By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Blackmore Mobile Electronics, a division of Samson Electronics, is pioneering new styling in amplifiers. Rather than offering an average box case, it is supplying cast-molded skull-shaped designs.
The two-year-old division, which originally specialized in mobile video, launched its first subwoofer line six months ago, and is now shipping 2-and 3-way speakers. Its newest product, which shipped in June, is the first die-cast aluminum-molded amplifier, said Chris Luft, product development and sales manager.
The new BlackJack amplifier is a five-channel model with a 2006 CEA rating of 50 watts x 4 and 225 watts x 1. The unit is shaped like a skull and bones and has frosted white LED lighting behind the eyes. It has an estimated suggested retail of $399 and will be followed by a two-channel version in the same styling, said the company.
The strategy behind the design, explained Luft, is that "with amplifiers people either show them off or hide them away. So we thought, why not go extreme. The worst that could happen is that people will stop by our booth at CES and at least they'll remember our name."
Blackmore's business programs are also "extreme." They include a "one-price-fits-all" pricing structure and dealer-approved returns.
"Many companies come out with a price list, and one guy gets 10 percent off and another gets 15 percent and then there's the distributor price. But if you go to the next town, a store may be selling the same product at what you bought it for. So we decided to give our dealers what everyone calls the distributor price," said Luft.
All products are also backed by a three-year warranty, and Blackmore dealers are empowered to "make the warranty call." If the dealer determines that a product should be replaced, he then receives a return authorization, said Luft. "In car video there are actually companies that regulate returns by the number of pixels out. Customers with a screen with three pixels out are told to come back when its gets to four," quipped Luft.
Blackmore tools its own products and claims to focus on quality, refusing, for example, to resell used video screens. It has a limited distribution aimed at 12-volt specialists and claims a network of about 700 accounts at present.
The company also shipped last month a line of five in-dash head units, including two in-dash DVD/monitors with 7-inch screens. The first model offers a motorized touch screen, TV tuner and MP3 at a suggested retail of $1,099. The second model does not have the touch screen, although it does have a 7-inch screen, but it includes a 10-disc DVD changer. It also will carry a price of $1,099, said the company.
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.