Day 1 brought with them a sense of familiarity. Day 2 kept that momentum going, although here things feel far more futuristic. Literally, a flying car was one of the day’s big concepts.
Though Day 2 came to a close, the show isn’t over yet. In addition to a Microsoft keynote on Wednesday and an ongoing stream of new product announcements from companies around the world, Thursday will bring Samsung’s Unpacked event, where the Galaxy S21 is expected to be unveiled.
Let’s get conceptual
Razer has made a tradition of showing off conceptual gadgets at CES, and it’s become one of the highlights of the show each year. In 2021, Razer has two such concepts: Project Brooklyn and Project Hazel.
First up is Project Brooklyn, a gaming chair with a rolling, wrap-around display. It’s quite the display too: A 180-degree, transparent OLED. Apart from that cutting-edge technology, Project Brooklyn also has carbon-fiber and leather bucket seats with haptic vibration and RBG lighting. Obviously.
Second is Project Hazel, a concept for COVID-19 living. It’s an N95 mask packed with tech: Audio-processing pods that un-muffle your voice, active ventilation and auto-sterilization, a companion case that doubles as a UV sterilizer. And LED RBG lighting.
So yeah, both are intriguing. But Razer’s CES concepts don’t typically result in actual products, so don’t expect either. That said, Acer has a similar (though less sleek) chair in the Thronos. UK company Binatone also showed off its own tech-jammed mask at CES, an N95 mask with a bluetooth headset. It’s not as fancy as Razer’s, but it’s real and costs $50 — far less than Razer’s would cost.
GM brings us closer to The Jetsons
On Monday, Samsung showed off a set of robots designed to help around the house, a baby step toward living like The Jetsons. General Motors is helping us take a giant leap, showing off its concept for a flying car. It’s called the eVTOL, or (electric) Verticle TakeOff and Landing droid.
“We’re preparing for a world where advances in electric and autonomous technology make personal air travel possible,” said GM design chief Michael Simcoe. GM now joins the likes of Archer and Aston Martin, companies that are also working on flying vehicles.
Day 1 of CES featured a lot of TV competition between Samsung and LG, Korea’s big two electronics giants. Day 2 was a battleground for processors, with Nvidia and AMD each holding their own keynotes.
Nvidia, the reigning graphics card champion, announced several new RTX GPUs. At the top end was the RTX 3080, for those who take their gaming really seriously (like, esports seriously), which starts at $1,999. But while that offers huge power for 4K gaming and intense video editing, the GPU at the bottom end of the spectrum is equally noteworthy. The RTX 3060 costs just $329, and Nvidia says it’s 10 times more powerful than the GTX 1060. In other words, you’ll be able to play most big new games on it, though you may have to slide the resolution down.
While AMD does make GPUs, its keynote on Tuesday was more about laptop CPUs. Its heralded Ryzen 5000 chips are coming to laptops, with brands like Lenovo, Asus and HP committing to Ryzen 5000-powered laptops later this year. AMD insists this will mean thinner, lighter and more powerful laptops. These CPUs will compete with Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake H35 chips, which were announced Tuesday.
Oh, and just for fun, Samsung revealed the Exynos 2100 chip that’ll power the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S21. The phone will get a full unveiling on Thursday, but hey, it’s Chip Day so why not show off some goods early?
Mono-screen laptops are passé
Chips are cool, but what about the actual machines they’re housed in?
Just like phone makers are trying to get ahead of the curve with rolling, folding displays, laptop makers are trying to differentiate themselves with useful new designs. Thinner, lighter and more powerful is good, but actual innovation in such a mature industry is great.
For Asus, that means doubling down on its powerful dual screen Duo line. At CES it unveiled the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, which has a 15.6-inch display with a secondary 14.1-inch touchscreen that lives above the keyboard, as you can see above. It’s a beast, aimed at performance-obsessed gamers: It can be configured with a 4K 120Hz panel, with options for either AMD or Nvidia graphics.
The company also dropped its new Strix Scar gaming laptop, which can be configured with a 360Hz display — the fastest on any laptop.
But while Asus is investing in brute force, Chinese brand Lenovo is going for efficiency. In addition to the primary display, its new Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i has an E-ink screen on the lid so you can check notifications, your calendar, take notes and more without actually opening up the machine. It can also be charged through a Lenovo charging mat, so that’s one less cable to fret over.
Smart lipstick, smarter perfume
The internet-of-things industry is destined to grow by hundreds of millions of dollars each year. What that means in practice is more everyday items being stuffed with computing smarts. One fresh example from CES? Lipstick.
Shown at last year’s CES and unveiled as a real product you can buy on Tuesday (coming in Spring, costing $299), Yves Saint Laurent’s Perso is a device that houses three liquid lipstick cartridges. With the help of an included brush, you can mix the colors together to get the exact color and shade you’re after.
It’s a similar story with Ninu, a smart fragrance. Inside are three scents, in three different vials. Ninu connects to your phone and, through an app, you can mix scents together, customizing it to your exact tastes. Obviously, this could go very wrong, so there’s an AI assistant in the app that’ll help you not smell like trash.
The future, eh?
Phones of CES 2021: Rollable phones, the Galaxy S21 lineup and more
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