A number of new innovative gadgets were introduced to our lives in 2014. New beginnings for smartphones, smartwatches and portable speakers dominated Appliance Retailer’s most read list for digital products, as did the accessories that add extra personality and protection to devices. The end of an era for TiVo and possibly MP3 players also ranked highly, proving that in the world of the consumer tech there will always be an up and coming challenger to keep the market exciting.
Appliance Retailer’s Top 10 Digital Retailer Stories of 2014
10. Industry trends guide TDK Life on Record’s 2014 audio range (17 February 2014)
A surge in portable streaming audio speakers over the past two years has guided TDK Life on Record’s decision to build a targeted product range positioned squarely in the most vibrant part of the market, according to Imation, the brand’s owner and local distributor.
In a presentation to Digital Retailer, Imation exhibited data showing that, in the United States, between June 2012 and June 2013, the portable speaker market exploded in popularity, from $200 million to just under $550 million. In unit terms, sales increased from around 1.25 million to 4.25 million.
Nokia’s latest flagship phone, the 4G Lumia 930, was launched last week to the Australian tech press. Early reviews have been glowing, calling it the best Windows Phone to date. The questions is, does the best Windows phone to date stand a chance against Android and iOS?
8. ‘We have no regrets’: Channel Seven washes hands of TiVo in Australia (3 September 2014)
Channel Seven has finally given confirmation that its interest in TiVo in Australia is officially zero. A representative of the network advised Appliance Retailer last night at the launch of FreeviewPlus that it no longer had any involvement in the famous American PVR brand and that Hybrid TV, the subsidiary established to be the official Australian licensee, had been effectively dissolved.
After wowing crowds and early adopters alike at the International CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, the Pebble Steel smart watch is set to get Australian retail distribution, with Dick Smith picking up exclusive rights to the device.
Pebble shot to fame in 2012 when it launched as a crowd-funding project on Kickstarter — the creators sought to raise $100,000 to develop and market a watch that would communicate with a smartphone device and do everything from controlling music playback to providing caller ID updates and email alerts on the user’s wrist.
6. Sony launches 2014 Bravia TV range with free PlayStation 4 promotion (15 May 2014)
Sony Australia has resurrected its wildly popular Free PlayStation promotion to accompany the launch of its 2014 Ultra HD (Sony always calls it ‘4K’) and Full HD TVs. For the first time, Sony will be giving away the PlayStation 4 with purchases of selected models in the range.
There are 9,000 PS4s to be redeemed during the promotion period and Sony is hosting a live countdown on its microsite. To claim a free console, consumers must buy one of six new Bravia TVs from an authorised dealer before 29 June 2014 and then register the purchase on the Sony website within 14 days.
Almost thirteen years after Apple launched the first generation iPod offering “1,000 songs in your pocket” the product evolution rolls on with the release of the new 16 GB iPod touch for RRP $249.
As average sale prices have decreased and smartphones offer music storage and streaming as a staple feature, the mp3 player market is sparsely populated. The audio market has shifted focus, and over half of the revenue in the category is generated by devices that dock wirelessly predominantly via Bluetooth, according to 2014 GfK data.
Australian Nintendo fans are being rewarded with the company announcing it will release the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL in Australia and New Zealand before the United States and Europe.
Tom Enoki managing director Nintendo Australia confirmed that Australia and New Zealand will be the first markets outside of Japan to get the new consoles and “there are no plans to launch the system in United States and Europe this year,” in a video posted to Youtube containing details of the announcement.
3. Late and desperate, Apple unveils iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and three Watch varieties (10 September 2014)
Apple overnight unveiled two new iPhones, the 6 and the 6 Plus, and previewed the Watch, a new wearable available in three models that will compete with previously launched smartwatches and fitness devices.
“What’s the correct naming for the devices? Is it Microsoft, Microsoft Nokia Lumia or just Nokia Lumia?”
The question was asked by respected rival hack Jenneth Orantia and it caused tittering among the guests at the event. The response came from Steve Lewis, managing director of Microsoft Devices in Australia and New Zealand.
“The products we are launching today are Nokia Lumia devices. Under the Nokia brand with Lumia, so Nokia Lumia 930 and Nokia Lumia 635.”
And the number one most read digital retailer story, as well as the overall most read story of 2014 is…
1. iUPDATED: A case of stiff competition among iPhone 6 accessory providers (17 September 2014)
UPDATE: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus went on sale this morning, here is Appliance Retailer’s wrap of new Apple accessories so retailers can cash in on this opportunity.
Mobile accessory suppliers were quick off the mark to announce new cases and accompaniments for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but they’ll be facing strong competition from online services that print custom-made cases and sweeten the deal with free delivery.