After Hours

CES 08: Philips embraces their feminine side... too much

The Philips press event was all about their new design philosophy which combines masculine and feminine elements to take advantage of the role that women play in the buying process. According to Philips, women make 40% of the consumer electronics purchase decisions in the $200 billion CE industry, so they want to make products that look like they fit visually within the home.

They describe their new designs as "minimalist," "very European," and "simple, but not simplistic."

Matt Rowlen of Real Networks announced that Philips and Real had entered into a partnership to provide Rhapsody to Go functionality for Philips' MP3 player and Streamium product lines.

Next, Stewart Muller came on stage to explain how Philips' new HDTVs were a "reinvention of television." He showed the new 7000 series LCD HDTV that features full 1080p at 120Hz. The 7000 offers a 2ms response type and features Philips' new "invisible speaker system." The design was definitely inspired by Apple.

Another new product Muller showed off was a Bluetooth-enabled iPod dock that will play music from any Bluetooth-enabled device (like a PC or cell phone) or from an SD or MMC memory card. The dock features a speakerphone in case your cellphone rings while you're streaming music from it.

Philips also make a big deal over Blu-ray. They showed off their BDP-7200 Blu-ray player and touted all of the exclusives that Blu-ray offer inluding Target's decision toonly carry Blu-ray players, Blockbuster's decision to only carry Blu-ray in stores and Warner Bros. decision to only support Blu-ray. Muller wrapped it up by saying, "For consumers, the future is nothing but Blu." (It's definitely blue for all of us with HD-DVD players)

While most of the Philips press conference really reinforced the new branding successfully, the last product revealed was a dud. Muller finished up the show with the Philips Crystals line of USB thumb drive "jewelry." Two models clad all in white came to the stage wearing a heart-shaped crystal-covered pendant that holds a 1GB USB drive and similarly decorated earbuds.

The audience chuckled as product shots were displayed on the large screen behind the stage; however, the whole room erupted in laughter when Muller suggested they were the perfect gift for Valentine's Day. I know my wife would be totally thrilled if I got her a USB drive for Valentine's Day :) It seems like Philips got too caught up in their own branding and tried too hard to make a more feminine product. It's a shame that they ended with that product considering how strong the rest of the new products were.

At the end of the press conference, all attendees received a Blu-ray copy of the movie "Deja vu." That was almost enough to forget about the Crystals... but not quite.

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