CES 2020 – our top picks

tangerine’s Design Lead, Alex Loudon, shares his standouts from a week at the tech trends and innovation festival, CES 2020 in Las Vegas, USA.

ODM mobility

Better known for cameras, game consoles and TVs, Sony revealed Vision S, a striking electronic automotive that features an ultra-wide panoramic screen and user-recognition technology supported by 33 built-in sensors. It’s evident that mobility is a growing business for ODMs like Sony and they are now making sophisticated and well thought through contributions that are shaping the future of autonomous driving experiences.

CES 2020 saw many automotive companies revealing new concept cars but few of them were launched for consumer sale. So, we won’t be seeing them on the roads anytime soon.

Foldable phones

For so long now the smart phone’s rectangle slab has been the monolithic format of all our mobiles. However, it seems that we might finally start to see some new modes of physical interaction coming back into the market, with the advent of foldable displays. Huawei and Samsung have been the front-runners for this innovation for some time, but at CES 2020 we also saw other brands enter the foray. Following the recent release of the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold, we are witnessing others enter the market with Motorola set to bring back it’s iconic foldable Razr and Microsoft will soon be launching its foldable Surface Duo.

Alex noted that it was a completely unique experience testing these products hands-on. We think, there’s no doubt that customers will uptake this new format and we’ll continue to see flexible screens and foldable devices in the coming years.

Feet-up travel

A real highlight for Alex was getting to test BMW’s new i3 autonomous vehicle. For many, being a ‘driver’ may soon be a thing of the past, with everyone being able to become a ‘passenger’ and enjoy a feet-up journey experience. Notably, BWM kept a driver’s seat in the suite, reminding us that fully autonomous vehicles are still just outside of our grasp. But we’re certainly well on our way to a driverless future. At just over six foot tall, Alex looks pretty comfortable too!

Smart mirrors

Over the last few years, much has been reported on the struggles of ‘bricks and mortar’ retail, with numerous well-established high-street staples going bust or closing significant numbers of stores. In the UK alone, the dire outlook has recently led to the collapse of Patisserie Valarie and stores such as MotherCare, Karen Millen and Coast remaining only online.

As retailers look for new ways to reinvigorate the physical store, the integration with digital has been seen as paramount to streamline the interaction between instore and online. Companies such as LG have therefore been taking advantage of this interest, presenting a smart mirror prototype at this year’s CES.  The smart mirror offers a means of virtually trying on clothes pre-emptively before purchase, reducing the time-consuming process of getting undressed and dressed again. The mirror intends to aid users in finding well-fitting clothes by taking measurements which allow the user to get a visual representation of how items will look.

Agricultural innovations

Heavy industry and agriculture are the lifeblood of most modern civilisations, though we rarely see, consider, or experience what goes on in farms and fields. The scale and complexity of these machines create many unique challenges when designing and engineering for agriculture.  In addition, the fact that people are sitting and working in these machines for up to 14 hours a day means that providing comfort and appropriate amenities is key.

John Deere showcased its 8RX Tractor, receiving honours in the Tech For A Better World exhibitor category at the show. The striking tractor is the company’s latest high tech “office on tracks” used to prepare land, plant seeds, care for plants as they grow and transport grain from the field, all whilst gathering data for future machine intelligence.

See-through screens

Chinese TV maker Skyworth showcased their transparent OLED prototype that has translucent and transparent functionalities. Electronics giant LG also announced that they are doubling production numbers of their own transparent OLED TV. There is a high probability we will be seeing more of this creative technology in 2020. Alex predicts there will be a high demand for such products in the retail sector for point of sale and advertising.

TVs to suit the home

Moving away from what Alex’s calls ‘shiny, faux-future’ TV design, he admired the vast array of domestic televisions on display at CES. Designed to blend seamlessly into a home environment, this is a trend that has been emerging over the past few years. Hisense’s Q8G Quantum strap hanging has a strong association with home furnishings. We have also seen a less-subtle example of this design choice with the Bouroullec Brothers serif TVs that have the touch, feel and look of a soft home appliance.

tangerine sends designers to several expos and conferences throughout the year to ensure that we remain at the forefront of design and innovation. If you would like a more in-depth take on a designer’s insight to CES 2020 and to receive regular news from the studio, click here to download our trend report.