By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The 100-plus vendors attending RetailVision earlier this month here used the venue not only to launch new products but entire new categories, as well as give retailers a glance at their most popular items.
NetGear Shows Off New Packaging: NetGear used RetailVision to show off the company's newly developed packaging and industrial design for its home networking products.
Gus Vlahos, NetGear's central region sales manager, said the company decided to do away with its long-standing dark blue color scheme and basic boxy design replacing them with silver colored models with rounded corners.
The new packaging has NetGear's product lines color-coded so a consumer can tell the routers from the switches and the other networking devices. Vlahos added that the company also reworked the user set-up interface, boiling down the process to just one screen with most of the set-up being done automatically once the device is connected to the PC.
Of all the NetGear products on display, Vlahos said the 802.11a products garnered the most interest from retailers. These next-generation wireless home networking products have just started shipping to stores, he said.
Monster Intros THX Cables: Monster Cable will hit retailers with the company's first THX certified cable products in the next 15 days.
Monster developed, with THX, the standards that the cables had to meet, said Noel Lee, Monster's CEO/Head Monster. He added that by prominently displaying the THX name on the packaging it will give THX much needed exposure to the average retail customer and show that Monster products meet the demanding THX specifications.
The 30 SKUs are roughly divided in two: Standard THX and Ultra THX. The Standard level products will carry suggested retail price from $15 to $50, while the Ultra products will be priced between $50 and $150.
Monster feels the THX cables fill a need at retail where consumers can find THX home theater components, but not the cables to connect the system.
APC Enters New Categories: Surge maker APC showed its wares in the two new categories , console gaming and notebook computer security.
The company is attempting to take advantage of the hot game-console market with the Game Manager, a combination surge protector and CD holder. The Game Manager has six outlets and can store up to 20 game CDs in two pull out drawers. It also has clips on the side to hold game controllers. It will carry a $49 suggested retail price. A step-up unit featuring surge protection for a coaxial Internet connection is available for $59.
The 7-SKU security line was put together in partnership with Kryptonite, better known for its bicycle locks. The cable and lock devices start at $29 and are shipping this month.
Home Networking From Linksys: Linksys exhibited several home networking and broadband products at RetailVision including the company's first two 802.11a wireless products.
The lead wireless product was the 802.11a Access Point, suggested retail price $249. It wirelessly connects PCs and notebooks to an Ethernet network at about 54MB per second and has a range of about 320 feet. The 802.11a Type II Wireless PC Card carries a $129 suggested retail price and has the same 300-foot indoor range as the Access Point. Both are now shipping.
Also on display was the company's EtherFast Cable Modem, estimated street price $199, Instant Powerline 10/100 Network Bridge, $149 and Instant Powerline USB adapter, $149.
Archos Adds To Jukebox Line: Archos featured its new Jukebox Multimedia Entertainment Center products at RetailVision, including its new Multimedia 10 Camera module.
The camera module can be purchased separately for $99 and is available in an Entertainment Center bundle for $449. The camera has 1.3-megapixel resolution, MPEG4 video capability and is used by plugging into the Entertainment Center.
The Entertainment Center is a multifunctional device that contains a 10GB hard drive, LCD, a USB 1.1 connection, and optional USB 2.0, 1394 and PC card connections are now available. In addition to the camera, the Archos device will soon have flash card reader and video-capture modules.
E3 Pro Shows Retro CD-R Media: Looking to bring something a bit different to the blank CD-R market, E3 Pro unveiled its 24x write speed blank media that looks like an old-fashioned 45rpm record.
The also company showed its Disc online stand alone CD burner system.
The discs are black and have grooves on the side that is not written upon. The company is still in the process of setting up retailers to carry the discs, but they are expected to be ready for shipment in about four weeks. A 10-pack is expected to carry a $14.99 suggested retail price.
The Disc Online, suggested retail price $249 and shipping to Target this month, can operate as either a standalone burner or connect to a PC via a USB 2.0 connection. It can burn a 650MB CD in about five minutes, said Shiraz Mohammed, vice president of sales and marketing for E3 Works, maker of the products.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.