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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

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.