CES is where the tech industry rings in the new year. Each January, just about every corner of the industry shows up with announcements and previews that set the stage for the year to come.
Unveiling the Future: A Sneak Peek into the Spectacular Tech Innovations at CES 2024
Apple set the stage for virtual reality news by announcing a launch date for the Vision Pro headset, while smart home companies are trying to organize the tech that’s popping up everywhere. A wave of laptops, tablets, and handhelds powered by mobile and AI-friendly chips washed over the show floor, and the latest battle between LG and Samsung is focusing on transparent televisions.
Monday’s press conferences brought Nvidia’s RTX 4080 Super, Samsung’s rolling robot projector, MSI’s Steam Deck competitor, and a whole lot more. Tuesday’s additions included this Rabbit R1 AI gadget that is ready to run your life from one small box, an OLED monitor from Asus that’s foldable and portable, and the debut of Honda’s sleek Zero series EVs.
Since then, we’ve been checking out electric cars connecting to Wi-Fi 7, getting our nails done, and collecting the various rings of power.
The show floor officially opened on Tuesday, January 9th, and runs through Friday, January 12th, in Las Vegas, Nevada. As always, The Verge’s team is on the ground covering the event’s biggest news. You can tune in below to follow along with the latest.
Screens keep getting faster. Can you even tell?
Whenever we’ve written about these monitors, commenters have quite fairly asked what the point of this all is. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time manufacturers have battled over specs with debatable benefit to customers, whether that’s the “megahertz myth” or megapixel wars of the ‘00s or, more recently, smartphone display resolution.
Rabbit, Ballie, and the other gadgets of CES 2024
On this episode of The Vergecast, recorded from the Kia Connected Home right in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot, we discuss all the most important gadget stories from this year’s show. We talk about the Rabbit R1, which was easily the surprise hit of the show. We discuss Ballie, Samsung’s adorable robot companion, and the tough week it had giving demos. We talk Qi2 and Wi-Fi 7 and the other standards shaping the future of gadgets. And finally, we talk about the future of cars, and what it means that the inside of the car suddenly seems to matter way more than the outside.
This high-tech sex toy syncs its vibes with music
Every once in a while, you’ll turn a corner on the CES show floor and see crowds flocking around a high-tech sex toy. This year, the one that caught my eye was The Handy, an automated masturbator — mainly because it was moving in a way I don’t expect to see in polite company, let alone a public show floor. But right next to it was the Oh!, a $149.95 toy coming later this spring that had me also saying “Oh?”
Both sex toys are made by Norwegian sex tech company Ohdoki. The Handy, a motorized device that moves up and down to mimic masturbation for people with penises, is certainly the flashier of the two. At a glance, the Oh! is unassuming as far as vibrators go. What makes it different is how it vibrates.
Apple won the CES headset game without showing up
Apple isn’t at CES, but it had a huge presence anyway. On Monday, just before a string of CES keynotes were set to kick off, the company announced that its Vision Pro headset would be launching on February 2nd. Apple had already promised that the headset would launch early this year. So the stage was set for its rivals to compete by making CES 2024 a showcase of new ideas about virtual and augmented reality.
Ultimately, that didn’t pan out. Lots of companies showed up with AR and VR tech. A lot of the headsets offered similar functionality to the Vision Pro, like an AR / VR monitor for your computer or a substitute TV. But none were as impressive a package as Apple’s headset, nor were most arriving nearly as soon.
This might be the year of the smart ring
For the past few years, the Oura Ring has been the most recognizable smart ring on the market. After what I saw on the CES show floor, it’s about to get some real competition.
The smart ring is a promising form factor, but it’s tricky to get right. It’s more discreet and comfortable for sleep tracking than a smartwatch. The underside of your finger is also a better place to take heart rate and blood oxygen readings than your wrist. The downside is that it’s challenging to create a device that’s stylish given how small and flexible the components need to be. Plus, they tend to be pricey, with fewer features than a smartwatch.
I rode in a Hyundai Ioniq 5 with wheels that go sideways
When I was a boy, I wanted a Ferrari Testarossa. As a teen, I’d have told you James Bond’s tricked-out Aston Martin DB5 would be my ride of choice. Today, I have a new answer: a Hyundai Ioniq 5 with magic wheels that turn sideways.
