There's a new year upon us. That means it's time for the tech world to descend into Sin City for the biggest tech show of the year. That's right - CES 2019 is happening right now.
In the hallowed halls of Las Vegas' convention centers, and hotel suites and ballrooms, we're getting a glimpse of the future of the smart home - from smart TVs to smart locks and everything in between.
In order to stay up to date with everything that's happening out in Vegas, be sure to bookmark our dedicated smart home news page or, even easier than that, keep coming back to this story as we'll be keeping it updated throughout the week.
If there's one thing that's always popular to show off at CES, it's TVs. Smart TVs are increasingly becoming the default television option for many people, and several companies - from Samsung to LG - have even made their own operating systems and app stores, plus features like Ambient Mode, to make them more exciting to consumers.
So far, at the show the biggest news on the smart TV front is the revelation that Apple is putting AirPlay 2 and iTunes on Samsung Smart TVs. Yep, new Sammy sets arriving in 2019 will get a new dedicated iTunes Movies and TV Shows app, letting users browse their iTunes library and buy or rent films and shows from Apple's store. The app will be available on Samsung's smart TVs starting this spring, and available on 2018 models via a firmware update.
Samsung has also shrewdly added support for Google Assistant and Alexa in its 2019 TVs, even though you'll need a separate smart speaker to use them (only Bixby gets baked-in privileges).
Samsung TVs aren't the only ones getting AirPlay 2 support though. Sony, Vizio and LG Android TVs are all getting HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support. This essentially helps turn AirPlay into more of a rival to Google's Chromecast tech.
Speaking of LG and the Korean company has definitely created the wow moment from this year's show. Just check out this rollable 65-inch 4K OLED TV...
Elsewhere, Roku and Chinese company TCL announced plans for a new line of 8K TVs, as well as adding far-field microphones to forthcoming 4K models, for voice search and control. Expect a late 2019 launch for the 8K models.
Smart speakers have been the trojan horse into the smart home for a while now, with consumers going gaga for both the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot in particular. CES 2019 is awash with a wave of third-party smart speakers that have Alexa and Google Assistant built in.
On that note we've seen Klipsch announce five new soundbars at the show, which range widely in price and features, and throw in Google Assistant and Alexa support. Starting at $299, the cheapest soundbar, the Klipsch Bar 40 is also the smallest of the lineup. At the top end of the range is the $1,599 Klipsch Bar 54A, which gets Dolby Atmos dolloped on as well.
The KitchenAid Smart Display has also gone live: a Google Assistant-powered smart display that sports a 10-inch screen in an Amazon Echo Show-like wedge and is a partnership with KitchenAid sister-company Yummly, which will give you access to all of its visual recipes.
Google itself isn't sleeping. It's partnered with Lenovo for the Lenovo Smart Clock, which is essentially Google and Lenovo's take on the Echo Spot. It's a tiny little smart display that's a little more focused on being an alarm clock and less of a hub for your entire home. Lenovo also took the covers off of the Lenovo Smart Tab; a 2-in-1 Android tablet that also doubles up as an Echo Show Mode smart speaker.
Google also announced Google Assistant Connect, which lets devices connect to a Google Home device via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and use its speech powers without having to build a smart speaker. It's Google's version of Alexa Connect Kit.
Asus revealed its answer to Netgear's Orbi with the Lyra Voice - which is essentially an internet router (that can form part of a mesh network) - that also bakes in Alexa and a pair of eight-watt speakers, which can be used to play music over Bluetooth or from your Alexa commands.
House of Marley, the eco-conscious audio specialist, revealed its first smart speaker at the show - the Get Together Mini comes with the Google Assistant on board, and is made of natural bamboo, recyclable aluminum and Marley's signature Rewind fabric composed of organic cotton, organic hemp and recycled plastics. It goes on sale in August for $119.
And yes, it's finally happened. Dux has gone ahead and put Alexa in a bed. There's a smart speaker built into the frame, so you can play music and ask Alexa to control your smart home without getting out of bed, or wasting night stand space on a speaker.
Sonos, once again, confirmed its plans to bring Google Assistant support to its multi-room audio ecosystem. The bad news is we never got an actual launch date - although we did get a demo of it in action.
One of the primary reasons to turn your home smart is security. We've seen a number of companies make security a priority. Nest and Ring both debuted security systems in the past year, and Nest even went a step further and debuted both a lock and a doorbell.
We're seeing that trend continue as the competition to be your doorbell intensifies. Netatmo has announced it is launching a smart video doorbell, which will be the first to offer Apple HomeKit integration. The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is getting ahead of Ring and August, which have both promised HomeKit support but still haven't delivered.
