Had Sony stuck with the Airboard portable computer it launched in 2000, Satoru Maeda rather than Apple's Steve Jobs might have been feted as the creator of tablet PCs. "I was the inventor of the Airboard," says Maeda between mouthfuls of fried prawn and dumplings at a Chinese restaurant in downtown Tokyo. He was referring to a flat panel device that predated the iPad by a decade yet boasted video, touch screen typing and Internet access. A hefty price tag and patchy picture quality were among the reasons the product, which in hindsight looks
CE companies’ product planning strategies should never be subjugated to the need for price-competitiveness. And free-thinking creativity and initiative must be encouraged among engineers in CE companies, or new-product ideas cannot germinate.
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