Business & Economy

Samsung, Sony, self-drive tractors featured at semi-virtual tech fair

Washington, Jan 5 (EFE).- New Samsung and Sony products, along with John Deere self-driving tractors were some of the items featured at the CES electronics fair, which kicked off on Wednesday with a mixed in-person and virtual format that was tarnished somewhat by complications resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In contrast to the situation in 2020, when the event was 100 percent virtual, this year there was an in-person element at the Las Vegas tech fair, but the high incidence of the Omicron coronavirus variant in recent weeks has resulted in a very significant fall-off in physical attendance from past years.

For that reason, some of the key exhibitors – including Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Meta (Facebook), AMD, General Motors and BMW – who months ago had announced their intention to participate in person at the CES event, ultimately opted not to have any personnel physically on hand in the casino city and handled their presentations virtually.

South Korea’s Samsung captured a large part of the attention on the fair’s first day by presenting to the public for the first time its new, small and elegant Freestyle projector with a resolution of 1,080 pixels and a price of $899 Besides being a projector, the Samsung device also functions as an ambient lighting device and smart speaker, can rotate up to 180 degrees and is easily transportable – something that traditionally had been a problem with products of this kind.

Another of the companies that created a splash at the CES was Japan’s Sony in announcing the first details of its new generation of virtual reality devices – PlayStation VR2 – which includes a renovated headset and two controls, one of them equipped with its Sense technology.

The devices, developed for the PlayStation 5 (PS5), seek to contribute a greater sense of presence to gamers allowing them to interact in a much more intense manner, Sony’s senior vice president for planning and platform management, Hideaki Nishino, said.

The new headset incorporates 4K resolution with high dynamic range images, a visual field of 110 degrees and eye-tracking technology.

Simultaneously, Sony also revealed that it will establish a new electric vehicle business unit as it explores the possibility of marketing the prototypes it has developed so far, thus entering the automotive market.

Also in the vehicle sector, the longstanding US manufacture of agricultural machinery, John Deere, took advantage of the CES display opportunity to show off its first self-driving tractor, that is one that can move through grain and vegetable fields without needing anyone at the steering wheel.

Instead of having to be seated inside the vehicle, farmers will be able to control their tractors using an application on their mobile phones, from which they will receive a real-time video signals and all sorts of data about conditions out in the fields.

Despite the absence of big-tech names at this year’s in-person event, some 2,200 companies were present at the Las Vegas fair, most of them small and medium-sized firms, although this was only about half of the companies that normally participated in CES before the pandemic.

In addition, expectations are that the total number of people physically attending the fair over the coming three days will be much below the more than 10,000 who had been on hand annually up until 2020.

As an “additional precautionary measure” due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, CES organizers decided a few days ago to reduce by one day the duration of the event, and thus this year it will run from Jan. 5-7 instead of until the Jan. 8, in contrast to earlier plans.

EFE arc/llb/laa/bp

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