Because when you have four wheels that turn sideways, dear reader, tantalizing possibilities unfold.
- Watch this tongue-operated retainer control a phone.
This is the first public demonstration of Augmental’s retainer-like MouthPad accessibility gadget. It can be used to control devices that support a Bluetooth mouse, including phones, tablets, computers, and even sex toys, without significantly impairing speech.
Engadget said it’s “one of the most elegant and sophisticated” tongue-operated controllers to date after seeing a live demo at CES.Samsung’s Map View looks sweet on that big smart display, I mean … television.
I totally believe TVs should also be smart displays for controlling your smart home; it just makes sense. So, I was intrigued to check out the new Now Plus dashboard screen, Map View, and Quick Access controls for SmartThings on Samsung TVs at CES this week.
The three new interfaces were colorful and responsive in the demo (you control them with the TV remote). And the Quick Access Panel looks super handy. (It will also look very familiar to Apple TV users.)
Rabbit sells out two batches of 10,000 R1 pocket AI companions over two days
The R1, the pocket-sized AI gadget from Rabbit that’s supposed to use your apps for you, has already sold out of its first batch — and its second batch, too.
In a Wednesday post on X (formerly Twitter), the startup Rabbit announced that it sold through its first 10,000-unit production run in just one day. “When we started building r1, we said internally that we’d be happy if we sold 500 devices on launch day,” Rabbit writes. “In 24 hours, we already beat that by 20x!” The first batch of preorders is expected to start shipping in March.
- The Rabbit R1 is selling quick as a bunny.
The company announced it sold out of its second round of 10,000 devices, 24 hours after the first batch sold out and barely 48 since it launched to the world. Something about the mix of ambitious AI, Teenage Engineering style, and that attainable $199 price just seems to be working for people.
The third batch is up for preorder now, but you won’t get your R1 until at least May.
Dexcom’s new continuous glucose monitor is a health tech gadget with purpose
Year in and year out, most of the blood glucose tech you see at CES are devices that may not come out for years, if ever. That’s why it was refreshing to see Dexcom roll up to CES 2024 to talk about something a bit more tangible: its forthcoming Stelo continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a wearable sensor that provides a real-time look at your blood sugar levels. Unlike most CGMs, the Stelo is specifically designed to be an affordable option for Type 2 diabetics who don’t use insulin.
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, where a person produces little to no insulin, Type 2 diabetes is when, over time, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body becomes insulin resistant. Roughly 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed diabetics have Type 2. However, if they control their glucose levels through oral medication rather than inject insulin, they usually don’t have access to CGM devices.
- A set of Hyundai wheels is the best thing I saw at CES.
Wheels that turn sideways to crab-walk into a parking spot. 360-degree spins so I don’t have to back up as often. Diagonal driving. I want this Ioniq 5 so bad.
The chief engineer tells us they haven’t tested the tech beyond 50MPH yet — but it should hit highway speeds by 2026, could make it into EVs by 2028, and he claims it shouldn’t cost much more than a car without.
Wi-Fi 7 quietly took off while everyone was looking at AI
The biggest names in laptops showed up to CES this week with new designs, new chips, and usually some way to sneak in the term “AI.” But most of them also quietly arrived with one of the most important upgrades of all for competitive gamers on the go: better Wi-Fi, with support for Wi-Fi 7. It’s about time, because router companies shoved Wi-Fi 7 routers out the door throughout 2023, and we’ve been waiting on machines that can put the standard’s ludicrous speed promises to the test.
Wi-Fi 7 came to gaming laptops first and foremost, and the focus on gaming makes sense. One of the biggest benefits of Wi-Fi 7 is that it allows for one device to connect to your router on multiple bands — a feature called Multi-Link Operation — which gives your laptop options when it comes to where to funnel its packets. That means that when your 5GHz band is at capacity, it’ll just send the data down the 6GHz pipe, and vice versa. The result should be lower latency when you’re on a busy network, which is critical when you’re not able to wire up with ethernet.
