LAS VEGAS--Today Sony announced one of the broadest and most compelling product and service lineups at CES 2013, including 4K and OLED TVs, the first way to get 4K content into the home, and yes, an actual smartphone.
Leading the charge was the company's new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z. With quad-core processing, a massive 5-inch screen, and a 13-megapixel camera, it has the specs to compete with the best phones on the market. And one of the only ones that's water-resistant.
A look at Sony's premium high-end Xperia Z
Next the company talked up NFC, or near-field communication, saying it had integrated "One Touch" communication among devices to ease media transfer and streaming among phones, tablets, TVs, and audio devices. The idea is that the link can be established just by touching the devices to one another. An app called TV Side View was touted next, bringing a recommendation engine and guide that shows what's on, connects with apps, and lets you share with social networks while watching TV. NFC allows the TV to tell the phone or tablet what you're watching.
Next up was a discussion of the company's new Triluminos display technology branding, said to improve color fidelity. Vaio PCs were mentioned, briefly, and then the Sony spokesman went on to discuss audio components, including new X headphones.
4K and OLED TVs
At that the press announcement turned to 4K, beginning with mention of the current 84-inch 4K TV. Recapped was the inclusion of a media server that includes select 4K movies.
New 55-inch and 65-inch 4K TVs were announced at a "more accessible price range" than the 84-incher's $25,000. The new sets also supposedly have improved sound with "magnetic fluid" speakers...and I was told they're not detachable.
One of the most forward-looking announcements concerned the launch of the world's first 4K video distribution service, which offers native 4K movies from Sony Pictures and other 4K content creators. The company also said it would be selling "4K mastered" Blu-ray discs this summer; they'll be standard 1080p resolution (not 4K), but supposedly look better than traditional Blu-rays.
The final announcement was a surprise: a prototype 4K OLED TV at 56 inches. Not much more was said about this TV, and it's definitely not shipping anytime soon (unlike LG's and Samsung's OLED sets), but in true CES fashion it one-ups those 55-inch, 1080p sets with high resolution and an extra inch.
Sony made numerous other announcements that weren't covered in-depth (or even mentioned) during the press conference, including cameras, TVs mortals can afford, home theater gear, and even a step-down Xperia smartphone. It looks like the big S isn't going anywhere.