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Panasonic Shows VIERA Tablet at CES, Ups Ante in 3D and IPTV

January 6, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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Panasonic showed a Consumer Electronics Show press audience Wednesday night what it is calling its VIERA tablet  – an Android-based mobile device that was being formally announced Thursday in Japan and was due to reach global markets later this year, according to Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. president Shiro Kitajima.

The device, designed with what Panasonic is calling intuitive touch control, will be available in the Japanese market in various sizes, he said, and will be able to access various cloud-based services through Panasonic VIERA HDTVs.

In the CE area, Panasonic said it is continuing to put promotional muscle behind its VIERA 3DTV line at the same time it is refreshing its approach to connected TV marketing and content development.

These announcements were made against a backdrop of strong holiday sales of Panasonic CE products. Kitajima reported that December sales were up 30 percent over December 2009, and that VIERA TV sales specifically had experienced a 45 percent upswing for the same month over December of 2009.

“We had put an emphasis on large-screen TVs for a long time, and this year, the market came to us,” said Kitajima, with what he termed unprecedented demand for 54- 58- and 65-inch sets in Panasonic’s VT25 series, with some channels having sold out by mid-month.

“Panasonic believes 3D will gather momentum this year and grow rapidly in the next three years,” he stated, predicting that by 2014, TVs with 3D will account for 32 percent of total worldwide TV sales.

The company is also adding five 3D camcorder models to its product range, and will open in the Panasonic Hollywood Labs facility a 3D Innovations Center to offer education for studio and industry professionals about 3D.

Further the company is re-naming its VIERA Cast Internet connectivity feature VIERA Connect, and through a program called VIERA Connect Market, will encourage developers and connected-device manufacturers to develop IPTV applications for its service by opening its IPTV platform up to them, Kitajima said.

Panasonic projected that worldwide IPTV sales, currently accounting for 20 percent of all TV sales, would account for 42 percent of all sales by 2014.

Jim Sanduski, Panasonic senior vice president, said the 2011 VIERA TV plasma lineup would experience an upscaling in screen sizes from 54 to 55 inches and from 58 to 60 inches. The company, he added, has also bettered 3D performance with new crosstalk-reduction circuitry and new, brighter phosphors. The newer sets’ power consumption will average 25 percent less than in previous models, he said. Twenty-seven 2011 TV models will feature VIERA Connect, and three of four Panasonic Blu-ray players would have 3D capability, up from one in four in 2010.

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