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President of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda takes a selfie after he introduced the e-Palette Concept Vehicle. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

The smartphones and other gadgets that used to dominate the annual CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) in Vegas are being overshadowed by bigger mobile devices: namely, automobiles, AP reports:

  • "Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Ford have a noticeable presence at this week's tech showcase in Las Vegas ... Toyota says it's developing self-driving mini-buses that can serve as bite-sized stores. These vehicles will drive themselves to places where potential buyers can try on clothes or shoes or pick through flea market items. The project is still in the conceptual stage, with testing expected in the 2020s.

Other CES developments:

  • "TV manufacturers are showcasing new models — all with acronyms to set their sets apart. One feature called HDR10+ by Samsung and HDR 10 Pro by LG takes what's known as high dynamic range and adjusts settings for each frame, instead of having levels set for the entire video at once."
  • "[Q]uantum-dot technology promises more accurate colors. Samsung calls its version QLED, while Hisense has QDEF."
  • "As LG unveiled its lineup of smart appliances, executive David VanderWaal quickly lost rapport with his on-stage partner, the cute voice-activated assistant CLOi. After a greeting, CLOi stopped responding while continuing to blink its digital eyes."
  • VanderWaal shrugged it off: "Even robots have bad days."

Go deeper

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.