CES 2011: Samsung Talks Up 'Digital Humanism'

LAS VEGAS-- Samsung President BK Yoon played up the importance of the emotional connection consumers have with their devices and their content and how the electronics giant plans to incorporate more of what he called digital humanism into its various lines of TVs, smartphones and tablet PCs.

"What we need is digital technology that is truly aligned with our most human desires," he told attendees during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show. "Adding emotional value to digital technology is at the center of our efforts."

But as his presentation continued, it became clear that meeting this touchy-feely objective would absolutely require a state-of-the-art Samsung smart TV in the middle of everyone's living room.

And to truly enjoy this lifestyle, Samsung and every other vendor participating in this year's geek confab are spending millions to convince consumers they're also going to need 3D, Internet-connected smart TVs, 4G smartphones with dual-core processors and at least a couple Android-powered tablet PCs if they're ever to achieve digital nirvana.

On Wednesday, Samsung broke the ice by showcasing a slew of new devices including its Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab and its Infuse 4G smartphone.

Thursday night the conversation turned to strategic partnerships with content and application providers -- most notably two of the biggest cable operators in the U.S., Time Warner Cable and Comcast-- that presumably will catapult Samsung to the front of the line in the hearts and minds of the gadget-crazed public.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt were trotted out to announced a strategic partnership and new applications that will bring cable television, video-on-demand and other content to Samsung tablets and smartphones, ostensibly to simplify the way people search, retrieve and watch content from any device in the home.

Along with the ability to stream live cable programming to these new 4G devices, viewers will also be able to access programs saved on DVRs connected to their home network. Comcast's Xfinity TV app for the Galaxy Tab essentially turns the tablet PC into a remote control and video player in one.

"Our customers call the shots," Roberts said.

While the TV may still be the boss, Yoon acknowledged that some of the features consumers have come to enjoy and expect from the browser haven't easily or effectively transferred to many of the electronics devices found in the home.

To rectify this, Samsung announced that Hulu Plus, the subscription-based video streaming service, will soon be coming to Android 2.2-powered tablets and smartphones in "the coming months," giving consumers yet another source of high-quality content to cull from the comfort of their couches.

And, Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE) joined the fray. CEO Shantanu Narayen was on hand to announce that Samsung will be the first device-making partner to bring Adobe Air and Flash to its lines of smart TVs and mobile devices.

"Our customers want access to the full Web," Yoon said.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Android, Samsung, AT&T, Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab