[CES] The Best Gadgets Coming in 2019

Category: Cool-Stuff

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), like all others, gave us a “forward-looking” peek at products that may be available later this year. CES is more of a trend show than a trade show. This year’s trends include “smart,” “5G,” and “artificial intelligence.” Of course, there are also marvelously silly products that probably will never reach consumers. Check out walking cars, talking toilets, cat face recognition, and more. Here is a roundup of the CES 2019 highlights...

The Best (and Weirdest) of CES 2019

There was a lot of chatter about 5G, the next evolution in mobile communications, which promises to bring super-fast data, energy savings, advances in virtual reality, and enable new technologies. But there's still more confusion than clarity. AT&T is pushing something called 5G Evolution, which isn't 5G at all. Verizon has 5G capability that doesn't conform to the official 5G standard, but no 5G phones are currently available. CNet's article "5G is even more of a confusing mess than ever" explains why the waters are so muddied.

The Smart Outlet from Currant records the electricity usage of any appliances plugged into it, and beams the data to a smartphone app for “AI-driven” processing. That yields graphs of power usage and recommendations for saving energy like “cut power to set-top box when TV is not in use.” The Smart Outlet works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home – if by “work” you simply mean they can turn the Smart Outlet on and off. The Smart Outlet is currently available on Amazon or at Currant’s site; $49 for the Bluetooth version or $50 for the WiFi version.

Are you lusting for a 65-inch TV, but have no wall space? The "rollable" LG Signature OLED R9 might be the perfect solution. When you're not watching, it rolls down into an attractive box only a few inches tall. The R9 will be available in the second-half of 2019, price not announced.

Best Gadgets and Tech of CES 2019

Kohler, best known for faucets, sinks and toilets, has gone full tech with the Numi 2.0, an "intelligent toilet" that works with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Yes, that means your toilet has a microphone and speakers built in. The Numi 2.0 also has mood lighting, a heated seat, and of course, "personalized cleansing and dryer functions." With a starting price of $7000, it had better.

Not every demo claimed to be “AI-driven.” Who needs AI when you have beer? LG Electronics showed off a HomeBrew beer bot that turns a single capsule of ingredients into a gallon of the bubbly beverage that Ben Franklin called “living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” The brewing process takes two weeks. The beer bot even cleans itself. Pricing and availability were not available.

The Mookie pet feeder by Volta uses facial (muzzle) recognition to open its food tray only for one specific dog or cat. Using an “embedded deep neural network chip,” Volta claims the device can prevent both food theft by other animals and overeating. The Mookie will be available later this year for $180.

Hyundai announced Elevate, a concept car that can drive, or walk. Yes, it has legs that allows it to scramble over rough terrain, get you out of a ditch, and even climb stairs. Hyundai touts the vehicle, which can climb a five foot vertical wall or step over a five foot gap, as ideal for use by emergency responders, and also people who drive into ditches. Don't look for the Elevate at your local dealer any time soon.

The Foldimate laundry folder is back again, having failed to reach the market last year. This time it’s really gonna go on sale for a mere $960, says the maker… sometime in 2019. It’s hard to imagine the average family wanting a photo-copier-sized expensive contraption that just folds laundry; that’s what kids are for. But I can see it being useful in certain businesses that launder their own uniforms.

Tablet meets smart speaker in the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 and P10, but that’s not their only convergence. These 10.1-inch Android tablets ship with Amazon Alexa, making them the first non-Amazon tablets to do so. They ship with Lenovo’s Smart Dock which props up the tablets while they charge, effectively turning them into Echo Show devices when docked. The dock also sports 3-watt speakers and 3 microphones. The $300 P10 is thinner, lighter, faster, and comes with a longer-lasting battery than the $200 M10 (7000 vs. 4850mAh).

Procter & Gamble showcased the Optè skincare wand, an algorithm-filled makeup applicator that is fundamentally an inkjet printer for skin. As you pass the wand across skin, a camera takes 200 pictures per second to pinpoint dark spots. A 120-port thermal inkjet printhead squirts out serum droplets of one-billionth of a liter only on the blemishes, leaving the rest of the skin untouched. This process uses 99% less makeup than traditional methods, which would save a bundle in the long run. Optè is not available yet, but you can signup to be notified.

The WELT is a smart belt that does more than hold up your pants. It tracks variations in your waistline, monitors activity such as steps taken, and can even analyze movement patterns to warn when you are in danger of falling. The WELT is on Amazon for $199. (I wonder if the person who named this product knows that "welt" is a word which means "a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow.")

Samsung struck a nice balance of budget, power, and style with its $349 Notebook Flash. It comes with an Intel Celeron N4000 processor found in many Chromebooks; for $399, you can upgrade to a Pentium Silver N5000 CPU. This 13-inch Windows notebook comes with the bare-minimum 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC flash drive. A UFS-MicroSD card combo slot provides additional storage potential. The Flash’s keyboard deck is textured like nothing else on the market, and its keys are retro-round like a mechanical typewriters; but reviewers say that typing is a pleasant experience. A fingerprint reader is included, and that’s rare at this price point. The Flash goes on sale January 15 at Amazon and Samsung’s site. (I wonder if the person who named this product knows that "Flash" is a word that means "terrible software with lots of security holes.")

Asus touted an update to its well-received Flip C302 Chromebook. The next-gen ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 keeps its predecessor’s sturdy 360-degree hinge, which allows the display to fold flat against the chassis’ bottom for tablet-mode use. The display is now 14.5 inches instead of 12. A USB-A port has been added for legacy devices, and two USB-C ports are included. RAM maxes out at 8 GB, storage at 128 GB; this is, after all, a cloud-centric Chrome OS device. There’s a micro-SD card slot if you need more local storage space. The C434 is due out “in the coming months” at a price of $569.

TytoHome is a telemedicine kit that can save visits to doctors’ offices or emergency rooms. A compact video camera accepts accessories such as a tongue depressor or stethoscope, allowing a parent or adult patient to transmit live video or still images to a physician on call. A diagnosis of common ailments such as ear infections, colds, rashes, etc., can be made and treatment prescribed. TytoHome is available only through select healthcare systems; you can sign up to learn when yours offers TytoHome.

Sprint is teaming up with Harman Kardon to create a home assistant called Trebl with Magic Box. The Magic Box, introduced last year, is Sprint’s “small cell” LTE home data access point. The Trebl is an Alexa-powered personal assistant speaker that can go anywhere thanks to LTE connectivity. At home, it integrates with Alexa-enabled home network devices. Pricing has not been announced yet.

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Most recent comments on "[CES] The Best Gadgets Coming in 2019"

Posted by:

Jay R
11 Jan 2019

How could I have lived 70 years without these? Especially the Mookie Pet feeder. Thank you, Bob, for bringing facts to my brain and smiles to my face.


Posted by:

Jay R
11 Jan 2019

How could I have lived 70 years without these? Especially the Mookie Pet feeder. Thank you, Bob, for bringing facts to my brain and smiles to my face.


Posted by:

MartinW
11 Jan 2019

Want, want, want the Elevate. Could have used it SO many times in the past, climbing over snowdrifts and various barriers in Minnesota. Could it be used to cross flooded streams (across roads) in Arkansas, my current location? Want it anyway!


Posted by:

Chuck
11 Jan 2019

Went to the CES show 30+ years ago. It was mind boggling then, and that was before all the computer stuff. You couldn't even begin to see everything.

Thanks Bob for the update.


Posted by:

Diane
12 Jan 2019

Umm - I pass on the talking toilet and all of its bells and whistles.


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