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