CES 2020: French Montana, cameras, flying taxis, a toilet paper robot, TVs and audio

by W. Andrew Powell
French Montana

CES 2020 is in the books and I’m so tired. It was worth it though.

Now that it’s over, I finally have time to start sharing what I’ve seen this week. The massive technology conference takes over the Las Vegas Convention Center every January, plus the Sands, Venetian, and hotel rooms across the city, as companies show off concepts and new devices or ideas that could change the world.

For my part, I was here for the gadgets and the consumer electronics. There’s just a lot to checking out as many products as you can, getting enough photos and content, and prepping what you’re going to say about everything. I love this event though. Tons of companies show up from all over, and it’s a huge opportunity to get introduced to new technology.

Since Monday I’ve walked over 85,000 steps (it’s about the equivalent, one site told me, of walking 60 kilometres), visiting booths and events, including a couple of parties, and a concert featuring none other than French Montana at a club on the Las Vegas Strip.

Stormtroopers invade Panasonic’s press conference

I arrived late on Sunday (it was actually almost Monday) and went to the press conferences most of the day Monday, including Panasonic, Hisense, and TCL.

Panasonic had a great presentation with Stormtroopers and Olympian Michael Phelps; Hisense previewed their lineup of new TVs, including the H9G Quantum and R8F Roku TV, and new laser TVs; and TCL not only unveiled their new TVs, they also showed off their upcoming phones that will retail for under $500 US.

That night I was also at Pepcom’s Digital Experience, a preview event with a lot of companies, including some who aren’t on the CES show floor otherwise, including the–I kid you not–Charmin toilet paper robot that can bring you a roll when you’re in need.

Tuesday morning Google previewed their latest announcements for the Google Assistant and showed off their space, which is always a must-see. This year they had a slide you could take from the second floor for a GIF. In terms of announcements, they revealed improved speech technology for more natural reading, especially for longer text, and scheduling actions with your voice, to name just a couple of features.

After that, I spent the day walking the convention centre checking out booths and getting booth and product tours from DJI, Bosch, LG, GoPro, and Samsung, among many others.

After all the appointments and running around, it was great to then unwind with Samsung Canada at the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey game, and we were the last ones out the door at the end of the night too.

Also, the Knights fans are incredible. This is a city that loves their hockey team, and it made for a fun night out with other media and the Samsung team.

Wednesday was my second day at the LVCC and I toured booths I missed, met with Panasonic to see some of their innovations, and then headed off to meet with Mad Catz for a preview of their upcoming gaming devices for 2020.

From there, I headed out to meet with the Roku team, which was another nice break and chance to catch up.

I had some time, finally, to do some non-CES activities, so I walked the strip and had In-N-Out burger for the first time (come to Canada!) before heading to Drai’s nightclub to see French Montana.

Nadine Randle performing "Merry Go Round" for Mastercard
Nadine Randle performing “Merry Go Round” for Mastercard

Mastercard and iHeartRadio hosted the evening, debuting a single called “Merry Go Round” by singer Nadine Randle for Mastercard, and then Montana took the stage for a wild performance. There’s a tech story here that I have to share soon too, involving an iPhone 11 I was shooting the night with, but that will have to wait until Monday. Otherwise, it was a great night out, and I’ll be chatting with Mastercard soon about some of their latest announcements.

Then on Thursday I finally made it to the Sands and Venetian where I had a very impressive meeting with Lenovo, and checked out their foldable laptop, the ThinkPad Fold X1, as well as the Motorola razr foldable phone. They both blew me away, but I have to admit that I especially love what they’ve done with the razr. It’s gorgeous and folding it looks almost like a trick because it’s so slick.

Otherwise I had a session with Creative Labs for the Super X-Fi Gen2, met with Dell and talked about their latest laptops and innovative concepts, and met with a number of companies on the convention floor.

To end CES this year I went back to the LVCC today and checked out all the automotive technology, especially the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV, Hyundai and Uber’s A1 concept for an autonomous flying taxi, and BMW’s luxurious space and vehicles that they had available for test driving. Finally, I stopped by a few booths I had missed the other days, and that was it for CES 2020.

In all, I shot something like 2,500 photos, close to three hours of video, and learned about more than 200 products that are either coming out soon, or will be developed further, or lead to other products down the road.

There’s a lot of writing and editing ahead, but I’ll be sharing a lot next week, and over the coming weeks. On top of everything I’ve mentioned already, I also have photos and stories to share on products from Insta360, Canon, Altec Lansing, Belkin, and Goal Zero.

Leave a comment below and let me know if there’s a product you heard about at CES that you’re excited about.

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