President Clinton grabs the spotlight at Samsung’s CES Keynote

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LAS VEGAS—Former President Bill Clinton is the ultimate scene-stealer.

Samsung Digital Solutions President Stephen Woo talked new tech at the company’s keynote on Wednesday morning, but a new processing chip and flexible display prototypes didn’t make people leap to their feet the way Clinton’s on-stage appearance did.

“When I became president, the average cell phone weighed 5 pounds,” Clinton joked in an off-the-cuff speech that tackled gun control, climate change, and the ways technology can topple governments and boost developing economies.

Clinton capped an event that included the debut of a new chip, the eight-core Exynos 5 Octa, based on ARM’s big.LITTLE processing technology. Woo demonstrated the chip’s superfast speeds by downloading an app to make reservations at Las Vegas restaurant Honey Salt while mapping the eatery’s address. He also invited Electronic Arts’ Glenn Roland on stage to demonstrate the chip’s powerful game-playing experience.

Samsung showed off a number of prototypes at their keynote event

Samsung also showed off flexible OLED display prototypes, such as a tablet that folds in half and a curved smartphone screen that lets texts cascade down its side. Samsung is developing the prototypes under its YOUM brand.

New display technology has potential beyond bendable smartphones. Microsoft technical strategy chief Eric Rudder said during the keynote that transparent displays combined with Kinect sensors can transform any object into an interactive surface, distorting your reality. While playing a video game, your Xbox could change the appearance of your room, as seen in a demo video Samsung showed during the keynote.

Clinton appeared after the tech announcements to talk about his philanthropic work with Samsung, but reminded the audience not to take tech for granted. It’s easy for even tech enthusiasts to become jaded when it comes to new gadgets, but in countries where social media activists can start revolutions or fishermen can check market prices on their smartphones and keep providing for their families, tech makes a world of difference.

“The world has huge challenges, which I think technology can help to overcome,” Clinton said.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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