Five Questions At CES 2018

Thanks to the competent folks at Delta, I am safely on the ground in Las Vegas. Right now, I'm in my hotel waiting for the first day (it's really a half day—the serious stuff is on Monday) of press events to start. With that in mind, I have five questions I'm hoping to get answered this week:

1) What is Google up to? They've had a small presence in years past and they (like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft) believe in doing their own events—not sharing the press relations space with 4,000 other companies. So, why are they setting up such a large installation in the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot? Some of the smart money suggests that their presence may be in support of new third-party Google Assistant devices, but nothing is clear—yet.

2) Is Augmented Reality (AR) going to take off this year? Both booth count and floor space allocation are up sharply for AR at CES 2018. I hope to see more products at more price points with more (hopefully interesting) applications, but will it be more of the same and will we kick AR's relevance down the road for another year?

3) What will Ford's mobility message be at the keynote on Tuesday morning? Ford has certainly earned their stripes at CES; they were around when folks still wondered why a car company was at the show. However, Mark Fields is no longer CEO—he was replaced by James Hackett last May. What does this mean for their efforts to a) lead in autonomous cars and to b) be a mobility company instead of an automobile company?

4) Wither televisions? I'm betting on multiple companies showing massive 8K displays—this, of course, is at a time when a good portion of the market isn't even getting its content in Full HD. When seemingly every study shows that a substantial share of younger folks consume their video content on tablets and smartphones, what happens to television sales over the next decade or so?

5) What single thing at CES 2018 will make me go "Whoa"? Last year, it was Tanvas' rather amazing dynamic textures for touch screens. This year, things look wide open, but I'll start to have a better idea this afternoon.

John Mulhern III, Posted 1/7/2018