CES 2022 is due to kick off next week, but instead of the usual buzz around all the weird, wonderful, useful and useless tech-enabled kit that’s going to emerge, the lead up has been overshadowed by the growing list of companies that are pulling their in-person attendance.
The much-hyped consumer tech trade show is kicking off on January 5 and will run through to January 8 (a day later for us in Australia). With COVID-19 forcing CES into the virtual realm last year, CES 2022 was a return to IRL events for many.
But as the Omicron variant takes hold around the world, some big names are pulling their in-person attendance.
At the time of publish, the following exhibitors had bailed: Amazon, AMD, AT&T, General Motors, Google, iHeartRadio, Intel, Lenovo, Meta, Microsoft, MSI, Pinterest, T-Mobile, Twitter and Waymo.
But there’s also us:
Gizmodo is canceling its plans to send reporters to CES. I'm willing to bet there won't really be a CES at this point. What major tech company wants to be the villain that still exhibits, forcing employees to travel during a huge covid surge?
— David M. Ewalt (@dewalt) December 22, 2021
Alas, CES 2022 is still going ahead
Pressured to take a stance, the Consumer Technology Association said it would move forward as planned instead of postponing or moving to a virtual event. CES could still be modified, but for now, the show will go on. Whether in-person or online, tech companies will use the event as a platform to showcase their latest products.
The downside to tuning in virtually is we won’t be able to play with any robots or, um, tech-enabled sex toys (because don’t forget, CES fucks now), but we’ll do our best to bring you all the announcements as they happen.
We’ve already seen some fascinating things being worked on, but the real juicy stuff is yet to come. Here is what to expect at CES 2022.
Who Can Attend?
CES isn’t open to the general public. Only those 18 years and older who are affiliated with the consumer tech industry can apply to attend (and for a hefty price), though we’d strongly caution against it given the latest spike in COVID-19 cases.
Who Will Be Speaking At CES 2022?
Plenty of bigwigs will chat about what they are doing to advance their respective industries. GM CEO Mary Barra will host the opening keynote; other speakers include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Fox Business anchor Liz Claman, Peloton CEO John Foley, Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon, and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Jong-Hee Han.
How Can I Follow Along?
While the public can’t attend CES, some of the more interesting press conferences will be streamed online.
Intel will host a livestream on its events website on January 5 at 5am AEDT for what should be the reveal of new mobile processors. Similarly, Nvidia will stream its press conference a few hours earlier, at 3am AEDT. The same goes for their rival AMD, whose press conference is at 2am AEDT (set your alarms!). Asus, Sony, and MSI are a small sample of the companies with dedicated pages where you can livestream their CES announcements.
We’re not above plugging ourselves — Gizmodo will be covering all the latest announcements, product releases, and wacky gadgets shown at CES 2022.
Will there be new chips we can actually buy?
Yes, there will be, we promise. Intel, Nvidia and AMD are all rumoured to reveal new laptop and desktop chips at the trade show. Intel released its 12th-gen “Alder Lake” desktop processors earlier this year, paving the way for the mobile chips to debut at CES. Based on leaks, Intel could launch H-series 12th-gen mobile chips for gaming and high-performance laptops along with a new P-series chip to either replace or sit alongside U-series processors meant for ultra-portable devices.
We know the processors will use a Big.Little design, which consists of a mix of high-performance (P-cores) and high-efficiency cores (E-cores). Rumours also suggest 12th-gen mobile processors will support DDR5 memory, Wi-Fi 6E, and PCIe 5.0.
Nvidia, on the other hand, is poised to reveal the GeForce RTX 3050 and RTX 3090 Ti desktop GPUs with rumours pointing to a Jan. 27 launch. Also making their way through the grapevine are GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti GPUs for laptops.
AMD’s plans are less clear, but its CTO Mark Papermaster told Forbes that the company will “share more detail on Zen 4 with some mentioned at CES” before making more announcements throughout next year. In the meantime, leaks suggest AMD will launch Ryzen 6000 chips based on Zen3+, a similar architecture to what Ryzen 5000 CPUs use. This intermediate release is said to use AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology, Navi 2 graphics, and support DDR5 memory.
Revealing new processors and graphics cards during a global chip shortage might seem like rubbing salt in the wounds, so we hope these companies address the ongoing problems plaguing the semiconductor industry at CES 2022.
What about laptops?
There is a time-honoured tradition in the tech industry where the dawn of chips brings the emergence of new laptops. Intel and AMD’s rumoured mobile chips, if announced at CES, will coincide with the reveal of dozens of new laptop models.
Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, Asus, Razer, and MSI (among others), use CES each year to get us excited about the laptops and peripherals launching in the first half of the year. This year shouldn’t be any different; in fact, we’re anticipating even more new models given the likelihood of Intel, AMD, and Nvidia releasing new components. We will almost certainly see new gaming laptops running on the new Nvidia chips, but ultra-thin models could also debut if Intel and AMD release low-power processors.
LG, marching to the beat of its own drum, chose to tease its first ever gaming laptop, the UltraGear 17G90Q, a few weeks before the show. Maybe it didn’t want to highlight the use of 11th-gen Intel chips when everyone else is bound to adopt 12th-gen processors.
