CES 2015: 15 Cutting-Edge Products From Tech Heavyweights

The Next Big Thing

Tech giants took the wraps off ultra-definition cameras and TVs and unleashed an army of Internet-connected devices here at CES 2015 in Las Vegas one day ahead of the official launch of the mega trade show.

It's called "press day" and it's when the biggest names in tech -- from Samsung, Sony, Panasonic to LG and more -- break their biggest CES news announcements ahead of the CES chaos that begins Tuesday when the Las Vegas Convention Center opens its doors.

Here are the highlights from Monday's big reveal.

Sharp Goes 'Beyond 4K'

Ultra-HD picture quality is table stakes here at CES. That's why consumer electronics makers such as Sharp are upping the pixel ante and unveiling resolutions higher than 4K. The company Monday said it was going "beyond 4K" with a line of HDTVs that approach 8K with its Aquos Beyond 4K UHD TVs with 42 million more pixels than standard 4K.

Pricing and availability for the new line of "beyond 4K" TVs were not revealed, with Sharp executives only promising to do so in "late 2015."

Sharp Aquos Crystal Frameless Smartphone

Sharp unveiled a frameless smartphone named Aquos Crystal that will be available in the U.S. market later this year, the company said.

The Aquos Crystal phone revealed Monday was a 5-inch frameless display that incorporates Sharp's signature technologies including its thin-bezel LCD innovation and its technology that uses the optical lens effect to eliminate edges and can reduce device size.

Panasonic Unveils First 4K Camcorders For Consumers

While it remains to be seen if consumers want 4K home movies, Panasonic is going beyond 1,080p resolutions with a new line of prosumer palm-size 4K camcorders: the WX970 and WX870.

Both cameras feature Panasonic's 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization technology, 20X optical zoom, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC pairing.

Lumix Line Of Cameras Gets Panasonic Refresh

Panasonic released two new models of its premium compact Lumix cameras: Lumix ZS50 and ZS45. The 12.1-megapixel ZS50 features an ultra-wide-angle 24mm lens with a 30X optical zoom. The Lumix ZS24 specs include a 20X optical zoom, a 16-megapixel sensor, and tiltable LCD screen.

Both cameras feature Panasonic's Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer Plus 5-axis stabilization system that the company said allows for high zoom video shots that avoid the problems of unwanted vibration. They also are both Wi-Fi-enabled and support NFC pairing.

Panasonic Still Passionate About Blu-ray Discs

Just when you thought in this age of 4K that Blu-ray players were quickly growing obsolete, Panasonic unveiled a new Blu-ray player capable of playing native 4K and HDR content. During its press event, Panasonic showed off its prototype 4K UHD Blu-ray player, saying that a fully functional model will be available in the third quarter.

The 4K Blu-ray players are being developed in conjunction with the UHD Alliance, which consists of Panasonic as well as Samsung, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers.

Walkman Gets A Refresh From Sony

Sony revealed a major update to its flagship Walkman line with the Walkman ZX2 priced at an eye-popping $1,120. The newest Walkman isn't for the mass market, however. The ZX2 is geared toward audiophiles that care (and will pay a premium) for high-quality sound. The Walkman supports DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC and Apple Lossless file formats.

The most striking aspect of the Walkman is the fit and finish of the digital audio player. From the texture of its matte black casing, curved side, and distinctive gold-toned headphone jack this definitely is not your father's Walkman. The ZX2 has 128 GB of built-in storage and room for more with a MicroSD card slot.

Sony's New TVs Are Thin -- Really Thin

Sony's latest Bravia TVs aren't just ultra-HD, they are also ultra-thin. Sony took the wraps off its thinnest TV measuring just 4.7mm thick, or 0.18 of an inch. The new line of XBR 900C 4K TVs come in 55-, 65-, and 75-inch sizes and feature Sony's new X1 4K processor technology, which upgrades the picture quality of any video source and improves the dynamic range and color.

Pricing information was not revealed.

