The new year is here and that can only mean one thing. No, not that you need to lose some weight (although you probably do), but that it's time for the eyes of the world to focus on Las Vegas for the biggest tech show of the year. CES 2020 has kicked off and there's already been some cool new smart home tech going live.
In the hallowed halls of Las Vegas' convention centers, hotel suites and ballrooms, we're getting a glimpse of the future of the smart home.
In order to stay up to date with everything that's happening out in Sin City, 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.
Smart speakers have been the trojan horse into the smart home for a while now and CES 2020 is awash with third party speakers and devices packing in Google Assistant and Alexa.
One of the most notable entrants is this absolute monstrosity from bathroom specialist Kohler, who has managed to build Amazon's digital assistant into a shower head. Sure, there's already a load of great smart speakers that work well in the bathroom, but none of them double up as a shower head, do they?
The Kohler Moxie Showerhead is actually pretty slickly designed. The Alexa speaker (there is also going to be a cheaper, Bluetooth-only, variant) is a separate component that slots into the middle, held in with magnets. You pop it out to charge it with a cordless dock. On sale later this year, it'll cost $159.
By far the most striking new smart speaker on show over in Vegas is the Royole Mirage, which features an 8-inch flexible AMOLED display wrapped around the body.
This Alexa smart speaker (pictured above) also has a 5MP camera and will cost an eye watering $899 when it hits the shops later this year.
Another gorgeous new smart speaker - this time packing the Google Assistant - is the $299 Belkin Soundform Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker + Wireless Charger, which combines a smart speaker with a, you guessed it, wireless charging pad.
The key thing here is that Belkin, who specialise in charging accessories, has teamed up with French audio specialist Devialet, for the sound.
A very bizarre entry to the smart speaker game is Japanese watch Citizen's effort - which isn't actually a real product right now; rather a prototype. Apparently, a few designs of the Alexa device are planned - the one on show in Vegas looked like a bog standard Bluetooth speaker with a watch glued on the front.
Samsung's Galaxy Home Mini was on show over in Vegas and we, kind of, have a launch date for the much anticipated smart speaker. "Early 2020" was the word from
If there's one thing that's always popular to show off at CES, it's TVs. Smart TV platforms 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 Samsung's 99-percent-screen (squint hard and you can just about see a bezel on the bottom) Q950 8KTV.
when Golden Girls comes on and you gotta respect that 4:3 aspect ratio #CES2020pic.twitter.com/OpifLeBX1g
‚ÄĒ Hugh Langley (@HughLangley) January 6, 2020
The Korean company also showed off its Sero TV; the one that rotates 90 degrees so you can watch portrait videos, and revealed it will go on sale outside of its homeland later this year. Also announced were new sizes of the Wall TV range, a bigger (better) Frame TV and some enhanced personal privacy options for users.
All eyes were on Sony for some juicy PlayStation 5 news but all we got was a glimpse of the new logo and it's exactly-the-same-but-with-a-5-instead-of-a-4.
On the TV front, Sony revealed a range of 8K, 4K, OLED and LCD models, all running on the latest Android 9.0 smart platform. The big hitters from the new range definitely have an eye on that PS5 launch; the flagship 8K Z8H can play in both 8K (at 60Hz) and 4K (at 120Hz), while the X900H 4K LED will be capable of 120Hz too.
LG made a big splash last year with the Signature Series OLED TV R - which never hit the shops - but is back this year to show it off an updated R9 model, with its new ability to unfurl from the ceiling. For $60k. Yep.
In much more accessible LG news, LG TV users will soon have access to Apple‚Äôs original TV content from existing OLED and NanoCell TVs, which will be updated to support the Apple TV app - not just the new 2020 models but 2018 and 2019 sets as well.
CES 2020 has already seen some pretty big smart security announcements such as Arlo's new Pro 3 Floodlight Camera, which adds 2,000 lumen floodlight wings to brighten up the area you're surveying.
Perhaps the biggest news, on the smart lock front, at least, was August's latest Wi-Fi Smart Lock (above). The clue is in the name but, with its own built in Wi-Fi, there's o need to plug in the August Connect for remote access.
The new design sports a softer surface, rounded edges and textured ridges for a more solid feel when you open and close the lock manually. A new small ridge on the lock‚Äôs outer ring also helps you see at a glance if the lock is locked or not.
August sister company Yale also revealed the slick looking Linus Lock; a retrofit smart lock that works with up to 90% of locks globally (outside the US). Like the new August lock, it's designed by Yves B√©har.
Yale also revealed a few more smart security solutions; most notably the Yale Smart Delivery Box, which wants to make porch theft a thing of the past.
It's a simple idea really, the box contains Yale's new $229 Smart Cabinet Lock (which will also go on sale separately). Once a delivery driver opens the box to place something in, it automatically locks, keeping your goodies safe inside.
If you pay $50 more for the Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge then you can remotely unlock/lock for additional deliveries.
Netatmo used the Vegas expo to unveil its first ever smart lock - the HomeKit compatible Smart Door Lock (pictured below), which works with Netatmo's Smart Keys and the Netatmo Security app. It can be installed in an existing cylinder door lock and, thanks to a built-in accelerometer, can tell you if someone is trying to break in.
