Sony survives hitch to unveil first 4K OLED, Xperia Z superphone and more

By Patrick Avenell in Las Vegas

One of the most anticipated press conferences on any CES calendar, Sony’s presentation at its stand at the Las Vegas Convention Centre fulfilled expectations of new products though not without an amusing hitch and some “very cool” language.

The centrepiece of Sony’s presentation was the unveiling of the world’s first Ultra HD OLED TV (Sony calls Ultra HD ‘4K’). When Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai introduced the prototype model on stage in front of a packed booth, the computer spooling stock footage onto the screen crashed, resulting in the fabled ‘green screen of death’ shining OLED bright from the stage.

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Aside from this minor embarrassment, Sony put on a good show, with COO Phil Molyneux launching Sony’s first ‘superphone’, the Xperia Z; two new 4K Ultra HD models in 55- and 65-inch SKUs at more affordable though undefined price points; a prototype 4K consumer camcorder; a new range of Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled personal audio products; and new products for its digital imaging, Handycam and Blu-ray player ranges.

Poor images of Sony's most exciting new product releases

The two new 4K Bravia models will ship in North America between March and May 2013. These models will feature Sony’s new ‘Triluminous’ display technology, which is described as providing “breathtaking colour and clarity” from the traditional red/green/blue spectrum. User will be able to mirror the screen on these TVs on compatible tablets and smartphones, which can be activated via NFC built into the remote control.

The device Sony wants users to pair these TVs with is its self-styled ‘superphone’, the 4G Xperia Z. Water- and dust-resistant, the Xperia Z has a 5-inch Full HD display and 13-megapixel camera. Powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, this phone runs Android’s latest Jelly Bean OS.

Near Field Communication was the central feature of this phone, judging by Molyneux, who walked across the stage touching the phone to new headphones, ‘music balls’ and “ultra-premium” speakers to initiate connection. Molyneux missed a trick here, however, by not actually pairing the phone and playing back music from these different devices – he was merely acting it out – and describing the process many times as “very cool”.
In its market-leading Handycam range, Sony will soon debut a new range of Full HD models with in-built projectors for instant playback. These models will launch in North America next month for between $399 and $1,599.

Molyneux also revealed a new application to run on Sony’s Xperia tablets and smartphones as a complement to its Bravia TVs. Called ‘TV Sideview’, this app is a TV guide, universal remote control, information directory, program recommender, and streaming agent for Netflix, YouTube and Sony’s Entertainment Network.

The provided example from Molyneux for this app was while watching his favourite James Bond films, TV Sideview can recommend other similar spy dramas or he can search for his favourite Bond Girls, if his wife isn’t around. Molyneux described this app as “very cool”. 

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