Samsung CES press conference was dull and painful

Posted by Mark Raby

Las Vegas (NV) - The Samsung conference consisted of 45 of the worst minutes I have ever spent in Las Vegas.

Let me set the stage for you.  It was around 1:45 PM Pacific Time and I was dashing out of the room where the Philips press conference was held to head to the Samsung event, which began at 2:00.

When I arrived at the Samsung conference room, there was a huge line already.  That's no surprise.  However, once they started letting people in, they quickly closed the door and told us that the room was at full capacity.  

Several dozen members of the press were blocked out.  Luckily, I found a side entrance where an attendant was still letting people in, and I proceeded to the best spot I could with what appeared to be more people standing than sitting.

So after all that, I was anxious to hear something new and exciting from Samsung.  It didn't happen, folks.  I'm not even sure what their big announcement was, if they had any.  There was something about an IPTV initiative, including a partnership with USA Today to bring news headlines directly to consumer TVs over the Internet.  That was kind of cool, but it was really just barely mentioned.

Then they unveiled this "TOC" (touch of color) HDTV line, which from what I can tell was just like so many other TV sets out there, except the trim around the casing of the unit was colored.  And they expected us to feel like it was the holy grail or something.

It seemed like half of the press conference was led by this boyish-looking joker who spoke so slowly and monotonously that I began to wonder if he got public speaking lessons from Ben Stein.

To top it all off, the last announcement was Samsung's bid to bring mobile TV to phones, portable media players, ultra mobile PCs, etc...the exact same announcement made by LG earlier in the day.  Surely Samsung knew that at least one other company would be introducing this (LG hinted that multiple companies were introducing this today), and being one of the last press conferences, Samsung should have known that most of the people in that audience would have already heard about this.  

So why devote so much time on the mobile TV stuff and leave everyone kind of confused about the rest of your product announcements?  Let's not forget that one of Samsung's biggest, if not the biggest, claim to fame is its line of mobile phones.  Guess what?  There were no mobile phone announcements.  I don't even think there were any Powerpoint slides in the presentation about cell phone hardware.

The bottom line is that it was sub-par for Samsung this year.  We'll see if the company's show floor set-up is a little more impressive and can help it recover from a poor press conference.