By Matthew Henry in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: Pioneer will unveil the latest in its ongoing Project Kuro development line at the opening day of CES tomorrow – a working plasma prototype less than one centimetre thick, or less than the thickness of your pinky finger.

With LCD manufactures such as Sharp and Hitachi promoting new LCD televisions at around three centimetres thick, Pioneer took the opportunity to show what its favoured technology, plasma, could offer.

While the Japanese manufacturer has not announced a timeframe for launch, it confirmed that the slim 50-inch panel will not be launched when it upgrades its current eight-generation Kuro panels with the new ninth-generation models later this year.

The prototype will go on display tomorrow when CES 2008 officially opens.

Pioneer claimed the thin panel is a vindication of its choice to pursue plasma technology development in the face of LCD’s rise in popularity.

“[The plasma] is thinner than your pinky finger and is even thinner than last month’s issue of Wired magazine,” Pioneer USA marketing and product planning assistant vice president, Ross Johnston, said to a hall packed with journalists and bloggers.

Pioneer also demonstrated its latest car audio and navigation developments including the latest AVIC portable navigation system and in-car audio speaker cone technology made from basalt rock.

The new AVIC F500BT, which will be referred to as the AVIC-LINC, offers similar functionality to its premium built-in navigation units in a portable device.

The unit features voice activated control for commands such as voice calls and provides connectivity for multiple devices through Bluetooth and other connections.

The company’s new car speakers are made from woven basalt rock fibres, which the company claims are stiff, light and more durable than conventional speaker cone materials such as paper.

“You can say, ‘for the first time the rock beats the paper’,” said Pioneer mobile entertainment marketing and product planning division vice president, Larry Rougas, in reference to the rock/scissors/paper game. The tagline ‘rock beats paper’ will appear in promotional materials for the new speakers.