CES 2021 – our picks of the 2021 virtual tech trade show extravaganza

CES kicks off this week, but with the world the way it is the consumer tech industry has been forced to forgo the annual trip to the sand and slots of Las Vegas for a virtual experience in socks and slippers.

The change hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the tech industry for the new launches however, with everything from streaming services to games consoles launching. Below we’ve picked out a few of the more unexpected announcements that caught our eye:

Sony launches TVs (naturally) and CORE streaming service (what?!)

So Sony launches a new range of Bravia TVs and of course it did what do you expect…but hang on, what’s this? A streaming service to go with said TVs – just Sony content and just for Sony buyers? Interesting.

Called CORE (which is genuinely an acronym for ‘Centre of Real Entertainment’), the purpose seems to be to show off the chops of Sony’s latest Bravia screens. Some clever tech, including Pure Stream technology, promises to deliver better quality viewing than 4K Blu-ray discs.

There is a few points to note though. Firstly (and naturally, its only Sony Pictures Entertainment you’re gonna find here – so Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon need not fear just yet). You’ll also need a min 115MBps broadband connection to see the benefit of all those extra pixels firing down your ISP’s line. Plus, there’s only plans to support the service for 12 or 24 months depending on the Bravia model you opt for.  Its also only for those opting for the 2021 Sony Bravia XR TV range, which cost…let me check my notes here…well we don’t have pricing yet, but you can bet they’ll cost more than a smile.

Lenovo targets Switch with the LaVie Mini

It seems the extra free time lockdown as afforded us has not gone to waste at Lenovo. Someone somewhere has been spending their time thinking ‘what if we got a laptop and a Nintendo Switch in a room together, turned down the lights real low, lit a fire, and played Barry Manilow on the stereo?

The answer is the Lenovo LaVie Mini, a laptop-come-portable games console, for all your work AND playtime needs.

The LaVie does look impressive enough on paper. Top notch Intel-powered processing and graphics, 8-inch screen, fold-away keyboard, the option to snap on the aforementioned gaming controllers, plus a dock if you want to game on the TV. All that, plus its superlight at only 579g.

Sadly, it’s a concept only device, and with no word on any actual games there’s no way to tell if it’s a credible gaming device. But we love the thought behind it.

Mercedes goes big with a ‘hyperscreen’

‘Hyper’ was one of our fav prefixes last year with the launch of the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom, and its seemingly just as popular in 2021 with the launch of Mercedes’ latest in-car tech.

The German car maker showed off the 56-inch hyperscreen ahead of CES, saying it will launch on the upcoming EQS saloon. The CEO of Daimler, Ola Kallenius, is (ahem) ‘hyped’ for the launch too, telling CNBC (via Express) it will take the Merc experience to “the next level” and “it’s almost like a piece of art, but it’s also a window into a world of digital content for the driver and for the passenger”.

That’s quite a claim, but we do have to admit it looks a lot plusher than a bolted on tablet you’ll find in your Telsa. Decisions, decision.

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