Tipping Point for Wearables?

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Calling Google's Project Glass "just a  start," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps argues "like mobile and tablets today, in three years, wearable computing devices will matter to every product strategist."

WIMMWearables have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media. "Imagine," asks Epps, ".. video games that happen in real space. Or glasses that remind you of your colleague’s name that you really should know. Or paying for a coffee at Starbucks with your watch instead of your phone. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, trivial and substantial, that we are just starting to imagine."

Wearables will "enter the mainstream by exploiting the relative strengths of the big five platforms" (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) says Epps in her blog post.

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For Sale: Logitech Remote, Video Security Divisions

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Fiscal Q3 2012 brings "unacceptable" results for Logitech, with weakness across all territories (especially Europe). As a result, the company plans to "divest" of its remote and video security divisions.

Harmony TouchIn other words, Logitech will soon sell off the Harmony remote and Alert security divisions.

By end 2013 other "non-strategic products" will meet the chopping block, including gaming console peripherals and speaker docks. Instead the company will concentrate on PC and tablet accessories, such as the apparently successful Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad.

Logitech Q3 losses reach $180 million on sales of $615m. The Harmony lineup (including the Harmony Touch) sees sales falling by -55% Y-o-Y, with a revenue decline of -24% Y-o-Y.

No mention of potential buyers is available as yet.

Go Logitech Q3 2012 Results

King of Protection: Protecting Mobile Displays the German Way

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What's your definition of a low risk, high margin business?

How about a Coupon System that offers retailers the widest range of high quality protection films for their customers who buy or own mobile devices?

Crocfol offers a range of protection films for mobile devicesCrocfol Germany saves their retailers from any inventory risk through a Coupon system that offers the customer a protective film specific to their model of mobile phone. The customer redeems the Coupon online and Crocfol mails the order from Germany.

So there's never the cost of inventory: the reseller simply displays and sells the 6 different Coupons available.

That's important in a product range where you need 3400+ different films to match the different displays on a variety of devices from mobiles to laptops and touch pads that need protection.

In an era where mobile video is taking off and the smartphone and tablet are part of one's identity, protecting the display from scratches and random violence seems logical to most phone users. (Especially after that first scratch on that first phone. You learn an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.)

"Studies show the attachment rate for protective film is 70%, the highest rate of any accessory in smartphones," says Kurt Weiss, International Business Development Manager at Crocfol. "Smartphone users often like to trade-up after a year or two and if there's a scratch on the display the mobile phone loses its re-sale value."

If you still think protective films for mobile device displays come in one variety you are out of touch.

There's the Anti-Reflex film if your customer is one of those that hates the glare of reflection always staring back at him on the screen. This is the only one on the market available for Retina displays.

The Magic Switch film provides brilliant display quality, as long as your display is turned on. When it is not in use, Magic Switch film turns the display into a useful mirror.

PLUS by Crocfol offers a highly scratch-resistant film with a positive self-healing surface. Repairs its own scratches and comes with a 5 year guarantee.

The Crocfol Secret film offers dual protection. Not only is the display  protected with a scratch-resistant, highly durable and colourfast film but pictures, emails and texts are protected from prying eyes. The Secret film ensures your display cannot be viewed from the side.

And finally the Crocfol Premium protective film : virtually invisible as a result of its design, follows the highest standards and uses the latest techniques.

Now you can start to imagine the value of a Coupon system: not only are there numerous devices but you need as a retailer to offer numerous different styles of protective films per device!

Yet it's not only about having the widest range: Crofol positions itself as premium brand and produces all 3400+ different products in Germany on the latest precision machines.

Crofol supplies many of the largest retail groups in Germany and is now looking for distributors throughout EMEA with experience in mobile devices.

Go Crocfol

Apple’s Lightning is Not So Fast with Video

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Phil Schiller and Apple’s Lightning

Controversy has exploded around Apple’s new Lightning connector that makes most accessories to one’s older Apple products obsolete. But the frustration of accessory renewal is the fact, not the controversy.

The newest debate claims the new Lightning connector isn’t putting out full 1080p.

