We're live at the Sony press conference. Sitting directly in front of a wall. Only Sony.
- Here we go! It's opening.
4:07PM - And it just opened into another room, where the entire audience -- maybe a hundred or so members of the press -- had to get up and move in. Jebus, Sony, this is SO YOU.
We're still waiting to get started. "Please take your seats, the press conference will begin in five minutes." They're playing house music. Oh, there's Kaz Hirai, a couple seats over. Hey Kaz. Can we get the DualShock 3 yet?
Here we go! SVP Corp Comm Rick Clancy. "Welcome to the Sony press conf at CES. Wow, what an audience." Indeed. "We know you've had a long day, so we're going to keep this as lively and entertaining as possible. I guess that's why they asked me -- the CE industry's favorite blogger -- to speak." Umm, isn't that us? Naw, guess not. More after the break.
4:21PM - He's talking about the booth -- three zones: creativity (digital imaging, creative endeavors), HDNA (HDTV, Blu-ray, HD audio products, etc.), and mobility (portables, duh). "And more -- much more." Introducing CMO, Mike Fisulo (sp). Weak, weak applause. Dick Komiyama (chief of SE), weak applause. David Bishop (Sony Pictures Ent.), weak applause. Kaz Hirai (Sony gaming), weak applause. The only people applauding are the execs. And Stringer! "If you're thinking of leaving early, I'd rethink that."
4:24PM - "Let's kick things off, let's get into gear with a new product intro." It's the Rolly. Umm, this isn't new -- but it sounds like Rolly's coming to the US. SVP, digital imaging, Steve Haber is up on stage. "We're always looking for new ways to entertain consumers. When it comes to consumer electronics, all roads lead to Sony." Talking up Sony. "Rolly is a sophisticated piece of technology." Rotating podium. "Like the Walkman years ago, and the Bravia Internet Link, we are creating a new product category." Nope, sorry, you're not, Sony.
4:27PM - Limited edition Rolly in Sony Style stores later in 2008! Welcome to the US. Walkman time. "Frankly speaking, we were cautiously optimistic about our new models in 2007. Our expectations have been exceeded -- the reaction for the consumers in the US has been tremendous. Walkman is being rightfully recognized as a key player in the portable AV space." Talking up the PSP now.
4:29PM - Annnnd he's got the new mylo on stage. We're shocked -- shocked! It's got flash, it's got this, it's got that -- just check out our post
. "Several new Vaio PCs." -- Penryn, as expected.
4:31PM - This guy is a serious bore. Oh, yeah, noise canceling headphones -- claims to reduce ambient noise by 99%, never seen those before. And the PRS-505 -- announcing support for PDFs! Sony's announcing new nav devices, now.
4:32PM - 4.8-inch and 4.3-inch displays -- the U57 and U74 GPS devices, featuring the "super suction-cup" to better affix it to non-windshield surfaces (like the dashboard). Both GPS units ship next month. VP of NA for SE (ha), Karen Morris -- "We're expanding our Walkman line of phones for NA, as well as the rest of the globe. SE's line of Walkman phones have redefined the mobile music space, selling 45m globally since September of 2007. Tonight I'm going to introduce two more."
4:35PM - The W760 -- 3G slider. Walkman 3.0 with SenseMe, FM, stereo speakers, has "tilt gaming controls" (i.e. accelerometer), A2DP,, 3.2 megapixel camera, M2 memory, Q108, 2100 tri-band HSDPA (not for the US, what?! We're hoping that was a mistake on screen.). Number two: W350 -- "One of the most inventive Walkman designs yet... dual-face matchbook design." Man, this Karen lady's almost as bad as the last dude. 1.3 megapixel, Q2 2008. Final phone - Z555, "affordable". It has a bejeweled keypad. Gesture controlled ("wave away a distraction"), comes in "dusted rose" and "diamond black". Ok, you lost us. Three new Bluetooth headsets, too.
