The new decade got off to an exciting start with our attendance at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas January 6-9, 2020. CES is the largest trade show in the world with an excess of 4,500 consumer product/service vendors spread out over 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space, vying for the attention of more than 170,000 attendees from around the world. While most of the media coverage is focused on home and automotive technologies, we perused the venues looking specifically for products that would be utilized by accountants in their practices
Laptop Workhorse: Dell announced their latest Latitude 9510 model which they touted as the world’s smallest and lightest 15” laptop. By reducing the bezel around the screen, the InfinityEdge display fits into a traditional 14” chassis which can be ordered in either a traditional clamshell or 2-in-1 laptop form factor. The Latitude 9510 can be ordered with Intel’s 10th Generation processor (code named Ice Lake) which extends battery life up to an incredible 30 hours utilizing Dell’s Optimizer application.
Laptop Mobility: Dell once again caught our eye with an updated XPS 13 9300 model having an even larger screen and keyboard fitting into the same size chassis as their previous model. This was accomplished by expanding the 13.4” InitintyEdge display into the bottom bezel so the new version has an overall screen to body ratio of 91.5
Display: For accountants, the bigger and crisper the display, the more you will be able to see and work with multiple programs concurrently. Dell delivers on this challenge with its latest UltraSharp 42.5” 4K (U4320Q) display that is height adjustable and integrates USB-C connectivity. While somewhat pricey at $1,050, Dell has reduced the price of its previous 43” Ultra HD 4K model (P4317Q) to $675 which is more in the budget range of most accountants. Dual oversize monitors are also very popular in firms and two slightly smaller displays can actually provide more screen real estate than a single large one. Dell’s newest 27” Ultra HD 4K model (U2720Q) was announced at $710, driving down the price of its previous model (U2719C) to $400, which would again be cost effective for adding two new displays.
Future Design Athena: On the innovative side, Intel rolled out its specifications for its next generation of Ultrabooks, dubbed Project Athena, which will provide all day performance under “real world” conditions, instant resume (less than a second to wake up from sleep mode including fingerprint or face recognition), 5G connectivity, quick charge (four hours charge in less than 30 minutes), and included for the first time dual screen specifications. Athena design will incorporate Intel’s latest 10th Generation Ice Lake processors which are already available on devices including models of HP’s EliteBook x360, Lenvo’s Yoga S series and Samsung Galaxy Books. Intel also displayed its “Horseshoe Bend” concept laptop which points to its promotion of bendable screens without a seam. Lenovo announced they will actually be shipping their Thinkpad X1 Fold this summer which was slightly bulkier than we would want but will probably be the first working entrant into this category to see if it will take off.
Foldable Future: Folding was the rage this year and Dell also showed off two conceptual laptops that have dual screens connected by a hinge that could be utilized in either traditional laptop mode or flipped sideways to be viewed similar to holding a book. The Duet appeared to consist of two separate 13” displays and had an ultra-thin detachable keyboard that could sit on top of the screen while the Ori concept appeared to be made with a single 12” display that could bend to be closed to the size of a book. This concept looked remarkably similarly to Lenovo’s X1 Fold which includes a wireless keyboard that can be attached to work similar to the traditional laptop or separately so the entire display can be utilized in either portrait or landscape mode.
Roman H. Kepczyk is the Director of Firm Technology Strategy for Right Networks and consults exclusively with accounting firms throughout North America to implement today’s digital best practices and technologies. In addition to being a CPA.CITP, he is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and incorporates Lean Six Sigma methodologies to help firm’s optimize their production workflows.