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It’s Been Nearly Six Months – Amaze Me…

Have we become like spoiled children with too many toys?   Are our purchasing decisions driven more by wants than needs?  This behavior has indeed come to the world of electronic products.  Soon we can expect that even six months will be too long to wait.  We will want new gratification every three months or less.  In the area of small-display electronics, this behavior of “what have you done for me lately” has already become our way of life.

water liliesThis has a positive side but also a negative side.  The positive aspect is that consumers are willing to rush out and buy the latest product in much the same way they become enamored with the latest hit song.  There is a tremendous rush of enthusiasm but this enthusiasm is difficult to maintain for more than a few months.  However, during the hot interest period lots of products are sold and the manufacturer can reap considerable rewards.

The negative side is that a successful company must create new hit products on an ongoing basis to grow -- or even just to survive.  There is no breathing room.  If the next products is not well received or if a competing product is deemed to be more exciting the consequences can be devastating. 

How did we end up in this situation?  As with spoiled children, the fault is not only with what the children demand but with what the parents are willing to provide.  In this scenario we the consumers are the spoiled kids.   We are always asking for something new and exciting.  We want to be amazed.  The “parents” are all the companies that are competing for our attention by trying to outdo each other with the next new product that will amaze us and cause us to rush out and spend our money.  

In the world of display technology, we had a great success with HDTV.  Not only were new broadcast standards introduced to provide superior images but, almost simultaneously, flat-panel technologies became cost effective in sizes larger than CRTs could provide.  This created a natural migration to new TV products and resulted in several years of robust sales.  However, what then?  Once the old standard TVs had been replaced one would expect a lull in further TV product acquisitions.  This led TV manufacturers to attempt to lure consumers with the introduction of stereoscopic 3D – an effort that had no chance of succeeding given the limitations of the technology.  

The new direction that is now evolving is Ultra-high definition TV – also known as 4K.  This is going to be a great success.  Not only has enough time passed so that the early buyers of HDTVs are ready for an upgrade, but there is a visible performance improvement that can be appreciated even on existing program material.  A further incentive is that more consumers are now desirous of having really large screens of 60 inches or greater.  At those screen sizes, Ultra-high definition displays are capable of truly spectacular images.  This should be a technology wave that manufacturers can ride for at least the next few years.  And after that – I really don’t know what else we might need or want.  

In the meantime, in the smaller display sizes, we can expect to see the market battles continue -- most likely at an ever-accelerating pace.  It’s amazing to see how some consumers place so little value on their $600 smart phones and how they expect that every few months something even more exciting will come along.  In many people’s eyes, these are disposable products to be used and discarded as soon as something more appealing becomes available.  It’s great for business, but very scary for those companies who cannot keep coming up with the latest “hit song”.    

Should you wish to send me your thoughts on this rough and tumble world of electronic product competition, you may reach me directly from this site, by e-mail at silzars@attglobal.net, or by telephone at 425-898-9117.         

19916 NE 30th Ct. Sammamish, WA 98074 Call 425.898.9117 FAX 425.898.1727 Email

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