Companies Take Note, Appeal to Savvier Customers

Carl Weinschenk

This Earth Times piece on the introduction of a line of external storage devices by Toshiba is great evidence of the lightning-quick evolution of the consumer and business electronics and mobility sectors.


The news is that Toshiba has entered the portable storage race with the USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive family. The devices, which are aimed at consumers, come in 100, 120 160 and 200 Gb models.


Until recently, external storage was something that only businesses worried about. Now, a leading consumer electronics company is offering what the article says is the highest capacity external drive available (for now, at least). The drive -- which is small and robust enough for use on the road -- clearly is no slouch. The story says that the 200 GB version can store the equivalent of 57,000 digital pictures, 52,000 music files, 88 DVD videos or 23 high-definition videos.


Consumers are increasingly savvy and the devices they use increasingly sophisticated. A study released last week by ABI Research says that consumer gear -- gaming consoles, media players, cameras and others -- is moving beyond Wi-Fi and will directly connect to the Internet via 3G and, when it is widely deployed, via WiMax. In-Stat has found that consumers favor WiMax over 3G. Just knowing the difference between the two suggests a great level of sophistication.


Signs of the confluence of the business and consumer market -- even as it relates to the relatively cloistered world of external storage -- are not hard to find. This Los Angeles Times story that says leading drive vendor Seagate has hired executives from Eastman Kodak and guitar vendor Gibson USA and, in 2005, added long-time cable television programming executive Frank Biondi to its board. The goal, the story says, is to do what Intel did with the "Intel Inside" campaign: Give cachet to something that most people find about as interesting as a sack of potatoes.

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