Samsung and Sony dominated, as did chips and laptops

The first truly busy day of CES 2024 has come and gone and it feels like we’ve been run over by a giant metaphorical eighteen-wheeler full of press conferences. From home robots to electric vehicles to AI, laptops and processors, there was news from pretty much all areas of tech. There were pleasant surprises like Samsung’s cute new Ballie robot ball and Sony’s spatial content creation headset, and intriguing concepts like Razer’s vibrating cushion for gamers. We also got exactly what we expected in the form of new processors from the likes of AMD, Intel and NVIDIA, as well as the subsequent flood of laptops carrying the just-announced chips for 2024.

And for everyone else, this CES also saw the launch of things like headphones, electric vehicles, gaming handhelds, grills, gaming phones, e-ink tablets, strange hybrid devices, noise-suppressing masks, standing desks and more. It’s a free for all and we’re nowhere near done. Here’s just a small selection of the biggest news out of CES 2024’s press day, right before the show officially opens.

Samsung and Sony’s press conferences had some of the best surprises this year. Samsung showed us a new version of its Ballie robot, which is cute as heck. It’s basically a yellow bowling ball with a projector built in and can send you text messages and video clips of what’s at home while you’re out. You can ask it to close your curtains, turn on your lights or stream your favorite yoga video to your ceiling while you lie on your back for a meditative session. Samsung told The Washington Post that Ballie will be available for sale some time this year, but did not say how much it would cost. I guess that’s another surprise we can look forward to in the coming months.

Then there’s Sony, which brought us a few unexpected demos, starting by driving its Afeela concept electric car onstage using a PlayStation controller. Then, it showed off its mixed reality headset for “spatial content creation,” which sounds somewhat similar to Apple’s Vision Pro and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Sony’s does appear to target content creators, though, and looks like a pared down PSVR2 headset. It’ll be powered by a Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 chipset, sport dual 4K OLED microdisplays and have user and space tracking. The new Sony headset still has no name, no price, but it will be available later this year.

Also dominating our news feeds on Day 1 was the barrage of chip news coming from Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. AMD, for example, launched a new Radeon RX 7600 XT GPU, which is a slight upgrade from last year’s entry-level model. The company also brought processors with neural processing units for AI acceleration to its desktop offerings by announcing the Ryzen 8000G series.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA unveiled the RTX 4080 Super, RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4070 Super, which will cost $999, $799 and $599 respectively. It also announced updates for its GeForce Now cloud gaming service, adding G-Sync support and day passes for streaming. Intel kept things fairly tame and tidy, simply giving us its complete 14th-generation CPU family, including HX-series chips like a 24-core i9 model. It also launched the Core U Processor Series 1, which is designed to balance performance and power efficiency in thin and light laptops.

Speaking of laptops, most PC makers followed up the chip news flood by announcing all their new models containing the latest silicon. We saw notebooks from Alienware, Lenovo, MSI, Acer, Asus, and Razer, among others. MSI also had a new gaming handheld to show us, which is the first of its category to use Intel’s just-announced Core Ultra chip.

Asus also put that chip in a non-laptop product, debuting a new homegrown NUC. Meanwhile, Lenovo continued to challenge our notions of what a laptop with its ThinkBook Plus Gen 5, which is a weird gadget mermaid of sorts. Its top half is a 14-inch Android tablet, while its bottom half is a Windows keyboard and all of it is just funky.

Speaking of odd Android tablets, TCL was here with a new version of its NXTPAPER e-ink-ish tablet. This year’s model can switch between a matte e-paper-like display and a full-color LCD at the push of a button. The company also showed off a miniLED TV, which, at 115-inches large, is the biggest MiniLED TV with Quantom Dot technology to date.

We also got to check out Razer’s Project Esther, which is a proof of concept vibrating cushion showcasing the company’s new Sensa HD haptics platform for more immersive gaming experiences. That might be one of my favorite demos so far because… well… It vibrates. It’s a vibrating cushion for most office or gaming chairs.

There was plenty of car and transportation news, too, like Kia’s new fleet of modular vans and Volkswagen adding ChatGPT powers to its in-car voice assistant. The CES 2024 showfloor was also littered with piles of headphones, earbuds (and earwax) thanks to announcements from JBL, Sennheiser and less-known names like Mojawa, which put an AI-powered running coach in its bone-conducting headphones.

At the Pepcom showcase, we also saw some intriguing and fun products, like the Skyted Silent Mask that lets you talk in private in public, as well as the LifeSpan standing desk bike that lets you cycle really hard to generate enough power to charge your phone.

Intrigued? Check out our articles and videos with more details on everything I’ve mentioned and more. Or if you prefer, we’ll be back tomorrow to recap all the biggest news again to make your life easier. We’ve got plenty of press conferences coming up, and the show floor has officially opened, which means there’s still lots of stuff to check out in the days to come.

We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

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