Get ready for what has got to be the all-time greatest sleeper of a tech trend: Radios, I kid you not, are making a comeback in 2008. And we’re not talking iPod-like portable thingies, but big, expensive desktop radios. Mark my words, they’ll be downright cool in the coming year. Best of all, charting this new radio frontier is a fleet of innovative small businesses.
So says Jonathan Blum of Fortune Small Business (as found on CNNMoney.com). Despite the advent of satellite radio, Internet based audio services, and more, the prospect is bright for our oldest broadcast medium. Blum cites the debut of a new generation of radios at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in conjunction with the lack of major new non-radio platforms (Xbox, PlayStation 4, etc.) being introduced, as major factors. He waxes enthusiastic about the future of the medium as a part of, not in spite of, the advancements in technology.
“The desktop radio is being seen as an early beachhead in the home networking wars,” says Edward Valdez, president of Parrot, which is showing a new Bluetooth-enabled wireless radio, the DS 3120 (suggested retail price $250), here at CES. “Home networking has been difficult to explain to the market. So the radio is seen as a form factor that the market can understand. ”
Radios are feeling a strange brand of love radiated by the public’s growing hatred for complex electronics. Innovative new models take full note of consumer distaste for too many features and difficult-to-operate equipment. Most new desktop systems, like the new line from Sonoro Audio ($289), sport ultra-simple designs with a half-dozen controls and few functions. It doesn’t hurt that the device, which the Koln, Germany-based 25-employee firm is launching in the United States this week, looks like something you would buy at a better furniture store.
He touches on several exciting new innovations and products, including NPR’s collaboration with Harris Electronics to introduce a new standard applied to radio for the hearing impaired. “That’s right, a radio for the deaf.”
Turn on the air conditioning and tune in your favorite station, radio is HOT this year!
photo courtesy of Sonoro Audio