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Hong Kong Electronics Fair Gets Smart

Inventive and unique portable solutions rule the show

October 15, 2012 By John R. Quain
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   Judging by the thousands of companies touting their wares at the sprawling 32nd Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) the emphasis this coming year will underscore the power of connected smart TVs, over the top streaming media players, and accessories that continued to leverage the power of smart phones and tablets.

   The largest electronics expo based on the number of exhibitors—roughly 3,900 companies from 28 countries crammed into booths on five floors of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre—the show draws buyers who are looking to source products and make OEM/ODM deals for private label products. This year, according to the show's organizers, buyers from more than 65 different countries are in attendance.

     While names like Coby, Motorola, Oregon Scientific and Parrot have banners above the show floor, the exhibition is dominated by over 5,000 smaller booths touting tablets, accessories, and gadgets. Among the endless rows of headphones, Bluetooth wireless speakers and accessories were a few unique products that demonstrated the continued influence of tablets and smart phones on the CE market.

    Hong Kong-based Asia International Enterprise (AIE) introduced an iPhone 5 dock that turns a mobile phone into a desktop phone, complete with a corded handset for making voice or video calls. It joins an earlier product from the company that employs an iPad in a similar form factor. AIE said it would now deliver Android tablet compatible models, as well.

   With casual gaming continuing to disrupt the video game console business- game sales were down 24 percent in September, according to NPD - several companies are looking to take tablets and phones to the next level by adding gaming cradles and game pad controllers.

    iPega introduced small, game-pad style controller with a built-in bracket to hold a smart phone. “It works with iPhone and Android phones and makes it easier to play racing and fighting games,” said company sales representative Vincent Lui.

     In answer to buyer's queries, most manufacturers at the show said they would not have iPhone 5 adapters or plug compatible solutions to market until next year, but a couple of companies were demonstrating inventive products that circumvented the issue by employing anear-field solution (without requiring an NFC chip). Oregon Scientific has a new speaker for smart phones, for example, that uses so-called “near-field audio,” which streams the sound from any smart phone that sits on top of the device, sans cables, connectors or plugs. The company expects it to be  available in the U.S. market for roughly $50 “soon.” Chinese firm Ivon International demonstrated a similar product that drew crowds of buyers to its booth.

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