Hello from Las Vegas where Sara Fischer, Mike Allen and I will be bringing you all the latest from CES. You can keep up to date on all the big news here.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
As in past years, CES, the consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas this week, will be a launching pad for all manner of "smart" devices. We'll be watching a battle play out to connect everything from refrigerators and cameras to toilets and showers.
Yes, but: Just connecting devices to the internet doesn't make them smart. To be sensible and practical, such devices also have to be secure and easy to use, which means more than just adding some wireless technology. We also need to set standards to protect consumers.
What's happening: HS Kim, CEO of Samsung's consumer electronics business, has been working on the "smart home" notion since he was an engineer at the Korean tech giant 20 years ago.
Standards need to be set — not just the technical and legal ones that let these devices interact but the social ones that dictate what is and isn’t appropriate, so that consumers have an altered, but intact, sense of privacy.
The big picture: Today's consumers have a choice on whether to allow voice assistants like those from Google and Amazon into their home — a choice that may vanish as more devices gain internet connections and incorporate built-in voice assistants as routine add-ons. This means the time is now to set technical, legal and social standards.
Tech people like to use "G"s to signify the next generation of technology, especially in the wireless world. There was 2G and 3G, today's 4G LTE and we are on the brink of 5G.
Yes, but: Marketing people are always getting ahead of the technology people, jumping the gun to get an edge on rivals. It happened with 4G as T-Mobile and AT&T started putting the 4G label on what was essentially a speedier flavor of 3G.
Reality check: True 5G will require new devices to run on the new networks that are only just beginning to show up. The first true 5G smartphones are still a couple months away and will only support 5G in a handful of cities that carriers have picked for their first deployments.
But wait, it gets worse. Today, the research arm of the cable industry, known as CableLabs, is announcing a technology called 10G.
Full disclosure: I'm part of the problem. Later this week I'm moderating a panel on 6G, exploring the use cases and technologies that will eventually prompt the industry to look beyond 5G, which we've barely started implementing.
The LG HomeBrew craft beer machine at CES 2019. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images
There's never a shortage of weird and wacky products at CES. It's just that you usually have to look a little harder to find them.
What's new: This year, such efforts have moved front and center. At Sunday's CES Unveiled event, there seemed to be even more odd and impractical gadgets than ever. Here's a sampling...
Rural internet service providers and the progressive group Demand Progress Education Fund have joined a coalition trying to quash T-Mobile's proposed purchase of Sprint, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Where it stands: The deal is under review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.
What's next: The deal remains under review but it’s unclear whether there’s any momentum among regulators to stop it.
This model of a Boeing 777 is made entirely out of manila folders, glue (and a LOT of patience).