By Terrence O'Brien and Leila Brillson
What Samsung got right is exciting: thin, beautifully designed bodies and bright, vibrant screens. The new Notebook 9 Series weighs in at under three pounds and is a half-inch deep, and the CES audience gasped when Tim Baxter, president of Samsung America, removed the black frame from around his "smart TVs", the D8000 and D7000. The Galaxy player, Samsung's (and Android's) first foray into the world of MP3s, looks exciting, evoking the Epic 4G in its form factor and embracing it's "Androidness" instead of mimicking the iPod. Even the Infuse 4G
was lovely and sleek, with a front and rear facing camera and a massive 4.5-inch screen. The audience oohed and photos were snapped. The room was impressed.
Yet, for all of Samsung's attempts at innovation, the tech giant still clung to catch phrases and fads, talking about how connected its TVs were and proudly touting a tweeting, typing refrigerator. It debuted its ultralight 3-D glasses
, which look more like something Jack Nicholson would wear in the Academy front row than anything we'd want to don while laying around the house. And, of course, President Baxter came out strongly condemning 3-D naysayers, touting numbers and explaining that 3-D TVs have passed nearly one million in sales (and Samsung has at least 70-percent of that market share). Yet, no one gasped at their 3-D revelations, and journos didn't snap furiously. The 3-D trend, as we've said myriad times, is just that: a trend. High-def is here to stay, but until 3-D is perfected, we're going to need more than Baxter's figures to convince us it's worth mentioning.
A couple of announcements seemed to rock the crowd, and here is what Samsung has to offer in the following year.
Wi-Fi-Only Galaxy Tab
Not a big surprise, the Wi-Fi-Only Galaxy Tab
was supposed to be out in November, allowing those who don't want to sign their soul away to a carrier to still board the Tab train. Maybe now the Tab may have a snowball's chance at toppling the iPad.
The "world's first" Android-based MP3 player, this hinted-at device has been rumored for a while, but with a super clear, four-inch LCD screen, the little guy may give the iPod touch a run for the money -- especially with access to the rich Android app selections (something the Zune can't claim).
Samsung Notebook 9 Series
Practically anorexic, this gorgeous, light-weight laptop defines "streamlined," and is made out of a fancy-sounding material called "Duralumin." Lighter than the Macbook Air (by .01 pound), the black chassis and backlit keyboard is damn sexy. With USB sockets, HDMI and 4GB of ram (plus the new Core i5 2537M processor), this skinny device is a design feat.
Samsung 7 Series Sliding Tablet
Though Asus jumped the sliding tablet gun yesterday, Samsung stole the glory by announcing its Windows 7 series of touchscreen netbook-tablet-pads (we just made that up, but even Samsung seemed unsure what to call it, so anything is game at this point). At 2.2 pounds, the thick tablet has 2GB of RAM and a 1.66GHz Atom processor -- not groundbreaking, but having a "touchscreen netbook" could launch us nicely into 2011. Although Samsung's Chief Strategy Officer of its mobile division hammed up the ease of sliding out the keyboard, we were sitting close enough to note that the little guy stuck.
D8000 and D7000 Ultra-Thin Bezel TVs
Though Samsung barely mentioned its new D7000 and D8000 series' 3-D capacities, we are going to have a hard time looking our poor LCD TVs in their sad faces when we return home (even though we are staunchly against the third dimension). Glaringly bright at 1080p, the HDTVs Samsung offered were smart, Web-enabled, equipped with a recommendation feature and... had virtually no bezel
. The frame around it was gone and, as the Samsung guys pointed out repeatedly, the width of the thing was nary a pencil wide. Ok guys, your gimmicks got us.