C, E, and S
Instruction Set, 2024/1/15
Welcome back to Multicore. This is Instruction Set for the week of Monday, January 15th.
I’m publishing this edition later due to Monday’s Xiaomi review. It’s also going to be entirely about CES 2024, which took place over the course of last week. Never let it be said that Multicore is your source for by-the-minute breaking news. Regular schedule resumes next week.
I first attended CES in 2012, and even back then the prevailing wisdom was that the show was washed because it almost never played host to truly major new announcements. That is very much still the case today. Here’s the Consumer Technology Association’s own take on its latest CES:
CES 2024 opened today showing it is the venue to set the agenda for the year ahead in technology, business and entertainment, even powering a surge in global awareness as companies began debuting innovative technologies.
I mean, no.
But in 2015, The Verge made the observation that the smartphone revolution had enabled a whole new wave of pure gadgets, which was a much more entertaining framework for covering the show on the ground. CES is still a legitimate trade show, meaning a bunch of highly competent people and small businesses descend on Vegas hoping to strike deals. At the very least, there tends to be a lot of fun stuff to check out.
I was not in Vegas this year, which was unfortunate, if only because I really want to go to the Sphere. Generally, though, you’re not going to learn a whole lot from a CES hands-on demo. CES is about dreams and aspirations. As such, I have prepared a selection of announcements that I thought were neat or noteworthy, and I’m grading them on a Roger Ebert-style four-Sphere scale. Four 🔮s means it’s something I’d actually want.
Out of nowhere, the most hyped CES gadget was this little orange square from a previously unknown startup. The Rabbit R1 is a $199 dedicated AI device running a custom software platform called Rabbit OS.
It’s designed by Teenage Engineering, which isn’t a surprise because it’s very reminiscent of the Playdate. There’s even a cute scroll wheel in place of a crank, though unfortunately the screen appears to be a regular colour LCD.