How the Consumer Technology Industry Was Almost Never Born

What we now call the consumer technology industry was born November 30, 1920, when the first consumer electronics product, the two-piece RA-DA, the first commercially produced radio designed for the mass market, rolled off the Westinghouse assembly line in East Pittsburgh. After a two-year period of hectic technological, business and legislative/regulatory developments following the end of World War I, the Westinghouse RA-DA and the entire radio industry emerged, becoming the dominant consumer technology product for three decades. On the centennial of our industry, let’s take a look at the events of 1919-1920 that cleared the way for the future.

Read the rest of this arresting historical post at CTA’s home page here.

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Omnichannel Retail Philosophy: Best Way to Battle Showrooming

The primary doom factor for giant nationwide chains, local mom-and-pops and every type of retailer in-between has been the explosion of online retailing. Unfortunately, the future of brick & mortar isn’t getting sunnier due to the continuing expansion of e-commerce. Not that evidentiary statistics are necessary, but Big Commerce reports that 67 percent of millennials and 56 percent of Gen Xers prefer to shop online rather than in-store.

For brick & mortar consumer electronics retailers, the showrooming phenomena just adds insult to injury.

Read the rest of this report here at TWICE.com.

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CTA Expands Diversity and Inclusion at CES and Via Venture Fund Investments

(From left to right):Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient; Karen Chupka, EVP, CES; Jean Foster, SVP, Marketing and Communications, CTA; Tiffany Moore, SVP, Political and Industry Affairs, CTA Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

CTA today announced a series of initiatives to expand the diversity and inclusion at CES and in the consumer technology industry at large, including its first investments in venture companies led by and supporting firms led by women and people of color, as well as new inclusive initiatives at CES. CTA is hoping to reverse a disturbing trend; according to a report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the tech industry employs a smaller share of African-Americans, Hispanics and women than the rest of the private sector.

Read the rest of this report here at TWICE.com.

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Flashback 1979: Sony’s Iconic Walkman Is Born

Forty years ago today Sony introduced a portable cassette player that would forever change the way the world experienced music on-the-go. That player, of course, is the iconic Walkman.

Read the rest of this history story here at Sound & Vision.

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Should You Care About Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency and, by extension, Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency, announced earlier this week? And should you care?

The whole idea of cryptocurrencies is a bit alien, just like once upon a time credit cards and paper money were. But cryptocurrency is important in that it is the future of money, whether that currency ends up being bitcoin, Libra or another cryptocurrency.

Read the rest of the analysis at Techlicious.com here.

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New Viable Video Codecs on the Way? Maybe

Dissatisfaction with video codec royalty rates, lack of licensor transparency and complicated licensing terms have been perpetual complaints of many commercial video content purveyors. Not surprisingly, some would like to see a shake-up in the current system of how intellectual property (IP) owners are compensated for their standards-building contributions.

The latest iteration of this tug-of-war is being waged over the HEVC standard. It features simmering tension around licensing and has prompted, in part, development of potential alternatives such as AV1, VVC (Versatile Video Coding) and MPEG-5, aka EVC (Essential Video Coding)—all of which are striving for better performance and more favorable licensing terms.

Read the rest of this analysis at Digital Technology Consulting’s Digital Riff here.

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Will 8K Dampen 4K TV Sales?

“This industry loves to eat its young” is an observation often attributed to Dave Workman, president and CEO of the ProSource buying group. With TV makers and retailers yearning for higher margin 8K TVs, could slim margin 4K sets be the next item on Workman’s industry cannibalization menu?

Read the rest of this analysis at TWICE.com here.

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25 Years Ago Today: DirecTV Is Born

On a sweltering Friday morning, June 17, 1994, Lemoyne Martin strode past a queue of around 150 other potential buyers and a phalanx of media at Cowboy Maloney’s 1-55 North store. He handed over nearly $1,000 to tuxedo-clad salesman, Ty Carney, and became the first DirecTV owner and first all-digital TV service subscriber.

Read the rest of this anniversary story at Sound & Vision here.

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14 Incredibly Useful Double-Duty iPhone Cases

Considering how exquisitely Apple’s signature device is designed, slapping on a case over an iPhone seems an aesthetic misdemeanor. On the other hand, considering how much you pay for an iPhone, protecting your elegant steel-and-glass investment in rubber or plastic armor seems only sensible. Therefore, if you’re going to encase your iPhone’s exterior artistry, said case ought to do more than just protect.

Fortunately, there is a plethora of cases for the iPhone X models that provide both artistic form and protection-plus function.

Read the rest of this roundup at Techlicious.com here.

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How Will Apple OS Upgrades Impact Industry?

As usual for its annual June World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple dumped a massive number of function and feature upgrades for its collection of operating systems for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch and Apple TV.

But what impact with this variety of these upgrades have on the industry?

Read the rest of this report at TWICE.com here.

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Review: Schlage Encode Smart Deadbolt with built-in Wi-Fi is a solid no-frills option

A new generation of smart locks that has built-in Wi-Fi for remote operation —instead of forcing you to buy an add-on module — is a positive step forward for consumer convenience. Yet when you buy a lock that includes Wi-Fi, you expect to get a raft of advanced features that take advantage of this upgrade. That’s the promise of the new Schlage Encode Smart Lock. We’d hoped for more.

Read the rest of this review at Gearbrain.com here.

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