The event kicks off with new launches featuring latest technological innovation in areas like AI, Sensors, AR, VR, and IoT. Some of the major product announcements are captured below:
Baidu launches three new smart speakersBaidu launched three smart speakers with DuerOS (AI from Baidu in China)- Little Fish VS1, Sengled, PopIn Aladdin. All these speakers are unique in their own ways targeting specific niche area. Little Fish VS1 is a smart speaker with a display attached to the top. The Sengled smart speaker comes with smart light capabilities. PopIn Aladdin named after Baidu’s Japanese subsidiary PopIn, is a smartspeaker which is light mounted on the ceiling, designed for small households of Japan. This is a significant step for the company to be aggressive in its key markets to fine-tune its Artificial Intelligence capabilities. With China’s existing hardware ecosystem, the next steps for the company would be to focus on the partnership model with OEMs for rapid expansion of its ecosystem.
Vivo showcased its first smartphone in-display fingerprint sensor
Vivo showcased the smartphone with Synaptics optical fingerprint sensor. This lies under the display which enables the OEM’s to reduce the bottom bezels on the smartphones, thus, providing a higher screen to body ratio. This sensor works only with OLED displays as it is based on optical technology. As LCD display uses backlight, the optical fingerprint sensor cannot be used with them. Vivo and Qualcomm earlier demonstrated the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor which can also be used under the display.
Chinese smartphones players have become early adopters of latest technology which is one of the reasons for their success. This year we will see Chinese players going more aggressive with the adoption of new technologies to further democratize these new features into all price bands.
Huawei launched Mate 10 Pro and Hybrid home Wi-Fi system in the US
Huawei announced that its model HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro would be available in the US through major electronics retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon, Microsoft, Newegg and B&H starting February. The phone features the dual camera with AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition technology. Along with this, the company also introduced its WiFi Q2 series which is considered to be world’s first hybrid smart home network solution.
Though the company launched Mate 10 Pro, it is important to note that politics would prevent it from being launched through carriers, which is critical to success in the US. Chinese players are facing tough challenges to enter into carrier channel thus focusing on e-commerce as an entry strategy for now. The challenges of Chinese OEMs to crack the US market are covered in detail in our research.
Yuneec racing up in the drone segment
Yuneec unveiled three new drones at the CES event – Typhoon H Plus, Firebird FPV, and HD Racer.
- Typhoon H Plus is the next generation of Yuneec’s drone with improved camera performance best suited for photography and videography. It is equipped with 20-megapixel one-inch sensor camera and smart collision avoidance technology.
- Firebird FPV is its first fixed-wing drone which comes up with in-built Safety Mode and advanced capabilities like Return Home, Geo Fence and Auto Landing with a flight time of up to 30 minutes.
- Yuneec made an entry into the racing segment with the introduction of its tiny drone named HD Racer priced at $179.99. Though the commercial launch date has not been decided yet.
Uptil now, Yuneec’s product portfolio covered high-end drones which were quite expensive. With this new launch in the racing segment, Yuneec seems to expand its products for entry-level customers.
Vuzix unveiled AR smartglasses “Vuzix Blade”
Apart from smartphone-based AR, enterprise application of AR glasses was one of the most discussed topics in 2017. In lieu with this, Vuzix unveiled the AR smartglasses “Vuzix Blade” at CES event. The Vuzix blade floats a large, clear and full-color display to the upper right corner of one’s vision thereby offering users a more natural view of the augmented reality content. A key highlight of the device is the Alexa integration, making it one of the first pairs of AR glasses to support voice assistant. Vuzix has primarily manufactured smartglasses for enterprise applications and this product offers numerous use cases for industrial use. The company has also promised to come up with a mainstream version which will be sold at a lower price point as against the Blade’s current $1000 price tag.
Smartglasses so far restricted its reach to only technology enthusiasts and industrial users. With the introduction of devices at the lower price band, the ecosystem would expand towards masses. However, success of smartglasses will be depending on content ecosystem building, support from the regional development communities and introduction of suitable use cases.
Samsung highlighted its vision for intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) experiences
As the industry is moving from Industrial IoT to Consumer IoT, Samsung clearly stated at the event that it is not left behind in this race. Apart from Smart connected TV and refrigerators, Samsung highlighted its strategies and commitment towards IoT.
• In 2017, Samsung spent more than $14 billion on R&D
• Samsung also created a new AI Center which includes four labs in Toronto, Montreal, Cambridge (UK) and Russia.
• Samsung already established its End-to-end IoT Platform known as ARTIK.
• Samsung emphasis on SmartThings Cloud Service would further establish its line of IoT modules platform solutions.
• Samsung demonstrated its vision for more comfortable driving with 5G connectivity
Samsung already has a huge installed base of Consumer electronics devices. The global giant claims that 90% of it is IoT ready and 1 billion are already connected. Further, the company targets to make all its devices IoT and AI enabled by 2020. Its seems Samsung announcement was more focused on long-term strategies and plans on IoT development. However, the market was expecting more new launches of Consumer IoT devices and will likely to face tough competition from existing module makers like Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, U-Blox, etc.
Lenovo launched a portfolio of devices across different segments from PC’s to VR to AI to Mods
Lenovo has launched a portfolio of devices across different segments from PC’s to VR to AI to Mods. We believe that Lenovo can leverage its brand name to expand its new portfolio of devices while keeping “Motorola” as the company’s only smartphone focusing brand. Always on connected PC was impressive, Lenovo’s association with Google on standalone VR can provide some push regarding company’s effort in VR segment. Another interesting launch was Lenovo’s smart display with Google assistant built in. This can also be viewed as one niche area where use cases of intelligent assistants in smart homes are leveraged through displays attached.
Intel announced Mobileye’s autonomous driving technology going to be used in two million vehicles
Intel announced that Mobileye’s autonomous driving technology will be used in two million vehicles. BMW, Nissan Motors Co LTD and Volkswagen AG are some of the automotive OEMs partnering with Mobileye. Intel bought Israel based firm Mobileye last year to catch-up with its competitors on the autonomous driving front.
The company also announced a tie-up with SAIC Motor Corp LTD to develop cars using Mobileye technology in China. The Mobileye acquisition helped Intel in making strong partnerships in the automotive segment which may lead to higher adoption of Intel’s processor chips within the vehicles.
Toyota announced to provide Alexa support in its cars
Toyota announced that the carmaker will be offering support for Amazon’s Alexa in its vehicles with no additional hardware, making it one of the first automakers to fully embrace Amazon’s voice-powered smart assistant.
In H2 2018, Toyota will deploy Alexa with its Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 through software updates for selected models in the US. In 2019, more Toyota models are expected to get Alexa support.