Samsung wants to make things simpler, smarter, and more enjoyable for the consumer. At its CES opening-day press conference, the goal of the company is to "break down the walls that exist between devices." Much like Ronald Reagan called for the Berlin Wall to come down and bring David Hasselhoff to both East and West Germany.
How are they doing that? The biggest step was in the new line of televisions it unveiled during the event. Samsung first introduced the "Smart TV" in 2008, which featured televisions that had internet connectivity, and other new features. Now, Samsung claims that the new TVs feature "Smart Interaction, Smart Content, and Smart Evolution," and these look like they might actually deliver on all three promises.
Beginning with the newly-announced Samsung ES8000 LED HDTV, these new televisions will "listen, see, and do what it wants without ever touching a remote control. If you've ever seen or used Microsoft's Kinect with an Xbox 360, that same experience is coming to Samsung televisions through an embedded camera on the top bezel of their high end televisions. Now you can change channels by waving your hand or talking to the television, and the camera will also recognize you and sign you into a profile.
They will also learn about you and suggest fitness programs for you (does this mean your television will be calling you fat?), program educational fare for your kids and so on. That camera isn't just for waving and gesturing either, as you'll be able to make and receive video calls on it too. The units are powered by Quad Core CPUs, which enable lots of multitasking and feature a new Smart Hub in full HD, and they use the Ultra Slim Bezel that Samsung introduced last year along with a U-shaped stand that matches the bezel. They'll also be available in sizes up to 75", which should dominate most walls.
That covers Smart Interaction, but what about Smart Content? Samsung will be bringing its Media Hub to TVs this year, allowing you to purchase content on your smartphone or tablet and watch it on the television. The Smart TV lineup will be growing by 60% as well, adding content like Battlestar Galactica in 3D available for purchase and streaming. Additional apps like Family Story and Party Shots allow you to display photos from outside sources directly to your television, while the new M Go app from Technicolor can show a movie on TV while showing bonus content and deleted scenes on tablets and smartphones. Oh, and Angry Birds is coming to the new televisions, bringing with it an exclusive to Samsung Angry Birds animated shorts channel.
Okay, but what about Smart Evolution? This was perhaps one of the most intriguing additions with the introduction of an Evolution Kit that will allow you to make your television new every year and make it "future proof." All of Samsung's televisions in 2012 will feature a slot that will let you insert an evolution kit, which will begin appearing in 2013. That's interesting, as it will poach somewhat from Samsung's new television sales, but the idea of a television that you can upgrade on your own is fantastic. We've been able to do it with PCs for so long, why not televisions as well? Samsung also introduced their 55" Super OLED TV, which is a gorgeous, bright television that doesn't need a color filter as "each pixel contains it's own RGB subpixel." Sounds technical, but it looks amazing.
Samsung also introduced a new range of wifi cameras that will upload and share videos and photos through their Cloud service AllShare Play. One camera for example, the WB850F, features 21x optical zoom, a 16.2 megapixel sensor, 23mm wide angle lens, and a 3" LED screen. A very nifty "remote viewfinder" app on phones will allow you to control the zoom, shutter, etc. on the phone from across the room, and you can upload your photos and videos directly to Facebook, YouTube or Picasa with no contact point required.
Samsung also showed off the new Series 9 netbooks, which weigh in and 2.5 pounds, are a half an inch thick, and feature backlit keyboards, an aluminum shell, and promise that they "Boot in 9.8 seconds, wake in .7, and feature a 10 hour battery life." The "Ultrabooks" of Series 5 were also shown off using Samsung Max Screen technology which puts a 15" display into a 14" body at three pounds and also a half an inch thick. Accompanying these were their new Series 9 Monitors, which can display more than a billion colors, feature the slim bezel, and have all of the connections for the monitor located in the base.
That was all from Samsung's press conference, and we'll be checking out their wares on the show floor including a 4K television in their booth, those new TVs, and the stylus-tastic screen on the Galaxy Note. Stay tuned to MTV Geek for more CES coverage throughout the week!