Ah, the concept display. It's a way for companies lagging behind competitors to promise wonderful and amazing things, throwing potential purchasers of seemingly less marvelous products into a paralytic tailspin, without actually have to deliver. They inspire media paeans and page-turning slideshows--guilty as charged, for the latter at least--creating buzz. Most often, the final product turns out to be drastically different (remember the Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept?) or at best is just a parity-match for the competition (Samsung NX10, anyone?).
Sony is this year's concept master, showcasing an entire line of fictional products--plus a couple prototypes, one step up the reality chain from the concept--that promise the world. These include:
- Sony's long-rumored interchangeable-lens compact, plus lenses
- Alpha DSLR-A700 replacement, plus examples of other midrange dSLRs, with an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor for AVCHD video
- Prototype of a 500mm f4 G lens, presumably pro-level
- Prototype of a Zeiss Distagon T 24mm F2 ZA SSM, presumably pro level
The cameras are all kind of late in the game; Sony should have at least one video-capable dSLR out and an interchangeable-lens compact ready for the spring. It's already two generations behind everyone else in these categories.