As one of the world’s most influential tech events, CES is renowned for introducing exciting innovations and gadgetry
firsts to the general population. But for 2021’s show, they had to take the innovation one step further by hosting their
first all-digital conference. We may not have been able to get up close with everything they had to offer, but we still
managed to plug in and garner new insights on the world of audio and communications in tech. Here’s a quick roundup
of the products and announcements that excited us most.
Sony 360 Reality Audio
The last few years have seen a big push towards making surround sound and immersive audio experiences more accessible.
And Sony has made huge strides in the market with their RA5000, announced at this year’s CES. Using their own 360-degree
spatial sound technology – combined with video streaming – the RA5000 simulates a multi-speaker setup and attempts to
recreate the live concert experience. With countless gigs cancelled since last March, this could be a true game-changer
Audio technology for vehicles is another area we’ve highlighted before [maybe link to the best of 2020 audio tech blog], and it’s
something we’re gearing up to see even further improvements on in 2021. Leading the way is Pioneer. They’ve created an indash receiver to bring some of the latest software into older cars, making new features that use Apple Car-Play, Android Auto
and Amazon Alexa much more affordable to the masses. This means you’ll be able to control your stereo system and navigate
maps hands-free, using only your voice.
Pocketalk S Voice Translator
With much of the world at a standstill, we’re likely to see a boom in global travel when it’s safe to open up again – and
PocketTalk’s latest CES debut could be just the thing to enhance the experience. Their portable device understands 82
languages and translates for you in real-time, bridging the communication gap and helping you form new connections
wherever your travels take you.
While face-to-face interactions remain limited, we’re relying even more on technology to bring us closer together – and, with
that in mind, we expected to see some innovations in the phone sector this year. What we didn’t expect was the unveiling from
electronics giant LG. Forgoing the recent trend of foldable smartphones, LG has opted for a rollable handset that expands,
transforming from a mobile to a small tablet, which has obvious benefits for things like video calls. We’re anticipating a release
at some point this year, but may have to wait a while for further details on this intriguing concept.
Cinematic sound is no longer confined to movie theatres – which, given the events of the last year or so, is a welcome
development. Sound technology like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X create multi-dimensional audio experiences, and one of
Samsung’s most popular CES 2021 debuts supports them both. The new HW-Q800A Soundbar fits under your TV, can
connect with your phone through touch, and has SpaceFit Sound – a feature that detects how the speaker should sound
in your room based on its shape. And, as seems to be a requirement for any new speaker these days, it comes with voicecontrolled technology, too.
The innovation on display at CES 2021 was inspiring. It’s clear that audio is set for another massive year, and we can expect
even more advancements in the fields of immersive sound, voice technology and seamless communications