The Hard-Disk Shuffle
Hewlett-Packard is attempting to move into the upscale home music market with its $1000 Digital Entertainment Center de100c (see previous). A computer/audio recorder, the de100c lets users download and store music files, as well as burn and play CDs. The de100c is carried by mass-market outlets Circuit City and Best Buy.
Belt-tightening as a result of a general slump in the computer industry has other firms moving in the opposite direction. Dell Computer has pulled its MP3 player from the market. Known as the Internet Music Box, the player debuted in June 2000 at a price of $199. Sales were disappointing, and Dell eventually began offering the player free with some of its computers. Last month, Gateway deleted its "Connected Touch Pad," a web-surfing appliance, as part of an overall cutback in entertainment devices. Another victim of the slump is Intel's consumer electronics division, launched a couple of years ago by the chipmaker with a big public relations campaign. The division will be phasing out its inventory, including digital audio players and digital cameras, over the next few months.
Japanese electronics giant Pioneer Corporation appears to believe in a rosy future for digital entertainment products. The company has just signed a joint-development deal with San Francisco–based Mediabolic, Inc., to develop what the partners call a "complete line of networked digital entertainment devices." The multi-year agreement will have Pioneer incorporate the Mediabolic ONE platform into new entertainment products, according to a November 9 announcement. Pioneer/Mediabolic prototype products will be on display at CES 2002, the announcement stated.