CES: Philips spotlights fashion, design

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The slickest press conference award at the Consumer Electronics Show so far this year goes to Philips, which set the tone for its presentation nicely by bathing the auditorium soft blue light. The atmosphere was appropriate, since Andrea Ragnetti, CEO of the company's newly formed consumer lifestyle division, used almost the entire 45-minute session on Sunday to talk about style and design rather than new technology.

Women, it turns out, are major buyers - or influencers of male buyers - and as such must be catered to. To underline the importance of the female demographic, Ragnetti said that more than half of all electric shavers, the "most masculine of products," are bought by women as gifts for their men. As such, how the things look is very important, she said.

To that effect, the Dutch company showed off its new line of sleek, backlit LCD TVs and Blu-ray DVD players - the TVs have a glowing backlight around their border so that the outline of the TV looks like it's glowing. And the highlight for those who love to see function combined with flashy design was when two models paraded around wearing new Philips pocket USB drives disguised as jewelry. The drives come in heart-shaped pendants and padlock styles, in various colours, and with crystals and rhinestones on them.

"Just in time for Valentine's Day," Ragnetti quipped.