January 9, 2009

Sony Unveils Movie Eyeglasses and Bendable Screens

Sony Corp. unveiled a variety of new devices on Thursday during the consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.  Saying that innovation must continue despite the global economic slowdown, the company introduced a bendable video screen, a WiFi camera and eyeglasses that display movies.  

CEO Howard Stringer demonstrated the devices, which included the flexible OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen playing a video of Beyonce. Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks assisted Stringer in demonstrating prototype eyeglasses that include video screens capable of showing full-length movies.  

The new first of its kind Wi-Fi camera allows users to upload videos and photos to websites without use of a personal computer.
On Wednesday, the Japanese company said sales of some of its most popular products exceeded expectations during the U.S. holiday shopping season.  The company now hopes to generate customer demand for 2009 with the introduction of its new products.

Sony, which broke new ground with the Walkman and once led the market for high-end consumer electronics, is undergoing a significant restructuring that will eliminate 16,000 jobs and curtail investment to save $1 billion. More cost-cutting measures are likely on the way, according to analysts.

As the maker of PlayStation 3 video game consoles, Bravia flat TVs and Cyber-shot cameras, the company is hoping to reinvigorate its struggling consumer electronics division.  

On Wednesday, it unveiled a new line of ultra-slim, environmentally friendly televisions along with the lightest 8-inch laptop in the world.
However, the new arrivals are being brought to an extremely difficult market.  Spending for consumer electronics in the U.S. is forecasted to decline 0.6 percent this year, a reversal of the 5.4 percent growth the industry experienced in 2008, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes CES.  The organization is predicting a recovery in 2010.

Sony is also working to create an online network based on its popular PlayStation gaming consoles, similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

On Thursday, the company announced it had it recruited video game publisher Electronic Arts for the new online PlayStation service, and had enlisted Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks to provide more than 2,000 hours of video programming.  In the most recent month, company signed up 2.1 million new users for network, according Sony's head of computer entertainment, Kaz Hirai.




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