Posted tagged ‘Consumer Electronics’

What Happens in Vegas…

February 2, 2011

As we turn the calendar from one year to another, what does it make you think about? New Year’s Resolutions? Back-To-School? The Super Bowl?

Well, if you’re like me and employed in the world of tech PR, it means one thing…the annual “Super Bowl” of consumer electronics events, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

If you’ve ever attended CES then you know that the show has grown exponentially since its early days. There’s nothing quite like getting more than 140,000+ of your closest friends together in Las Vegas for 4 days of the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world. Each year, months of hype lead up to the show. Who’s going to be there? What are they going to be demonstrating? What’s the big, new “it” product? And this year was no different.

Quite a few major technology trends emerged from this year’s show floor that are sure to keep me busy throughout 2011. Some of the significant topics of discussion included the launch of dozens of new tablet devices, wireless 4G LTE and enhanced connected television technologies.

And if you thought that CES had lost its luster and prestige…think again! Last year was a major down year in terms of attendance for CES. But, it was the large crowd at this year’s show that caught the attention of many in the media:

“I must’ve gotten the following question fifty times in the past few days: what’s the coolest thing you saw at CES? Every time, I’ve given the same answer: the crowd…It’s what the size of the 2011 CES signifies about the consumer electronics industry, and about the cultural centrality of a set of devices and issues that used to be the sole province of geeks.” Jon Stokes, Ars Technica

“CES 2011 is back to normal. It was packed with vendors and attendees. The overall tone was extremely up beat… It was fun to walk the floor and see what was on display.” Bill Wong, Electronic Design

There was no shortage of big names at CES. Amongst those speaking in Las Vegas this year were Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Rupert Stadler of AUDI AG, Boo-Keun Yoon of Samsung, Alan Mulally of Ford and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon. Each gave a Keynote presentation and Mulally used his presentation to unveil the company’s first electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric. Did you miss any of the Keynote presentations? Don’t worry…in this day and age you can easily go back and watch all of them online on the CES website anytime you like.

We talked trends coming out of the show earlier, and in 2011, there was no shortage of hot button topics that everyone wanted to talk about. Here’s what members of the media had to say about what they saw on the show floor:

“From the very first press conference, the main theme from the show emerged: your next smartphone will likely connect to a 4G network. For business use, 4G on your smartphone or tablet means easier Internet back-ups, smooth video chats, and snappier Web viewing.” John Brandon, Inc. Magazine

“This year, the show was all about Android. We ushered in the era of dual-core Androids with LG and Motorola, we celebrated the 4G revolution with LG, Motorola, and Samsung, and we even got a glimpse at how Android works when screen resolution is bumped beyond the all-too-common WVGA, thanks to Motorola. Oh, and a little thing called Android 3.0 Honeycomb is going to transform the way we think about not only tablets, but smartphones too.” Brandon Miniman, PocketNow.com

Larger crowds, 4G and gadgets galore! These were some of the highlights of CES this year. I think we can safely say that the recession appears to be over and if CES is any barometer for the state of the industry, then we’re in for a big 2011!

Did you go to CES this year? What was your biggest takeaway? What was your most memorable moment (at the event…not in Vegas)?

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NEC to Cut 20,000 Jobs

January 30, 2009

Japanese electronics giant NEC  said today that it will cut 20,000 workers worldwide as it tries to stanch widening losses from semiconductors and other businesses that have been hard hit by competition and the global economic slump.

From the Associated Press:

NEC’s net loss for October-December swelled to 130 billion yen ($1.46 billion) from 5.2 billion yen a year earlier, it said Friday. Tokyo-based NEC said it would sink into the red for the full year through March as well.

The company hopes the job cuts, which will be split equally between Japan and overseas, will help save 80 billion yen over the next two years.

As Japanese electronics makers struggled to stay afloat in a shrinking market, a Japanese newspaper reported Friday that NEC was in talks with Toshiba Corp. to seek a possible chip alliance.

The Nikkei business daily said the talks focused on the possibility of Toshiba spinning off its system chip operations and incorporating them with NEC Electronics Corp., a semiconductor unit owned by NEC.

NEC declined to confirm the report, saying it was not based on an official company announcement.

Best Buy Announces New CEO

January 23, 2009

Best Busy has selected Brian Dunn to replace Brad Anderson as the company’s CEO.

Dunn, who began his career in 1985 as a Best Buy store associate, is currently the president and COO of the company.

Talk about moving up the chain of command. Congratulations to Mr. Dunn!

From the Associated Press:

Best Buy, the consumer electronics chain, said on Wednesday that it had named its president and chief operating officer, Brian J. Dunn, chief executive effective June 24.

Mr. Dunn, 48, will succeed Brad H. Anderson, 59, who is retiring. The company said Mr. Dunn would also be named to its board and stand for election at the 2010 meeting of shareholders.

Mr. Dunn became the company’s president three years ago. He began as a store associate in 1985, when Best Buy operated just a dozen stores, and has held several executive roles since.

Best Buy said Mr. Anderson would complete his term as vice chairman after he steps down June 24, which is the scheduled date for the company’s regular meeting of shareholders.

Best Buy said it had not yet chosen Mr. Dunn’s successor.

Broadcom to Purchase AMD’s Digital TV Business

August 25, 2008

Chip maker Broadcom has said that it would buy Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s digital television chip business for $192.8 million in cash which will allow them to enter the market for cheaper television sets.

From Reuters:

AMD shares rose 4.5 percent after the news but Broadcom shares fell 3.5 percent after it said the deal would hurt earnings in the first year.

However, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Cody Acree applauded the agreement, saying it opens high-volume, high-growth consumer markets for Broadcom’s TV chip unit.

“If Broadcom gets into a lower end DTV box, it allows them to target markets like China, India and Brazil,” said Acree, adding that sales of cheaper televisions could be lifted by economic uncertainty among consumers.

After the deal, Broadcom would be selling chips for television sets with screens of up to 20 inches priced around $200 to $300. Broadcom, which makes chips for a range of consumer electronics including cell phones and set-top boxes, had previously focused on chips for more expensive TVs.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is forecast to cut Broadcom’s full year 2009 net earnings per share by a range of 4 cents to 5 cents, including 2 cents of stock-based compensation, the company said. It expects the impact on earnings to lessen and “approach neutrality” by the fourth quarter of 2009.