Laptops are only one part of the package. Alongside PCs, these companies (and a few others) will release accessories and peripherals, so you may want to hold off on buying a new keyboard, mouse, headset, or monitor.
We can expect new TVs, right?
Yes! TVs will once again illuminate CES booths, and this time, they’ll be bigger and brighter. Yes, 8K will be on display, and I’m sure someone will tout 16K or higher resolutions, but enhancements to 4K panels are what should really excite us. LG, Samsung, Sony, and TCL will likely unveil their new lineup of TVs, ranging from premium OLED and microLED/miniLED models to cheaper LCD panels.
Both Samsung and LG are rumoured to launch new massive TVs in the 100-inch range next year, and CES 2022 could be the perfect place to show them off. Meanwhile, Samsung is working on QD-OLED TVs (QD being Quantum Dot) for next year, though a January reveal seems ambitious. If it does arrive at CES, Sony might add to the hype as the company is rumoured to make its own TVs using QD-OLED panels. Samsung’s rumoured tech is on a collision course with LG’s new OLED EX technology.
And finally, rollable TVs and weird flexible concepts have become a staple of CES in the past few years, even if they haven’t gotten any closer to being viable products, so we’d be surprised if they didn’t make another appearance.
Will we see other gadgets at CES 2022?
Laptops and TVs get much of the attention, but they account for a small portion of the devices being unboxed for the first time at CES.
Headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, soundbars, and other audio products will be released by Klipsch, JBL, Harmon, LG, and others. CES isn’t the main stage for phones, but TCL and Samsung tend to announce new budget and mid-range options. On the wearables front, Garmin, Withings, and Fossil will all have a presence this year, suggesting the clock is ticking on new smartwatches and fitness trackers.
And, as mentioned before, PC peripherals like monitors, gaming headsets, and keyboards are regular attendees at CES and 2022 will be no exception.
Do we have to hear more about Wi-Fi 6E?
Yes, you do, I’m afraid. In case you got comfortable with current Wi-Fi standards, CES 2022 will likely be the launchpad for products with Wi-Fi 6E support. Without getting too technical, where Wi-Fi 6 boosted the capacity of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, Wi-Fi 6E adds a third 6 GHz band. While the maximum theoretical speeds remain 9.6 Gbps, Wi-Fi 6E crucially adds more channels (up to 60) but ramps up bandwidth and capacity so your dozens of connected devices can all maintain a speedy, stable connection to your router.
So that was Wi-Fi 6E. Now let’s talk Wi-Fi 7. No, this isn’t a cruel joke. MediaTek will reportedly show off the next (next?) generation of wifi, which it claims allows for 2.4 times faster speeds than Wi-Fi 6. Devices supporting Wi-Fi 6E will be a focal point of CES 2022, while Wi-Fi 7 will likely only be mentioned in vague theoretical terms.
What about smart home stuff?
CES is a hive for buzzwords and one we suspect will be shown in oversized font during many a presentation is “Matter.” If you haven’t heard the term yet, Matter is a new smart home standard backed by prominent players in the space, including Google, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. Its goal is a noble one: to create a unified language all smart home devices can speak so they can operate together regardless of what platform they are based on.
The specifics are hazy but the standard will likely be finalised in 2022 with support for devices running Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. If all goes well, you’ll be able to control your Philips Hue lighting with Apple’s Siri or use Amazon’s Alexa to operate a Google Nest doorbell. It’s all highly theoretical in its current form, and we won’t see any Matter-supported smart devices just yet, but expect companies at CES 2022 to promote the ways this standard could enable the smart home of tomorrow.
I’m excited about EVs — will there be any car reveals?
One of the oldest industries showcased at CES is bringing some of the most exciting technological advancements. I’m talking about the automotive industry and its shift toward electrification and autonomy.
Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro told Pocket-lint that CES 2022 will have the show’s largest automotive category ever. General Motors, Ford, Fisker, Hyundai, Daimler AG, and Waymo are some of the more recognisable companies attending CES.
GM CEO Mary Barra is set to hold the CES keynote (virtually, now that GM pulled out of attending in person) and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will discuss the future of transportation.
We also expect some cars to debut at CES 2022 (though some only virtually), including the 2023 Chevrolet Silverado EV, the 2023 BMW IX M60, and Mercedes-Benz’s Vision EQXX.
Can I follow CES 2022 without hearing about NFTs?
Probably not. Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is a hot topic going into 2022, and NFTs are the kindling. The Consumer Technology Association, the group that organises the trade show, announced a new NFT and Digital Assets Program for CES. It will consist of exhibits and conversations about the blockchain, so keep your digital wallets close by if you want to stay on the cutting edge of these divisive technologies.
And what about AR/VR?
Adoption of VR and AR may be taking longer than some expected, but with the success of products like Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 and the unavoidable metaverse hype, these emerging technologies are regaining the spotlight. We might not get any major hardware releases, but there will be plenty of chatter about how the products shown at CES 2022 can move VR/AR forward.
This article has been updated since it was first published and we will continue to make changes as we learn more.