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TECH TALK: Digital Gadgetry: Options Unlimited

February 18th, 2002 · No Comments

One bright spot in the world of technology is the plethora of digital gadgets that are now making their way into lives. These gadgets (like software in the enterprise space) are no longer silos: they are being integrated together to create new applications and forms of entertainment. The pace of innovation has been relentless. At the same time, they are also enabling innovative new business models. This is also spurring a fascinating race for domination among many companies.

Take a look at the range of digital gadgets that are now becoming available: Game Consoles, DVD players, MP3 players, webcams, Digital Cameras, Satellite Radios, Flat-Screen TVs which form the centerpiece of home theatres, PDAs, Cellphones, Smart phones, ultrathin and ultralight notebooks. The choice and some of the price points are astounding.

Even in India, VCD and DVD players from China and Taiwan are now available for Rs 2,500-Rs 5,000 (USD 50-100). Uptake is actually faster in some of the second-level towns and cities because the theatres haven’t improved much over the years – the result being a rapid growth in the rental market. Consumers worldwide are not too different in their need for entertainment!

Consider some of the recent developments in the world of consumer electronics and digital gadgets:

  • DVD players are selling like hotcakes, and so are the DVD movies as Hollywood races to exploit the next window for its huge library of movies.

“Pearl Harbour” collected more money in DVD sales than in its US theatrical release. “Shrek” has already sold over 8 million DVDs. Already, 30% of US homes have DVD players with 13 million players being sold last year.

  • In 2001, 8 million digital cameras were sold in the US and an additional 10 million internationally, creating a USD 8.6 billion market.
  • Foveon, plans to begin shipping a new type of digital image sensor that outside experts agree is the first to match or surpass the photographic capabilities of 35-millimeter film. Foveon’s chip technology, which captures images more efficiently than existing digital cameras, is expected to make possible multipurpose devices that take both high-quality still and video images. Eventually, some mass-market cameras with chips from Foveon could cost less than conventional film cameras. (New York Times, Wall Street Journal)
  • Moxi Digital has announced a device which combines the functionalities of a DVD player, stereo, cable modem, satellite receiver and personal video recorder. Microsoft has been rumoured to be working on a product called HomeStation which would use the Xbox gaming console and add to it a video recorder, DVD and MP3 player, and allow Internet email and Web surfing.
  • Apple’s new table-lamp-style iMac is part of its “digital” hub strategy to serve as the central node to enable the management of all digital content – from music to movies, from photos to home videos.

Tags: Tech Talk

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