Samsung focuses on 3D LED TVs

Pencil-thin LED TVs, a new Samsung Apps store and partnerships highlight a raft of CES announcements.

In a press conference almost as packed with product announcements as it was filled with weary members of the press, Samsung took the cover off of dozens products, including super-slim LED TVs, new e-book readers and capped it with content partnerships with DreamWorks, Technicolor and Google.

Garnering applause at the press conference was the LED 9000, an HDTV as thin as a pencil, but includes a 3D processor, a 240MHz refresh rate and a remote control with its own live TV display.

David Steel, senior vice president of strategic marketing for Samsung Electronics America Inc., said the company, which has evolved into the mobile phone market leader in the U.S. in addition to its lead in the Internet-connect LED TV market, was poised to release a steady stream of cutting-edge products in 2010. He said the recovery of the consumer electronics market is well underway, "and will be led by innovators like ourselves."

For example, in announcing a new Samsung Apps Store for its Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and other devices Samsung opened its large screens to software developers used to fitting their work to tiny cell phone displays. Content providers already include AccuWeather.com, The Associated Press, Blockbuster, Netflix, Picasa, Pandora, and Vudu.

Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said Samsung Apps would be an open platform. "If you thought it was fun developing an app for a three-inch phone screen...," said Baxter as he teased the audience with a long pause before going on to talk about how much more fun it would be to create an app for a 55-inch display.

3D Home Theater Gear...and e-Book Readers

Baxter said Samsung would be ready in 2010 with "a complete 3D ecosystem," including a 3D-capable HDTV, a 3D-enhanced home theater system, a 3D Blu-ray player, active shutter 3D glasses and 3D content.

Speaking of content, Samsung announced that had formed a "global strategic partnership" with DreamWorks Animation, producers of such features as "Monsters vs. Aliens," and Technicolor, a pioneer in bringing color to the movie industry in to work together to develop a complete home 3D packages including

Even Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO at DreamWorks, and Frederic Rose, CEO and chairman of Technicolor were present to announce the agreement. "I stand here and look at this [Samsung] television and it's genuinely a piece of art," said Katzenberg, who noted that of 160 major films released in 2009, only ten were 3D movies, but four of them were among the top-performers of the year.

In announcing its new six-inch E6 (US$399) and 10-inch E101 (US$699) e-book readers, Samsung announced that it had reached a content agreement that would the million-plus books available via Google Books available to Samsung e-book readers. The units will allow user to write and share content as well as read it.

"We believe that this trifecta makes our devices unique," said Doug Albregts, vice president of Samsung's information technology division. The units allow users to annotate content with handwriting, offers an on-screen QWERTY keyboard and offer both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The company released a raft of digital camera, camcorder, monitor, projector, mobile phone and other announcements, including the upcoming Washington D.C. test of a TV-enabled mobile phone. The new IceTouch MP3 player will feature a transparent OLED display that lets you control it from the back of the screen, thus never obscuring your view of the screen.

"Expect to see a steady stream of connected products from us," said Baxter.

For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2010.

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Robert S. Anthony

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