CES 2013 is shining a light on the year ahead in consumer electronics

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Jan 9, 2013

This year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicked off in Las Vegas on Monday with the press day. CES sets the scene for the technology year ahead. 2012 offered a bumpy ride for many tech companies. Japanese companies in particular felt the squeeze of the strong yen, the China-Japan dispute, restructuring costs and the competitiveness of companies such as Samsung and LG from Korea. This year CES will be the platform to deliver positive messages to shareholders that their plans for the year ahead will turn around their fortunes.

Sony’s press conference showcased the company’s new 4K TV, a new TV with an OLED screen and the impressive Xperia Z smartphone. This phone contains Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip which was announced at the CES keynote by Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs. The main message from Sony is that the company is striving hard to realize the synergies of the various divisions within the company. The Xperia Z is the first product from Sony which shows what the new, joined up Sony is capable of.  The Xperia sports a 13MP camera and has photo technology that was developed by Sony’s digital camera division and video enhancement that was developed for its Bravia TVs. As smartphones increasingly becomes the primary device that consumers use for photography companies such as Sony and Samsung which have a foot in both camps can capitalize on their phone and camera heritages. Sony also announced 7 new digital cameras, of which two are Wi-Fi enabled: Cyber-shot WX200 and the Cyber-shot WX80.

Panasonic’s keynote on Tuesday officially opened CES. Panasonic’s main message is that the company represents innovation and diversity, beyond its main area of TVs. The announcement that captured the attention of the audience at the press conference was the 4K 56” OLED TV. Panasonic did not announce pricing or availability for the new TV. Aside from the TV announcement Panasonic announced 5 new photo and video cameras. It is interesting to see that Panasonic has adopted a new term for its products: photo and video hybrid cameras. Panasonic has added 3 new models with Wi-Fi connectivity, the LUMIX TS5, LUMIX ZS30 and LUMIX SZ9. Panasonic also showed off its new 20” 4K Windows 8 tablet. It is designed to be used for applications that require high image quality. Perhaps this will further help them to establish its foothold in the pro photography market.

With PMA joining up with CES there have been a raft of camera and photo related announcements. It is worth noting that of the 40 new camera announcements in 2013, 14 have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Samsung is setting the pace for Wi-Fi enabled cameras, announcing 6 connected cameras at CES. Pentax and Olympus do not yet have any models with native Wi-Fi in their line-up. Of the cameras launched so far this year, 35% are Wi-Fi enabled. It will be interesting to see what that number is at the end of the year. What is certain is that in 2013 the number Wi-Fi enabled cameras will continue to grow.

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