January 2, 2002 Wednesday
Electronics gadgets evolve modestly
May Wong, associated press
MP3 players will shrink in size but hold more songs. Cellphones
will double as handheld computers. Televisions will be bigger,
sharper - and cheaper.
are some of the new - well, really just mostly improved -
consumer electronic gadgets that will debut in 2002, a year
that also promises modest strides toward the wirelessly connected
world that was overpromised a year ago.
such as personal digital assistants, cellphones and combinations
of the two will increasingly come with built-in wireless Web
seeking to surf the Web through wireless hubs, their options
currently limited, will likely see many more places offer
the service as this technology proliferates.
that tech jargon such as MP3, DVD and PDA have entered the
vernacular, the consumer electronics industry is concentrating
on next-generation devices, learning from the mistakes and
building on the successes of the past few years.
to see more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary devices,"
said Andrew Johnson, a market researcher with Gartner Dataquest.
a good time for a breather, analysts say - the industry is
at a crossroads, switching from analogue to digital technologies,
and consumers need time to fully grasp the advantages of the
fancy new devices now available.
companies are moving cautiously after the bruising economic
slowdown in 2001 depressed sales, even of popular mobile phones
and handheld computers. Consumers now tend to buy products
that fill real needs rather than dumping cash on the latest
cool gadget, analysts say.
high-tech companies remain optimistic that the future lies
with powerful, converged devices such as refrigerators with
Internet access, or handheld computers that also serve as
a cellphone, pager, digital camera, MP3 audio player and TV
until consumers - and not just gearheads - show a liking to
these technologies, and their prices become affordable, some
companies are focusing on devices that serve one function
"Consumers are so jaded by how hard it is to set up a
computer that anything that smells like it scares them to
death," said Rob Enderle, analyst with the Giga Information