Record breaking rains in Las Vegas last week dampened the annual Consumer Electronics Show and even sent it into a blackout for a short while. Despite the weather, this year’s annual showcase of upcoming consumer electronics had a few noteworthy announcements, but it lacked anything truly groundbreaking. That said, there were a few things that caught our eye. These are the items that managed to get our attention at CES 2018.
HyperFlux Capacity: Razer’s Wireless, Self-Charging Mouse – Razer Mamba HyperFlux and Razer Firefly HyperFlux
My personal favorite item that was announced at CES 2018 was the Razer Mamba mouse. It is paired with a mousepad that allows for a true wireless experience. No batteries or cords, it uses Razer coined “Hyperflux” technology to wirelessly power the mouse making the Razer Hyperflux mouse and mat combo – a first of its kind. This reduces the weight of the mouse by removing internal batteries, and wireless means there isn’t a cord to get snagged. There is also an option to make the mouse wired as an extra failsafe. And of course, all of this is fully RGB-capable using Razer’s Chroma brand of RGB color scrolling with 16.8 million possible color combinations. The Razer Mamba Hyperflux and accompanying Razer Firefly Hyperflux mouse mat will release sometime in Q1 of this year with a $249.99 MSRP – a hefty price for wireless power.
Aflac gives a Duck: My Special Aflac Duck – There were tons of robots making waves at CES 2018, like the super adorable Sony Aibo, but one had a greater purpose. The silly, web-footed Aflac duck of television fame has been transformed into a somewhat chubbier, soft, squishy adorable robot friend for kids with cancer. My Special Aflac Duck is part of Aflac’s ongoing Childhood Cancer Campaign and won the ‘Tech For a Better World’ award at CES 2018. Not only does the robo-duck serve as a companion and comfort item, it can help them understand what they’re going through and communicate how they feel in new ways. A companion app helps kids learn about their own care routines by caring for their robot friend in the same ways, and the ducky device features a system of emoji-esque disks that, when attached to the fowl’s chest, enable it to act out the emotions that the child is feeling, without words and with minimal energy expenditure. Sproutel, who produces the duck, will begin distributing these fantastic feathered friends to cancer patients in early 2018, and hopefully a flock will land nationwide by 2019.
Views You Can Use: Smart Displays for Google Home – Smart assistants are working their way into homes everywhere, and as people get used to talking to helpful cylinders strategically placed around their home, the suite of accessories for them multiplies. In our house, though we have both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, the Google Home reigns supreme for ease of use, contextual question answering, and overall helpfulness/intelligence. So we were excited to see that they’ve caught up with Amazon in terms of visual displays, with Google Assistant enabled touchscreen displays in the same price range as Amazon Show. The Lenovo Smart Display that debuted at the Vegas tech show starts at $200 and will let you do some things we’ve only dreamed of thus far, like call up a video on how to make pasta or trim a roast without ever having to wash the flour off our hands. The device will also be able to make video calls, watch Youtube videos and look at photos. These are not tablets and they’ll need to be plugged in at all times to function, but that doesn’t deter us in the least from imagining a world where we could bread chicken and watch silly cat videos without missing a beat. As per usual with Google, Lenovo’s display will not be your only choice, with at least 3 other such displays announced at the Vegas show. TIME regarded the Lenovo as the most attractive of the available devices, and it’s got a few features the Echo Show doesn’t, such as the ability to play Youtube videos and offers larger screens (8 and 10 inch) for easier viewing, so it could be the frontrunner when it comes out.
Phoning It In: Razer’s Project Linda – Taking home over 20 “Best of CES” Awards, Razer unveiled its “Project Linda” laptop concept. Not your usual ultralight notebook, Project Linda utilizes the Razer Android phone as its processing power and becomes an intelligent touchpad while docked. This intelligent touchpad feature acts as a sort of second screen that allows for a wide range of customizable options. This might eliminate a problem that doesn’t exist (if you’re carrying a laptop sized dock, why not just use a laptop?) but the integration between laptop and phone is just downright cool. The laptop portion provides an extra 200 GB of storage, 720p webcam, microphone and other conveniences the slightly larger form factor allows. Razer is touting this as a gamer’s device, but Android laptops aren’t exactly capable of playing any cutting edge games. Nevertheless, Project Linda is a fun concept, even if its limitations mean it’s only a novelty.
Super Size Me: Nvidia and Acer Unveil 65 inch “Big Format Gaming Display” – Razer wasn’t the only company with high-concept items at CES. Acer, in a partnership with NVIDIA, unveiled an absolute beast of a gaming monitor. While most PC monitors max out around 30 inches, their 65 inch Predator Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD for short) is the world’s proper introduction to big screen PC gaming. The 65 inch behemoth is built with the same specifications as more “normal” sized gaming monitors and offers fast 120Hz refresh with G-Sync all in 4K HDR. The Predator BFGD also comes with NVIDIA’s SHIELD gaming capabilities integrated right into the monitor. This isn’t just a TV you hook up to a computer, but a fully featured, super-sized monitor designed for playing games. There is no word on price yet, but expect the Acer Predator BFGD to have a lofty price tag.
The tech world is never dull, and while not all of these devices are liable to land in your home, they’re an interesting look at the direction we’re headed in, technology-wise, for 2018. If you had a favorite techno-gadget from CES 2018 or have any thoughts about the tech we shared here, let us know in the comments, on our Facebook page or via Twitter.
Contributing author Marielle Shaw.