New year, new tech: The biggest trends of the 2022 CES trade fair
The Sony Bravia X95K should score points with prospective buyers with its mini-LED backlight. Sony/dpa

Coronavirus, supply problems, the chip shortage? No matter! Even in its reduced form this year, the CES tech trade show at the start of January provides all kinds of insights into what will end up in living rooms, remote workplaces and pockets in the future.

TVs are getting brighter, smarter and more versatile

The future of TVs is still micro LED - i.e. tiny pixels that light up individually for an extremely detailed picture. Samsung and LG showed plenty of new displays with these extremely small light-emitting diodes.

Despite all the enthusiasm for size, colour representation and picture quality: the partly huge TVs still do not have living room prices. Average viewers will probably have to wait a few more years.
The more affordable options for normal TVs are in the OLED segment.

At the CES, LG in particular is showing many new models up to the more compact sizes of 42 inches. The more expensive models now feature up to 20 per cent brighter LEDs - called "OLED evo".

Sony now calls its improved self-luminous displays QD-OLED. The luminous dots built into the Bravia A95K, for example, are supposed to last longer than before. There are also "normal" OLED TVs: the A90K series with models of 48 and 42 inches and the A80K series in 77, 65 and 55 inches.

Turn on the TV and go

In the Samsung design area, prestige TV sets like The Frame or The Serif have been technically updated. In addition, there is now Neo QLED - Samsung's QLED screens with fine resolution backlighting for better illumination of individual picture areas.

More speakers and a special processor are supposed to assign the sound to the right area on the screen - in 2021, this technology was only in the top models.

For young smartphone fans who don't see the point in having a TV, Samsung has a special new wall mount. In it, the TV can be turned into portrait format - perfect for social media and TikTok's portrait videos.

There are also new services. For example, a new Gaming Hub for some 2022 models. This is supposed to provide easier access to cloud games from the game streaming platforms GeForce Now (Nvidia), Stadia (Google) and Utomik. For a subscription fee, these games can be streamed to the TV.

OLED displays in more and more notebooks

Slimmer, faster, better for video games, better for mobile work: Notebook manufacturers from Acer and Asus to HP and Lenovo are showing new devices in Las Vegas and on the web. Inside are the latest Intel and AMD chips and, increasingly, OLED displays.

This is the case, for example, in Lenovo's Thinkpads Z13, Z16 and X1 or in Asus' Zenbooks. In the gaming sector, Nvidia has introduced the RTX 3080 Ti, which, according to the provider, is the most powerful notebook graphics unit to date - it can be found in computers from Asus, MSI or Razer, for example.

There's also a few strange but possible genius changes being made to familiar laptop design: This applies, for example, to the Thinkbook Plus Gen 3 from Lenovo with its second screen next to the keyboard.

The Zenbook 17 Fold from Asus, meanwhile, can be folded from tablet to notebook to reader. The Space Edition of the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED has a second mini-OLED screen in the laptop lid and is certified suitable for use in space.

More screens for gaming

Because gaming does not only require the right computer, the range of screens specifically designed for video games is also growing - some of them are available in TV size.

The ROG Swift OLED (PG42UQ) measures 42 inches diagonally, while the Acer CG48 is 48 inches. Both OLED displays with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) are supposed to display fast video games from PCs and consoles smoothly with fast pixel switching times and refresh rates of 120 hertz and more.

And a sophisticated cooling system is supposed to protect the self-luminous OLEDs from a premature death from overheating. ROG did not name a price yet, and compared to gaming-suitable TVs, Acer's CG48 is no bargain at just under 2,200 euros.

The price is supposed to be justified with extras adapted to gamers, such as a multitude of ports, picture synchronization technology or laptop charging capability.

Further focus on mobile working

"Hybrid work environments" is a term that now appears in almost all ideas about business notebooks and monitors. Two major trends appear to be emerging.

Trend number one is a complete device like the HP Elitebook 860 G9. The 16-inch notebook with Windows 11 and the latest Ryzen processors from AMD is supposed to be a good compromise for both stationary and mobile work.

Here, but also in many other models, there are high-resolution cameras for the inevitable video conferences. AI-supported microphones and improved loudspeakers are supposed to make the sound as well as the picture coherent.

