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Sony breaks rank by merging 4K and OLED, launching Xperia Z superphone

CES 2013 CoverageWe knew going into CES that 4K and OLED technologies would factor heavily into this year’s announcements, and so far, major manufacturers haven’t disappointed. After LG and Samsung opened the day with models representing both technologies, Sony followed suit at the Las Vegas Convention Center with its own unique take on both, plus a slew of products in virtually every other category, true to Sony style. Here’s the quick take.

TVs

While LG and Samsung matched wits with similar 55-inch OLED models slated for production in the immediate future, Sony broke rank and showed a far-fetched prototype that one ups both. Sony’s super TV measures 56 inches, and crucially, sports both OLED display technology and 4K resolution – an astonishing 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.

For those of us less content to dream and more content to buy, Sony will also leverage its significant foothold in movie production to debut a 4K content distribution service this summer, helping eliminate the current lack of native 4K content that will hobble all the Ultra HD TVs shown as this year’s show. Of course, you can also expect a new 4K TVs to accompany that content – the 55- and 65-inch X900A series.

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Mobile

Check out our review of the Sony Xperia Z smartphone.

While CES 2013 has proven to be a dry show for smartphones, Sony bucked the trend of waiting for Mobile World Congress by debuting the Xperia Z on Monday – a flagship device with a massive 5-inch, 1080p display. Other features include an edge-to-edge glass display, spill-proof design, and a whopping 13-megapixel rear camera.

For those who love to dabble with a tablet or smartphone as they watch TV, Sony also launched its new SideView app, which connects to Sony TVs and Blu-ray players to display additional information about the content you’re watching.

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Cameras

Sony’s camera additions this year were less aggressive than in other categories, but by no means stagnant. The $199 Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 was a clear standout, offering built-in Wi-Fi capabilities with an affordable price tag, in an apparent shot across the bow at Samsung. The company also debuted the rugged TF1, long-zoom H200, and two budget models under $150.

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Computers

Like its selection of cameras, computers took a back seat at CES 2013, but Sony did show off the new T15 Ultrabook, which boasts a 15-inch 1080p display with 10-finger multitouch. Sony also sells its T14 with an optional touchscreen now, and will sell its Duo 11 sliding hybrid in silver in addition to black.