Hearables: Wearables Never Sounded Better

2020-02-02T16:41:50-07:00November 23rd, 2016|

As the wearables market begins to slow, many manufacturers are looking beyond the wrist. They are training their eyes on your ears, which they see as the site for the next big growth area in this $10 billion market.

These new products, dubbed “hearables,” add sensors and smarts to wireless headphones and earbuds. That means they can do much of what their wrist-worn brethren can, like monitor heartrate and count steps. And because of their northern exposure, they have some distinct advantages as well.

FeibusTech forecasts that hearables shipments will overtake smartwatches and wrist-worn fitness trackers by 2020. For more on that, see my LinkedIn column HERE.

Also: I’ve been evaluating three smart headsets. Read all about them in my latest column in the Tech section of USA TODAY.

netgear’s Orbi Helps Ring In New Era Of Wi-Fi Simplicity

2020-02-02T16:57:10-07:00November 21st, 2016|

In my recent USA TODAY column, I talked about the coming sea-change in home Wi-Fi. Consumers, I said, want to buy routers that just work. They want connectivity anywhere they go in their home. They want the network to be efficient, self-managed and secure. And they want the hardware to be brain-dead easy to set up.

Now, finally, new routers are coming available to meet this demand. And all but one are from startups or relative newcomers to the home router market. The exception: Orbi, from Netgear.

Why is Netgear heading into this new segment? And how serious is the market leader about pursuing it? Thus far, other established suppliers seem content to stand pat, offering only traditional router lineups that cater more to hard-core gamers and technophiles than to everyday consumers.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Patrick Lo, Netgear Chairman and CEO, and David Henry, Senior Vice President for Home Networking Products, about the state of the router market, as well as their new Orbi product line. I came away convinced that they have a sense for just how big this new product direction could become. But Lo cautioned against being too optimistic before consumers have had a chance to get familiar.

“This is a completely new market,” Lo told me. “So we really don’t know yet how customers are going to react.”

Lo and Henry said they believed that the Orbi system offers advantages over the existing competitors in this new space. For example, the system costs $399 rather than $499, which is what the higher-priced pioneers cost. As well, they said Orbi is the only system available today that dedicates a separate radio for network management operations, which results in better coverage and higher data rates.

Though early systems are selling well, Lo pointed out that early offerings in this nascent category are still pretty expensive. He said to watch for Netgear to fill out the price points for the Orbi line, though he wouldn’t disclose when that would happen.

Lo did say he believes that, once Orbi is available at mainstream price points, the new segment could “blossom into a pretty sizable category.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The Sea Change in Home Networking

2020-03-12T18:48:17-07:00November 1st, 2016|

The home router market is entering a period of dramatic upheaval. FeibusTech believes it is a
market that is ripe for disruption, for one simple reason: there is a large and widening gap
between what most available products offer and what consumers need to keep their networks
seamlessly delivering the content and the experiences they want.

For router suppliers, they have two choices: disrupt or be disrupted.

Find out more. Read our just-published research brief on the topic HERE.

And don’t miss my column on the topic in the Tech section of USA TODAY.