Nicholas Blanc

Nicholas Blanc
Cool As Ice

It may not have been the most poetic moment ever realized, but one day, while enjoying a slice of pizza, Rob Elliot had an epiphany. Owner of a car stereo retailer, working 80 hours a week just to get by, Elliot told himself that either he was wrong, or everyone else was. By everyone else, he meant all of the people outside of his industry who had offered him advice on how to run his business; people he had brushed off because he thought that they just didn’t get it. So after that catalytic slice, Elliot headed straight for a bookstore where he purchased a

ITI Offers Commissions to Supporting Retailers

Image Trends, Inc. (ITI) is living up to its name by announcing its new Photo Retail Affiliate Program. Recognizing that consumers today are more Internet savvy than they used to be, ITI’s launching this new program, offering commissions to retailers for promoting the sale of its software. Feeling that photo retailers with store fronts are at risk of losing money to Internet sale outlets, ITI is trying to cut back on those retailers’ inventory costs by offering coupons on software that can be redeemed for a 10 percent discount online when they purchase any ITI product. The store at which the coupon was

iPhone Prompts Launch of New Accessories

The momentous release of Apple’s iPhone last week was accompanied by a flash flood of new iPhone accessories. With Apple raising the bar, several other companies are trying to flex their own technical muscles, or just ride the wave of the iPhone’s popularity. Belkin announced the release of several new accessories including iPhone cases, headphone adapters and stereo cables. The three new cases include the hard Acrylic Case, the Slim-Fit, and the Sport Armband. The Acrylic Case protects the iPhone while allowing full access to the touch screen and ports, and includes a kick stand that allows for hands-free video viewing; the

Audiovox Receives OE Awards for New Technology: More to Come

Audiovox Electronics Corporation, which has just won its third Original Equipment Award for 2007, is offering a new security/tracking system to new car dealer expeditors called PursuiTrak. This comes just after Audiovox received its second and third OE Sales Awards for its Remote Start and Reverse Assist Systems that are available in several ’08 Subaru models. “New car dealers will now be able to offer their customers a sophisticated product that combines space-age technology with lifestyle conveniences,” said Joe Dentamaro, vice president of security and tracking. “Pursuitrak gives the user vehicle security and peace of mind enhancement features that encompass personal, business and

CEA Digs Into HDTV Data

Currently, 30 percent of U.S. households have a high-definition television set and, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, that number is expected to rise. The CEA predicts that 2007 will see 16 million HDTVs being sold, bringing the total up to 52.5 million sold in the U.S. and the percent of households to 36 percent. Along with this information, the CEA also released a study titled “HDTV: You Have the Set, But Do You Have the Content?”, which found that 44 percent of HDTV owners actually receive HDTV programming. The study, which was taken from a random sample of 2,508 U.S. adults, revealed

Company Offers iPhone Voice Accessories

Parliant announced that its PhoneValet Version 5.2 and PhoneValet Anywhere services will be available for the new iPhone. PhoneValet for iPhone will allow customers to check home and office messages visually from any Mac or web browser by emailing the messages to the users desktop. PhoneValet features an automated voice mail attendant unlimited voice mail call tree, call blocking, recording, logging and screening, automated dialing and Interactive Voice Response capabilities. PhoneValet Anywhere is an add-on package that allows users to access their messages from any remote Mac or PC. “Now with one device, Apple’s iPhone, you can access calls and messages from all

New GE Refrigerators 60 Years in the Making

Sixty years ago, GE invented the first two-door refrigerator-freezer combination and today the company continues to improve upon the original. GE announced new features for both its side-by-side and bottom freezer designs. For the side-by-side models, GE introduced Climatekeeper2 and Quickfreeze technologies. Climatekeeper2 is meant to keep foods fresher, longer and allows for a fast filling water dispenser. Quickfreeze does exactly what the name suggests: it freezes the contents of the freezer, quickly. Other new additions to the side-by-side models are customizable LCD controls and new center bevel door design. GE has put the most work into its bottom-freezer models due to the

Nintendo Introduces WiiWare

Nintendo Co. has introduced a new tool called WiiWare that will allow independent game developers to create and sell downloadable games for the Wii video game console, according to a story by the Associated Press. This new content will be available on Wii Shop for gamers in early 2008. President of Nintento of America Reggie Fils-Aime told the AP that this is an opportunity for “Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas . . . to get their personal games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit.” Similarly, Microsoft Corp. allows independent developers to use XNA