Clicks hands-on: this BlackBerry-like iPhone case could be a winner
Clicks came out of nowhere last week with a blast from the past — a BlackBerry-like physical keyboard for your iPhone, built into a snazzy protective case with colors that pop. Not only that, the first iPhone 14 Pro version is shipping in just a few weeks for $139. It’s from a team that knows a thing or two about keyboards, including CrackBerry Kevin, MrMobile, and the guys behind the F(x)tec phone.
As a known lapsed QWERTY devotee, I had to try it, and at CES 2024 I got my chance.
- Samsung is showing off earbuds cases with screens.
The concept at CES shown in this video looks to mix an earbuds case with a round OLED screen and a smartwatch-like interface. I’m not totally sold on earbuds cases with screens, but this seems pretty clever.
I hate cables. I hide them in the walls behind my TV, I make them disappear around my desk, and I try to eradicate them everywhere else in my life. So every time I hear about something in the PC building community that involves hiding or removing cables, I get excited. Over the past few years, some of the biggest names in PC building have been making it easier to hide cables away and build a PC that showcases your skills.
I’ve built a lot of PCs over the past 25 years, and the main part of the process I hate the most is cable management. It often takes me longer to tidy up cables and route them properly than it does to put all the parts of a PC together. It’s especially bad if you’ve decided to build a PC with a bunch of RGB fans and an all-in-one (AIO) cooler. There are more cables to hide and more lighting to reveal any mistakes you make. Thankfully, a lot has changed in recent years.
- I don’t get the hype about the Rabbit R1.
10,000-plus people are already sold on the big AI hit of CES 2024, but I’m not there yet. My Android homescreen layout can tell you that I’m left-handed, which is just one of the issues raised by comments like this one.
The size probably isn’t bad (David Pierce has seen the R1, and says it’s not that much thicker than an iPhone), but the keynote didn’t convince me that this voice assistant is worth my time, or that allowing a “Large Action Model” access to my accounts is a good idea in terms of privacy or security.
Sony’s Afeela needs to be more than a feeling
It’s been four years since we called Sony’s concept car the best surprise of CES. And I get it: one does not build a car company overnight. But here at CES 2024, it feels like Sony Honda Mobility is still building a concept car — dare I say, a Vision — rather than a vehicle focused on the road. Maybe that’s part of the charm?
The Afeela has gotten more car-like in some ways since last year’s full announcement: big side mirrors, wireless phone chargers, and some more actual car specs. The all-wheel drive prototype has two 180kW motors (roughly 483 horsepower), a 91kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and up to 150kW fast DC charging.I… might actually use this Nvidia AI tool!
Nvidia’s Chat with RTX lets you train your own local chatbot with your own files for free, no cloud required. Seconds after I fed it the Epic v. Google legal complaint PDF, I got decent answers to questions like “What does Epic Games want” and “Which laws does Epic allege Google violated?”
But it also confidently hallucinated that Framework’s Nirav Patel is The Verge’s CEO after ingesting this YouTube transcript, LOL. Maybe I’ll just use it as memory aid for reams of old notepad files?
Kia gets its first customer for the PV5 modular electric vehicle: Uber
Kia and Uber have signed a memorandum of understanding to use the automaker’s newly announced PBV modular electric vehicles for ridehailing.
PBV, which stands for Platform Beyond Vehicle, was introduced during CES in Las Vegas as a family of EVs built on a flexible vehicle architecture, with different swappable body types. The vehicle can be transformed from a minivan to a full-size van to a small truck, depending on the specific need. The driver cab remains fixed while the rest of the vehicle is interchangeable, like a real-life Duplo set.
- Heck yeah, an E Ink phone that makes sense.
Phone makers keep experimenting with ways to incorporate E Ink, from secondary displays to relying on it as the only display, but its lower refresh rate can make experiences feel hampered compared to LED and OLED.
But Infinix put E Ink’s Prism tech on the back of a phone, leading to something very customizable and very pretty.E Ink has gone from cars… to toilets?!
Kohler’s got an E Ink version of its Numi 2.0 smart toilet on the show floor — and it’s got the whole Verge crew in a tizzy. Jen has all the deets, which you can check out in this video! Rumor has it, that whooshing sound you hear in the distance is a rogue Alex Cranz making a beeline toward the E Ink toilet as we speak.