One Week Later: Eight Observations From CES 2020

It's one week after CES 2020 ended, and I believe I've got some handle on what happened and what mattered. With that, here are eight quick observations from the show.

1) Even with some temporal detachment, the most mind-blowing introduction at CES 2020 remains Sony's Vision-S concept car. Gasps went up from the audience when Sony rolled this car onstage early on Monday evening.

2) The Vision-S underlines a belief from old-line electronics conglomerates that they cannot risk being left out of the connected car business. Every one of them spent considerable time during their press conferences discussing transportation-related topics.

3) Apple has moved yet another market with the AirPods Pro. Among the new entrants to the noise-canceling earphones market announced at CES 2020 were Audio-Technica, Klipsch, Panasonic, and Technics.

4) AMD continues to impress while Intel remains largely quiet. AMD CEO Lisa Su introduced a slew of new products at CES, finishing with her own "one more thing" in the style of Steve Jobs; the 64-core, $4,000 Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor.

5) Windows notebook manufacturers double down on classic clamshell configuration. After years of trying different configurations, Dell, HP, and Lenovo all led with what still remains the center of the notebook market. Dell's XPS 13 and HP's Elite Dragonfly G2 are evolutionary improvements to existing (very good) notebooks. With it's folding OLED screen, only Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Fold looked substantially different from last year's top-of-the-line models.

6) External SSD drives are finally letting go of the hard drive based case sizes. LaCie, Seagate, and Western Digital all introduced SSD enclosures that are far smaller than the ones we are used to.

7) USB 4.0 is approaching. With the standard now frozen, the first USB 4.0 prototypes are now appearing, with support for transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. I expect to see a few USB 4.0 devices in 2020, with many more appearing in 2021.

8) More 8k televisions, but little to display on them. Many manufacturers entered the 8k market at CES 2020, while many more updated their existing 8k devices. With 4k content just starting to become readily available, who buys an 8k device?

What did you take away from CES 2020?