By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Retailers credit Kenwood for being one of the first suppliers to understand what enthusiasts are looking for in mobile video. By offering sexy features including a full-color, touch-sensitive screen, TV tuner and DVD in a single chassis, the KVT-911DVD has won a loyal following among car audio enthusiasts who are willing to spend $2,399 to have the latest and greatest video gadget in their dashboard.
Gregg Thomas, merchandise manager of mobile electronics for Ultimate Electronics, Thornton, Colo., explained, "Its an AM/FM/CD/DVD with TV tuner and diversity antenna and a light touch screen with a great GUI [graphical user interface]. It's one of the closest things car stereo has to something that resembles a computer screen in your car. There are a few models by competitors, but they don't have the GUI or light touch screen, let alone the TV tuner. Kenwood invented that category [touch screen]. Their first piece came out two versions ago. Kenwood dominates because they've been doing it for so long and they have all the right features."
The fact that all of the 911's features are in a single chassis has been critical to the product's success. Marc Spatz, mobile electronics buyer for Tweeter, Canton, Mass., said, "Kenwood got it right, right out of the gate. We also carry Panasonic, which is starting to catch on. They were out a little later mid-year with a product that was two pieces but this year they combined it into once piece." He also stressed the 911's appeal to younger kids.
"What really makes it cool is it has a thin screen so you have a nice black finish, touch screen and cool graphics when you first start it up. It has that cool factor for your buddies," said Spatz.
Paul Gosswiller, merchandise manager for Audio Express, Phoenix, Ariz., agreed. "In video, it's our best seller by far. It's the 'Wow" factor. That's why they spend the money. It's the hot piece on the street and it has been for over a year. It started with the 910 and this one is even hotter and it adds Sirius capability." Gosswiller said he'd like to see competitors follow suit.
"Pioneer did [DVD] initially with a series of packages; you could choose the higher end with 5.1, but when you start packaging things with too many options you lose a lot of people. Clarion has the VRX925VD that has the touch screen but no [built-in] TV tuner. We're just waiting for everyone to catch up. The Clarion piece seems to be doing well. Pioneer is just introducing a piece with most of the same features — a bigger screen but no touch screen and TV tuner, the AVH-P7480DVD, so we'd like to see how well that does."Top 10 In-Dash DVD Players Non-changers, May 2001- April 2002
|Rank By Unit Sales||Brand/Model||Rank By $ Sales|
|Source: NPDTechworld ©TWICE 2002|
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.