CES 2018: what to expect from the world's biggest tech show

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) usually kicks the tech year off in fine style, and here's what's in store for 2018

If you love gadgets, then you'll love the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the wall-to-wall tech expo that happens every January in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Next year the show is scheduled to start on Tuesday the 9th of January (through to January 12), and it is already looking like it is going to be the biggest one yet.

So what can you expect? We're still some way off the big event, so details of specific products are a little thin on the ground, but we know the companies that are likely to be present, such as Samsung, Google, LG and Sony, and the sorts of wares that are going to be shown off when January rolls around.

Registration for the show is also still open too, so if you're looking to attend the year's biggest consumer technology expo then you should head on over and get signed up. For all the rest of information about the show, including what CES is, who will be in attendance, and what new technology you should expect, read on.

What is CES? 

If you're completely new to CES, then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, and why you should care one way or the other about what's going to happen at the turn of the year.

The Consumer Electronics Show has been running since 1967 - this year it marked its 50th anniversary - and it is exactly what its name suggests, a show to celebrate everything in consumer electronics, from fridges to VR headsets.

Think a bunch of huge trade halls, packed with booths run by the biggest names in tech, and keynote speeches where the same companies announce some of their flagship products for the coming year.

We're talking cars, televisions, robots, smart home gadgets, miniature computers, smart materials and just about anything else you can imagine. In a lot of ways, CES is the starting gun for the year in tech, giving a flavour of what's coming down the consumer electronics pipe in the following 12 months.

Last year we saw concept cars from Toyota, Chromebooks from Samsung, add-ons for the HTC Vive, cameras from Panasonic, speakers from LG, an electric vehicle or ten, and a new product line from Lego designed to help to teach kids to code.

That should give you some idea of what to expect when the 2018 event rolls around in January, and if you can't be in Las Vegas in person, T3.com will be the next best place to be - we'll bring you all the announcements as they happen.

Who are CES 2018's big exhibitors?

Google - Google looks set to have a massive presence at CES 2018, with a huge booth and eight hospitality suites to showcase its wares. Expect plenty of action around the Google Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL, as well as the Google Home Mini and Daydream View VR headset.

Samsung - Samsung are always major players at CES, and this year is no different, with rumours circulating about the Samsung Galaxy X, the company's long-trailed bendable smartphone. And, on phones, Samsung might also drop a sneak-peak of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Sony - Sony are usually all about the AV at CES, so expect plenty of action in terms of audiophile headphones and turntables, as well as from its showcase Bravia TV range. Sony has a dedicated CES press conference as well at 5pm on Monday, January 8 at the Sony booth, so more will be revealed then.

LG - LG tends to be king of TV reveals at CES, with the company demonstrating its thinnest OLED TV ever at CES 2017. As such, you should expect more crazy beautiful and thin TVs to be revealed at its January 8 press conference. Aside from TVs, we're also expecting home appliances and mobile advances.

Dell - Dell is all about computing at CES and, after showing off its new Dell XPS 13 to TechRadar, we're expecting more information, including a full specs sheet, price point and release date.

What to expect at CES 2018

So far we haven't heard much in the way of news - official or unofficial - about what's going to get shown off at CES 2018, but we can talk you through some of the product categories likely to see a lot of new hardware.

CES is always a major event as far as laptops, desktops, and 2-in-1s go, and 2018 should be no different. Look for new models from companies such as Dell, Samsung, Acer, Asus, HP, Razer and the others, and if you're in the market for a new machine, maybe hold off until CES is over to see what's coming up next year.

Televisions are also traditionally a big draw at CES. Think of any manufacturer and it's likely they're going to have some new gear to show off in Las Vegas, so that means more 4K screens, improved picture quality, and added smarts.

Also bound to be a big category this year: cars. Expect electric cars, self-driving cars, and more news about the smarts happening under the hood from companies like Nvidia.

Those are perhaps going to be the biggest draws this year but every other product category will be covered as well: audio, VR, wearables, smartphones, robots, home appliances and so on.

Then there's everything that doesn't quite fit - all the quirky sideshows and prototypes for the future that CES is known for, whether it's a smart hairbrush or a laptop with three screens or something else that you can't imagine ever going on sale to the actual public.

What not to expect at CES 2018

CES isn't the be all and end all as far as electronics go though - you won't see any big product announcements from companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who tend to have their own separate shows throughout the year.

There are usually new phones at CES, just not very many. The majority of phone makers either launch their 2018 handsets separately (like Apple) or wait until Mobile World Congress (MWC), which happens a couple of months after CES in Barcelona.

