CES Tuesday Kicks Off With Gary Shapiro, Kaz Hirai Keynotes
January 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM (PT)
TUESDAY's action at International CES in LAS VEGAS started with the annual keynote by the CEA's GARY SHAPIRO, who called for patent litigation reform and asked attendees to text "TROLLS" to 52886, touted wearables and the changes in rules for electronics use on airplanes, and asked industry leaders to support wireless spectrum auctions. He also announced the latest results from the semi-annual U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts report, projecting a 2.4% growth for consumer electronics revenue to $208 billion in 2014.
SHAPIRO was followed by the headliner, SONY Pres./CEO KAZUO HIRAI, whose speech chronicled his company's history of innovation from the Walkman through CDs to the PlayStation 4, as well as its failures as the byproducts of continual attempts at innovation, including the Betamax (which he recast as a successful idea -- "Watch whatever, whenever," a 1975 ad read -- and a successful broadcast format more than a failed consumer product).
HIRAI said that his employees have been instructed to "put the 'wow' back" into their products, with Hi Res Audio as one of his examples. And he noted that the next generation of consumers -- "Generation Remix," he called them -- will look at technology as a tool for change and the industry needs to figure out "what will 'wow' them."
Much of HIRAI's talk looked at the move towards wearables and advanced sensor technology for everything from improved photo manipulation to medical diagnoses. And he brought out SONY ENTERTAINMENT head MICHAEL LINTON and "BREAKING BAD" creator VINCE GILLIGAN to talk about how new delivery systems, especially SVOD offerings like NETFLIX, are changing both business and creative aspects of content creation (GILLIGAN noting how it allows for the kind of serialized drama that he did with "BREAKING BAD," since viewers could binge to catch up with the story line).
HIRAI also featured game developer MEDIA MOLECULE and its hit games "LITTLE BIG PLANET" and "TEARAWAY," and introduced SONY NETWORK ENTERTAINMENT and SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT's ANDREW HOUSE for a presentation on the PlayStation 4 that revealed 4.2 million units sold as of DECEMBER 28th and its PlayStation network as the "core" of the future of entertainment, allowing users access to a wide library of content; he unveiled a new PlayStation Now network coming this SUMMER (with a closed beta in JANUARY) opening the library of PlayStation games old and new not only on PS3 and PS4 consoles but also on smartphones, tablets, and other devices, whether accessed as rentals by title or via subscription.
The company will also offer a cloud-based TV service in 2014 that includes cable-like live offerings plus on-demand content, personalization, and social recommendations, and will work across platforms to allow viewing to move from TV to tablet to phone to console without losing its place.
Unveiling a concept called "Life space UX," HIRAI explained that the short-throw projector system would project vivid 4K images on walls, creating new environments out of rooms, such as ocean views or simulating being in the middle of a concert crowd. The first version will be available this summer.
Marissa Mayer Talks Up Yahoo!... With Some Celebrity Help
In the afternoon, YAHOO!'s MARISSA MAYER gave a keynote that largely promoted the company's new "digital magazine" sites YAHOO! TECH (headed by former NEW YORK TIMES tech columnist DAVID POGUE) and YAHOO! FOOD, a news update app, and its revamped advertising initiatives, with help from guests like "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" "Weekend Update" anchor CECILY STRONG and castmate KENAN THOMPSON doing his REV. AL SHARPTON impression and a performance by JOHN LEGEND to close the keynote.