Speaking of Ring, the company has a new Door View Camera that turns your peephole into a smart camera. Yes, you can still ring it and all the usual smart doorbell features are there, but it fits nicely on your door rather than next to it. Ring didn't stop there either, revealing a bunch of smart lighting and smart home sensors, like a smoke and CO2 sensor.
First Alert is using the show floor to debut a collection of connected wares, with a new video doorbell, smoke alarm and Wi-Fi network aiming to increase your home security. Operating under its Onelink banner, the company has unveiled the Surround Wi-Fi System, Bell and Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, while also updating its Safe & Sound alarm. All offer something slightly different, but the emphasis is all on securing the home.
D-Link might not be great at product names but the DCS-8600LH Full HD Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera and DCS-8515LH HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (c'mon guys) were both unveiled; featuring compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Arlo is expanding from just making smart cameras to making an entire security system. It won't just send alerts to your phone either, it'll communicate with other Arlo products to act. So if your window opens, your camera will get a prompt to start recording.
Alarm.com turned it attention to remote care. If you're already a subscriber to the company's services, you can buy the Wellcam and put it in a loved one's home - they won't need to subscribe themselves. The Wellcam uses sensors and "predictive analytics" to learn what is typical behavior and, if it detects a change, it will send an alert to the caregiver.
Yale has unveiled a brand new non-deadbolt smart lock connected by August, which should be a boon for those of us who want to outfit our garages and side doors with smart locks. August will also power luxury lockmaker Emtek's new EMPowered Smart Lock, so if you've got the cash to get a custom-made smart lock, it's not possible.
Other notable new smart locks revealed at the show include the HomeKit-friendly updated Kwikset Premis - a touchscreen-equipped deadbolt; and Mighton's Avia HomeKit smart lock, which is designed for for multipoint locking doors.
Schlage has gone all out Amazon for its new lock - Encode is the first WiFi-equipped deadbolt that supports Key by Amazon (without a hub) and it plays nicely with Ring too. Lockly's new Secure Pro deadbolt costs $300 and there's five different ways to operate it; a key, a key pad, a fingerprint scan, the app and with either Alexa or Google Assistant.
British company Hive used CES to show off Hive Link to the world; it's no-way-creepy-at-all Big Brother-esque surveillance app that lets family members know what people are up to via a network of smart plugs.
Maximus Lighting also announced a doorbell, but with a twist: dual 1080p cameras. One pointing forward, and one pointing at your feet and packages. So now you get a full, 155-degree field of view look at what's going on.
Smart lighting has long been the best way to sell the smart home, and companies aren't just going to stop investing in smart lights. In fact, we're seeing companies double down and finding more ways for people to smarten up their lighting situations.
GE has a massive new portfolio of devices on show in Vegas that work with Google Assistant. The range includes full-color LED bulbs, which also happen to be the first color Made for Google bulbs. There'll be the standard 60-watt A19 bulbs, BR30 bulbs and lightstrips too. The company is also looking to introduce health and security features for C by GE in the future, though it's unclear what that could be right now. GE also unveiled a smart dimmer switch as well.
Lightstrips are big business right now - the Eve Light Strip also made its official bow at CES 2019; letting you light up your home with pre-installed scenes and colors. The 2m LED strip is the "brightest HomeKit-enabled LED strip to date" according to its makers and, we'll be honest, it's not something we're gonna bother fact checking - let's just go with it.
Lutron, a big name for high-end smart home installations, revealed the the latest addition to its CasĂ©ta smart lighting system... albeit with a device that's not really focused on lighting. A new fan speed control provides wireless access to ceiling fans from anywhere, with simple integrations with existing CasĂ©ta scenes and schedules.
Sengled, fast becoming a serious player in the space, announced a new range of smart light bulbs at the show, including the Sengled Smart LED extra-bright 100W replacement bulb, a "first-to-market" according to the company. We're told that the high light output means consumers can seamlessly swap any 100W light bulb with this smart bulb and not compromise the overall light level. Also revealed were the Sengled Smart LED Multicolor Lightstrip, Sengled Smart Wi-Fi Multicolor A19 bulb and, more interestingly, the Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor - a floodlight and motion sensor all-in-one.
Nanoleaf is getting even crazier with its wall panels, introducing a new Hexagon shape. Those six sides allow for even more creative combinations. They're also touch enabled, so you'll be able to play games like Whack-A-Mole, Candy Crush and Pacman.
The big name in smart lighting, Philips has announced a number of new outdoor lights. From a brand new flood light to outdoor weather-resistant motion sensors for your lights. There's also the slick-looking Hue Econic family, which are series of mounted fixtures for your porch. Let's not forget the most exciting bit: Philips Hue lights can now sink to Google alarms and night time routines. So they can gently turn off at night, and wake you up with your alarm. Nifty.
