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Concept cars, new phones, health gadgets highlight shortened, in-person CES

Attendees take a closer view of Ameca, the world's most advanced human shaped robot during the 2022 International CES at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The annual Consumer Electronics Show returns to in-person exhibits Wednesday for its 2022 event in Las Vegas, but will shutter a day earlier than normal due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.

The in-person CES event was canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic and was only held virtually. This year, vendors return to various venues in Las Vegas, including the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center, Venetian Expo, ARIA and Park MGM.

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The annual trade show hosts various healthcare and tech companies, automakers and other innovators showcasing new products and technologies. It's been held regularly for more than 50 years and annually since 2001.

The 2022 event, however, will run through Friday.

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"As the world's most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

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"We are shortening the show to three days and have put in place comprehensive health measures for the safety of all attendees and participants."

All those attending the CES this year are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must wear a face mask at all large indoor events and on CES transportation. The CTA also requests that all attendees take a COVID-19 test less than 24 hours before arriving at the event. Participants will be given a free self-test kit when picking up their badges.

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Show venues will have COVID-19 tests in first aid areas for anyone experiencing symptoms.

Those who follow the pandemic-related safety procedures will be able to check out the latest innovations in technology, with more than 2,200 exhibitors at several venues across Las Vegas.

Among the highlights are expected to be Samsung Electronics' new TV -- called the Neo QLED TV -- which will allow users to trade non-fungible tokens.

The South Korean company will also unveil its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S21 FE, which is expected to be available to customers starting at $699.

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The phone includes a bigger, 4,500mAH battery and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. It also has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera lens, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens.

TCL is also introducing two smartphones -- the XE 5G and the slightly more advanced 30 V 5G. The former includes a MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, 4,500mAh battery and 13-megapixel camera, while the latter includes a Snapdragon 480 processor, 4,500mAh battery and 50-megapixel camera.

In automotive presentations, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and BMW canceled their in-person exhibits to virtual ones.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its Vision EQXX electric concept car Tuesday to kick off the CES. In a virtual presentation, the automaker said it was the "most efficient" Mercedes-Benz ever built, traveling from New York to Cincinnati on a single charge.

Chevrolet, meanwhile, is expected to unveil its Silverado EV, offering up to 400 miles of range on a single charge.

Health tech offerings this year include a smart scale by Withings that includes the ability to take an electrocardiogram and an updated Oral-B smart toothbrush that helps coach users brushing their teeth.

Garmin is expected to unveil the Venu 2 Plus smartwatch, a larger update of last year's device that includes a speaker and microphone.

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A full list of exhibitors at this year's event can be viewed on the CES website.

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