What's hot in consumer electronics?

The latest trends and technologies coming to the Middle East

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What's hot in consumer electronics? Consumer electronics technologies are expanding in several directions.
By  ITP.net Staff Writer Published  October 21, 2010

In an age when many industries have had to tone down expenditures and cancel projects due to the world economic crisis, the consumer technology industry has continued to thrive in order to meet the demand for newer hi-tech consumer electronics. The Middle East region in particular is very much an area where technology is needed due to development and lifestyle.

Targeting the region

The Middle East is proving to be a fertile ground for IT companies, as there is still a high demand for technology products, not solely from businesses but from the general public as well. This thirst for innovation has granted the region a reputation for technological advancements.

One company targeting these demands is the storage firm Verbatim. “This year we plan to sell, sell, sell, increase our distributor network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and grow our market share in the optical, flash memory and external hard drive business segments,” says Ziad Arab, Sales Manager for Verbatim Middle East. “We also aim to penetrate other IT business and professional areas such as the security storage sector.”

“The Middle East has been witnessing strong growth in its ICT sector for the past few years. According to some industry experts, IT spending in the region is expected to reach $16 billion by 2011,” he explains.

Murat George Sahin, Toshiba Electronics’ Regional Manager, has a similar assessment of the Middle East: “The MENA region is...an important market for Toshiba and we believe that the high density memory card sector is growing fast, driven by increasing demand for personal digital equipment able to handle motion pictures and high resolution images.”

The company has set itself an ambitious goal to expand their market share in this segment by 40%. To help them along on this path, Multimedia International FZE, located in Dubai and exclusive distributor of Toshiba memory cards and USB memory, has stated that their main mission is to become a strong regional player for Toshiba semiconductor products in the region.

Why exactly is the Middle East considered a hot spot for technology? A possible answer could be its wealth and progress. Prior to the current boom in the sector, hi-tech companies focused on countries like the United States, as well as many European and Asian countries. However, the rapid development of the Middle East (thanks to oil reserves and until recently, real estate) has opened up a lucrative new market for these firms.

Jihad Youssef, Genius Computer Technology’s (GCT) General Manager explains it this way: “Since Edimax’s establishment in Taiwan in 1986, it has grown to be one of the leading vendors of advanced network communication products in Asia, Europe and the USA. The company is now keen on expanding its operations to the Middle East, CIS and Africa.”

Not to say that the Middle East has escaped the current global economic climate unscathed – far from it.  But development, at least in the consumer electronics sector, is indeed continuing, if at a much more sedate pace.

“Verbatim has strong ambitions for the Middle East region and so far the progression in the retail market has been effective. We have increased our investment here for the past two years and will continue to do so,” points out Ziad Arab.

Meeting consumer needs

The electronics industry continues to evolve at the pace of consumer demand from the Middle East and around the world. Verbatim has produced a swanky brand new range of palm-sized hard drives and a new Multimedia Station to stand for the new generation of home entertainment.

Toshiba brings three new offerings – including the world’s first 32GB SDHC card – to the table. The new memory cards meet the Class 4 specification in the SD Speed Class, which ensures high-level performance and functionality that is necessary for advanced mobile phones and other personal digital products.

Another company, Goodram, has adhered to the principle of bigger, better and faster with the launch of a massive 128GB USB memory stick. And Ninja Computer has a new range of PC cases, multimedia speakers, digital cameras, notebook and PC accessories, computer tables, DVD players, LCD display and TVs.

Going green

Besides improving on existing consumer technology, companies are making great strides in “Going Green”. With the high demand in the Middle East for technology, it certainly helps along the environment to have products that are environmentally friendly.

Monster has launched a number of new products including it GreenPower Digital PowerCentre. Monster’s GreenPower Digital PowerCentre aims at helping home entertainment enthusiasts save energy and money, while helping to reduce the impact on the environment. The GreenPower outlet control system is designed to save energy by automatically turning off home cinema components when not in use.

Sanyo is another big brand name that is doing its bit to help the environment.

“The brand vision of Sanyo is called ‘Think GAIA’ which means creating the world as a single living organism. This is in line with our corporate commitment to promote global harmony and help protect planet earth by offering products that are energy efficient and environment friendly,” comments Takeshi Hirao, Vice President of Sanyo Electric Co Japan and Chairman of Sanyo Gulf FZE.

Sanyo’s green approach includes the development of product lines such as Enelop nickel-metal hydride rechargeable battery, and it also strives to design all of its products to reduce their environmental impact, in areas such as power consumption, usage of chemical substances with environmental impact, efficient usage of recycled materials, product durability, and constructing products that facilitate recycling.

Because it has played a pivotal role in maintaining the buoyancy of the consumer electronics market, it seems clear that the global industry will continue to look toward the Middle East for more direction in the future.

 Walk into any consumer electronics store and you’ll be bombarded by 3D TVs.  The concept itself, though, is nothing new; so why is it suddenly becoming such a hot topic — and how exactly does it work? Is 3D the next step in the evolution of television? 

To get a better idea of what we’re actually talking about, we spoke to the team at Panasonic, who break down the basic principles of 3D images in the following paragraphs:

Visual disparity creates a 3-dimensional effect

When people look at something, they receive slightly different images from their left and right eyes; the difference between the two images is called “disparity.” When the images are formed into a single image by the brain, this disparity causes the appearance of spatial depth and solidity. The basic principle of 3D images derives from purposely creating this visual disparity.

Even though the image is projected onto a flat screen, the viewer’s brain interprets the visual disparity information as portraying depth and solid-appearing objects.

Two images required during filming

To artificially produce this visual disparity, separate images must be recorded for viewing with the left and right eye. When it comes to 3D movies, a special camera is used on 3D movie sets to do this. The camera has two lenses and is designed to capture both the left- and right-eye images simultaneously.

3D Quality Left/Right Image Reproduction

The key to achieving 3D image quality lies in the method for sending the special 3D left- and right-eye images to the eyes of the viewer. A variety of methods have been examined through trial and error. These include the primitive method of watching the images through glasses that are fitted with red and blue colour filters, glasses with polaroid filters or LCD shutters, and a method in which a colour filter is fitted to the screen itself and the viewers watch naturally — without wearing any special glasses. The criterion for determining the best method is the ability to faithfully reproduce the information contained in the original images.

Reasons to buy

Of course, there are numerous retailers selling 3D TVs, and the likes of Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and LG have all jumped on the 3D bandwagon.

One of the arguments for buying a 3D TV is that it is, strangely, most probably the best 2D TV you can buy. While the current availability of 3D TV is limited, some televisions from manufacturers like Samsung offer features that convert 2D television into 3D, making it possible for Bart Simpson to virtually skateboard into your living room or perhaps place a bottle of “Tru Blood” within your reach.

While it might be some time before 3D really takes off, there is no denying the current amount of excitement among today’s gadget-hungry television audiences... and manufacturers are racing to fill that need as quickly as they can.

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