Product launches get CES underway

Though the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, today's media day is abuzz with companies unveiling new products and concepts for the year ahead.

Though the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, today's media day is abuzz with companies unveiling new products and concepts for the year ahead.

So far, much of the talk about the new products has been about apps, smart technology, and increased connectivity.

This morning at the LG press conference, the company promoted new large-screen TVs, a series of Google TVs, and its 3D Gesture Interface, which brings gesture and voice controls to its Smart TV platform.  

The company also touted new smart appliances that will be able to communicate details to other devices and consumers. For example, smart refrigerators will have the capability to track food contents and expiration dates.

Later in the day at the Sharp press conference, company representatives spoke about large-screen TVs, and Smart TVs that are Wi-Fi connected and can be programmed with preferences by up to four people. All TVs in the Aquos line will have this Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing consumers to connect to digital services such as Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Skype, and Facebook. 

Sharp also unveiled a line of portable TVs and the Aquos Board, which gives users collaboration tools and essentially functions as a digital whiteboard. Doug Albregts, president of Sharp, called the product a "digital meeting solution that supports the collaborative process."

Intel said it has more than 75 laptop models in the works for the year ahead, and it will launch its largest marketing campaign in nearly 10 years to drive awareness of its Ultrabooks.

As the day goes on, companies including Samsung, Fujifillm, Nokia, Panasonic, Sony, Ford, and NPR will make announcements. 

At a joint press conference this afternoon, NPR and Ford are expected to unveil a new technology and discuss digital innovations that they say will change the way news and media are consumed in vehicles. Look for a PRWeek story on that announcement soon.

This evening, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will deliver a pre-show keynote. 

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