CES is always an exciting event for mobile enthusiasts, even if we don’t see a ton of new smartphones at the tech show. There are a few phones, sure, but most of the excitement comes from the extra gadgets, screens, and other devices that hook into your mobile experience to expand on things.
CES 2018 was no different, and there were tons of things shown off that we can’t wait to get our hands on. We’ll break down a few of the best things we saw this year.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
We were pretty hyped for Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro since it was supposed to be their first ever device on a US carrier, and even though that deal fell through with AT&T, it’s still a phenomenal device.
It’s a powerhouse of a smartphone, outmatching the competition at CES 2018 with a high-end Kirin 970 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and a ton of internal storage and battery capacity. It also integrates Huawei’s artificial intelligence into the camera software to drastically improve your shots and properly apply depth of field effects, which might be the next big breakthrough in camera tech.
Huawei didn’t skip anything else, either. There’s HDR support, a fingerprint scanner, the AI infused EMUI 8.0, and USB-C charging. Best of all, you’ll be able to pick one up unlocked from a variety of retailers very soon.
NVIDIA is easily the top shelf, premium brand for Android TV, and they arguably do a better job with the platform than Google does. That’s why we’re excited about their BFGD, or Big Format Gaming Displays, which bring the best of PC monitors to a huge 65-inch screen.
Sure, these things are technically going to be computer monitors with all of the bells and whistles that come with that, but there’s enough overlap with enthusiasts and media consumers that make these some pretty legit contenders for anyone interested in a new display with integrated smart connectivity.
The displays will be manufactured by other companies in addition to NVIDIA, and they’ll be touting G-Sync, 120hz refresh rates, and 4k resolutions with true HDR compatibility. So not only will your games look fantastic on a 65-inch display, but you’ll be able to kick back and watch high-resolution content straight from Android TV and take advantage of Google Assistant right on your TV screen. Plus, between the high refresh rate on these displays and Razer’s 120hz phone, maybe we’ll start to see some advancements in Android gaming as a standout feature.
Anker Roav Viva
Android Auto has been fairly slowly adopted, but having access to a digital assistant in the car (besides your phone) is still the dream. Anker wants to make that happen, and they don’t want to charge an arm and a leg for it, either.
It’s called the Viva and it’s made by Anker’s vehicle accessory division, Roav. It’s basically a tiny little Bluetooth adapter that plugs into your vehicle, which then pairs with your phone and your car via Bluetooth. From there on out, it acts as an intermediary with Amazon’s Alexa to play music, get directions, and more, all hands-free. Your phone still does all the processing and streaming, but the Viva bridges that with the virtual assistant and gets it to your car.
There’s no Google Assistant version for Pixel diehards, but it’s an exciting glimpse into what could be the future of a virtual assistant in your car. And we like that you don’t have to buy a new car for it, too.
ASUS Lyra Voice Router with Alexa
CES this year was still a dominant showing for Amazon, and we saw Alexa stuffed into all kinds of gadgets. ASUS had the most interesting combination, however, and mixed a mesh router with the virtual assistant. Weird? Of course, but we like the idea.
It really is just an Alexa speaker, complete with stereo sound and a microphone, that doubles as a router. It’s not common, but this is seriously a no-brainer for these types of smart speakers. They already require a network for any kind of functionality, so why not combine the two?
Again, there’s no Google Assistant variant, but as smart speakers and digital assistants become more integrated into our daily lives, it’s fun to see them integrate into other devices, too.