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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 6, 2010 at 4:02 PM

CES: Sony’s home Web device unveiled — “not a tablet”

LAS VEGAS — Sony’s press conference at CES is just about to start — promising lots of 3-D, including a 3-D showing of Jimi Hendrix performing at Woodstock — but execs are already sharing details about one of the company’s new products — a Web and media playing device with a 7-inch touchscreen and a WiFi radio.

Called the Dash, the device runs software from Chumby that displays widget versions of Web applications — from a library of more than 1,000 — as well as the software that Web connected Sony TVs use to display widgets.

Sony chumby.jpg

It’s a little hard to describe. You could call it a supercharged alarm clock that displays basic info from the Web, but don’t call it a Web tablet, said Andrew Sivovi, director of the program for Sony Electronics.

“It’s not a tablet PC,” he said, explaining that it has a relatively low-power processor that helps keep its price at $199.

Sivovi said tech enthusiasts may be aware of wireless Web information appliances like the Chumby, but they’re still largely unknown to the general public that Sony’s going after with the product.

It plays music from services such as Pandora or from memory devices attached to its USB port, but won’t stream music from a home network, server or Sony’s wireless home audio devices.

The Dahs goes on sale in April.

Microsoft’s answer may be the SilverPC Evolution 5500, a similar sized touchscreen TV remote/Web appliance that uses Windows Sideshow technology to display information from a home PC.

We’ll see if anyone pays attention to these little Webby gadgets. Neither one displays 3-D content.

Comments | Topics: CES, ces, Sony

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