Smartphones are expected to earn the aftermarket accessory industry $20 billion in 2012, accounting for more than half of the $36 billion in total industry revenues, according to ABI Research. A recent study showed that smartphone owners spend roughly $56 on accessories per device, nearly double the amount of feature phone owners. By 2017, feature phone accessory revenues is estimated to decline to $12 billion, while smartphones accessories are estimated to increase to $38 billion. “The increasing penetration of smartphones is driving a shift in accessory design toward smart accessories that drive higher levels of consumer interaction, product value, and brand recognition,” says ABI analyst Michael Morgan. “For new market entrants, developing brand recognition is paramount in capturing market share from the incumbents. This is best accomplished by the development of engaging, innovative accessories that extend the value proposition of today’s mass market accessories.” ABI Research’s press release follows below. More →
A new Microsoft patent published recently by the United States Patent and Trademark Office revealed that the company is working on two types of headsets for its Xbox and Windows Phone platforms, PatentBolt reported on Monday. The first unit resembles an aviation-type helmet and is aimed at Xbox gamers, while the second looks like a pair of sunglasses for use with smartphones and other future devices. The software giant states that a compact display system can be integrated into goggles, a helmet or other eyewear, enabling the wearer to view images from a computer, media player or other electronic device. Since the human eye can’t focus on images less than a few centimeters away, however, Microsoft’s headsets will have the ability to virtually project an image.
Microsoft may be planning to launch a special bundle that includes the Nokia Lumia 800 and several accessories for $899. Citing unnamed industry sources, The Verge said the deal will kick off on February 14th and will include a Bluetooth headset, a Purity HD stereo headset and Nokia’s Play 360 wireless speaker. Microsoft will reportedly not be offering the Lumia 800 as a stand-alone product. $899 seems a bit steep to us, even considering that consumers will be getting an unlocked device and a bundle of solid accessories. After all, AT&T will be launching the sub-$100 Lumia 900 with 4G LTE support and a bigger screen just one month later. More →
M-Edge Accessories has filed a lawsuit against Amazon with a federal court in Maryland that accuses the online retailer of bullying it into coughing up higher commissions in exchange for better placement on Amazon’s website. M-Edge Accessories isn’t just filing a suit for extortion according to The Wall Street Journal, however — the accessory maker is also accusing Amazon of patent infringement, false advertising, creating unfair competition and hampering M-Edge’s customer relations. Amazon reportedly played some pretty dirty games with M-Edge in order to secure a larger percentage of commissions. M-Edge said it initially signed a deal with Amazon that would provide the retailer with a 15% commission on all goods sold. Amazon allegedly came back two months later and demanded a larger 32% commission. When M-Edge declined, an executive told M-Edge that Amazon would “de-list,” “play” with, or bury the accessory maker’s products so that “no one will be able to find you.” M-Edge eventually signed a new contract with Amazon, but it had to pay $6.5 million in commissions in order to do so. Even still, Amazon allegedly left its products off of the “Amazon Approved Accessory Maker” list. M-Edge is also suing Amazon for patent infringement and is arguing that it holds a patent for a Kindle case with a built-in reading light. More →
A patent filing by Microsoft titled “Mobile Communication Device Having Multiple, Interchangeable Second Devices” was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. The patent was originally filed on March 17th of last year and it describes a device that consists of a display and “multiple second devices” that can serve as accessories to the primary screen. We have seen this design executed before: Verizon Wireless launched the LG Versa in 2009 that could be equipped with a game pad accessory, but Microsoft has bigger plans. The patent describes the additional accessories as “more game controllers, batteries, physical keyboards or mobile phone handsets with a display.” Users can detach the devices too, and use wireless communications to interact with the primary display. It is a compelling concept although we aren’t so sure consumers will want to carry multiple accessories at once. More →
Verizon Wireless will drop the price on all of its iPhone 4 accessories in anticipation of the iPhone 5 launch, PhoneArena is reporting. Verizon Wireless is expected to continue selling the iPhone 4 at a lower price point after its successor launches, however, so it is unlikely that the carrier will completely clear house of its accessories. If this report is accurate, the move could suggest Apple has a redesigned iPhone up its sleeves instead of a phone with the same industrial design and newer hardware inside. That’s in line with our exclusive report that the Cupertino-based firm will release a successor with a “radical new case design,” and another report from The Wall Street Journal claiming the phone will be thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Apple is expected to unveil the phone in late-August or in September. More →
