CES, held in January in Las Vegas every year, is one of the biggest shows in consumer electronics. It boasts over 150,000 attendees and more than 4500 vendors. Google, Amazon, Samsung, LG, and others shared booth space with thousands of startups. Tech giant Apple was present at CES 2020 after 28 years. Here are some device highlights.
Samsung’s quiet announcement of two junior flagships at CES 2020
Samsung announced two junior flagship devices, the Galaxy S10 Lite, and Note 10 Lite, at CES 2020. The S10 Lite includes a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, three rear cameras, a 4,500-mAh battery and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC. The Note 10 Lite offers the same camera set-up, display and battery, but switches to Samsung’s Exynos chipset and adds an S Pen Stylus. Both phones are expected to retail in the range of $500-$650, effectively making them junior flagships.
In a market focused on premium, expensive phones, carriers are using junior flagships to normalize rising smartphone phones prices. This is without affecting quality of features and to drive an uptick in phone upgrade rates. The S10 Lite and the Note 10 Lite will enhance Samsung’s portfolio considerably, allowing Samsung to capitalize on a previously overlooked segment of the wireless market. It is one that shows growth potential for both volume sales and margins.
Affordable 5G phones are here already
CES 2020 saw vendors such as TCL and Coolpad announcing mid-range 5G phones. Coolpad announced the Legacy 5G phone for $400, one of the first cheap 5G phones to be available in the US. The phone has a 6.53” IPS screen with HDR10 support, a 48 MP camera, a fingerprint reader and a 4000mAh battery and is expected to be available in Q2 2020.
TCL announced the TCL 10 5G, its first own-branded for the US, which includes 5G support, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7-series 5G chipset. The phone features a 6.39 inch 1080 x 2400 pixel display, a 5000 mAh battery and a 48 MP rear camera. The phone will launch in the US and Canada for under $500 in February 2020.
The lack of affordable 5G phones been a hindrance to consumer adoption (along with deployment timelines and consumer education) and TCL and Coolpad should see traction at US carries, both postpaid and prepaid. Both phones use the sub-6Hz, and we will likely see more OEMs and carriers use this feature to scale 5G.
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Foldable displays go beyond smartphones
CES 2020 showed that folding displays need not be limited to just smartphones. Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 at CES, one of the first laptop PCs with a foldable single-cut display. Lenovo is a major PC vendor and the ThinkPad X1 will give Lenovo first mover advantage in marketing a futuristic trend.
Intel’s foldable PC concept is called the Horseshoe Bend and Dell’s foldable laptop is called Concept Ori, highlighting that the foldable mania has legs beyond the smartphone. Microsoft is already an enabler for foldable and dual screens with its upcoming Windows 10X software and although these laptops are initial iterations, in some cases working concept devices, they hint at an innovative future for consumer electronics.