Sony Juices Action Cam Line With 4K

Sony added 4K support to its Action Cam line of camcorders Monday night with the help of celebrity skateboarder Tony Hawk. Sony's new X1000V Action Cam has the same shape and design as its earlier action cameras, but now supports 3,840 x 2,160 pixel video at 30 frames per second.

The X1000V Action Cam starts at $500 and can be upgraded with a live view remote for an extra $100. The camera's specs include a 170-degree wide-angle lens, built-in optical image stabilization, and the option to shoot 1,080p video at 120 frames per second or 720p video at 240 frames per second for slow-motion effects.

Samsung Launches Its First External SSD T1

At its Monday press conference, Samsung unveiled its first portable SSD drive in the Samsung Portable SSD T1. The device is a portable drive that supports USB 3.0 and is based on the Samsung 850 Evo. The device pack security encryption software supports AES 256-bit data encryption. The drive will be released Jan. 20 and will come in 250-GB, 500-GB and 1-TB models for $179, $299 or $599, respectively.

Samsung Reveals Milk VR

After saying that Samsung Milk Music and Milk Video will expand to both Smart TVs and PCs, the company revealed an expansion to the platform in Samsung Milk VR. Samsung Milk is the company’s media streaming service. With Milk VR, it expands the offerings of media content available to Samsung Gear VR. Gear VR delivers 360-degree media content, so expanding on its Rolodex of available content is not easy, but Samsung Milk VR promises to deliver. The Milk VR app is available for download today.

Samsung Launches SUHD TV

Samsung unveiled its effort to stay ahead in the TV market by upping the ante on 4K Ultra HD TVs with its SUHD TV.

Samsung’s rebranded LCD and UHD TVs comes with quantum-dot technology and feature better and richer color.

Samsung said the new display has improved picture quality and that it has partnered with 20th Century Fox to boost video content.

Samsung Isn ’t Giving Up On Tizen

Rather than run its smart TVs and its new SUHD TVs on Google’s Android TV operating system, Samsung said that going forward, all Samsung Smart TVs will run on Tizen, including the new SUHD TVs. Samsung has many smartwatches on the market that run on the company’s Tizen OS, but Samsung also makes smartwatches that run on Android Wear. The company unveiled the Samsung Z smartphone in June, which also runs on Tizen, but Samsung is the largest Android smartphone vendor in the world and continues to make Android smartphones. Samsung said that Tizen on smart TVs will lead to faster and better performance.

Samsung CEO BK Yoon's Keynote On IoT

During his keynote address Monday night, Samsung CEO BK Yoon stressed the importance of having an open ecosystem and collaboration of all vendors across the tech world in order to make the Internet of Things real. The CEO said that Samsung’s ecosystem will from now on always be open. He followed by promising that in just two years, 90 percent of all Samsung products will be IoT devices including all Samsung televisions. He added that in five years 100 percent of the company’s products will be IoT. Samsung plans to invest $100 million toward app development of Internet of Things devices and urged third-party developers to show what they can come up with.

LG Launches The LG G Flex 2

LG has made the biggest splash in the smartphone market so far at this year’s CES event by announcing the next generation of the G Flex. The LG G Flex 2 has turned heads for its curved design, but also for significant advancements from last year’s model. The display is a 5.5-inch 1,080p HD screen with a 20 percent more durable Gorilla Glass 3 material. LG also said that the curved design absorbs impact better during a fall, making it 30 percent more durable than flat phones. The plastic "self-healing" casing impresses as it makes scuffs disappear in seconds. The LG G Flex 2 is one of the first smartphones on the market to run Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 810 processor and is the only smartphone that can charge up to 50 percent of its battery in less htan 40 minutes with its new fast-charging technology.

LG Shows Off New TVs

Just a few hours before Samsung launched its new SUHD TVs, LG launched its new line of 4K curved OLED TVs.

The new TVs deliver incredibly sharp resolution in 55-, 65- and 77-inch display sizes. The new TVs don't project any glare or reflection and have immensely rich color as LG boasts it depicts ’perfect black,’ making video quality better than ever.

LG also unveiled its WebOS 2.0 smart TV platform. The new high-end television sets are due out in the second half of this year with no price-point yet given.