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Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

While the biggest tech breakthroughs probably won't show up at the Consumer Electronics Show kicking off today in Las Vegas, it’s a good place to see where the industry as a whole is placing its bets.

The big trend: The integration of voice assistants into all kinds of consumer electronics gear, from your TV to your fridge.

The trend is taking two forms:

  • It's a fierce battle between Amazon and Google to get their assistants included on other companies' devices.
  • As the same time, hardware makers including Samsung, LG and Roku are putting their own voice assistants into their products.

These two trends aren't mutually exclusive: For example, Samsung's Bixby exists alongside Google Assistant on phones. Similarly, LG ships its TVs with both its homegrown and Google's assistants.

What to watch: TVs and cars are among the key battlegrounds, but assistants are also finding their way into everything from cooking appliances to bathroom fixtures. Bixby, for example, is being added to Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator, while Amazon's Alexa is coming to ovens and microwaves.

Also big in Vegas:

  • TVs galore: TVs always have a prominent spot at CES. In addition to the voice assistant integration, LG is showing a large rollable model, while Samsung showed a giant 146-inch TV — "The Wall" — made up of a new technology, called microLED, that it says eliminates the need for backlighting.
  • Connected cars: The intersection of car tech and consumer electronics will once again take center stage. The two big trends here are autonomous technology startups showing off their vehicles and big car companies partnering with tech giants.

Other takes: Here are some of our favorite snippets of the CES previews from around the web so far.

  • The Verge says "VR will fade into the background and AR will rise to the forefront"
  • CNET says "CES 2018 is critical for Samsung": expect to see its Bixby voice assistant in more things.
  • VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi predicts, among other things, a crop of crazy priced "smart" gadgets like last year's $1,200 shower head. (Meanwhile, Moen, was back at CES to announce that the aforementioned bathroom fixture now has Amazon Alexa compatiblity.)

Axios' Ina Fried will be in Vegas this week to cover all the latest tech news for Login, her daily tech newsletter (sign up here), and Axios.com.

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

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