If you want a proper 1080p signal from your iPhone or iPad, you’d think the best bet is to plug it in directly using Apple’s ownLightning digital AV adapter. But some industry experts suggest that it is introducing noticeable compression artifacts.

A well-known software developer (writing in an aptly named “Panic Blog”) discovered that using the old Dock Connector AV adapter will output a full 1920 x 1080 video mirroring signal, but the newer Lightning AV adapter tops out at 1600 x 900.

Incredible, right? So the software developer goes hardware nuts and dives into the adapter and finds it is employing the same compression used in AirPlay to stream out the video. That’s his conclusion. Apple’s is…well, they don’t really talk to their customers as much as preach to them…so No Comment.

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Radio Shack to Close 1100+ U.S. Stores

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Sales fell 20% to $935.4 million during Q4 2013, while the retailer's net loss hit $191.4 million. It was the 8th consecutive quarterly loss. And sales at stores, the ones open at least a year, sank 19%.

Radio Shack front

So what do you do? RadioShack's new management plans to close up to 1100 stores. Which stores get the axe will be determined by location, area demographics, lease duration and financial performance.

The average size of a RadioShack store is 2426 square feet. That compares to Best Buy with 1200 square foot Best Buy Mobile stores as well as 20,000, 30,000 and 45,000 square foot Best Buy big box stores.

Dropping 1100 stores would still leave RadioShack with 4000 stores, compared to Best Buy's 1400 US locations.

CEO Joseph Magnacca says he needs more time to turn RadioShack around and a big announcement (like this one) will buy him time on Wall Street.

The closures come just after RadioShack was hailed as the "best" advertiser at the SuperBowl, the American football spectacular watched by 82,500 in person and by 111.5 million people on TVs and streaming.

A 30-second spot cost RadioShack approximately $4 million and they used the expensive opportunity to make fun of itself.

The ad is worth watching and opens with this line: "The '80s called: They want their store back."

And in rushes a crowd of 80s icons, real and imaginary. Mary Lou Retton, Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder, Alf, Hulk Hogan, Chucky and more. After they ransack the store and leave, we get a vision of the new look of RadioShack.

SuperBowl ad Radio ShackWhether or not that message convinces people to walk into the stores remains to be seen, but it's a clear attempt to change the way RadioShack is perceived.

But is that really what RadioShack needs? Magnacca and staff want to turn RadioShack into a more chic retail operation. But historically RadioShack was more an electronics parts and accessories store...not a hifi or computer dealer (although TR-80 days did change the stores for a short time).

Here is what they WANT to be now:

"RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) is a leading national retailer of innovative technology products and services, as well as products related to personal and home technology and power supply needs. RadioShack offers consumers products and services from leading national brands, exclusive private brands and major wireless carriers, all within a comfortable and convenient shopping environment.

Today’s RadioShack is dedicated to reinvigorating stores, revamping product assortment and repositioning the brand. With a refined product mix, enhanced in-store experience and expert associates, the new RadioShack is the neighborhood technology resource, equipping consumers with the right product and know-how based on their needs. RadioShack continues to make significant strides in all five areas of our turnaround plan – most visibly through our new brand, updated stores and new product assortment."

The problems started when they fell in love with the mobile phone business, not realizing Apple would turn the business on its head.  Now they want to be in a competitive business, in a retail battle they are not prepared for. People once went to Radio Shack for batteries, antennas, HDMI cable, an SD card... now it seems positioned as a Best Buy competitor (which has never been a successful plan for anyone else).

While it is true many traditional product categories suffered in the switch from analog to digital, there are many new ones. And IoT will bring lots more...

Maybe Yuppifying Radio Shack is not the best strategy. Maybe that's just a story that management is telling itself...and telling the customers at $4 million per pop.

Watching the commercial one gets the feeling that management is embarrassed to be running a cable and cord shop chain. The company wants to reinvent itself to better its image. The corporate message seems apologetic and talking to consumers in a language that might best be reserved for Wall Street. The real story will be in the final product mix Radio Shack chooses-- and its pricing strategy.

Has internet killed the Radio Shack business model?  Or did management kill it when it decided to take too big a bite in mobiles?

Go Radio Shack to Close 1100 Stores

Watch the SuperBowl $4 million video commercial

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