The Samsung press conference at CES 2010 began with the longest queue I've ever seen – by the time I'd reached the back of it I think I might have crossed the border into Utah. But by the time it ended I'd seen the launch of a new app store, the thinnest TV I've ever laid my eyes on, and heard Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks and one of Samsung's new 3D 'content partners', tell the assembled throng that with 3D "We stand at a watershed moment for the whole movie industry".
This being Samsung, the 2010 TVs were an obvious highlight, and they look promising indeed. They come in two new finishes: a sleek, brushed aluminium metallic look, or an alternative that uses Samsung's clever 'ToC' (Touch of Colour) injection-molding technique, but with a neat wood effect. For an overview of the new TVs you can read our news story here, but here are some pictures of the flagship C9000, one of which clearly displays its extraordinary 0.3in depth.
As well as a raft of new products, the Samsung press conference concentrated on two main themes: 3D, and apps. The latter was focused on the announcement that Samsung is launching ‘Samsung Apps’, the first HDTV-based application store. Owners of new Samsung TVs, Blu-ray players and home cinema systems will be able to download apps via Samsung’s internet@tv feature, which has been upgraded and made faster for 2010.
The first raft of Samsung apps will become available in the spring, and will be free of charge. Premium, paid-for apps will become available in the summer. The initial raft is expected to include apps from: Blockbuster, eBay, Facebook, Fashion TV, History Channel, Travel Channel, Netflix, Picasa and YouTube.
Apps can be downloaded and viewed while watching TV, with the emphasis on apps that enhance, rather than replace, broadcast TV content.
As well as working across multiple products in the home, Samsung Apps will also support a selected range of the company’s mobile phones.
Samsung hopes to attract some of the more innovative and imaginative app developers, through its attractive platform – app inventors will be able to write a single app for use across TV, Blu-ray and home cinema systems.
And of course, in terms of new products the big news wasn't confined to those impressive-looking TVs. A raft of home-cinema-in-a-box systems, a new e-reader (with news of main content partner – Google Books) and a raft of new Blu-ray players were all on the menu, too.
With its new Blu-ray players, the emphasis for 2010 is on 3D compatibility, and enhanced connectivity to the internet. The premium product in the new range is the BD-C6900, which comes fully loaded with the technology required to play 3D BD content, in line with the recently ratified 3D Blu-ray standard. It features a neat-looking transparent top plate, that allows you to see the disc spinning as it plays.
The ‘6900 also comes boasting a 7.5-second boot-up time (63% down on 2009 models), and a 15-second disc load time (30% down on 2009), as well as a fast, 1-second eject time.
The BDP7500, on the other hand, is the most style-conscious of Samsung’s new BD disc spinners: it’s designed to be wall-mounted, and the company claims that at 1.1 inches thick it is the world’s slimmest Blu-ray player. Like some of the company’s new TVs, the ‘7500 comes with a wood-finish design using Samsung’s innovative ‘Touch of Colour’ (ToC) injection-molding process.
There was also news of a new MP3 player, the Samsung 'IceTouch', which features a transarent AMOLED display:
Along with all these new products was news that the company has decided to heavily improve its 'internet@tv' feature, with an improved graphic interface, quicker operation and new content partners including Lovefilm.
All in all, it was a pretty bullish conference: Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks, along with Frederic Rose of Technicolour, took the stage for a while to proselytize about 3D TV, while Tim Baxter of Samsung said the company aims, having sold 2.6million LED TVs in 2009, to increase that to 10 million in 2010.
We shall be tapping our fingers back in Teddington, waiting to be the first to bring you full reviews of all Samsung's 2010 product range. Can't wait...