In other words we won't see the Samsung Galaxy S9 in Las Vegas... though we might catch a preview glimpse of the foldable Galaxy X.

The big web and software firms, such as Facebook, tend to veer clear of CES as well, so we won't be hearing about any major changes to the News Feed from this event.

Don't expect too many products you can actually go out and buy either, at least not straight away - CES is more often used to showcase technology that's going to be launching in the months ahead, or perhaps prototype tech that isn't fully developed yet.

Quite often gizmos at CES aren't ever launched, but the ideas are developed in a different way into something else - it's like a barometer for which way the industry is going.

As we hear new rumours and speculation about specific products, we'll add them here. In the meantime, whatever we see at CES 2018, it's going to be worth checking out for anyone interested in technology and gadgets.

CES 2018: Televisions and audio

CES is always packed with TVs of every imaginable shape and size, so it's an event to watch if you're in the market for a new unit - 4K will definitely play a big part and we might even see some ultra-expensive 8K televisions make an appearance.

Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and LG will all be in attendance, plus plenty of other set manufacturers, and you can expect plenty of buzz around the hottest tech upgrades of the day. In this case that's likely to include High Dynamic Range (HDR).

At this point we haven't been given much in the way of specifics about what's going to be shown off at CES 2017, but we're likely to see a plethora of TVs that will make their way to store shelves during the course of 2017.

CES 2018: VR and AR

From the HTC Vive to Pokémon Go, 2016 was a big year for virtual reality and augmented reality, and 2017 looks likely to follow the trend.

We wouldn't expect to see any new products from the big names - unless one of them surprises us - but there'll be plenty of VR and AR gadgets on the show floor nonetheless, including the Google Glass-esque PogoCam for filming your every waking moment.

We're hopeful that we might see a few of the Windows 10 VR headsets Microsoft teased earlier this year and no doubt there'll be some more mobile virtual reality headsets around that are powered by smartphones.

Aside from that, there's likely to be a flood of VR and AR-related software - think apps, games, and all kinds of experiences for enhancing your dreary reality.

CES 2018: Smartphones

CES isn't really known for phones - handset makers tend to wait for Mobile World Congress in February or March to launch new products, or just host their own events - but there will still be a lot of mobiles around, and a few new models break cover, including the mid-rangers from LG we mentioned above.

One phone that we know is going to be making an appearance is an "epic" new handset from Huawei sub-brand Honor. Details are thin on the ground but it sounds like a dual-lens camera could be in the works.

We'd expect all the major flagships bar the ones from Google and Apple to be on show, but it terms of new kit, it's going to be the lesser-known names launching phones in Las Vegas.

Huawei launched a new phone last year, although with the Mate 9 now revealed it's not all that likely that it'll have something else ready for CES 2017. Rumours suggest Sony does have something new to show off, while Samsung and LG might try and dispel the memory of a rough 2016 with something brand new at CES.

You can expect the usual assortment of accessories and add-ons too - including a gadget that turns your iPhone into a landline phone.

CES 2018: Laptops and computing

Expect plenty of laptops and computing gear to be on show in Nevada - including the next Dell XPS 13 laptop, as the company confirmed to our friends at TechRadar last month.

And while it might not be the most glamorous bit of kit, Samsung has already confirmed it's going to be showing off its latest pro-level SSD drive at CES 2017 - so stay tuned if you need more room for your ever-growing digital media collection.

Most of the big names in laptops and desktops should be in attendance at the expo, although genuinely innovative hardware might be thin on the ground. One trend to watch out for is computer makers following the lead of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and building OLED screens into their devices.

Of course computing is going way beyond laptops and desktops and even phones now - Microsoft (along with LG) is one of the companies expected to unveil its own answer to the Amazon Echo at CES 2017. It's going to be powered by Cortana, naturally.

CES 2018: Drones and future tech

Drones were big news at CES 2016 and nothing we've seen over the last 11 months has made us think 2017 will be any different - the likes of DJI and Parrot will be demoing their best bits of kit and there's a good chance of seeing a new model or two.

Wearables should also be out in force again this year - we've already seen a smart scarf and some intelligent underwear appear at the official CES preview event, and as well as these rather exotic products, there will be more innovations from the big names in the field, like Fitbit and Withings.

Really, it's the more obscure, quirky gadgets that make CES what it is - and those are the niche gizmos that come out of nowhere. T3.com will be on the floor in Las Vegas during CES, and we'll bring you all the best tech as we find it.

Recent news