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Radio Shack For Sale by Summer's End

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Lance Armstrong tries for a come-back, taking 3rd place on the winner's podium at the 2010 Tour of Luxembourg. Riding for Team Radio Shack, Lance is not the only one trying to make a come-back these days.

Radio Shack wants to sell out by end of summer. After an initial round of bids last week, U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group is one of the interested parties. Blackstone's portfolio includes The Weather Channel, Hilton, SeaWorld, Freescale, Nielsen, CentreParks and lots others including Merlin Entertainment that owns London Eye.

Radio Shack could net more than $3 billion. The granddaddy of electronics retailing, the new "Shack" is emphasizing mobile products these days.

Go "Shack" Commercial with Lance Armstrong

Next: A "Decade of Opportunity," says GfK

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According to GfK, the good news is that retail business is getting better this decade. The bad news is that the market is changing (again) and retailers will have to jump a new "Valley of Death" to prosper.

GfK's Dr. Rudi Aunkofer told delegates at RetailVision the global financial crisis created cautious retail behaviour, lower stock levels and much more retail/vendor driven price competition.

GfK's Dr. Rudi Aunkofer

But besides the "crisis" (and we use quotation marks as the crisis really affected many other areas of business far deeper than consumer IT), there were underlying cycles that typically drive our IT business.

A study by GfK asked consumers across Europe in what ways were they saving day-to-day to cope with the financial crisis. Consumers named buying food and drink for less as their Number one strategy. Spending less on clothes and shoes came next. Going out to eat was number 3 and postponing larger purchases of furniture or car ranked the 4th most important way they were saving money in the recession. What is remarkable is that cutting back on high tech products did NOT make the Top 10 Ways We'll Cut Costs. Not at all.

Sure, sales of high tech dropped as economies dropped but we, as an industry, were not a direct target as consumers consider us a necessity (or at the very least a sacrosanct luxury).

More important to the state of our business are the underlying cycles that typically drive our IT business.

VIA Extends Fanless Touchscreen VIPRO Panel PC Family

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Created using the flexible Em-ITX form factor, VIA launches 6.5" and 15" VIA VIPRO touch screen panel PCs for next gen Human Machine Interface applications

The 6.5" VIA VIPRO VP7806 and 15" VIA VIPRO VP7815 are both fanless and durable with IP65 compliant LED backlit panels that can withstand temperatures of -20°C to 60°C.

 Created using the flexible Em-ITX form factor, VIA launches 6.5" and 15" VIA VIPRO touch screen panel PCs for next gen Human Machine Interface applications

With touch panel navigation, 2 megapixel autofocus IP camera, microphone and speakers, the VIA VIPRO series looks good for next gen panel apps that include hospital patient terminals, home and building automation and advanced multimedia-rich security ecosystems.

Both VIA VIPRO VP7806 and VIPRO VP7815 are based on the VIA ART 3000 embedded box PC.


Will Only 1% of Netbook Buyers Shift to Tablets?

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One Morgan Stanley analyst panicked netbook markets by drawing conclusions from slowing netbook growth (See Exhibit One.)

Morgan Stanley on netbooks

Most analysts disagree and argue the 4-year netbook trend was due to peak anyways. Just coincidence that iPAD came aong at same time.

Another analyst, Jeff Orr with ABI Research, says "With an estimated ship volume of 58 million, netbooks have made the consumer mass market grade."

"But the iPad won't be mass market...that takes sales in the 40 million to 50 million unit range. For a CE device to make it mass market, and that's what the iPad is, a CE device, it has be under $200."

ABI estimate 8 million media tablets -- including iPad-- will ship during 2010.

"Just 1% of potential netbook buyers will be impacted by media tablets," Orr predicts.

Go ABI on Netbooks

Emerging Stereo 3D (S3D) PC Market

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Jon Peddie Research (JPR) says the S3D market is poised for rapid growth: almost 1 million dedicated S3D PCs will ship in 2010, but that will grow to 75 million by 2014.

Although most PCs will be S3D capable due to the GPUs that are in them, not all PCs will be S3D PCs because they need a special monitor, glasses, and appropriate content. JPR expects to see S3D PCs achieve a much higher growth rate than their more traditional counterparts and they will have a higher ASP.

JPR sees 7 major apps that will take advantage of S3D on the PC:

  1. PC: Games
  2. Blu-ray DVD movies
  3. Streaming TV (IP TV)
  4. Photo-editing
  5. Home video editing
  6. Streaming video (from YouTube and other sites)
  7. Professional graphics (CAD and visualization)
Jon Peddie warns, "… the S3D market will soar within the next 3 years based on the expectation that good quality content will be produced, and the incremental cost for S3D will diminish, if not disappear. Otherwise history will repeat itself and it will be reduced to a small volume novelty market."

Go JPR S3D PC Market Study

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