Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happened. Lots of companies showed off their vision for the future, from the coming year’s television sets all the way to far-out visions for self-driving car interiors. There’s always a lot of coverage of CES, and I’ve collected the best of it right here so you don’t have to dig through the cynical hot takes yourself:
- As usual, Steven Sinofsky of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) wrote up an extensive show report. Lots of internet-connected home stuff, most of it now capable of talking to voice assistants, and lots of things that call themselves AI but aren’t. Read it here, and scroll about 80% down for the amazing “just have to share” section: CES 2019: A Show Report (Medium)
- Samuel Axon at Ars Technica has a a good run-down of products announced at CES that will actually come on the market in 2019. From laptops and TVs to smart clocks and VR, it’s mostly iterative improvements on already good products: The best PCs, gadgets, and future tech of CES 2019 (Web)
- LG’s rollable TVs looks really cool. A lot of people don’t like the look of a big black screen in their living room, and this looks like a much better solution than those TVs that try to pretend a wall when they’re off. Check out Marques Brownlee’s video: The Rollable OLED TV: The Potential is Real! (YouTube)
Benedict Evans at a16z wrote a post on the promise of 5G, the successor standard to the 4G we currently have in our phones. It’ll mostly have lower latency for phones at long distances, and higher speed at short distances (to replace your internet cable). A lot of the hype in the industry is around 5G-enabled virtual reality, augmented reality and self-driving cars, but out of those Evans thinks it’ll only make a real difference for AR, and maybe for last-mile remote piloting of delivery trucks. Network slicing is 5G’s most interesting feature:
One of the cooler features of 5G is that it lets you split out dedicated capacity for particular use cases - so-called ‘network slicing’. Today (to simplify hugely), although network operators try to do traffic management, all traffic in the cell is fundamentally using the same capacity. 5G lets you create dedicated private capacity in the radios network with specific characteristics. So, you could sell a truck operator dedicated capacity on the two miles between a specific freeway exit and a specific warehouse. Or, you could offer an IoT operator (or alarm company) much lower bandwidth but over a wider area.
Amazon launched DocumentDB
, its MongoDB competitor. While AWS adds new services pretty much every other week, this launch is interesting because it tells a bigger story about the state of open source software. Basically, lots of VC-funded open source software companies supported itself by helping big companies install and run their software on their servers, consultancy-style. But now that everything is moving to the cloud (and mostly Amazon’s cloud), and no one’s running their own servers anymore, where will these software companies make money? And what does this mean for the open source ecosystem? Ben Thompson’s take at Stratechery: AWS, MongoDB, and the Economic Realities of Open Source