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Three takeaways from the Consumer Electronics Show, including a few reasons for optimism.

Despite Being More Than Good Enough, TVs Are Getting Better (and Cheaper. Ed.)

TVs are already plenty good. They’re enormous, basically bezel-less, and feature picture quality that is so many magnitudes better than was conceivable even ten years ago. They’ve even become affordable, long gone are the days where you’d pay more than $500 for something with less than HD resolution and a 32-inch screen. But tech companies have to do something to make you part with your hard-earned money, so they’re trying really hard to make them a lot better.

The Gap Between Consumer and Medical Health Tech is Closing

The gap between wearable fitness trackers, your Fitbits, and actual medical devices has really narrowed over the last few years. Functions that were once limited to extremely expensive machines that you could only find in hospitals have are now commonplace on gear that you can purchase on Amazon. One promising implementation of this I saw this year is by Withings, which makes smartwatches, scales, and health monitors. This year, the company announced the Scanwatch. None of its features are particularly revolutionary—it has the ability to track activity, show notifications, and detect irregular heart rate (with an EKG), just like the Apple Watch. But it features a SpO2 sensor, which can help you determine whether you should be tested for sleep apnea. It’s not the first consumer-grade product with this sensor—as Gizmodo pointed out, Fitbit watches have had them since 2017—but Withings is submitting the Scanwatch for FDA-approval. That might mean it’s a long time before anyone is able to buy a Scanwatch since it could get caught up in regulatory hell, but it also has interesting implications for our ideas around medical devices.

Bluetooth is Getting (a Little) Better (Eventually)

For more reasons than just Apple removing the headphone jack on the iPhone, Bluetooth has become an essential part of most people’s daily lives. And honestly, it kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely amazing to be able to listen to music without a wired connection. But it’s hard to pair two devices, still has noticeable latency, and the compression it requires still messes with audio quality. At the beginning of CES, Bluetooth announced some changes that should address some of these problems through finalizing support for Bluetooth LE Audio. As The Verge reports, This will unlock a bunch of new features for people using Bluetooth, including higher-quality audio, hearing aid support, broadcasting to multiple devices, and better wireless earbud support. These updates should have a big effect on devices using the most basic Bluetooth standards, giving them some of the advantages that already exist in devices like more premium Bluetooth headphones and Apple’s AirPods. These aren’t just minor upgrades. If we get what’s been promised, this is a substantial improvement to a ton of devices that a lot of people purchase.

Read the complete article by Daniel Varghese in GQ Magazine: https://www.gq.com/story/ces-2020-emerging-tech-trends

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