The Consumer Electronics Industry is Starting To Think Again
Six months ago I called the consumer electronics (CE) industry ugly after they launched a plethora of computing tablets to compete with the iPad. I’m happy to say that my faith is slowly being restored by not one, but two CE industry stalwarts.
Both have similar backgrounds. They once enjoyed market leadership, but have since fallen out of favor. Their businesses struggle in the red against a competition that is stealing boatloads of their market share. They have Design in the DNA, but it was lost and now rediscovered as they looked to design and innovation as a means to resurrect their brand from the ashes. They are Sony and Motorola, and I believe they will shine again.
The brand new Sony Vaio Z is what I would call the next archetype evolution between a desktop and a laptop. This “ultraportable” boast a carbon-fiber chassis, 13.1″ 1600×900 screen that runs on a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB SSD, and 8GB RAM. It uses a “sheet battery” that allows the Vaio Z to run for up to 7 hours. (Sorry, I got carried away with the specs! )
Before you scream MacBook Air COPY, take a look at their Power Media Dock attachment that boosts the computing power of the Vaio Z with an AMD Radeon 6650M GPU with 1GB of dedicated memory connected with Sony’s own Thunderbolt type technology called “Light Peak”.
So instead of building a MBA copy, it looks like they are creating a hardware modular ecosystem that may allow them to carve a new computing paradigm for themselves. Is this the start of modular computing or modular product design? I can also imagine a range of add-ons that could include faster CPUs, snap on HDD for additional storage and even displays. Oh my, many computing concepts of 10 years past are rushing back to greet us!
Here is another interesting proposition that made me look twice. When the Motorola Artix smoothly slots into it’s revolutionary Lapdock, the Lapdock automatically fires-up to allow you to continue your mobile activities on a bigger screen. This is not an entirely new idea, but it was unexpected in this era of tablets. Together with the Lapdock, the Artix is basically an archetype that allows for users to bypass the need for tablets.
Not only that, when you have phones that are as powerful as computers, why would you need to own both? I’m sure many of you will dive into the software details and the things you can do with the Lapdock, but if you consider again the long term computing potential of mobile phones the possibilities become endless. Best of all Motorola just has to leverage on their strengths in mobile communications and the way forward is starting to become clear.
I’m actually really excited to see the CE industry do something they have not done in a long time, and that is to think, design and innovate ahead of the competition. Hopefully, the general sickness of “follow the leader” can now finally come to an end, well unless it is a strategic competitive advantage to follow the leader. Now please excuse me while I go and try to get my hands on one of those gadgets!