The new AIBO robot is our pick of the bunch - sadly it's only available in Japan
Among the many products unveiled at the Sony CES 2018 conference, the one that (understandably) generated the biggest buzz was when the company delivered a fresh litter of AIBO pups.
The revival of the AIBO robot dog was first announced back in autumn. Bringing the litter of puppies into a makeshift living room, it felt almost as if Sony had just birthed them and we were about to take our pick, except no touching was allowed.
Sony demonstrated a number of features of the new AIBO doggo, such as responding to commands like sit and shake hands, and it explained how the dog is able to respond to multi-touch points on its back, apparently being able to learn who its favourite owner is, based on who gives it the most cuddles. With cute “floppy” ears, OLED glassy eyes and a camera inside its black nose, the AIBO dog looks surprisingly dog-like, nothing like the silvery, AIBO cyberpunk pups of yesteryear.
Sadly, our excitement was somewhat short lived when we learned AIBO is currently only going to be available in Japan, and the price tag remains steep, with an additional monthly subscription fee attached.
Apart from AIBO, Sony's other announcements were pretty run-of-the-mill - 4K TVs, some new wireless headphones, soundbars and new audio systems. Here's a roundup of everything else Sony announced:
Wireless noise-cancelling in-ear headphones
First up is the WF-SP700N - arc-supported, splash-proof wireless earbuds that are also noise-cancelling and come in pink, yellow, black and white. The buds are sold with a charging case that gives you an extra three hours and an additional two charges.
The other two releases are standard wireless headphones, the WI-SP600N and the WI-SP500. The first has a six-hour long battery life, while the latter lasts eight hours. The former has the same IPX4 splash-proof rating as the WF-SP700N, while the WI-SP500 are able to recognise ambient sounds, with all three being optimised for use with Google Assistant.
A follow-up to the MDR-1A headphones, the MDR-1AM2 headphones have a 40mm driver unit and soft ear cups with the added benefit of having high resolution audio so you can listen to them as the artist intended.
Sony Bravia OLED and LCD 4K HDR TVs
With 65in and 55in models, Sony's new range of 4K TVs were touted to deliver better high-contrast, colour and clarity.
The AF8 series contains 8 million OLED pixels and uses Acoustic Surface technology so the sound comes from the screen. This has the added benefit of removing all visible speakers, streamlining the design.
Sony's updated LCD screen TV line-up now includes the XF90 series, with the X1 Extreme processor, available in 75in, 65in, 55in and 49in screen sizes. It has been optimised to work "perfectly" with Sony's new Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar, the HT-XF9000. Both the AF8 and the XF90 series support Dolby Vision, the HDR format from Dolby Laboratories.
Dolby Atmos soundbars
Sony's all-new three-speaker premium soundbar, the HT-ZF9, has been designed with Dolby Atmos. It produces three-dimensional surround sound and uses Sony's vertical surround engine.
The HT-XF9000 is more of the same, but only has two speakers. Both are designed to work perfectly with a Sony Bravia TV.
Sony 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player
This is a 4K setup giving you not just crisp picture quality, but home cinema sound too. The UBP-X700 delivers the 4K goodness, while the STR-DH790 gives you that cinematic sound.
Home audio systems
All of these party-in-a-box audio systems have 360-degree party lights and gesture support, meaning you can control the music from across the room.
They also include Taiko's music game which lets you compete against your friends and the all-in-one box, the MHC-V41D and the MHC-V71D models. There's also the three-box model, the MHC-M20D.
Sony's three new wireless speakers are waterproof, have three-dimensional sound, are covered in fabric and come with strobe lighting effects.
The SRS-XB41 will be available in black, white, dark red and dark blue. The SRS-XB31 comes in black, white, two-tone red, two-tone blue and two-tone yellow. The SRS-XB21 will be available in black, white, red, and blue and yellow.
Images: Christopher Minasians