By Patrick Avenell in Las Vegas
In a wide-ranging interview with Current.com.au at its stand at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, Panasonic Australia outlined its local plans for the new products announced at the 2013 International CES.
In addition to marketing these new products, Panasonic Australia will also be entering new categories in the upcoming 12 months.
The Panasonic stand at the Las Vegas Convention Centre
Richard Tassone, GM of Panasonic Australia’s consumer electronics group, said the Japanese company will be entering the domestic LED lighting market in 2013. Panasonic is currently finalising its distribution plans but expects to be on shelves “wherever people go to buy” these products, such as homeware, renovation and hardware stores.
In personal care, Panasonic will be introducing a new range of epilators to complement its successful men’s shaving range. Tassone said there were no plans to introduce the beauty kits, hair straighteners or hairdryers announced at CES locally.
By the end of March 2013, Panasonic will have a new range of 360-degree irons with bigger soleplates. There is also a new range of benchtop appliances, including microwaves, rice cookers and breadmakers, expected in 2013. It does appear that Panasonic will release its JetForce vacuum cleaners into Australia.
Tassone said Panasonic will continue its relatively recent push into air conditioning, refrigeration and laundry appliances.
Pansonic’s very successful Lumix compact camera range will be further developed with new TZ, SZ and FH models in 2013, as well as refreshed FT tough cameras with better features, according to group marketing manager Alistair Robins.
The new TZ-40 and TZ-35 models are expected in April. Both these models have 16.1-megapixel sensors and 20x zoom. The TZ-40 also includes GPS, Wi-Fi and NFC.
In Panasonic’s market leading tough camera range, the FT5 will replace the FT4 and the FT25 will replace the FT20. The FT5 is now waterproof to 13 metres, shock proof to 2 metres, dust- and freezproof and now includes pressure resistance up to 100 kilograms. Non tough features include Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS capabilities.
In camcorders, Panasonic will market a full SD card and Full HD range with models including NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Panasonic’s audio range will be refreshed with the new NE3 and NE5 wireless speakers. Both models feature AirPlay, Bluetooth and DLNA to synch to home theatres, TVs, smartphones and tablets.
There’s also new two new Soundbars: one is a regulation bar for a 42-to-50-inch TV while the other is a 3.1 Channel, three piece bar that can be configured to best suit the user.
One product Australia may not see in the near-future is Panasonic’s new Streaming Media Player. This handy device can turn any existing TV into a Smart TV, can stream content from a PC, smartphone or tablet to the TV and includes full web browsing. Tassone said he was “unsure” if this would be coming to Australia.