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I Can't Live Without You

8/08/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — With apologies to The Guess Who,
Bad Company, Ludacris, the Scorpions, Mariah
Carey, Justin Bieber and Pretty Ricky, all of whom
have songs with that lyric.

Other than the few smart
alecks who noted that they
could indeed live without
any of them, the answers
we received to “Which CE
products can you not live
without?” weren’t all that
astonishing.

First place, naturally, went
to the all-encompassing
computer category — desktops,
laptops and tablets.
As I type this on my office
laptop, with my personal
laptop sitting directly next
to it, I have to agree with the
87 percent of people who
chose it. I’m fairly certain
the remaining 13 percent
who don’t need one to live
consist of my mother and
my infant son.

In second place, with
two-thirds of voters checking
it off, were cellphones
and smartphones. Again,
the only real shocker is that
a full one-third of people
didn’t choose this. My unlimited-data-plan-suffering
wallet is envious.

Taking the bronze was HDTV, with 41 percent. It
should be noted that there wasn’t a single write-in for
3DTV … not exactly a bombshell for this anniversary
issue, I suppose, but we’ll have to see what’s in store
for our 30th … or 40th? Place your bets now.

It’s interesting to note that the top three in this
question match the top three in one of the other
survey questions — “Which categories have been
the most important in the CE business in the past
25 years?” – although not in the same order. In
that question (see p. 8), the first-, second- and
third-place ribbons were given to HDTV/flat panels,
smartphones/cellphones, and PCs/laptops/tablets,
respectively.

Sadly, satellite radio didn’t do so well, nor did video
games, with only a few people swearing their undying love for these categories. I suppose it’s possible that
the true hardcore gamers were too busy gaming to
take TWICE’s survey.

When asked for his theory on why games fared so
poorly, Ross Rubin, industry analysis director at The
NPD Group, noted, “Almost
everybody likes to play
games, but there’s a smaller
but valued core of active
gamers who are enthusiasts
drawn to best-selling titles
on consoles. For others,
dedicated video game devices
may not be as important,
or they may be doing
more of their gaming on
smartphones. Also, games
tend to be more immersive,
whereas a medium such
as music can be enjoyed
while doing other things like
driving.”

Less shocking is that CD
players and burners tied for
last with games and satellite
radio. Frankly, I’d like to
know who not only still uses
this technology but goes
so far as to say they can’t
live without it.

I was, however, surprised
that MP3 players ranked so
lowly, nearly last with just 7
percent. I thought this perhaps indicated that streaming
music is taking off in a big way, but Rubin told me that
although NPD is seeing a shift toward streaming music,
the low rating is more likely attributable to the actual
device, not the activity. “Regardless of whether consumers
are listening to local files or streaming, smartphones
are supplanting MP3 players,” he said.

As a die-hard Zune user (yes, it’s a lonely group), I
may need to rethink my device before our 30th.

Some of the survey write-ins were enlightening,
others head-scratching. As a parent, I certainly agree
with the person who said they can’t live without their
digital camera, and as one of the perpetually lost, I also concur with those who named their GPS as a
survival tool.

But for the person who listed an AM/FM tuner …
well, let’s just see if that one re-appears in the 40th
anniversary issue as well.

Finally, I’d like to tip my hat to Ryu Nagashima, general
manager at Global Business Research, and Larry
Marcum, a sales rep at JVC America, both of whom
said they need all of these CE devices to live. It’s hard
to argue with that.

And as for Gunars Vizulis in Latvia, who chose his
Philips Sonicare as the item he can’t live without, while
it’s not exactly a CE device, I’m certainly in agreement
with the importance of lifetime dental hygiene.

Other Notable
Write-In Answers:

1. E-book

2. Sonos

3. High-quality home theater

4. My hi-fi system

5. My two-channel audio system

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