Samsung ditches phones, pitches 4K televisions at CES

7 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Samsung positions itself with curves.

Samsung is the dominant smart phone maker, accounting for around a third of annual unit sales world wide. But mobile isn’t at the top of its agenda at CES this year. It’s not introducing any new smart phones, preferring to save the buzz for the mobile industry’s powerhouse show next month in
Barcelona. “CES is traditionally a slower show for phones and such”, a company spokesman said.

Instead, Samsung is highlighting the increasingly also-ran television category, showing huge new ultra high definition screens – 4K capable it says – including prototypes that can curve and bend at a consumer’s whim. Those are not likely to drive short term demand for the gigabit (or at least 100 megabit) class Internet connections that streamed 4K content will require, though. The pricing of all but one of its 4K-capable televisions is being kept under wraps, but it’s a doozy: an 85-inch ultra high definition screen will set you back $40,000. Smaller screens should cost less, of course, but don’t bet on seeing any Samsung 4K products for less than five figures any time soon.

There’s also the problem of finding something to watch. Samsung says it’s talking to Netflix, National Geographic and Amazon about producing and distributing 4K content, but so far it has no deals or commitments to announce.

Samsung is also showing a prototype 3D screen that doesn’t require eye glasses – that technology is better than it was last year, but still needs a lot of work – and a smart TV running on a proprietary operating system that’s intended to move tablet functionality onscreen. And it has four new Android tablets, upgraded models for its Galaxy Note and Tab lines.

For the rest, tune in to Barcelona.