CES is short for Consumer Technology Association. Held every January in Las Vegas, Nevada, the event hosts presentations of the new products and technologies in the consumer electronics industry.
CES 2021: a digital happening
This was a special year for CES, as, for the first time its five-decade history, the massive tech show went all-digital. As you can imagine, this detail did not bother tech vendors, and has done little to prevent them from showing the best innovations. Better yet, instead of the hundreds of thousands of people going to Las Vegas, potentially millions were able to attend from the comfort of their home.
From new laptops and monitors, to Covid-19 masks, VR headsets and IoT gaming devices, CES 2021 has seen some great inventions in consumer electronics. Many vendors such as Samsung, Microsoft and Acer did not fail to impress the juries. This year however, technology linked Covid-19 took a more prominent position, due to the times we are living in, closely followed by tech designed to adapt to home working.
In this article, we will explore the 5 main consumer electronics trend that came out of CES 2021.
Trend #1: Covid-tech
As you might have already guessed, technology to help in the fight against Covid-19 had a strong presence, as many companies jumped on the opportunity to offer a solution.
Razer is a company that largely focused on gaming hardware, but they worked towards a smart mask called Project Hazel, which combines UV sterilization capability, a microphone for better audio as well as cool looking LED lights.
LG Electronics, went even further, and proposed a little robot designed to disinfect spaces. The anti-covid warrior will be deployed in schools, hospitals, and workplaces early this year.
Project Hazel from Razor (source: Razer website)
Trend #2: Work and Learn from Home
As the spectacular rise of Zoom stock showed us, working and learning from home is a sector that exploded last year. Everyone is trying to get inside of people’s homes with new tech solutions and gadgets.
Do you know this moment when you thought you turned off the camera, but you are being filmed standing up without pants? Well, Dell thought of the issue and installed a physical shutter on its new Latitude Laptop.
Remote education has been one of the big subjects of the year as well. New platform Engageli, described as the “Zoom for teachers” is a videoconferencing solution with built-in features carefully studied to keep kids focused and engaged in the lesson.
Finally, as we are all busy at home doing work and studying, what about all the housework? Samsung introduced three cute robots to help you do your chores: Bot Handy, the most advanced of them, can load the dishwasher, do laundry, and serve drinks. Now this is some service.
Samsung's Bot Handy pouring your drinks (Source: Samsung)
Trend#3: Transport and mobility
The pandemic may still rage, but believe it or not, it will not last forever. If last year was focused on ride sharing vehicles, the trend shifted to more private forms of transportation.
The most impressive one is by far General Motors’s personal electric Vertical Take-Off/Landing Cadillac. Of course, we probably will not be riding one anytime soon, but it gives us an interesting idea as to the direction personal transportation might evolve towards. They also showed their Halo self-driving car concept a pod car bringing passengers all the comfort they could wish for.
Mercedes-Benz says no to buttons on its new EQS electric sedan. The entire dashboard will be replaced by an OLED display call the MBUX Hyperscreen, giving passengers an easy access to all of the car’s features.
General Motor's flying car (Source: GM)
Trend #4: 5G
Most new technologies need data to be powered, meaning that 5G technology was central at the CES 2021. In fact, one of the show’s first keynotes was given by Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg about how 5G’s development was accelerated by the pandemic.
Most promoted phones were 5G enabled. Motorola did quite a shock showcasing a 5G phone that will be available at under $400.
Qualcomm introduced its latest creation, the Snapdragon 480 processor, which provide computers with an updated performance to adapt to new standards, while being far less costly to produce than most existing 5G processors.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 480 (Source: Qualcomm)
Trend #5: Home entertainment
Which, in a sense, is the same as “entertainment” nowadays. With people now stuck at home and not spending a dime on restaurants and travel, manufacturers are now focused on getting these consumers savings, one way or another.
The one that impressed me the most was without a doubt Razer’s Project Brooklyn, which is basically a gaming chair with a 60-inch screen wrapped around it.
Dell saw a surge in sales of gaming hardware, especially with its Alienware gaming laptops. They announced a new generation of these, which would allow gamers to run 8k resolution games with 60 frames per second, allowing for more details than ever. We can also note that AMD, Intel and Nvidia all announced components that could help making better laptops – especially gaming laptops.
Finally, we can also mention that Sony introduced its New Airpeak drone and revealed that they had an entire team working on the project. Made for professional filmmakers, the camera will not be built in. Instead, the drone is meant to carry, well, Sony cameras.
Sony's new drone project Airpeak (source: Sony)
ETF solutions to jump on some of these trends
Investing in an ETF can also be a good way to jump on a trend without having to pick specific stocks. Here are a couple ETFs that go along the lines of previously mentioned trends, such as:
Covid-19 focused ETFs:
- ETF Managers Treatments, Testing and Advancements ETF
- Pacer Biothreat Strategy ETF
Work from home ETF:
- Direxion Work From Home ETF (the only fund tracking 40 companies that should benefit from an increasingly flexible work environment.)
Transport and Mobility ETFs:
- iShares Transportation Average ETF
- First Trust Nasdaq Transportation ETF
- iShares Electric Vehicles and Driving Technology UCITS ETF
- SPDR S&P Kensho Smart Mobility ETF
- SPDR S&P Transportation ETF
CES 2021: Tech Trends to Watch, in Tidbits