CES 2007: How To Get The Message Across - InformationWeek

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1/8/2007
12:03 PM
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CES 2007: How To Get The Message Across

At CES, everybody's middle name is entertainment -- even at the news announcements. As a result, Panasonic is going to have to learn how to present itself properly if it's going to get the better of, say, Sony. The former started its Sunday press conference with a canned question-and-answer session between two top executives in a seemingly desperate attempt to uphold the honor of their plasma displays (and eventually announcing two new HD video camcorders). Sony opened its event with violinist

At CES, everybody's middle name is entertainment -- even at the news announcements. As a result, Panasonic is going to have to learn how to present itself properly if it's going to get the better of, say, Sony. The former started its Sunday press conference with a canned question-and-answer session between two top executives in a seemingly desperate attempt to uphold the honor of their plasma displays (and eventually announcing two new HD video camcorders). Sony opened its event with violinist Joshua Bell.


Violinist Joshua Bell entertains at Sony's press announcement at CES on Sunday
The company then segued into an enthusiastic rundown of their flat-panel LCDs and an announcement of a new attachable module, called the Bravia Internet Video Link, that will stream high-definition (and other) Internet content directly to a TV. The module, which will attach to the back of the new Sony TV models, is due to ship this summer.

It's part of the increasing push on the part of companies to offer people content from the Internet as a consumer item that does not have to directly involve a complicated device such as a computer. To those of us who have been (or have been capable of) hooking our systems to our TVs for years, this may be ho-hum; to most consumers who have disposable income, this could be very attractive indeed.

GPS for the masses is very much in evidence -- there were several examples at the Digital Experience press event Sunday night (which, thank you very much, there was not a line to get into). For example, DeLorme, which is a familiar name to those involved with mapping software, just introduced a handheld GPS called the EarthmateGPS PN-20, a heavily rubberized unit that is obviously built for heavy-duty use. On the other hand, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Navigon have gotten together to produce an ultra-light consumer model called the Pocket LOOX that features a trendy look and very simple-to- read graphics.



Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link will be available this summer.
One software product that I thought looked useful, especially for those who spend a lot of time in an airplane without an Internet connection, is the unfortunately-named Webaroo. While it sounds like a child's game, it is actually a free software product that lets you download a mass of Web content -- links included -- onto your notebook, smartphone, or USB memory device, so that you can access, say, that morning's news even if your connection has fizzled.

Finally, for those whose book, CD, or DVD collections have become completely unmanageable (you should see what's piled in my basement), Microvision was touting the Flic laser bar code scanner, a bar code reader for consumers that will read your ISBN and other codes into a database so that you can find out if you actually have three copies of Stranger in a Strange Land in the back of your bookshelves.

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