The Wall: The world's first micro LED TV. Picture: Kyodo News via Getty Images
The Wall: The world's first micro LED TV. Picture: Kyodo News via Getty Images

Cool factor 4/5
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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas each January starts the year in tech with all the major (and minor) manufacturers showcasing their wares. It’s one of the top events of its kind, along with the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February and IFA in Berlin in September.

The show stretches for kilometres of exhibition space, with side events like brand showcase addresses and media gatherings. It’s a warren of shiny new things that beep, move, sense, transform – all of which is too much to cover. So here is our roundup of the big releases and wacky devices at CES 2019.

TVs continue getting impossibly thin — and flexible — while resolutions and sizes rocket. Samsung featured its aptly named The Wall (219 inches, with microLED display technology). LG revealed a "rollable" TV (in its Signature Series OLED R range) that unfolds at the touch of a button; Sony revealed its first consumer-targeted 8K TV.

PC chatter focused on Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus. Each unveiled slimmer, smarter, lighter devices. Dell’s 2019 version of the XPS 13 includes a 4K Dolby Vision high-dynamic-range screen option.

Several companies demonstrated self-driving cars, including Toyota and Lyft. At Ford, the talk centred on the conflict and balance between car-owner autonomy and urban impact. While it seems the tech is ready to drive us, we are years away from that reality due to "soft" concerns of trust and safety.

Out-of-left-field innovations included a robotic breadmaker (BreadBot), ForwardX Robotics’s self-driving luggage, a prototype sex robot (Solana, from RealDoll), LG’s smart home beer brewer HomeBrew and Bell’s passenger helicopter drone.

The rivalry between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant was unabated, with both being incorporated into a multitude of things designed for the smart home.

Both reflect the voice trend that will see many screens in our homes being replaced by receiver-and-speaker interfaces.