Bob’s Byte

A Profitable Motion

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A Profitable Motion

Consumer electronics distributors and dealers (even big retailers like Best Buy, MediaMarkt, Carrefour and others move to add new categories of technology which bring added profits—especially since PCs, smartphones and TV sales have matured.

Our editors sit down with James Dobson, EMEA Sales Director for Razor, global leaders in wheeled goods innovation as he prepares new product introductions for the CES Las Vegas. He’s meeting Europeans—distributors and retailers—there to show how CE partners can move into this new product category.

I guess we should have expected this broadening of the product range inside CE/PC stores. The big food stores before us actually have a name for this widening of the product mix: they call it non-food merchandising and it’s a huge part of their success. How advanced is this in America?

It’s no secret that our successful American chains like Best Buy have proven by experiment that their retail sales areas can win consumers to new product categories that are not solely electronics.
It makes sense the same type of customers who want the latest PC or smartphone (and they come in all ages, all demographics) also want to buy other “cool” products.
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Logitech’s Flow Lets Your Cursor Control Multiple Computers

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Logitech’s Flow Lets Your Cursor Control Multiple Computers

Logitech Flow lets you control up to three computers with one mouse.

Yep, it’s cool. The coolest thing in accessories for a long time.

"One computer used to be enough, but we’ve moved into an era where roughly one in 10 people are working across multiple computers at the same time,” says Anatoliy Polyanker, global portfolio and brand director at Logitech.

And it’s true…certainly we see this on t Continue reading...

Pumping Up the Inflatables Market

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Pumping Up the Inflatables Market

Belgian innovators solve the leisure-time problem of hassle with inflatables…it’s all about a new lightweight high tech pump that can be built into many inflatables—and yet removed to inflate/deflate others.

Christos Koptsidis and Patrick Spaas, co-founders of Coolado in the design city of Antwerp, have just launched on Indiegogo a revolutionary self-inflating lounge bag for sun, sea and beach—but their pump may soon take on a life on its own as a product.

The founder’s inspiration came on a beach while watching people running hopelessly in circles trying to fill their lounge bag with air. “Easy to inflate,” may have been the manufacturer’s promise but most folks struggled to learn the knack. Many gave up and returned to their beach towels, covered in sweat.

The business idea that popped up at the beach was a new generation of lounge bags with a high tech pump that would be specifically designed to be lightweight and super-fast.

Today the Coolado pump is the size of a soda can and even together with the lounge bag weighs barely two kilograms. And the pump can be easily removed from the lounge bag to inflate or deflate other mattresses or inflatables. The pump is re-chargeable via the ubiquitous USB also used for mobile, audio and computer devices.

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China Comes to USA

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China Comes to USA

Earlier this year, $1.6 billion Chinese electronics and content services giant LeEco bought American TV consumer electronics leader Vizio, (#2 market share in TVs and Smart TVs and #1 in Sound Bars).

Both these companies remain relatively unknown in Europe and LeEco's $2 billion cash purchase of Vizio makes you wonder why they spend the money on a North American brand when plenty of global brands Continue reading...

German High Tech Company Fights Philippine Customs Corruption-- For More Than 30 Years

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German High Tech Company Fights Philippine Customs Corruption-- For More Than 30 Years

In the age of internet, every company is urged to "tell its story." Recently at IFA Berlin, the German consumer electronics company, Unimex, told us its story fighting theft and corruption, a story that spans three decades and several regimes in the Philippines.

The moment Stephan Finta hit the bottom of the stairs, he knew what he had to do.

He looked up at the two bulky guards from the Customs Office in Manila who had just thrown him down the stairs. Both had guns drawn and one said, "Never come back here, Finta."

When Finta finally had his chance to tell this story in court, no one was surprised. In the Philippines, violence and corruption were the norm at that time.

Usually a consumer electronics manufacturer (video computers, cartridges, game accessories) from Germany was not a target. And certainly this was not the message the Philippines wanted to send abroad to the international business community.

