One of the things I fell in love with at this year’s CES wasn’t exactly new, but it is something that marks an underserved market for gadgets: diverse colors and great design. Women in my life care about both and wouldn’t it be nice to have choices other than black, white or silver?
While Apple clearly gets this, most vendors don’t have a clue. Check out Iomega’s external hard drives. They’re small, slick and have a broad range of colors, all of which are muted, not shiny with some cute design logo that would only appeal to a geek or a 16 year old. I’m still surprised that blue didn’t make the cut and while pink was proudly displayed at their booth, I only found red, black and silver on their site.
While others were crazed over the Sony Rolly, an MP3 player that dances to the music in its guts with neon light trimmings, I kept wondering where all the practical stuff was that women would actually use and get excited about.
I stopped by the Kodak booth to talk to someone about my broken digital picture frame (black, of course), which I got at DEMO last year from their marketing team. It hasn’t worked properly since I programmed it and even after trying an internal card (no slow wifi excuses), it still doesn’t work. 5 geek friend visits later, I’m still without a working device.
The two women I spoke to on the show floor were useless, i.e., here’s our website and 800#. Huh? After hearing my story, you’d think I may have tried that once or twice, hence my reason for making the effort to stop by their booth.
What I did love browsing through were the Chinese and Korean vendors in the small section attached to the Las Vegas Hilton, meaning they likely didn’t have enough budget to make the main LVCC show floor.
Here, two aisles of really creative vendors who don’t have the capacity to sell retail, had a number of accessory options that would appeal to women, you know, that underserved market in the world of consumer electronics.
When I searched for a funky leather holder for my moo cards online, I was given a choice of kitsch powder blue, pastel pink, neon green or red — all of them brightly lit colors without any unique design.
While I’m okay with my red leather case, I was shocked to see how many choices I could have had through these Korean and Chinese vendors. They also had funky (not tacky) small blue tooth headsets, laptop cases that a Paris designer would stop to look at, camera and cell phones cases and more, but sadly you couldn’t buy any of them.
BlueAnt and Jabra both announced new blue tooth headsets at CES this year and Jawbone allowed people to trade their existing blue tooth headset in for one of theirs. At their booth, you could watch them crash your old one in exchange for a new Jawbone.
Great marketing move and it certainly got my geek friends and the press talking. I actually have one and while I’m sure its higher quality than the ones the smaller Asian vendors were parading, I was sorry I couldn’t buy a few creatively designed ones I’d more likely want to wear. While quality is important, SO is really beautiful design. It’s sad that so many vendors forget that.