Panamax Adds Three New Products

Panamax announced the expansion of its MAX In-Wall series of AC power solution products. Being added to the In-Wall ranks are the Powerkit-Pro, Power-Pro, and Dual Signal Bay all serving for noise filtration, protection from power surges, and connecting signal lines. These new power management products do not require extension cords. The Powerkit-Pro ($299.95 SRP) is a code-compliment extension of Panamax filtration and protection to remotely located devices by accommodating optional signal line modules that connect the component rack to the video output. There is EMI/RFI noise filtration built into the outlets. The 15-amp Power-Pro ($99.95 SRP) delivers safe power to the remote

Sonos Hits Best Buy’s Shelves

Soon after releasing what Sonos calls its most cost effective product to date—the Bundle 130—the digital music company is now bringing its merchandise to Best Buy’s shelves, expanding to an even more mainstream market. Before the end of 2007 Sonos will be featured in over 600 Best Buy locations and is already available for purchase at 440 stores in the nation. Sonos is a company that has embraced the shift of the music market from analog to digital by offering a multi-room wireless music system that can be controlled by one handheld remote. Sonos products can also access digital music services such as Pandora

Limited Time Only: Panasonic Offers Exclusive Service to All

Panasonic’s exclusive Concierge toll-free information service will be open to all consumers interested in plasma HDTVs from June 13 through 17. The Concierge telephone service is normally limited to Panasonic HD plasma owners but now the phone lines have temporarily been opened up to anyone with questions about HD products. “Panasonic’s Concierge program was created to provide peace of mind services to our valued customers and the program, which emphasizes our commitment to excellence in both technology and customer service, has exceeded our expectations,” said Vice President Dave Eppel, Panasonic Display Group. “Concierge is a unique program within our industry and one that further

SOLO Teams Up with D&H Distributing

The laptop and business case brand SOLO announced an agreement this week with D&H Distributing that immediately offers the laptop case company access to the distributor’s existing customer base. SOLO brand products will now be available in medium-sized resellers, college bookstores, and value-added resellers (VARs). With SOLO’s products, a VAR may include a certain brand of laptop computer in a bundle with a SOLO laptop backpack and sell this as a “value-added” package. “Our new partnership with D&H is an important addition to our current channel of distribution,” SOLO Director of Marketing Leticia Vargas said in a company statement announcing the deal. “We

Sonos Expands to New Retailers

Sonos Inc. announced that it is expanding its sales to ABT Electronics in Chicago, 10 Ken Crane’s locations in Southern California, and six Vann’s stores in Montana. Each new store will be carrying Sonos’ complete product line and will feature on-site interactive demonstrations. With a broadband Internet connected to the Sonos point-of-sale display, customers can access millions of songs via Rhapsody Online Music Service and Pandora Personalized Radio that can be played right in the store with the use of Sonos’ handheld controller. “Digital music in the home is going mainstream and it is important for us to find retail partners that have

Demand for Navigation Systems Soars

Worldwide shipments of car navigation and Global Position Systems are expected to more than triple between 2006 and 2012. iSuppli predicts that the total market shipment of navigation systems will rise from 19.8 million in 2006 to 65.1 million in 2012. This market, once dominated by embedded systems, is now controlled by Personal Navigation Devices which are handheld and can be used in or outside of the vehicle. “The rise in popularity of PNDs has encouraged the two leaders in this market-TomTom and Garmin-to expand their business. These companies now are two of the fastest growing semiconductor buyers in the world because demand

KEF Ships Wireless Speaker System

KEF Audio has begun shipping its wireless speaker system in the U.S. in three configurations, allowing it to convert a variety of products into wireless surround sound. The KEF “Universal Wireless” system is made up of two receivers and a transmitter and can be used with any traditional speaker system, while the KHT5005.2W conversion kit is designed specifically to fit KEF’s KHT5005.2 speakers. Both of these set-ups cost $599.99. Also, for $2,599.99, consumers can purchase the KHT5005.2W 5.1 deluxe package, which includes the KHT5005.2 speakers retrofitted with the new wireless system, as well as the HTB2 subwoofer. “KEF’s wireless system provides high-resolution audio