Consumers Want One Tech Support to Handle It All – A study from Accenture, covering 3,886 consumers in 21 countries who own both computers and mobile phones or smartphones, had 63% of those surveyed saying they would like to have one company provide tech support for most or all of their home and mobile consumer electronics devices. These were so-called “super-users” who own and use 14 or more consumer electronics devices. Among their concerns were problems which could put their data at risk or cost a lot to fix, security of viruses, better Internet speeds, and help on obtaining the latest software or security patches. More than one-third had a top choice of wanting to work with someone remotely – online, email or speaking on the phone. Of the 3886 consumers: 59% have satellite radio, 57% have cable TV, 55% have cable broadband, 54% have satellite TV, 52% have wireless Internet, and 52% have DSL broadband. An expert observed that integrated tech support from one source is a needed opportunity as the digital home because more complex and devices and applications proliferate.
Panasonic To Cut 17,000 Jobs – Panasonic is to slash 17,000 jobs over the next two years as competition in the global consumer electronics sector heats up. They already cut 18,000 jobs in the past year. Panasonic currently employs 367,000 people. Electronics firms in China and Korea are producing TVs, AV gear, cameras and other goods with lower margins and for less. Part of Panasonic’s dealing with the challenge will be a shift toward environmental and energy-related products, such as rechargeable batteries.
LG Electronics Reports Unexpected Q1 Loss – The world’s third-largest maker of mobile phones posted its second straight quarterly loss due to a slump in sales of handsets, TVs and home appliances. Sales of TVs with liquid crystal displays have been “particularly slow,” and the latest models with 3D functionality and Web-based services failed to generate fresh demand. The average price of flat-screen TVs in the U.S. feel in February for a third straight month. LG said it will raise prices for major appliances by 8% to 10% in the U.S., the electronics company is pushing into new areas such as water treatment and built-in appliances.
Cisco Closing Flip Camcorder Division – Cisco Systems is exiting the slow-growing market for single-purpose consumer electronics devices. An analyst said that while consumers very much want to shoot and share hi-def video, they have become less interested in buying unique devices for shooting such videos when this capability is increasingly available in smart phones or mobile media players they already have. Therefore over the next few years there will be little growth in the dedicated camcorder market such as the Flip. This illustrates a wider challenge for all consumer electronics products that are focused on a single task.
Collaboration of Dolby and Livewire Mobile for Higher-Quality Mobile Audio – Livewire Mobile provides digital content solutions for carriers, handset and tablet makers and media companies. Their mobile music service will be optimized with Dolby’s Media Generator to provide high-quality, bandwidth-efficient audio content. Livewire plans to encode its entire music catalog – with content from the four major labels and over 3000 independents – in Dolby Pulse, a format based on the AAC audio codec. It can deliver high-quality stereo at bitrates of 48Kbps or lower, making it well-suited for mobile network delivery. A Dolby VP observed that “Mobile users want the same high-quality listening experience they receive on their home music systems while they are on the go.”