The Ars guide to CES 2019

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TV Home, a TV viewing experience attached to your face (2010 CES)

Ahhh, the scent of swag and unorthodox tech is in the air—today must be the start of CES. 2019 makes it a baker's dozen of shows covered for Ars, and we've certainly seen a lot out in the desert throughout that time.

For every TV Hat (pictured from 2010) or Palm Lifedrive featuring the best 2006 tech website, the show has delivered genuinely interesting and ultimately impactful tech. Windows 7 became a public beta back at CES 2009, for instance, and recent CESes like 2014 (curved TVs!) and 2017 (Internet-connected everything!) have certainly been harbingers of tech trends to come.

So maybe 2019 won't bring Big Bird back for his six-year anniversary, but we'd expect (and have already seen via pre-show announcements) plenty to talk about at CES once again. This week's Orbital Transmission acts accordingly—here's what to know about the annual Consumer Electronics Show thus far.

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Orbital Transmission 1.08.2019
LG's rollable OLED TV

Who needs curved TVs when this one rolls up?

While we still don't know if curved screens will be A Thing™ people want, it's easy to see this upside here. LG has introduced a TV with an OLED display *that rolls up when you're done* (so that's not a shelf pictured, it's a TV rolled to 1/3-ish size). While not a new idea—at CES 2009, there was a similar prototype, though that display was 13-inches, had major limitations, and did not yet look like a consumer product. This time, we're looking at a full-featured, 65-inch TV that's actually coming to market this year.

HP's Chromebook x360 14

Forget flashy, CES also kicks off laptop season 2019

It's perhaps the oldest bit of modern tech around, but few devices get used as much as your primary laptop. So while new and unorthodox may garner headlines, the laptops of CES are what will likely garner space in your home office. We've already seen HP offer a business-oriented Chromebook, Huawei mirror the Macbook (again), Lenovo and Samsung take turns making adult-looking gaming laptops, and the beloved ThinkPad return with an annual refresh. If you're in the market for 2019, keep an eye out this week.

KitchenAid's Smart Display

The Smart Display comes for kitchens everywhere

First came Alexa and Google Home, speakers you could talk to. Critics scoffed at—can't my phone already do this? Evidently the standalone voice assistant market has only grown. At CES, Google boasted about one billion Assistant devices, an install base the company claims is 10x that of Amazon's Alexa. And now, these same tech companies are simply adding limited tablets to the equation and widening the Smart Display market. Google already has its offering out, and third parties from Lenovo to KitchenAid (announced for CES) are ready to compete for your countertop.

Big Bird at the Qualcomm 2013 CES Keynote, #BornMobile

How to follow along with all the action as it happens

Seriously, Big Bird showed up in 2013 (alongside Steve Ballmer, Maroon 5, and Guillermo del Toro—all pushing SoCs, maybe?). We don't know all of what 2019 has in store, but you can follow along with our coverage as it happens right here. And if you can't wait but want a sense of what it's like to be at this now 51-year-old event, we'd suggest taking a peek at things like the kind of tech we'd bring back in 2013 or a video tour of the show floor from 2017.

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