By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
MINNEAPOLIS – “An intensely promotional holiday season,” as Best Buy president/CEO Hubert Joly put it, coupled with said slow December foot traffic, shortages of key products and other factors contributed to a 1.5 percent dip in domestic holiday sales, to $9.8 billion for the nine weeks ending Jan. 4.
Significant shortages of Apple and Samsung tablets and weakness in legacy categories were other factors that forced the retailer lowered its fourthquarter and full-year earnings outlook.
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.
LAS VEGAS – Samsung is also expanding is expanding its Giga systems selection to three SKUs with the launch of two new models here at International CES.
Giga systems are floorstanding 2.2-channel music systems with aggressive youth-oriented cosmetics, a large floorstanding speaker pair with active subwoofer built into each left-right speaker, and music sources such as tuner, CD, Bluetooth and USB inputs to play back music from mass-storage devices. They also deliver DJ effects and feature illuminated rings around the drivers.
LAS VEGAS – Qualcomm’s AllPlay whole-home wireless audio technology is making its debut here at International CES with products from five CE companies and native support planned by six music streaming services.
More CE brands and streaming services plan to support the technology, Qualcomm said.
AllPlay, which uses Wi-Fi and supports high-resolution audio codecs, is promoted as offering advantages over Apple’s AirPlay and DLNA.
LAS VEGAS – Luxury-audio supplier Meridian is marking the 25th anniversary of the home-audio industry’s first active digital speaker, Meridian’s own D600, with the launch of three special-edition DSP speakers said to make a major leap in transient response.
Separately, Meridian is reentering the home amplifier market after an absence of five years and previewing a music-management application for PCs and mobile devices. It could presumably carry over into the company’s own multi-room music server.
LAS VEGAS — Small tablet suppliers are gaining market share as they satisfy demand for low-price models and fill in fledgling niches, such as the children’s and automotive markets.
Many of these companies will flex their muscles at International CES by launching new Android products. The brands include Kurio (from Techno Source and KD Interactive), MeeBox, Naxa, Nextbook (from E Fun), Polaroid, Tarantula, Vivitar and YiFang Digital.
LAS VEGAS — The smart watch segment has attracted a handful of large established companies and its share of start-ups, and more companies will enter the nascent market to compete with them here at International CES.
Analysts expect the market to remain fledging for several years.
ARLINGTON, VA. — The “Innovation Economy” brings change at warp speed, in stark contrast to the dawdling pace in the nation’s capital, intentionally slow even in years not gripped by gridlock.
This innate tension makes it vital that the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) government affairs department help its members and official Washington employees understand and manage the legal and regulatory landscape into which new technologies and products are introduced.
LAS VEGAS – LG is stepping up to the plate with an expanded selection of under-TV speaker bases, called Sound Plates, and two new soundbars.
The company late last year shipped the $399 120-watt 4.1-channel LAP340 Sound Plate with Bluetooth 3.0, optical digital input, embedded subwoofer and virtual surround processing. Its Sound Sync technology establishes a Bluetooth connection in lieu of a cable connection to a TV to play back TV audio.
LAS VEGAS – Soundbar sales continued to post strong growth in unit and dollar sales in 2013 because of growing consumer demand for simple solutions and a growing selection of options, including more step-up options.
The growth, however, is coming at the expense of lower-priced A/V receivers, compact 5.1 speaker packages and HTiBs, suppliers said.
LAS VEGAS – McIntosh’s first stand-alone headphone amp and first digital media bridge debut in prototype form with high-resolution support. Both incorporate DACs.