It’s that time of the year when the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) pumps you up with all the latest tech products, eye catching innovations and dazzling gizmos to be launched soon this year with the CES 2018 presenting itself as biggest battleground for all the big tech companies locking horns with each other in order to grab the eyeballs of millions of consumers all across the world.
Sony needs no introduction when it comes to technology with the Japanese giant pioneering the industry with the likes of the CD showcased here at CES in 1981, following which having consolidated its position as a leading tech player with the introduction of the PlayStation, Blu-ray, the Bravia TVs and the iconic Walkman however the company recently has faced the whip mostly from arguably superior innovations from its Korean rivals Samsung as well as the two biggies from the US – Apple and Google who have throttled many traditional technology kingpins like Sony from the market.
Sony CES 2018 Press Conference [VIDEO]
So what does Sony have to offer in the edition of CES? Well, here are the products launched by Sony in CES 2018.
A New Range of Xperia Smartphones
First up, the Sony Mobile division unveiled a trio of smartphones namely the Xperia L2, XA2 and the XA2 Ultra.
Sony Xperia L2
The L2 is the entry level offering from Xperia. It debuts as Sony’s first fingerprint sensor in the entry level segment. It retains its 5.5 inch 720p display and SoC (Mediatek MT6737T) of its previous iteration with the RAM being bumped up to 3GB and the storage doubled to 32GB with a dedicated microSD slot.
It sports a 13MP rear shooter and a 8MP ultra wide front snapper.The battery received a spec. bump up from a 2,620mAh on the L1 to 3,300mAh on the L2. The phone unfortunately will only ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat by the end of January.
Sony XA2 and XA2 Ultra
The XA2 and XA2 Ultra are Sony’s mid rangers this CES with plenty of new quite a few upgrades. The last gen Mediatek Helio P20 of the previous iterations is replaced by the 14nm Snapdragon 630 chipset. This is coupled with a 3GB RAM and 32GB storage configuration on the XA2 and a 4GB RAM 32GB/64GB storage configuration on the XA2 Ultra with dedicated microSD slots on both the models.
The battery sees an increase to 3,300mAh on the XA2 up from the 2,300mAh on the XA1 and up to 3580mAh on the XA2 Ultra up from 2,700mAh on the outgoing model, with QuickCharge 3.0
The upgrades continue with a bump in screen size and resolution for the XA2 with a new 5.2 inch FullHD screen over the 5 inch 720p panel of the previous gen, XA2 Ultra meanwhile retains the 6 inch FullHD display from last year though.
The XA2 and XA2 Ultra retain the 23MP, f/2.0 rear camera from the previous gen but while the XA2 has a solitary 8MP ultra wide front snapper, the XA2 ultra doubles on that with an additional 16MP shooter with a lower FOV, autofocus and OIS (dual front camera).
These two phones hit shelves starting from February 2018 with Android 8.0 Oreo on board.
A New Range of 4K OLED and LCD HDR TVs and a new TV Image processor
Sony Unveiled the “A8F” a 65inch successor to the award winning “A1” series of 4K OLED Bravia TVs. The TV come equipped with the Acoustic Surface Technology, a neat feature which creates sound by vibrating the screen. The 4K HDR X1 Processor Extreme also returns from last year and so does Android TV, with Google Assistant onboard.
Also on showcase was the 85inch 8K display featuring the prototype X1 Ultimate next gen picture processor coupled with the sony’s new backlight technology capable of producing 10,000 nits of max brightness for 8K HDR format.
Plethora of new Wireless headphones
Sony has unveiled a range of headphones for the ever expanding wireless market.
Dubbed as “truly wireless” the WF-SP700N are built to rival the Airpods and other similarly wireless offerings from other brands. The buds offer a paltry 3 hours of battery life as compared to rival offerings but but come with a world first IPX4 splash proof and noise cancelling capabilities. They come in funky color options and are aimed towards the youth and fitness enthusiasts and also come in a “one touch open” case that holds an additional 9 hours of charge. These Buds will start retailing in May for 180$.
Aso launching is the WF-SP600N wireless sports headphones, they feature a more conventional design with the buds connected by a neckband. These buds also feature the IPX4 certification and the noise cancelling capabilities with the ability to deliver continuous playback for up to 9 hours on a single charge. They ship in June for 140$.
Sony plans on making both these headphones smarter through Google Assistant integrations in the near future. This experience will be delivered via OTA updates.
Sony also planned to release an update for the premium audiophile grade MDR-1A headphones in the form of the MDR-1AM2. These headphones have 40mm HD Drivers,aluminium -coated liquid crystal polymer diaphragm, delivering frequencies of up to 100kHz. They are up for release in April for 220$
A Stunning Range of Wireless Speakers and Soundbars
Sony also unveiled the SRS-XB41, SRS-XB31 and SRS-XB21 which are its latest additions to its Extra bass range. These wireless speakers feature a Live Sound mode delivering a 3D audio experience with an emphasis on bass. They are IP67 certified water resistant and can be paired with up 100 speakers for a full immersive 3D sound experience.
A Big eye catching launch was the revolutionary HT-Z9F Soundbar which sony claims to be the world’s first 3.1ch soundbar with Dolby Atmos support with their latest Vertical Surround Engine.
Camera and Digital Imaging
Sony introduced the new camera sensor – the alpha 9, poised to be a gamechanger featuring a silent shutter, superior focusing with industry leading 20fps high speed continuous shooting which promises to capture scenes which were either too difficult to capture in high speed or which gets disturbed due to shutter sound.
Along with it, Sony unveiled its new compact, robust and waterproof image sensor – the RX0 which it claims can take stunning shots in the most difficult of conditions. The RX0 can be connected to the CCB-WD1, a new Camera Control Box which allows you to connect upto 100 RX0s for supremely accurate multi range shots.
New Life Space UX Projector with Built in Speakers
Aimed at the consumer who wants to seek maximum entertainment with minimal gadgets occupying his home space – the new Life Space UX Projector comes with built in speakers seemingly fits in any living space, enthralling the user with its gorgeous 120- inches display, planned to hit the shelves in Spring 2018 in the US.
Autonomous Robots and Personal Assistants
Featuring here is the Xperia Hello – giving the impression of an advanced version of the already available smart speaker based assistants in the market like the Amazon Echo. The Xperia hello is an advanced personal robot, capable of identifying people individually that can be fired up by voice commands. It has a video chat capabilities and will provide the user with traffic, news and weather updates as well.
Undoubtedly the star attraction of the event was the Aibo – a cute little robot looking like a dog which Sony claims will become a part of your household. Powered by intelligent machine learning and AI Algorithms on the cloud, the Aibo promises to become your new adorable companion whose personality develops uniquely with the amount of time it spends with you. Coupled up with beautiful looks cute little movements, this sure seems to be a gamechanger in the household robotics domain.
Sony has impressed us yet again with a solid range of stellar products packed with minor but nonetheless impactful innovations like it always continues to do however will this be enough in 2018 where the consumer is moving rapidly towards more smarter products? (mention about Sony smart speaker already losing the race to amazon echo in the body).
Sony, with the introduction of Aibo, has shown that it does have the technology to compete neck and neck with Google, Amazon and even possibly Apple with its technology but is it too little too late by the Japanese giant? We’ll let time be the judge on this one.