The Sony press conference here in Las Vegas has been the gift that keeps on giving. Not only have we seen the latest and greatest in terms of hardware with the new Sony Xperia S offering some stylistically striking aesthetics and oomph under the hood in terms of imaging, but we’ve also been treated to a 3D extravaganza and celebrity action, with funny-man Will Smith hitting the stage and a song from America’s sweetheart, Kelly Clarkson. On top of that, there’s also been another surprise highlight, a new Sony Walkman Z running Android.
With an extensive showreel kicking things off showing just how many pies Sony have their finger’s in, we were treated to some pretty mindblowing 3D on a giant, huge dare we say impossibly big widescreen wall display. Once that was done, it was tech talk married nicely with a few doses of “and now, if you could put on your 3D glasses and enjoy the presentation”. Every conference we’d attended up to this point paled in comparison to the visual feast Sony put on.
Sony Entertainment Network. This is one of the major reasons for all this revelry. The multimedia service promises deeper integration to support as many Sony product as possible in 2012, whether you’re a phone user, a gamer or a TV watcher. According to Kaz Hirai, Executive Deputy President of Sony “new devices are not the end goal”, and it’s services like the Entertainment Network that will deliver cross platform brand experiences to make Sony stand out. That and celebrity endorsements.
Did we mention there were celebrities? Oh, right, back to Sony Entertainment Network – these services include Music and Video unlimited and a unified payment system that gives you a Sony wallet for one common ID across Sony Devices. Video unlimited will deliver some key advantages to users such as early content over services such as Netflix while Music unlimited has now been rolled out to 13 countries with over 12 million songs available for download.
All this content will work across devices, so whether you’ve got a PS Vita, PS 2, Sony tablet or smartphone, you can kick back and enjoy that film you bought on your other device with no need to buy it again.
This was the perfect segue for some celebrity and Sony didn’t disappoint. After a trailer for Men in Black, 3D which will feature on the Video Unlimited service ahead of other on demand services, the side of the stage gave way to pretty epic amounts of dry ice and the man in black himself, Will Smith.
After a few words from the funny man and a longing gaze through our lens, Big Willy was ready to wrap up and it was the Music Unlimited service’s turn to be endorsed with considerably less dry ice, but copious amounts of endearing sweetness as Kelly Clarkson made her way to the centre-stage to give us a rendition of her new track.
So why all the celebs? Well, it’s pretty clear, with the Video and Movie unlimited where these two US national treasures fit. That said, they also fit in the palm of your hand with the announcement of a new PMP from Sony, the Walkman Z. Loaded with Android 2.3 and shipping in either 8, 16 or 32GB versions, Sony appear to have brought out a device to rival the iPod touch taking the lead from Samsung who released their Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi in mid-2011. We’ll be getting some one on one time with the PMP throughout the week here at CES and will record a hands-on video along with more juicy specifications, but in the meantime we’ll leave you with these photos, and Kelly Clarkson’s dulcit tones courtesy of IDG.