While in Japan last week, I had an opportunity to visit CEATEC (which stands for Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) in Chiba, about 40 miles or so from Tokyo. CEATEC is reported to be Japan’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show held every January here in the States. In reality, it strikes me as a much smaller Japanese domestic manufacturer show.
Don’t get me wrong. There were some interesting things to see. Number one on the list — outside of the Sony booth — was Panasonic’s by-ticket-only demonstration of 3D technology in (less than full) high-definition resolution on a prototype plasma television set being fed from a Blu-ray Disc video source. The content was mainly a lot of personally shot video combined with some Disney animation and opening scenes from the Olympics in Beijing. While I got a bit of a headache during the 10-minute or so demo, it looks like the folks from Osaka have certainly made some good progress on the 3D front.
Meanwhile, CEATEC was largely a display or television oriented show with lots of humungous flat-panel TV prototypes of both the plasma (Panasonic) and the LCD (Sharp) variety. Also based in Osaka, Sharp stood out for its fine environmental presentation with a number of interactive elements as part of a focus on solar-powered manufacturing operations and solar-powered products under development.
The only significant presence from a non-Japanese based company was Microsoft, which had a rather unspectacular booth without much of a crowd. There were also none of the Korean companies you might expect like L.G. or Samsung. And there were no other American IT companies like Dell, H-P or Apple.
As for Sony, we featured the first public showing of a 0.9 millimeter thin OLED-TV prototype, which is based on a 0.3 millimeter panel that Sir Howard Stringer presented for the first time last spring at the D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Very impressive! This compares to our currently available OLED television product, which at 3 millimeters is about the thinness of three credit cards put together.
Sony also showed its super thin BRAVIA high-definition TV, which at just 9.9 millimeters currently ranks as the industry’s thinnest big-screen, LCD flat-panel television.
One other comment about CEATEC relative to CES. Much thinner carpeting on the floors and in some areas just raw concrete. Very tough on the feet. Despite the challenging global economy at the moment, perhaps this is a reflection on how the consumer electronics industry is doing fairly well in the U.S. as opposed to Japan. Let’s hope it continues that way — at least through the holidays.
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