Attack of the iClones
CES in Las Vegas is now the place to take the pulse of the industry. It starts a scant two weeks after Christmas—time enough for dealers to see what did and didn’t sell last selling season and to start girding for the next. One thing that clearly worked this season was Apple’s insanely great iPhone, which (as usual) captured its unfair share of sales and celebrity. So it’s no surprise that the current CES PR email blizzard should bring an announcement of Shiro Corp’s trio of “slender and lustrous” personal media players (PMPs). Their industrial design makes them kissin’ cousins to Apple’s iPhone. And why not? Apple’s high end entries (iPhone, iPod Touch) set the bar on style. Everyone else either gets to dance the limbo under Apple’s high bar or tries to hurdle it.
Technical specs on Shiro’s three new PMPs (VJ, MR, MD) are not unusual. They’re flash-based players with 4 or 8 Gbytes of internal flash storage, various size LCD displays, and the VJ and MR players have micro SD card slots for storage expansion. They handle MP3, WMA, and WAV audio. Each supports a different set of video-file standards. All have FM radios and can record off the air.
These technical specs are just the price of entry into this sort of market. Sleek industrial design now matters more than ever in the cutthroat CE market. Shiro (a subsidiary of Singapore’s Aztech Systems Ltd) clearly realized that.
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