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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

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Glenn Youngkin in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Friday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Standing on a flatbed hitched to a John Deere tractor in red Rockingham County, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin decried California liberalism and bashed his rival, Terry McAuliffe. He also encouraged early voting. Two words he avoided: Donald Trump.

Driving the news: Youngkin, the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee, is mounting a serious challenge to McAuliffe — a former governor and veteran of Democratic politics. Axios caught up with him on Friday in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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