4:40PM - Now the creativity stuff. New DVDirect can do Blu-ray. Sixteen new camcorders -- including "hybrid-plus" models including up to 8GB of internal flash memory. Five new AVC-HD models, all record in 1080 (not specified i or p).
4:43PM - Talking about the new Alpha -- the new A200. "Designed for mainstream users: faster, lighter, easier to use than its predecessor." Wider LCD, compact body, steady shot OIS, auto-ISO for low light -- due later this month.
4:44PM - TransferJet -- wireless 500Mbps transfer system. They're showing the demo, and it's not working. "It works GREAT." Chortles. "It doesn't generate any interference, look for TransferJet in new products in the future."
4:46PM - Time for the HD exec. "There's not another company in the world that has the depth of experience in technology in HD." He's going on about how amazing Sony high def gear and tech is. "Today we're taking the wraps off a new internal BD-ROM drive -- sub $200 -- offering consumers another option to enjoy BD movies."
4:49PM - "You probably all saw the Warner announcement." Yeah, you could say that. Talking about Warner -- not a lot to say about it though! Talking up Bravia Link, which has been on sale for just a couple of months. Sony is expanding Bravia Link with "DMex": Internet Video Link, DVD Link, Input Link -- adds three HDMI inputs, which are remote controlled -- and the Wireless Link, a wireless HDMI system. An HD transmitter to your TV -- up to 200 feet away (yeah, right).
4:53PM - Oh, there's Stringer. But he's not speaking (yet).
4:53PM - Talking about the exit from microprojection, and focusing on flat-panel. "According to NPD, Sony was the leader in market leader in dollars and units -- even with the highest average selling price." Wait, is this guy calling his customers suckers? Two new models: 40 and 46-inch, as well as the 32 and 37-inch 1080p models with DMex. "Ten of these new sets will be full HD 1080p -- which as you'll remember Sony created and popularized years ago." No, Sony, no. You didn't "invent" 1080p HDTV. Nice try.
4:57PM - Showing a prototype - 4k image on a live 82-inch display -- up to four simultaneous 1080p images. Next up: prez of Sony Electronics, Stan Glasgow: "I'm especially gratified this year by our business strides in the US over hte last 12 months. I stood before you in this booth and promised you we'd deliver our Bravia Internet Link -- and we did that. We'd lead in innovation and make inroads with our digital photography, which we did. ... Over the past year, we have become better listeners. For you, in the media, listening is a pre-requisite, but for us it is a learned response." Apparently Sony's sales are way, way up. This year's holiday winners: Bravia TVs, Reader, Walkman players, Blu-ray, digital imaging... ok, so basically he's just naming every product Sony makes.
5:02PM - Talking up partnerships -- the Sony recycling program, Wayport, which is providing WiFi for the mylo through MickeyDee's; Ford is Sony's new car audio partner, although they're not giving any details.
5:04PM - Stringer is on stage for a "significant annoucnement." "Thank you Stan. As you can guess, all of us at Sony are feeling BLU today." Yuk yuk. "I'd like to thank Warner for making the decision to release in Blu-ray." Thanking Iger and Murdoch for being "True Blu...", "I'm sure you want me to say more. But I won't." No wonder they weren't talking up Warner before, that's what Stringer wanted to discuss.
5:06PM - "The name of the game at CES and Sony remains the next champion product. Once in a great while, a product comes along that sets the standard... I believe we have such a product with us, Sony's new OLED television." Oh, it's just the XEL-1. Great. Thanks, Howard, for getting our hopes up. "Have you ever seen a more beautiful television? Even the name OLED sounds like a viking warlord... thankyouverymuch, the executives laughed." "It clearly represents a leap forward in terms of style and design. 3mm thick, 1m:1 contrast, no backlight, etc. Yep, we know. "Be on the lookout for even more innovation from us going forward. The OLED TV is now on sale at Sony Style stores, effective immediately. Glasgow: "We are also displaying a prototype 27-inch display." Stringer is off, now another exec on stage: "Thanks again for coming, enjoy the show." We out!