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May 12, 2016

Best of CES Asia 2016: The weird and the wonderful from the Shanghai show floor

by John_A

CES Asia opened it doors for the second time in Shanghai this May. And the Chinese version of the world’s largest tech show, CES, which is based in Las Vegas, didn’t hold back on the weird and the wonderful.

Condensing a show as wide-ranging as CES Asia into 12 slides might deliver a muddied message though: this show isn’t as clear-cut or nearly as large as its US counterpart; there aren’t all the biggest tellies and best phones from all the major manufacturers here; Audi was notably absent after kicking off 2015’s inaugural show (BMW has slotted into that space, seemingly); and Chinese/Asian companies aren’t particularly using the show floor as a launch platform.

Not that launches are entirely absent. CES Asia was the first place in the world to get hold of the just-announced Honor V8 smartphone, hardly a coincidence given Huawei – one of China’s biggest tech brands – owns that sister company and was presenting on the show floor for the first time (at the very first stand you could possibly arrive at, no less, ensuring it made its mark).

But we’re not leading with an image of a phone. Oh no, we just couldn’t resist showing-off the Chevrolet FVR concept car because, well, just look at it. It’s ridiculous – in the best possible way. However, it was first seen at the Shanghai Auto Show back in the middle of 2015, so not only will we almost certainly never be driving anything like it, but it’s already got a year-long tail on its life. Which is perhaps the resounding sense of CES Asia: there’s not a whole heap of new.

Garmin also used its stand to quietly show-off its Garmin Forerunner 735XT sports watch for the first time, sat alongside the delightful Vivomove smart-tracker. Digging deeper into the halls in among some abandoned mini stands there were some real gems: from a Wi-Fi teapot to an mini air-quality measuring device, both being actual products that are about to go to market – not pipe dream concepts.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Donald Trump speaker (no, really, because Trump “loves China”, right?). And the robotic hexapod. And the dozens of drones, smartwatches, obscure connected jewellery, and we’ll even throw a light-up connected guitar in there.

Which, when we put it like that, goes to show CES Asia’s versatility, its madness, and its fun. Year two was certainly bigger and better than the first, despite the lack of launches, so here’s hoping there’s more weird and wonderful tech to grace the expanding show floors for year three and beyond.

Take a look at our CES Asia 2016 round-up gallery, full screen and complete with captions, to make the most of what was on offer.

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