Sales of video game hardware and software declined 10% in June according to new data reported by industry watcher The NPD Group. Total content sales including home consoles, portable consoles and PC game sales totaled $1.03 billion last month, down 10% from June 2010. Hardware sales declined 9% from $401.7 million in June 2010 to $366.6 million last month, and software sales dropped 12% over the same period to $469.5 million. Video game accessory sales also declined from June of last year, dropping 11% from $177.7 million in 2010 to $158.9 million last month. Game publisher Take 2 Interactive was responsible for the two best-selling games in June, with L.A. Noire occupying the top spot and Duke Nukem Forever coming in at No. 2 despite low ratings from reviewers. Sony’s Infamous 2 was the third best-selling game for the month, while Disney’s Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D rounded out the top-5. Overall hardware, software and accessory sales in the first half declined 2.4% compared to the first half of 2010. A list of The NPD Group’s top-10 software titles for the month of June follow below. More →
Reviewers and early adopters seemed to agree that Motorola’s Webtop laptop dock for the ATRIX 4G was both very nifty and very overpriced. At the same time, we were all intrigued when Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said back in February that all of the company’s high-end smartphones would be compatible with the quirky Webtop laptop dock beginning later this year. Last week, Jha reiterated these intentions during the company’s earnings call, noting that the Webtop dock is one way Motorola will set itself apart from other manufacturers of Android-powered smartphones. “In the Android ecosystem, there is a need for us to differentiate,” Jha said. “[With] Atrix devices with the Webtop and lap-dock we really think there is an alternative way of viewing the convergence between mobility and computing. And we will continue to focus on that.” Jha continued, “You will see multiple devices from us in the second half… and we will expand the range of our lap-dock devices so we cover a broader price point, addressing both enterprise tiers as well as more consumer tiers.” That note about covering a range of price points may be the key factor here, and we’re anxious to see how Motorola will make this accessory more accessible while still refining the experience. More →
DigiTimes is citing a report from sznews.com today that three Foxconn employees have been arrested in Shenzhen, China for leaking the design specs of the iPad 2 to third-party case manufacturers ahead of the device’s launch. The three were allegedly arrested in December of last year and were charged in late March for the leaks. Foxconn grew suspicious of its own employees after accurate third-party iPad 2 cases began popping up on the market; the firm then asked local authorities to investigate. Foxconn manufacturers electronics for a number of major companies including Apple, HP, Palm, and Sony, and it has been called out in the past for the harsh treatment of its employees. More →
We met up with LG on Tuesday to check out its inductive Wireless Charging Pad, which it hopes will compete against competitors like Powermat. During our hands-on, we weren’t able to test the device — it seems someone forgot to charge the charger — but we were able to get a feel for its size, weight and some of its features. The Wireless Charging Pad has a power indicator that alerts you just how much power is left, and LG says it takes about two hours to charge itself up fully. All you have to do once it’s juiced up is pop a special back onto your smartphone and drop it onto the charging pad. In our eyes, the Wireless Charging Pad wasn’t a whole lot different than the Powermat; it’s light in the hand and can easily be packed in a briefcase, backpack or even a Florida tourist-friendly oversized fanny pack. LG hasn’t said which of its phones the Wireless Charging Pad will be compatible with just yet, but we think it’s a little counter intuitive for LG to make it only compatible with LG phones. Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery below!
A series of what are purported to be leaked internal slides from RIM may reveal details surrounding various OEM BlackBerry PlayBook accessories. While the authenticity of the slides obtained by enthusiast blog Fommy has not been confirmed, they may give us our first glimpse as a variety of OEM accessories for the BlackBerry PlayBook, as well as pricing details and some projected availability dates. The slides show a variety of cases ranging in price from a $29.99 neoprene sleeve to a $59.99 book-style leather binder. Also seen on the slides is a $49 BlackBerry music gateway, a $99 Bluetooth keyboard and a $79.99 charging dock that props the PlayBook up while recharging the battery. The aforementioned music gateway and Bluetooth keyboard show initial shipment dates in July of this year — potentially up to four months after the Wi-Fi-only version of the PlayBook launches. The rest of the accessories do not show projected ship dates. Hit the break for two more purported slides. More →
We have received a couple tips that AT&T corporate stores will start selling all Apple iPad accessories for 50% off beginning February 13th. Our tipsters note that AT&T usually doesn’t clearance items unless a replacement is imminent.
Before the days of the backlit LCD-display, portable gaming — like reading — required a certain amount of ambient light. Sure, that original Game Boy was great — and you were a wiz at Tetris and Mario Bros. — but you needed an assist from your trusty floor-lamp… that was, before the Light Boy. The Light Boy was an accessory for Nintendo’s popular Game Boy portable gaming system that provided its users with two benefits. First, it illuminated the device’s monochromatic screen, allowing owners to game in the dark. And second, it had a magnifying glass that hovered over the screen, making gameplay a little easier on the eyes. The Light Boy allowed us to play our Game Boy in our favorite location forbidden by our parents: between the sheets after bedtime. In the 1990’s, it was a thing of beauty. Anyone out there own this handy little accessory? More →