CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tracy Watanabe looked over a digital camera yesterday at the annual Sony Hawaii Expo at the Ala Moana Hotel.
The Coolest of them all
Sony's annual product expo in Hawaii draws hundreds of people
MOUTHS were agape and eyes were wide with dreamy desire, but there was no visible drooling at the opening of the 2006 Sony Hawaii Expo yesterday at the Ala Moana Hotel.
As of 3 p.m. yesterday the show had drawn more than 1,250 attendees. Gawkers asked Sony Hawaii Co. staffers about the new electronics and some questioned if they could make purchases on the spot.
The answer was no, but the products are all available in stores, except for the DSC N-1 digital camera, which is the size of a deck of cards.
"It is straight from Japan," said Jamie Lum, product manager of Sony Hawaii's Consumer Products Group.
She demonstrated the camera's easy operation using its three-inch, touch-screen display on a Japanese-language version. The English-language version of the camera will be available in stores around the end of the month, but they also can be pre-ordered online, Lum said.
The two-and-a-half-day expo, which is free and open to the public, is Sony Hawaii's way of introducing Christmas shoppers to its newest and coolest products available for purchase.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gerry Roberts, left, talked yesterday with customers about televisions at the annual Sony Expo at Ala Moana Hotel. In back of him is 60-inch, rear projection TV.
The show also is a way for a few lucky members of said public to win one of said new cool toys or other prizes. The company is giving away $15 tickets to the Sony Open golf tournament and $250 Playstation Portables, while three really lucky people will win either a $800 DVD Camcorder, a $1,200 DVD Dream System or a 32-inch high-definition, flat-panel TV valued at $2,300.
The expo shows off small stuff, too, like the tiny Walkman "Bean," a digital music player with an FM tuner. Small enough to hide in your hand, it sells for $120 and $150 for capacities of 345 songs and 695 songs.
The kids want a Playstation Portable for video-game play, but the company has upped the demographic on the device with a "Location Free TV" base unit that sells for $350. The base unit can connect to a cable TV in Hanapepe, Kauai, pick up a show and transmit it through the Internet to a Playstation Portable in Hamburg, Germany. For those who cannot miss a favorite show, this is your dream.
For the first time, Sony Hawaii is also staging a model contest. The company is not necessarily looking for the stereotypical underfed, statuesque, catwalk-slinking diva.
"We're looking for someone who is enthusiastic and charismatic," Lum said.
"We're looking for people who really enjoy our product."
Someone who looks like your funny couch-potato uncle, for instance, could make the technological aspect of a newfangled digital camera less intimidating.
Three winning contestants will be named tomorrow. The models will win Sony products and a chance to be featured in a local advertisement.
The expo runs today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hibiscus Ballroom and Garden Lanai at the Ala Moana Hotel.
Longtime weather anchor Sharie Shima has been assigned the long-vacant evening news anchor chair next to Howard Dashefsky at KHNL
, which Jodi Leong left in mid-July.
Shima has been weather anchor for the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts as well as for sister-station KFVE-TV, which she will continue to do.
Leong left KHNL saying she wanted a job that would allow her to pursue her passion for theater.
The promotion adds to Shima's on-camera time and saves the station either a whole salary that might have gone to another person or an increase in salary for promoting someone to prime time.
The station's vice president and general manager, John Fink, described Shima as "someone the audience relates to and (who) has a huge amount of popularity in the marketplace, is very bright and very well-versed on the things that are going on in Hawaii."
When a big weather story becomes "the news story of the day, then Sharie will focus on that, but otherwise she will be seated right next to Howard," at the anchor desk.
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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com