MERA’s Industry Forecast
May 1, 2006

As a result of its board of trustees’ 2005 strategic planning session, the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA) established a new focus, outlining new goals to drive the association as it aims to elevate the success of specialty retailers in the mobile enhancement industry. One of the stated goals was that “MERA will be the first place retailers turn for industry insight and guidance.” To this end, MERA’s primary objective is to “increase our ability to collect, categorize and analyze data on emerging industry issues.” With input from select industry professionals who comprise MERA’s newly formed Forecast Advisory Committee, MERA has compiled its first

Road Views
May 1, 2006

Dealerscope: How has your overall mobile electronics business been over the past year—are you up, down, or about on par with the same period in 2005? Mike Cofield: It’s good—up about five percent. Business has met our expectations. Mehdi Narimanian: We’re up, thanks to bigger-ticket items. There’s lots of negative news out there on mobile electronics in general. But our navigation, video and satellite radio business has helped other categories. Dan Jeancola: We’re up over the year before, but within the business itself, the industry is in transition. Between categories it’s shifting pretty dramatically. Core car sources in the industry are depressed, but

Cell Phone or a Swiss Army Knife?
May 1, 2006

Selling Digital Cameras? Carry the Ones with a Keypad Don’t be surprised if you start seeing people holding their cell phones horizontally instead of vertically later this year. A new generation of high-quality camera phones were introduced at CTIA and the new shooters have as many or more functions as quality digital cameras. Sony Ericsson debuted the K790, its branded “Cyber-shot phone,” with an impressive 3.2 megapixels, autofocus capabilities, a Xenon flash, an active lens cover and a technology called “BestPic” which shoots in burst mode (9 shots a second) and allows you to choose the clearest image. When held horizontally, the “back” of this

Mobile Gaming Struggles For Growth
April 1, 2006

While gaming is considered one of the hottest past times around, it hasn’t quite been the boon to the mobile phone market that pundits thought it might be a few years ago. M:Metrics, a mobile market research firm, tracks consumer usage of mobile devices and in a recent study found that, “as the prices and selection of mobile games climb, consumption has remained consistent, with between five and six million mobile subscribers downloading at least one mobile game per month, over the past year.” Despite the flat demand, it hasn’t been for the lack of carriers trying. M:Metrics reported that the number of mobile games

Millennials Rising
April 1, 2006

Here’s the first thing to understand about today’s teenagers: Their cell phones are a natural extension of their bodies, as if their right arms had grown five more inches. The phone goes with them everywhere, allowing access to the Internet, to their parents, to each other and most importantly, to prospective love interests. This ability to communicate digitally is so second-nature that the loss of a cell phone is mourned like an injury. A day without text messaging, calling, photo-sharing, and playing Sudoku would be, to this generation, like a day without the use of your eyes, ears and voice. It’s not just that

Challenged by the Opportunity?
March 1, 2006

Across the nation and around the world, retailers hear the voices of consumers looking for ways to personalize their portable consumer electronics experience and integrate their lifestyle in ways that just a few years ago we could have never imagined. Unless we are living in a cave somewhere, we are constantly barraged with words like podcast, iTunes, nano, gigs, bits, bytes and hard drives. The portable revolution is here and, as a savvy retailer, you must do everything you can to take advantage of this opportunity. Technology is moving so fast, USA Today found it necessary to print a half-page dictionary for personal technology called

The Dream Team Installation
March 1, 2006

Among the biggest 12-volt enthusiasts, car audio installation prowess is still a competitive sport. Just check out or In the north hall of the recent CES show, many attendees ogled the magnificent creations installers came up with to promote the latest products—waterfalls, motorization, fiberglass and other displays of over-the-top craftsmanship. But there has never been a time when the best of the best has worked together on one project. Enthusiasts have always imagined the possibilities if the "Dream Team" of the car audio world came together to build a common project vehicle. But great distances and monetary commitment stifled the idea of

Head of the Class
January 1, 2006

The hottest mobile head units for 2006 By Brett Solomon Everyone can argue where they head first when they arrive in Vegas. But if you are a true mobile electronics and car enthusiast retailer, the first stop is North Hall to check out the new technology incorporated into the new crop of head units. There are always some surprises, and this year is no different. It is always fascinating to see the latest technology being designed (or, better, crammed) into a DIN-sized dashboard cavity—and this year, there's a lot. As a matter of fact, some may even call this year's crop exceptional. Although some customers

Wireless Customers
January 1, 2006

Keep 'Em Smiling and They'll Keep Buying By Steve Koenig Senior Manager of Industry Analysis Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Over the past several years, the wireless communication business has been on a fast track for growth. But will the dominance of the direct channel and the rise of online merchants derail growth opportunities for traditional dealers? The wireless handset market is an area of CE where you can still find a meaningful independent dealer channel, thanks in part to the sheer size and scope of the market. Factory shipment revenues of wireless handsets in the U.S. are projected to approach $13.3 billion this

Breaking the Sound and Sales Barrier
December 1, 2005

Scott Owens' Monster SPL (Sound Pressure Level) vehicle breaks the 180 dB barrier (also known as 'The Wall') in competition. Can store owners take advantage of this feat to 'Break records on Sunday, Sell woofers and amps on Monday?' By Brett Solomon SPL competitions, or Sound Pressure Level competitions really started to garner attention in the late 1990s when vehicles started to look less like vehicles you would find on the street and more like vehicles you might see welded together on Monster Garage. To the casual observer, a look into the rear of these vehicles allows you to view an installation more suited for a