World’s biggest tech show kicks off

January 6, 2014

Samsung unveils big tablet, LG releases wearable device

Visitors look at a banner promoting the world’s first curved ultra high-definition (UHD) TV manufactured by Samsung Electronics at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Monday (KST). (Courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

Visitors look at a banner promoting the world’s first curved ultra high-definition (UHD) TV manufactured by Samsung Electronics at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Monday (KST). (Courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

By Kim Yoo-chul

LAS VEGAS ― The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (ICES) opened today in Las Vegas in the United States and will last through Jan. 10.

According to the organizers of the show, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the world’s biggest technology show is expected to attract more than 150,000 technology industry leaders and experts.

While some say that the exhibition is losing its luster among leading firms such as Apple, that prefer to present new devices at their own shows, CEA said that the main exhibitors are still spending millions of dollars on outlandish press conferences to announce updated business strategies to the world.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading technology firm, displayed its first massive 12.2-inch tablet and a remote-controlled flexible OLED TV, to solidify its leadership in TVs and smartphones.

TVs are always one of the ICES’s biggest categories, right back to its first show in 1967, according to officials.

In a statement, Samsung said that its huge booth at the center of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), the main venue of the exhibition, houses a curved UHD TV lineup from 55-, 65-, 85-, to 110-inch highlighted with connected technologies and sleek designs.

A 25-kilogram washer, which Samsung claims is the world’s largest in terms of capacity, is available with connected services for households.

Advanced cameras, the NX30 and Galaxy Camera 2 are ready to steal the limelight of the show, said the statement.

“Samsung Electronics is shifting toward becoming a business-to-business (B2B) segment to maintain the high profitability that we’ve enjoyed in the highly-competitive business-to-consumer (B2C) segment. That’s why we exhibit display solutions for commercial use,” said Samsung spokesman.

“The tablet business is one of our next cash-cows, and one that will offset the effects of falling margins in smartphones. The release of the 12.2-inch tablet means that tablets are rapidly replacing conventional T-Tower PCs,” said an Samsung executive.

LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom checks out details of its massive 105-inch curved LCD TV at the firm’s booth at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, Monday (KST). (Courtesy of LG Display)

LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom checks out details of its massive 105-inch curved LCD TV at the firm’s booth at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, Monday (KST). (Courtesy of LG Display)

LG Electronics is exhibiting some 700 new products at its own booth, near Samsung Electronics.

Under the theme of “With LG, It’s All Possible,” the Samsung’s bitter home-town rival released an advanced Web-based TV using Web OS.

“The appealing advantage of LG’s Web OS-based TV is its simple connections, simple switching, simple discoveries and enhanced user-experience. While the TV industry is declining, we believe our Web OS-enabled LG televisions will lead over rivals in the race for next-generation TVs. This is a totally new,” said LG Electronics Chief Technology Officer Ahn Seung-kwon.

While Samsung Electronics is ahead of LG in the competition for wearable devices by launching the Galaxy Gear, LG stunned the world by announcing its first wearable device, wristband, Lifeband Touch, allowing users to check health conditions and to connect with LG smartphones for music.

LG, which only trails the industry leader Samsung in TVs, also displayed its expanded OLED TV lineup from 55-, 65- to 77-inch, as well as a 105-inch UHD TV.

Audio devices and services for connected homes are other features that LG wants to make available to the technology world, said its spokesman Song Keun-young.

Japanese TV manufacturer Sony aims to make a comeback with its CEO Kazuo Hirai declaring its transition toward mobile devices, while its booth was gaining traction thanks to expanded lineup from televisions, tablets to smartphones.

Car technology

One of the eye-caching trends at the 2014 ICES is that automakers are seeking collaboration with technologies companies. It’s a new trend at the ICES that major carmakers are studying new technologies for connectivity. They are focusing on connected technologies rather than new models in the ICES.

BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Mazda, Toyota and Mercedes Benz established their own booths.

As lines between the automotive industry and IT industry are blurring, Bosch, Delphi and JVC Kenwood are holding meetings with top consumer electronics giants including LG Electronics for new business opportunities, said LG Electronics executives.

“Senior level executives at Hyundai-Kia and General Motors will discuss with Google and Audi their efforts to integrate Google’s Android software on cars to challenge with Apple iOS,” said an executive at Hyundai-Kia.

Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler discussed car connectivity technologies at its press conference, Monday.

San Diego-based telecommunication chip titan Qualcomm, the supplier of its popular Snapdragon processors to all tech companies around the world, is expected to announce new chips to support a 64-bit computing system, although Qualcomm Korea representative S.S. Kim declined to comment about this.

“In sum, Samsung and LG Electronics are adding some features on connected TVs; however, I can say these are minor points. The key thing is that main actors at the show are shifting to carmakers and solution providers not manufacturers,” said an official at Samsung Electronics.

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