By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Hoping to inject a sense of style into the flagging PC-cam market, Veo (formerly Xirlink) is introducing new products that aim to leverage style and services to propel interest in hardware.
The company announced two new products at RetailVision, in Beverly Hills, Calif., last week. It will ship an aggressively priced network camera in October. For a suggested $199, the Ethernet-ready Veo Observer works with high-speed Internet routers and allows people to remotely monitor a location from any Web browser. The Observer can beam live audio via internal and external microphones, pan and tilt, and features an LCD display for the camera's IP address.
A motion sensor on the camera can trigger an e-mail alert feature that lets people know what is occurring under the camera's view. It features a VGA CCD sensor for low-light sensitivity, 24-bit color output and auto exposure.
The Veo Puzzle Capture 100, another new intro, is an entry-level digital camera that lets users create puzzles with their digital images with the included software. The camera, shipping now for a suggested $29.99, can store 24 images on its internal memory.
The company also announced its Photo Traveler line of PDA cameras for Palm and iPaq handhelds. The cameras plug into the expansion memory slot to provide 24-bit color photos. The Palm version features a swivel lens with adjustable focus and live image preview. The Photo Traveler for the Pocket PC can shoot short video clips on Pocket PC versions 2000 and 2002.
The Photo Travelers ships in October for a suggested retail price of $99.99.
While the overall market for PC-cams and associated peripherals has constricted, Veo is optimistic.
"The market has shrunk a bit due to dissatisfaction with older products," said Greg Smith, director of sales. But while the market's fortunes sagged, Veo had broken into the top-five market share ranks. They currently occupy the No. 2 spot in the market, with 24.4 percent share, behind Logitech, according to IDC's second quarter numbers.
This improved standing, among other things, inspired the company to switch gears over the summer from developing product for other vendors (Polaroid, for one) to concentrate future efforts on manufacturing and marketing their own Veo-branded product line, Smith said. The company shed the Xirlink moniker in late July to reflect the new focus.
Smith sees two main drivers in the low-end of the digital imaging market: style and associated services that accompany the hardware. Veo will be announcing a new suite of services that tie into its hardware products later in the fall.
The company hopes to leverage its own manufacturing and marketing arms to muscle out competitors who outsource the aforementioned responsibilities simply to have a footprint in the market, Smith said.
"We are putting a focus on being first to market with innovative and stylish products," Smith said.
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