Ring is always busy at CES and 2020 was no exception. We finally got confirmation of the long-rumored smart light bulb - or rather bulbs; the Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb is designed for inside your house and for covered areas outdoors, and the PAR38 Smart LED Bulb is for recessed lighting both indoors and out. They both work with the new Ring Bridge.
Ring also unveiled three new solar-powered outdoor lights, as well as its first-ever access control device: Ring Access Controller Pro, which lets you remotely operate electronically. The idea is you look at the live view on your Ring app, see who‚Äôs at the gate (from a Ring cam or doorbell), and let them. Also, with Key by Amazon, your Amazon driver can get access to deliver your packages inside your gate.
ADT is looking to bring its brand up to date with home security rivals in 2020. At CES, it launched Blue by ADT; a new smart home focused division that initially includes three smart cameras, a Wi-Fi extender and a doorbell chime.
Another security specialist with new camera on show is Abode, who used the Vegas expo to launch a modular security camera that can be used in a number of different ways. Pop it into the doorbell mount, for example, and it can be powered by existing doorbell leads and installed flush against the door.
We're told the Abode Outdoor/Indoor Smart Camera should be HomeKit friendly when it launches later in Q1. It will cost $199.
The newly revealed Kwikset Halo Touch Smart Lock lets you store up to 100 fingerprints from 50 users and you can also use the Kwikset app to lock / unlock the door, see the lock's history and set notifications for any time the door is unlocked.
Eve, the HomeKit specialist, has announced a new security camera designed with Apple's smart home ecosystem in mind. The Eve Cam, which is an indoor smart security camera, was created exclusively for Apple HomeKit Secure Video. That means your footage is privately analyzed by your HomeKit hub (Apple TV or HomePod) and uses "on‚ÄĎdevice intelligence" to determine if people or pets are present.
Eufy brought its new battery-powered video doorbell to CES. This one offers 2K resolution with wide dynamic range and Eufy says it‚Äôs good for 180 days on one charge. It also offers smart human detection, local storage, and works with Google Assistant/Alexa.
Smart lighting has long been the easiest way to sell the smart home, and we're seeing companies double down and finding more ways for people to smarten up their lighting situations.
Over at the show the biggest smart light news has been Nanoleaf's new Learning Series tech; "a lighting system which blends intelligent learning, motion sensing and brightness sensing technology with scheduling to give you a product that simply knows what you need, when you need it."
Think auto-scenes based on the weather, time of day, what media you're consuming and so on. Clever stuff (if it works).
Nanoleaf also took the covers off of of its new Unified Hexagon Light Panels. These are the first lights to come out of the Unified Light Panels line and we're told more shapes will launch over the next couple of years.
Lifx is also back with a bang, using CES 2020 to unleash a plethora of new devices; most notably the new Lifx Filament range, which will offer smokey, amber and clear glass versions for $29.99. Also new is the Lifx Switch; a four-gang smart light switch that can be used to control both dumb and smart lights.
This $119 switch has Lifx‚Äôs Control Module inside, so it gives you the same controls over the bulbs it‚Äôs connected to as you‚Äôd get with a regular Lifx light.
Another smart light switch option coming out of the show is Brilliant's Smart Dimmer Switch, essentially the Brilliant Switch Control, minus the display. It boasts one touch dimming, motion sensing, and scene control, and is controllable with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart lighting king Philips Hue revealed some new outdoor lights to bring a splash of color to the garden, as well as announcing some updates to the Hue app, as well as an update that;s coming to the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box that will allow you to control it using any infrared control or using Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri. That update will come this spring, while the app updates are rolling out now.
Best of the rest
We really don't want to give this little ball of nonsense coverage, so let's just keep it short and sweet. Samsung revealed a robot, called Ballie, which has a built-in camera to capture and store "special moments" and can activate smart home devices such as robotic vacuums, when it determines that a clean is needed. Exactly.
Netgear, already a major player in the Wi-Fi mesh system world through its Orbi brand has taken the covers off of the much anticipated Nighthawk Mesh WiFi System, which is high-end gaming focused and boasts specialised features such as Dynamic QoS, which automatically prioritises both video streaming and gaming traffic.
Netgear also used CES to launch the Orbi 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router, where your existing ISP connection can be backed up by 4G LTE in case it goes down.
Comcast is also getting in on the Wi-Fi 6 mesh action, with its new xFi Advanced Gateway; the first multi-gigabit speed Wi-Fi 6-certified router for the Xfinity internet service.
Taking on the Meural Digital Canvas, Lenovo's Smart Frame (above) doesn't pull images from Google Photos. Instead, you either load up photos you want on show using the app or choose from ‚Äúhundreds of art pieces". It uses AI to pick out the best shots and images and the best way to show them off on the 21-inch display, depending on the conditions of the room.
Moen, which describes itself as "the leader in water experiences in the home" - and who are we to argue? - revealed its Smart Faucet, with "voice-activation technology to help complete tasks in the kitchen."
Using either Alexa or Google Assistant, you'll be able to say things like, "I want 250ml of 65 degree water" or "Fill up my big saucepan". What a world, eh? Moen has also teamed up with Flo Technologies for a new Smart Water Detector.
Staying in the kitchen and Whirlpool revealed its Meater rival through its Yummly brand. The $129 wireless smart meat thermometer consists of a probe and a dock and, later this year, will integrate with select Whirlpool ovens to adjust temperatures based on recipes from the Yummly app.