Two-Week Tech Trek

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It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

The TWICE team, and the technology industry in general, earned their frequent flyer miles and then some as the perfect storm of IFA, CTIA’s Super Mobility Week, CEDIA Expo, Photokina and the NATM buying group’s annual meeting all lined up consecutively. Throw in Apple’s biggest major announcement in years and LG’s Art of the Pixel Gala, and I can report to you that the state of the TWICE team is, well, tired.

But while taxing, that many events and gatherings beget lots of opportunities to take the pulse of various factions of the industry as we head into the busy and allimportant fourth-quarter holiday selling season.

Senior editor Joe Palenchar went to CTIA armed with a Power-Point deck and an impressive lineup of industry insiders to moderate a panel on wearable technology. The verdict? Plenty of potential but the nascent category has some hurdles to leap, especially when it comes to consumer awareness. The subsequent unveiling of Apple’s Watch may be just the awareness boost the category needs, only it will take a year to actually see the product. File that boost away for Q4 2015. (See coverage of the panel, and analysis of the Apple announcements appears)

For more on wearables, check out senior editor Lisa Johnston’s exclusive one-on-one with SMS Audio president/50 Cent partner Brian Nohe, who touches on the company’s partnership with Intel and entry into biometric headphones.

The annual CEDIA Expo in Denver saw a plethora of innovative home A/V and automation technology, much of it aimed at the booming high-end of the market. Ultra HD OLED TVs got the glamour headlines, as did Amazon’s commitment to 4K streaming video, but the wave of A/V components with cinema-like audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D was equally impressive.

Other news from CEDIA: Both home-automation and multiroom audio systems are increasingly evolving around an ecosystem of phones, tablets and apps. (We sum up the essential takeaways from CEDIA)

I just returned from NATM’s annual gathering in Dallas, and Ultra HD, 4K content and OLED were top of mind for most retailers and suppliers senior editor Alan Wolf and I talked to. Outgoing NATM executive director Bill Trawick, as well as incoming executive director Jerry Satoren, were both very high on the Q4 prospects for all things 4K.

The evening tribute to Trawick, a 50-year industry veteran and retail icon, was subdued and sweet but ended on a raucous note, as Gary Richard, the son of the son in P.C. Richard & Son, regaled stories of Trawick’s long career at the chain, from high-low operator on up to top-level exec. (See coverage, a photo gallery and a slideshow on TWICE.com.)

We also had a chance to chat about the big Electrolux/ GE appliance deal with a table full of GE execs, as well as various competitors. (Electrolux CEO Keith McLoughlin gives his perspective in an exclusive one-on-one. Analysis of the deal.)

And with all the recent talk of Ultra HD and 4K maybe finally hitting a sales stride, we decided to delve into the category even deeper, and the result is an impressive top-to-bottom team report: The All-New Ultra Guide to Ultra HD. This special section covers all the bases: TVs, projectors, A/V components, content, software and the retail approaches being taken. If that weren’t enough, we added an index of specs for every 4K TV and projector on the market, or soon to be. As you can see, we’ve been busy.

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