Week in Tech: What to look out for at CES 2018

Whether trending on Twitter, tantalisingly teased on TV adverts, or even sprawled across oversized murals on the tube, it seems I can’t escape the irresistible allure of the latest and greatest smartphones. As this technology gets more and more advanced – and the resulting price tags swell up to terrifying extents – even more consumers are embracing these innovative developments.

With CES 2018 finally kicking off next week, the spotlight on emergent innovations has never been bigger. To prepare you for the upcoming onslaught of vaporware, pipe dreams and life-changing devices, we’ve taken a look at what you might and might not be expecting to see at this expo and beyond in the realm of consumer technology.

Samsung ‘confirms’ significant Galaxy S9 design changes

Samsung are notoriously loose-lipped when it comes to their upcoming devices, and after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle it appears the Korean technology giant is determined to entice sceptics back into the fold with a total commitment to flashy innovations. While company president Koh Dong-jin has previously hinted at 2018 being the debut of the famous ‘folding phone’ prototype, it’s the upcoming launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S9 that is at the top of the agenda for the new year. Amidst rumours of the phone’s capabilities and final design, Samsung have today confirmed that the Galaxy S9 will have a brand new ‘Exynos 9810’ chip, which will bring a huge increase in performance, the ability to record 4K UHD video up to 120fps, and most notably allow the S9 to ‘scan a user’s face in 3D for hybrid face detection’. It seems the Galaxy S9 is set to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPhone X, and hopefully we see a first glimpse of the device at CES 2018.

Toyota’s new self-driving test car can better recognise small objects

With the latest season of Black Mirror astounding and terrifying everyone about the potential perils of futuristic technology, it feels particularly apt that self-driving cars are back on the agenda this week. As opposed to the plain ugly attempts from Google and Volkswagen to emulate the stereotypical ‘car of the future’, Toyota Research Institute are set to debut their own version of the autonomous car that – get this – actually looks like a car. Dubbed the ‘Platform 3.0’ car, it’s easy on the eye and even easier to mass-produce, and with 360-degree LiDAR sensing Toyota appear to be one step closer to releasing a self-driving vehicle that could actually be a reality soon. While the Platform 3.0 is going into limited production with both fully- and semi-autonomous versions this spring, we should get some thorough analysis when the car appears at CES next week.

LG 88-inch 8K OLED TV headed to CES, if your eyes can handle it

After saving for what felt like forever to be able to afford a shiny new 4K TV, it’s nice to see that it’s already outdated. In the perpetual battle of one-upmanship that is the display development scene, LG have announced a record-breaking 88inch 8K OLED TV, which is slated to be four times as sharp as a 4K set, and a huge sixteen times clearer than your pathetic 1080p screen. Considering a 4K TV can already trick my cats into thinking there are enemy kittens in the house, overkill might be an understatement, even if the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are set to be the first broadcasted 8K content. With LG not even waiting for CES to announce a 150-inch 4K projector, expect television manufacturers to throw more nonsensical numbers and resolutions at you in the next few days.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai cancels his CES appearance days before show

One thing you certainly won’t be seeing at CES is enemy of the free internet and serial careerist FCC Chair Ajit Pai. After successfully voting to undemocratically repeal the majority of open internet and net neutrality regulations, Pai is by no means a popular man amongst anyone with any knowledge, interest or material stake in technology. It’s therefore no surprise that Pai has cancelled his ‘candid conversation’ with FTC Acting Chrisman Maureen Ohlhausen and CTA President Gary Shapiro on the topic of net neutrality, and will not be attending CES for the first time in six years. No explicit reason was given for Pai’s sudden withdrawal, but I’m not surprised that a man who has managed to unite Democrat and Republican supporters and is seen on social media as ‘the new Martin Shkreli’ would want to stay out of the spotlight for a while.