Scooters, hidden cameras and robot cats: What to expect from Chinese companies at CES 2020
Chinese presence at CES declines for the second year, but there are still surprises
Two years ago, China had such a big presence at the Consumer Electronics Show that it was jokingly dubbed the Chinese electronics show. But the ongoing trade war has had an impact. The number of Chinese exhibitors dropped from 1,551 in 2018 to 1,120 in 2019, and it’s projected to drop a further 5% to 6% this year. The number of Chinese attendees also reportedly dropped from 15,383 in 2018 to 12,839 in 2019.
Still, despite the smaller presence, there are still likely to be a few highlights from Chinese companies at the show.
OnePlus Concept One
At this point, there’s not much left for smartphone makers to do to stand out from the crowd, but OnePlus is still trying. The company has been teasing a new concept phone that will be unveiled at CES this year, which it calls… Concept One.
OnePlus teases that one of the major features is an “invisible camera” on the back. Partnering with car maker McLaren, the new concept phone covers its rear camera with electrochromic glass -- glass that relies on power to change its color, so that when the camera is not in use, it can turn opaque and hide the camera.
Honor V30 Pro
It seems like Huawei is undeterred by not being able to put Google apps on its smartphones. Its sub-brand Honor is expected to launch the international version of its V30 Pro at CES, according to the South China Morning Post.
V30 is the Chinese brand’s upper-mid-range series launched in China in November 2019. It has a Kirin 990 processor and a 5G modem, with three rear cameras and two selfie cameras. The highest-end V30 Pro model is priced at 4,199 yuan (US$602) in China.
Scooter giant Segway Ninebot is set to unveil a new self-balancing vehicle at CES -- a two-wheeled pod that lets people sit in it while cruising around… but supposedly only in campuses, airports or theme parks.
Unlike its signature hoverboards, the Segway S-Pod doesn’t require people to lean in the direction they want to go. Instead, it is controlled by a joystick on one side of the vehicle.
Xiaomi said it will not attend this year’s CES, but some of its ecosystem companies will have a busy show. Huami, a Xiaomi-backed wearable maker, will launch new Amazfit products at the show this year.
One of them will be the Amazfit T-Rex, a new smartwatch that can last 20 days on a single charge, according to Huami CEO Wang Huang. Huang released pictures of the T-Rex on Weibo ahead of CES today.
Another of Huami’s to-be-unveiled products is shoe-related, Huang also said on Weibo. But it’s not yet clear what it is.
Sony’s robot dog Aibo always drew crowds at CES, and this year, a Chinese startup is showing off a robotic cat.
Made by Shenzhen-based Elephant Robotics, MarsCat is a programmable robotic pet that can interact with users and play with toys. The company, which mainly makes industrial robotic arms, is also running a Kickstarter campaign for the cat.
Like last year, 8K is still a buzzword for TVs at CES this year, even though we still don’t have 8K content. Skyworth, for instance, launched a 8K TV for the US market at CES -- the 75-inch Q91, which will be priced at US$5,999.
TCL, on the other hand, is going another way by launching a mini-LED TV. Mini-LED promises a better experience than standard LCD TVs, but at a cheaper price than OLED TVs.