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Sinking Shipping Firm Causes 2016's Biggest Price Disruption

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Sinking Shipping Firm Causes 2016's Biggest Price Disruption

Korea's Hanjin, container shipping giant, drowns in financial waves and the consumer electronics industry will get swamped.

With too many container ships and freight rates at historical lows, Hanjin files for receivership-- and much of the industry will only now learn how dependent the electronics industry is on container ships.

For example, Daniel Yoo at Kiwoom Securities told CNBC Hanjin handles more than 50% of Samsung Electronics' device shipments from South Korea to the Americas-- as well as 23% of LG Electronics.

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Acer is Now in Pet Care. Really.

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Acer is Now in Pet Care. Really.

The world’s first notebook with a curved screen and the world’s first eye-tracking gaming desktop monitor took a back seat to newer product categories at Acer's IFA press conference.

With PC sales declines, Acer used IFA, the consumer electronics show, to announce the widening its business targets. Acer opened its press conference with an announcement of a new acquisition-- Pawbo-- and its entry into the market of pet technology. Or more specifically, social media devices for pet owners.

This may be an unexpected step into new territory for Acer, but it is well documented as a $100 billion market. President and CEO Jason Chen was able to get more than a few chuckles by pointing out the USA population is adding pets at twice the rate of human babies. And Acer wasn't the only pet technology at IFA...

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"Pokémon Go" Opens Up Mass Market for AR

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It's only been a week since its release, but even New York City is rocked by a new and "wildly popular augmented reality game."

For CE dealers, this marks two trends: it will accelerate interest in other AR and VR products, so it's a good time to increase familiarity with the category. And it marks a big shift for a CE giant as its success means the penny has dropped for Nintendo: they will now aggressively enter the mobile gaming industry with all their resources(probably even developing their own brand of mobile device accessories).

Nintendo's Pokémon Go is so popular it will soon overtake Twitter and other famous social media in numbers of daily active users (according to Android statistics).

It's so popular in just a week that NYC police have felt compelled to issue warnings, some tongue-in-cheek, but nonetheless urging Pokémon Go players "to be aware of their surroundings at all times, particularly when using any hand-held electronic device.”  The 19th Precinct of Manhattan added a Twitter message: “Don’t let us catch you catching #Pokemon while driving, you can’t do both!”

According to The New York Times, "Pokémon Go" is "on nearly every New York City sidewalk"as an increasing number of New Yorkers have been chasing virtual creatures since Pokémon Go came out last week.

Nintendo’s AR game sends players out into the real world to catch about 250 virtual Pokémon via a smartphone "grab" (when Pokémons appears on the screen, the user flicks Pokéballs--collected earlier from blue Pokéstops on route-- to capture them.)

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Suning Takes Control at Inter Milan

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Suning Takes Control at Inter Milan

Retail giant Suning of China takes 70% of Italian football giant Inter Milan for 270 million euro. The "Best Buy of China" is the first Chinese investor to control a top European soccer team.

Inter Milan won 18 Italian Serie A league titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies, but has been struggling after winning the European Champions League in 2010. The team finished 4th in Serie A this s Continue reading...

Sharp Agrees But Foxconn Freezes

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Sharp Agrees But Foxconn Freezes

Almost. The single terrible word that's left on the table after a deal falls through.

Despite all odds, the Board of Sharp managed to approve the sale to Foxconn. For a whopping $5.5 billion.

And now, only a day later, in a written statement, Foxconn says it needs to delay completing the deal.

Foxconn wants to study “new material information” released by Sharp that (according to WSJ) includes Continue reading...

Chinese Transport Company Buys Ingram Micro

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Chinese Transport Company Buys Ingram Micro

Out of the blue sea, Tianjin Tianhai from China announced it will buy Ingram Micro, the world's largest technology distributor for $6 billion.

Just $6 billion for a $46 billion company tells you a lot about the business of high tech distribution. But this story is not about the HOW MUCH- it's more about the WHO and the WHY.

Tianjin Tianhai began as a humble marine shipping company and turned itself Continue reading...

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