The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a staple event in any tech fan’s calendar when it lands each January, and for good reason.
For those out of the know, it’s a yearly event that sees all the big names in tech descend on Las Vegas to show off their new products. Over the years it has been the launch pad for everything from Samsung’s awesome addwash washing machines to rollable TVs and Dell’s Alienware UFO concept.
But for me, its relevance has been slipping in one key area – mobile. Those of us with grey in our hair will remember the days where CES was THE tech conference for every vertical. However, since then it’s relevance in numerous categories has gradually been chipped away as competing, more focused, conferences have started popping up.
In mobile, this has undeniably happened thanks to the rise of Mobile World Congress – a mobile show that takes place in February/March in Barcelona. As an event, MWC has gradually grown from a business to business show for backend networking tech into one of the biggest consumer events for mobile phone aficionados.
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This is largely because everyone from Huawei with its flagship P-series of phones to Samsung with its Galaxy-line uses the event to launch their latest flagship handsets, setting the tone for the entire year.
The buzz the show receives means that CES has become all but irrelevant for mobile fans, with every company hoarding its important phones and tablets for MWC or choosing to go off on their own and host separate events later in the year, as Google and Apple do.
Which is why this year I’m pleased to see Samsung buck the trend and offer mobile phone fans a rare treat, confirming it will host a Unpacked Event on 14 January at the tail end of CES 2021. It’s technically not part of the show, though Samsung is an exhibitor, I still think it’s good news for CES and tech fans in general.
The firm is expected to use the event to launch a wealth of cool new devices, including the hotly rumoured Galaxy S21.
This is big news for a variety of reasons. The biggest is, because, if rumours are to be believed, then the Galaxy S21 will be one of Samsung’s most exciting phones in years. Current rumblings suggest 2021 will be the year Samsung retires it’s Note-line of phablets and rolls its best features into its main S-flagship line. Specifically, there are strong indications at least one version of the Galaxy S21 will come with an S Pen stylus, which is a huge deal for power users.
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The S Pen has always been a key draw for the Note line, making it quick and easy to jot notes on your phone, manage spreadsheets on the fly and even do a little light photo editing with much more accuracy. So seeing it on a regular Galaxy phone this early in the year is great news for anyone looking to upgrade.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the phone’s also expected to feature a completely reworked rear camera setup that’ll help Samsung reclaim a spot as one of the best mobile photography brands – an area it’s been losing ground on to key rivals including Huawei, Google and Apple, which topped our best camera list during testing last year.
Which is why for me the early launch is great news both for fans and CES’ organisers, who after all the issues around going fully digital, could definitely use a break!