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.
Imagine perfect sound quality at every live show. Dream on, you say? It’s real: THX and Mixhalo are democratizing live audio so Steven Tyler’s screeching vocals will follow you around — and every seat in the house will be the best seat in the house.
There’s not a lot that’s new for Apple’s latest iPhones, the 6.1-inch iPhone 11, 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max. Yes, there is a bump in processing power, better battery life and some camera upgrades, but no new must-have features for iPhone X or Xs owners, including no support for 5G networks, which deliver 1Gbps speeds while you’re on the go.
Industry observers and executives alike remain stunned at how, in just five relatively short years, 4K UHD TVs transformed from a pricey curiosity to a race-to-the-bottom commodity. Based on this perhaps flawed phenomena, the industry is optimistic that 8K will follow the same super-speedy adoption path, sans 4K’s rapid price erosions.
Political uncertainty, trade wars and regional economic worries are shaking consumer confidence, and TV prices continue a precipitous decline. These and other factors will combine to produce an overall slightly down year in overall consumer technology sales, according to market research company GfK.
IFA’s annual event in Berlin is where Europe goes to find the smartest of devices for the coming year. Walking the show, we found brands are focused on wireless — both in terms of connections and power.
Since our visit to IFA in 2018, we now see that the kitchen and laundry room are clearly woven into the smart home, with new digital devices packed with AI that will help us clean, cook and connect.
TCL will enter the mobile phone business with its first phone, the high-featured but low-priced PLEX. The phone is due to go on sale in Asia and Europe in October for just €329, and according to a TCL spokesperson, the PLEX will appear in the U.S. sometime during the first half of next year.
Amazon continues to expand its lineup of Fire TV-enabled devices with three new offerings, all of which are available for pre-sale immediately with availability later this fall: the Nebula Fire TV soundbar, a second-generation Fire TV Cube and a 65-inch Fire TV 4K TV from Toshiba.
The simplest home security system is one that is professionally installed, where you choose a PIN code once the pros are done drilling and wiring, and pay your monthly monitoring fees. But a professionally installed system is expensive, which is where a system such as SimpliSafe comes in.
No one goes to a big-name concert in an arena or stadium to listen to music. We go to experience the music. We accept this concert listening versus experiential listening trade-off because we know our seats won’t be exactly front-and-center, that it’s taking place in an acoustically-challenged venue that won’t remind anyone of Carnegie Hall, and that the venue will be equipped with sound systems more concerned with pounding out thunderous, ear-splitting volume to reach the outermost seats than delivering a truly satisfying music experience. But THX and an upstart start-up called Mixhalo want to make concert going less of a listening v. experience trade-off by showcasing the actual musical aspect of a live show.