largest company and the world’s second-largest semiconductor maker
after Intel has set an ambitious set of goals which include doubling
sales and seizing top global market share for 20 products by 2010. The
company is emerging as one of the world’s leading makers of consumer
electronics and the world’s largest memory-chip maker. Their recorded
sales of flat-screen TV displays and mobile phone handsets in 2004
amounted to $76 billion. Samsung also vies with rival LG Philips LCD
Co. for top spot among manufacturers of LCD displays.
The House Built By iPod – It’s clear that high end audio
companies are jumping on the iPod bandwagon. Many of them have
cradles and speakers that attempt to improve the sound of the iPod over
what you get thru computer speakers. Others have gadgets that let you
pop your iPod into a deck when you walk into your home and then
listen to your data-reduced music throughout the house. Of course this
requires not only a typical audio system but also touch-pad remotes and
distributed audio hard drive servers that allow feeding whatever music
you want to whatever room you happen to be in.
This is not an easy or inexpensive task. The best thing about the iPod
is its elegant navigation. It would be nice if the user could pick and
choose his music anywhere in the house as if the iPod were in his hand.
The closest system to that goal at present is the $700 CEN-iPod by
Crestron, but it requires a $12,000 touch-screen monitor which displays
an oversized image of an iPod with all the controls working. And you
would need such a monitor in every room where you wanted music. The
iPod started as a super-portable music library storing and providing
your favorite tracks thru headphones, but now it’s moving into home
audio systems via speakers. It’s not there quite yet but soon it
probably will be.
Brand Loyalty Has Changed – ABI Research advises vendors of
consumer electronics on how to regain customer loyalty. They find
that product lifespans have grown absurdly short in a market flooded
with ever-cheaper products from manufacturers consumers have never
heard of. When items break, replacement is often cheaper than repair.
So consumers buy on price and features alone and lose their brand
loyalty. One suggestion of ABI is for vendors to create “trade-in
channels” which allow users to return used goods for a discount on the
purchase of a same-brand replacement. Another suggestion is to extend
product life with upgradeable designs and updates to the software,
drivers and applications.
The Ultimate Star Trek Collection – November 15 is the launch
date for a complete multi-DVD set of all the episodes of all the Star
Trek TV series from the original thru the just-ended Enterprise series.
We don’t have a total of how many hours of viewing that is, but it
certainly will keep Trekkies busy for a parsec or two. List price for
the whole collection is $3908.99, but Amazon is taking advance orders
right now at a 36% discount of only $2,499.99.