UNITED STATESJohn Cummins, sales and marketing senior vice president for DisplayLin
Las Vegas, UNITED STATESJohn Cummins, sales and marketing senior vice president for DisplayLink, demonstrates the company's DisplayLink XR reference design with a wireless virtual reality game. REUTERS/Steve Marcus Reuters

CES 2019, the tech industry's biggest event of the year, is right around the corner. This means we'll see a patch of the future we all could have, from faster hardware to smarter gadgets. Of course, not everything will be readily available instantly. Some will be just concepts. Others will be released months or even years away.

With technology rapidly advancing, we'll see how game-changing — or even life-changing — this year's inventions are going to be. But to give you an inkling of what could be announced, here are our predictions for this year's CES.

Introducing 5G

With Qualcomm's announcement of a 5G-capable chipset last December, 5G's going to be what's on people's mouths at CES 2019. While details about the next generation of connectivity remains scarce, 5G capability can become a huge upgrade from what we currently have. It's expected to have average speeds of around 1GBps or have incredibly low latency down to 1ms. It's also expected to go beyond just phones, so other 5G hardware is quite possible.

Smarter smart homes

Last year, smart homes were the ones that were most talked about at CES. The surge of popularity of smart home devices, such as Google Home and Amazon's Alexa, makes such gadgets a staple in the trade show. Google itself stole the show last year, and this year, it is poised to conquer the show again with its smart ecosystem and Google Assistant.

AR/VR getting closer to reality

There's a push for smaller, cheaper, or even standalone virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Go. VR's in a good place, that much is certain. But for the augmented reality, there's uncertainty. Demand for AR content isn't as strong as developers expected. And if there's a place to convince consumers to get into AR, it's going to be CES. So, expect more AR peripherals and software on display.

Smartphones — faster and foldable?

With 5G near the horizon, it means CES 2019 might have 5G smartphones on display. The past years, we've only seen concepts and prototypes of bendable/flexible devices. Samsung's announcement and unveiling of its foldable smartphone in November changed all that. But with the Mobile World Congress coming next month, we might not see foldable smartphones at CES just yet.

TVs

More 8K Displays? How about a rollable TV with Alexa integration? While we won't see any 12K or 16K TVs yet, we'll see more improvements on how we can watch content on our screens. Reports have suggested Samsung's "The Wall," a gigantic wall display made of microLED tiles, will have a scaled down version. There's also the new HDMI 2.1 Standard that allows for better 8K content delivery and improved high dynamic range content for 4K TVs. And yes — voice control for TVs, whether it's Alexa or Google Assistant.

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