Hue's biggest rival - Lifx - didn't have any new devices at the show but it did announce a couple of new features to its Tile product; Tile Tap and Tile Fire - the former allowing users to âtapâ into any tile produce, the latter for creating the effect of a roaring fire.
It's 2019 for Pete's sake. If all the switches and plugs in your house aren't smart then, believe us grandad - you are living in the past. Luckily for you then that CES 2019 is a hot bed of new connected switches, sockets and plugs.
Fibaro's CES line-up is based around its new Walli outlet product line, which includes devices with smart home intelligence and Z-Wave compatibility - such as wall sockets in a couple of different flavors and dimmer and shutter controls. These in-wall devices can be used to trigger scenes and automations and feature an integrated LED ring which can be personalized so you can have different colors for different scenes and the like.
Eve - along with the Light Strip we already mentioned - also let us in on the official launch details for its Energy Strip; a smart plug that allows for control of up to three devices through a single outlet.
Belkin added to its HomeKit-compatible line-up as well, with the new Wemo Light Switch, which will go on sale later this year in single or 3-way variations.
Ikea is going from smart lighting to smart blinds that'll sync up with your existing TrĂ„dfri gateway. That means you'll be able to use Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit.
GE has cooked up something exciting: a new series of smart switches that solve an age-old problem: Your smart bulbs getting dumb when you flick a switch. You will need GE bulbs to use them, however.
In the world of smart thermostats, Honeywell is taking a big step up with the new T9 and T10 Pro. The T9 is focused on accessibility, as it's a Honeywell thermostat you can actually install yourself. They also come with appealing new designs, full-color screens and room sensors. The room sensors are super customizable. For instance, you can have your Honeywell adjust your room's temperature at night to get yourself a better night of sleep.
Samsung's smart fridge has been revamped for CES 2019 - Uber and Expedia have been added to the mix (wtf?) and the Family Hub line-up now has extra intelligence and enhanced Bixby voice control, as well as a new Family Board function, for digital notes, reminders, stickers, memories and the like.
Staying in the kitchen and an unsung hero of the show is without doubt the updated Instant Pot Smart WiFi pressure cooker, which now supports Google Assistant, meaning you can start cooking or check on the status of your dish without getting your phone out.
Kohler went all out Alexa at last year's show and has updated the connected bathroom suite with the new Kohler Numi 2.0 range - which includes the most futuristic toilet you've ever seen in your whole life, ever.
Ecovacs has gone and potentially solved a massive problem with robot vacuums. The new Deebot Ozmo 960 can recognize objects like toys, socks, laptops and - thankfully - cables. So you won't have to worry about your robot vacuum chomping up your cables and bringing your laptop crashing down.
Smart mirrors are fast becoming a thing and we've seen new efforts from both Simplehuman and HiMirror at the Vegas showcase. The former has a couple of new models, most notably the Sensor Mirror Hi-Fi Assist which throws in Google Assistant to the mix. The latter, well, we just hope the new models - Mini and Enterprise - are better than the original.
Petcube's latest devices, announced this week, add Alexa to the mix - with Amazon's assistant built right into the cameras that work in tandem with the main units. The Petcube Bites 2 and Petcube Play 2 are redesigned versions of the companyâs existing models, but offer improved sound and a 180-degree ultra-wide lens.
It's been in the works for years now, but the AtmosControl is finally available for pre-order. At $300, it's more an affordable touchscreen hub that's compatible with some of the biggest names in the smart home, like Lifx, Sonos, Apple TV, Fibaro, Hue, Lutron, Wink and Roku.
Atmos will take on the likes of the existing in-wall controller from Brilliant - who used CES to announce its system now plays nicely with HomeKit.
Back to the kitchen and coming out of W Labs, its innovation incubator, is the Whirlpool Smart Countertop Oven that can identify foods and cook them to perfection using algorithms. Obviously it can be controlled with Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa too.
In the world of smart projectors, Optoma is going for broke with its new P1 Smart 4K UHD Laser Cinema. You're going to get a 3,000 lumen 8.3 million pixel image. That gives you an image up to 120 inches big with HDR10. There's both Alexa and Google Assistant support, with the ability to display an "infowall" when you're not watching TV or movies. Even better, there's an integrated NuForce soundbar with Dolby Digital 2.0 support. It'll arrive in late Q2 for $2,999.\
Last, but in no way least, CES was a huge show for smart car tech - click that link for a full rundown of everything that went down.
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