CES: Sony putting 3-D on laptops and photo and video cameras; no tablet yet
Sony announced at CES that it is putting 3-D on just about every visually related product it makes, with a full line of 3-D point-and-shoot cameras, 3-D camcorders, 3-D laptops and someday 3-D screens that sit inches away from your eyes.
The electronics giant touted its product line for 2011, "a year in which 3-D becomes personal," with presentations by Sony executives, led by Chief Executive Howard Stringer at a news conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center as a part of the Consumer Electronics Show.
And Sony isn't just hoping you'll buy its 3-D movies and watch its 3-D TV channel -- called 3Net and launching in three months with assistance from the Discovery Channel and Imax -- it's hoping you'll make some 3-D content of your own, with its products of course.
Glasses will be required to see the 3-D images on Sony's Vaio F Series laptop, as well as the video and photos captured by its Cyber-Shot cameras.
However, on the back of its Flip cam rival, the Bloggie 3-D, is a glasses-free 3-D screen 2.4 inches big, which plays back the depth-added videos and photos a user shoots. And one model of Sony's 3-D camcorders, the HDR-TD10, has a glasses-free 3.5-inch display.
The HDR-TD10 records in full high definition, with a 1080p resolution, and 3-D videos a consumer makes can be viewed on a 3-D TV via an HDMI cable. The camcorder will ship in April for about $1,500, Sony said. It will feature two lenses, two processors and two image sensors to record the 3-D images, and the camera packs a 64-gigabyte hard drive.
The 3-D Bloggie, which also records in full 1080p HD, will sell for about $250 and feature an 8-gigabyte flash drive and a 5-megapixel resolution and arrive in stores in April as well.
A Vaio laptop with a 3-D-compatible screen, dubbed the F Series, will arrive in stores later this year for about $1,700. The F Series will feature a full 1080p HD screen of 16 inches, with a TV-style 16:9 aspect ratio. Other features include a built-in Blu-ray drive and an Intel Core i7 processor. Pre-orders are being taken for the 3-D laptops at www.sonystyle.com/fseries.
Sony displayed a glasses-free 3-D screen on a portable Blu-ray player, but that was just a prototype, as was a 3-D head-mounted display that looked somewhat like the eyepiece worn by the comic book character Cyclops from X-Men.
The head-mounted prototype is made up of two OLED displays that send a unique image to each eye to create the 3-D effect.
Sony also showed off -- at its CES booth and not onstage -- three prototype glasses-free TVs for home use: a 24.5-inch OLED screen and a 46-inch and a 56-inch LCD set.
Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, made some non-3-D teases, saying PlayStation-related products in the mobile space would be arriving later in the year, and he said Sony was working on a tablet.
But Hirai and Sony offered no details on the tablet, what it would look like or when it would arrive, just that it was being worked on.
Sony also announced a monthly subscription music streaming service called Music Unlimited, which will be offered this year through its Qriocity streaming media platform on its Internet-connected TVs and PlayStation 3. Just how much the service will cost, or an official release date, wasn't disclosed.
Aside from 3-D, Stringer said Internet-connected TVs were Sony's other main consumer push, estimating that more than 50 million TVs will be Internet-enabled worldwide through Sony's PlayStation 3, Wi-Fi Blu-ray players and Internet-connected TVs.
"This is a significant base of connected products," he said. "Size does matter."
Before getting into the flurry of 3-D-related announcements, the presentation was started with a scene in 3-D from the Sony Pictures movie "The Green Hornet," which hits theaters Jan. 14.
After the preview, which the crowd watched with 3-D glasses, a rotating platform on the stage showcased the Black Beauty car from the movie, with Stringer and "Green Hornet" stars Seth Rogen and Jay Chou.
Standing alongside the two Hollywood celebrities, Stringer said with little laughs, "You've got to think that this car makes James Bond's Aston Martin look sissy, doesn't it?"
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photos: Top, the Sony HDR-TD10 and, bottom, the Bloggie 3-D. Credit: Sony