The other trend and at the same time a continuation from 2021 are smart screens - smart in the way that they are not only a display device but also a hub for mouse, keyboard and other devices and supply the notebook with power at the same time. Bye-bye tangled cables.

Not much focus on smartphones

It's better not to expect too much from CES 2022 in terms of smartphones, but there were certainly a few new launches.

In addition to Samsung's Galaxy S21 FE 5G - a slightly improved and cheaper version of the 2021 flagship S21 - the Chinese manufacturer OnePlus gave a preview of the OnePlus 10 Pro.

This again comes with a camera developed together with Hasselblad, including a 150-degree wide-angle camera. While the Galaxy S21 FE 5G is already available for purchase, the OnePlus will first be launched in China and only later in the year in Europe.

Android is to become even more like iOS

Android will get some new features this year that Apple already offers. With the large number of providers and devices, something like this takes longer - for example, fast pairing of headphones with Chromebooks, Google TV or other Android TV devices.

Bluetooth-capable headphones will soon automatically switch to the respective device under Android. If supported, there will soon also be spatial audio under Android - i.e. sound playback depending on one's position in the room.

Google also wants to facilitate cross-device working and data exchange. The file sharing function Nearby Share will soon also work with Windows. To this end, Google is cooperating with Acer, HP and Intel.

Chromebooks are also to be able to call up pictures and videos from the smartphone via the Phone Hub "in the coming months", and SMS and message management will also be improved. Smartphones with Wear OS will soon be able to unlock Android smartphones and Chromebooks.

The Metaverse and other absurd things

No trade fair without big concepts: if Silicon Valley has its way, the next virtual revolution is imminent - the Metaverse. This is, in short, a virtual 3D world: shopping, meeting people, playing games, creating worlds and much more - all this is to be available soon with virtual reality glasses and other hardware.

Facebook parent company Meta is betting heavily on this hardware-hungry future, and notebook manufacturer MSI is already introducing the label "Meta-Ready" for its powerful gaming notebooks. In addition, exhibitors are showing, for example, a waistcoat that is supposed to make touch and other sensory events from the Metaverse tangible and other ideas for the still nebulous Metaverse worlds.

What will become of it remains to be seen.

Somewhat more concrete, but still uncharted territory for many consumers, is Samsung's NFT option for TVs.

With the help of this option, TV buyers will be able to buy and view digital art that is confirmed as original and unique by NFT (non fungible token) and assigned to a specific person by certificate. An example: The first text message ever sent was recently sold with NFT for almost 110,000 euros - and could then be displayed at home on the Samsung TV.

Samsung calls its new QLED TVs with brighter diodes and more precise backlighting Neo QLED. Samsung/dpa
OnePlus showed a preview of the OnePlus 10 Pro with its Hasselblad camera at CES. It will first go on sale in China. OnePlus/dpa
Samsung's new Smart TVs are also supposed to become gaming machines via Gaming Hub - provided the corresponding subscription to a cloud gaming provider. Samsung Electronics/dpa
The Android universe is getting a bunch of new features: For example, quick pairing for headphones and TVs, automatic sound switching or better data exchange. Google/dpa
Big screen for big gaming ambitions and a big budget: The Acer Predator CG48 with a 48-inch screen size has a pixel response time of 0.1 milliseconds according to the manufacturer. Acer/dpa
The Lenovo Thinkpad Z13 has an OLED display. 75 per cent of the aluminum used in the device is recycled. Lenovo/dpa
Sony's Bravia X85K line of 4K TVs with the X1 processor comes in six sizes with diagonals of 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches. Sony/dpa
The Lenovo Thinkbook Plus Gen 3 offers two displays in one notebook. Lenovo/dpa
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is a slightly revised version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 from early 2021. The S22 model will probably be available around the Mobile World Congress at the end of February. Samsung/dpa
LG's OLED TV is available in the C2 series in versions from 42 to 97 inches screen size. LG/dpa
Fold it in half, attach the keyboard - and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is a laptop replacement. Asus/dpa
The ROG Swift OLED gaming monitor in 42 and 48 inch sizes is something for gamers with a lot of space. Asus/dpa
An Asus notebook once flew around the Earth in the Mir space station. The Zenbook 14X OLED in the Space Edition reminds us of that - with space design and, according to the manufacturer, also with space flight capability. Asus/dpa