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November 22, 2014

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CES 2009:

Sony exec gets a little help outlining 2009

Celebrities on hand to help detail the year’s newest technology

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Ronda Churchill/The Associated Press

Usher performs during Sony’s presentation at the International Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 8, 2009, in Las Vegas.

Thursday at CES

Show-goers look over ultra-thin OLED televisions at a Samsung booth at CES Thursday in Las Vegas.  Samsung unveiled OLED television prototypes with screens ranging from 14 to 31 inches. Launch slideshow »

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Sir Howard Stringer’s opening day keynote address Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show was full of surprises.

The Sony chief executive officer showed off the latest developments in company products and partnerships, and surprised the audience with celebrity friends Tom Hanks, Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson, Oprah Winfrey’s Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Usher.

Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro opened the CES keynote Thursday morning, assuring a room full of consumer electronics professionals that their industry will save the economy.

“We aren’t look for bailouts,” he said. “Instead, we are providing opportunity.”

Shapiro exited the stage, promising that Stringer would be on after a short video clip. The clip turned out to be the premier of Sony’s “Angels & Demons” trailer, the movie based of Dan Brown’s prequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” which hits theaters in May. To the crowd’s surprise, Hanks entered the stage – not Stringer.

“The first Sony product I ever saw was a massive ‘portable,’ reel-to-reel tape recorder the size of a Singer sewing machine. Oh gosh, did I want one of those,” Hanks joked. “But I couldn’t afford the $120.”

Hanks joked with Stringer about Sony’s successes and failures, saying he wanted his “Angels & Demons” paycheck after wrapping up his CES appearance.

Stringer and Hanks introduced a prototype version of eyeglasses that allow users to watch videos while still viewing their surroundings.

After Hanks left, Stringer got down to business, sharing strategies, giving insight and showing off Sony’s new line of products for 2009.

"I can promise you the consumer electronics industry will ultimately prevail," he said, "because everyone is still innovating."

Stringer unveiled a new Cybershot GCS-G3 Wi-fi camera, which allows users to stream content directly from their camera to social networking sites like Picasa and Flickr from any wireless hotspot. The camera also gives users the option to send their photos directly to a networked Sony Bravia television.

The camera retails at $499 and is in select Sony showroom stores, including the location in Las Vegas.

The Sony executive introduced a flexible, portable OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen that can be folded and put into a pocket, allowing users to watch TV and videos on the go.

Stringer premiered a list of prototypes and products for the upcoming year, including an interactive, touch-screen alarm clock that features customized news, weather and music; slimmer TVs and “greener” cell phones.

Sony has been pushing Blu-Ray home video for some time now and manufactures the top-selling player in consumer households. Now Sony is looking past Blu-Ray, moving to promote 3-D films in both movie and home theaters.

Stringer brought on Pixar’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter, and DreamWorks Animation's chief executive officer Jeffrey Katzenberg to hype the 3-D trend. Lasseter announced the coming of “Toy Story 3” and “Toy Story 2” in 3-D, while Katzenberg gave the audience a sneak preview of DreamWorks’ new 3-D animated movie, “Up.”

Viewers on Thursday night will get to see Sony’s 3-D developments first-hand at the Paris Hotel and Casino as Fox and Sony will simulcast the FedEx Bowl Championship Series game live in 3-D for the first time. More than 1,200 invited guests are expected to attend.

Stringer announced a partnership with Harpo Productions to give Oprah’s health and lifestyle expert, Dr. Oz, his own show. Stringer brought in Jackson, a former New York Yankee, to tell the crowd that the new Yankee Stadium, set to open this spring, will feature Sony technology, from the JumboTron to the control rooms.

Sony Ericsson-sponsored Usher finished the morning with a surprise performance and helped Stringer make the announcement that Sony BMG Entertainment will soon become Sony Music.

The keynote series will continue today when Ford CEO Alan Mulally delivers his speech on the state of the auto industry and the latest technological advances in the auto market.

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