What’s Next for Netgear?
Netgear, a 13-year-old company whose original business model was built on the simple need for wireless Internet connection within the home, is morphing right along with the consumer’s desire for solutions that go beyond connectivity to include data storage and more. And with the introduction of the Stora NAS device, the company is also tapping into consumers’ familiarity and love affair with control devices like the iPhone and Blackberry.
The $229 Stora (make sure to see our video on Netgear’s new offerings in “The Angle” at Dealerscope.com) is a small-footprint cube that comes with a one-terabyte disk that stores photos, music, movies and other files for access on any network device. It enables simple content-sharing within the home and centralizes digital media for sharing with people or devices beyond the owner’s walls. It may also be used for backing up content. An optional $20 yearly premium subscription provides users with higher-level functionality, including remote access and compatibility with services like Flickr and third-party devices such as the iPhone.
It is a product that seemed made to order for J&R Music World’s content-loving customer base, said Abe Brown, spokesman for the New York City-based retailer that has been a key Netgear dealer for the last 10 years.
“Netgear is very supportive of us and our consumers, and they know the market well,” he said. “We have an entire sales force—six or seven people—dedicated primarily to networking and they all give Netgear rave reviews. Their products have been on target, but what our salespeople told me they would appreciate were more networking audio/video devices. The new Stora meets our needs in that regard very well.”
By tying into the control comfort level provided by smartphones, Netgear wants to make home networking’s possibilities “as simple as plumbing,” said Vivek Pathela, Netgear’s vice president and general manager of home consumer products. “Like plumbing, people don’t want to learn about it, but they have a real need for it. Accessing Stora content through the iPhone is a way we can help people who are comfortable with their own devices meet that need.”