Samsung shows off Ballie the robot and a vertical TV at CES

7 Jan 2020

Samsung's HS Kim with 'life companion' robot Ballie. Image: Samsung/PA

Ahead of CES 2020, Samsung laid out its vision of the future, which features an assistance robot named Ballie, 8K televisions and augmented-reality smart glasses.

Samsung has revealed a tennis ball-like robot as the tech giant offered its vision of a future where robots will be “life companions”. The technology giant said the next 10 years will see the rise of assistance robots and smarter, more connected homes.

During a presentation ahead of the opening of the annual CES tech event, Samsung’s consumer electronics president HS Kim unveiled Ballie, a small rolling robot that can control smart devices to help around the house.

A yellow, tennis ball-sized robot rolls on the floor beside a human's hand. It has a small black camera on it.

Ballie the robot. Image: Samsung

In a video shared as part of the presentation, Ballie is seen opening curtains as its owner wakes up, entertaining the family dog while she goes to work and using other smart home devices to clean the home after the dog spills a bowl of cereal.

Smart glasses, smart homes and mobility

The company also teased a pair of augmented-reality smart glasses as part of a demonstration of its GEMS mobility exoskeleton, first seen last year, which is used to help those with mobility conditions.

During Sony’s CES presentation this year, the Japanese tech giant also put significant on emphasis on mobility, with Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida saying: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade. I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility.”

Samsung’s presentation also included suggestions of smart homes complete with food preparation robots. Kim called the next wave of innovations the “age of experience”, which he said will see technology become more personalised for each user during the next decade.

“In the age of experience, we need to rethink the space we have to accommodate our diverse and evolving lifestyles,” he said.

“What makes Samsung’s approach unique is the fact that we have a very clear philosophy built around human-centred innovation. We build and create to solve problems and enhance people’s lives.”

A ‘vertical’ television for the social media generation

Samsung also highlighted its new Sero TV, which can switch from the horizontal layout of traditional televisions, to show the taller, thinner videos often captured on smartphones.

The device, which has already been launched in South Korea, is aimed at the social media generation, who consume more video content from social media platforms such as TikTok, the tech giant said. The Sero, which means ‘vertical’ in Korean, is set to launch in a number of new countries this year.

The new television can connect to a user’s mobile device, Samsung said, and will mirror the orientation of their phone or tablet when showing video to present it in the way it was meant to be seen.

A vertical television screen on a stand, displaying a red video.

Samsung’s Sero television, which can be rotated to display video horizontally or vertically. Image: Samsung

Grace Dolan, vice-president of marketing communication at Samsung America, said: “Consumers today expect TVs that can fully integrate into their individual lifestyles and Samsung is redefining the role of the screen, delivering new digital services and creating new designs to enhance your life.”

Samsung also unveiled a range of new 8K resolution TVs, which offer double the resolution of 4K. A similar move was made by rival LG ahead of CES, as the two Korean companies battle for attention in the TV market.

The four-day convention officially opens on Tuesday, where more than 150,000 people are expected to see the thousands of new gadgets on show, which also include a foldable PC from Lenovo and a range of other robots, smart speakers and wearable devices.

– PA Media