Sony CEO Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai is set to deliver today’s keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time. Refresh this page to see updates.
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- 8:35: Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association, greets audience and gives CES forecast for sales in 2014. Says they will climb to a record high of $208 billion, a 2.4 percent gain over next year. He says what’s notable is that some of that revenue will come from categories that didn’t event exist a few years ago. About $6 billion in sales will come from those new categories, including 3D printing and wireless health.
- Shapiro is now going over the announcements that have already been made at the show from companies including Audi and Intel (Intel CEO Brian Krzanich gave the pre-show keynote last night and announced a big move into wearables.) He says more than 20,000 new gadgets are being introduced at this year’s show.
- This is the largest CES ever, with more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, he says. 300 conference sessions with 850 speakers. Digital health exhibits up 40 percent.
- 8:55: “Awesome innovation are being swamped by bogus lawsuits by patent trolls,” he says, noting that patent abuse is not being addressed by Congress just yet. “We say no. It’s killing jobs and it must be stopped immediately.” He adds: “Every new law must be measured by whether it helps or hurts innovation.”
- 9:00: Sony’s Hirai now on stage.
- “Ever since I was a boy, I’ve been curious. All sorts of things interested me, whether they were cars, sciences, gadgets…Childhood is a time of wonder and awe…Childhood is defined by play and discovery.” Says one of his earliest memories is sitting in front of the TV watching Romper Room. Remembers kids getting cookies from hostess on the show and he wanted a cookie too — “Why couldn’t they see or hear me?” Says he’s holding on to his childhood curiousity. “As Sony, we cultivate curiosity.”
- He’s now going through history of Sony “wow” innovations, starting with Sony Walkman — a mobile “wow.” In 1982, the compact disc was introduced to improve storage and sound quality (though vinyl record buffs take a different view). In 1994 in Japan, Sony introduced PlayStation — a “game changing home entertainment system.”
- Says these products redefined categories and were motivated by Sony’s asking “what if.”
- PlayStation, now with PlayStation 4, continues to be successful.
- He says the company does face challenges. “Sometimes at Sony, we zigzag our way to great innovations. And sometimes we fail.” He shows a screen of products that were failures — don’t worry if yo don’t remember any of these products, neither does the rest of the world (lots of laughter).
- A screen now devoted to the Betamax. Though it was first to market and “dare I say offering superior technology to that other technology,” VHS won the battle for commercial success. But he says the tagline for betamax was prescient: “Watch whatever whenever.”
- 9:10: Says Sony continues on the mission to deliver the ability to watch whatever, whenever. “It’s not just functional value that people desire but the deeper, more elusive emotional value.” He says in Japanese culture, it’s called kando — the power to stimulate an emotional response.
- “Our 60 years of product design experience…grants us the collective power to deliver “wow” experiences.” He says all Sony employees are involved in delivering the “wow factor,” including Sony 4K displays. “It feels almost like you can catch the dust particles dancing” in a shaft of light.
- He’s now walking about Sony’s efforts around high-resolution audio, digital cameras that are connected to your smartphone, PlayStation 4, which is “setting a new standard in gaming,” smartphones, TVs, and apps. Sony Pictures also mentioned.
- “We’re spending more and more time looking out at the world, at culture and consumers, rather than looking in.” On the horizon is a next-generation consumer that is different. He calls them “Generation Remix” because they know how to use DVRs and other devices. “They will control the technology and not be controlled by it.”
- 9:17: Now on to advanced sensor technology which captures data that cannot be seen by human eye. Says there will be supersensitive cameras that will make the subtleties of great photos more accessible to average users. He’s giving his pitch for the Internet of Things, and how sensors will help capture data on everything from food to skin conditions and other health issues.