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Why Hardware is the New Software

December 19, 2011
Consumer electronics makers are cranking out new devices at an increasingly rapid clip, leading to software-like product lifecycles. That may end up hurting them in the long run.

Hardware just isn't what it used to be. Recently, Underwriters Laboratories, a product testing and certification company, issued a study  that found that 48% of consumers think tech manufacturers are shipping new products faster than they need them, the end result being a sort of "global gadget fatigue." Either consumers in general just can't keep up with the rate of innovation


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When asked what convergence products he sells, Paul Sherman figured the easiest way to answer the question was by listing the SKUs that don't fall into that category.

"Beyond a few basic televisions, a couple Blu-ray players, couple receivers and some speakers, almost everything we have these days has some aspect of Internet connectivity, the ability to stream audio or video, or do remote updates," said Sherman, the general manager of Sherman's, Peoria, Ill.

Today's CE products are true chatter boxes: they talk to each other, to the Cloud, to smartphones, tablets and just about anything else that's IP-based. But if dealers and retailers don't have a robust, in-store network to properly demonstrate these products, that conversation, especially the one that starts with the customer, is dead.



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