2013: The end of the iPod, digital camera and DVD player?


Demand for smartphones, tablets and smart TVs is up, but single-use devices are on their way out. (Courtesy of Apple)
January 7, 2013

Just in time for another debate on whether the Consumer Electronics Show is going the way of the floppy disk, tech consulting firm Accenture has released a report on consumer demand for a range of devices, and the outlook isn’t all good.

Techies predictably love their smartphones, tablets, computers and HDTVs, those multitasking devices that can screen the latest episode of Downton Abbey and tell you the weather. But demand for cameras, music players, DVD players and other single-use products has plummeted, according to the report. In 2012, for instance, nearly a third fewer people owned DVD players than did a mere three years before.

That won’t surprise anyone with a smartphone and limited purse or briefcase space. But the forced evolution of single-use devices might.

Companies like Samsung and Sony have rolled out 3G connectivity and pro image sensors editing to make their digital cameras competitive with camera phones. In the auto market, cars aren’t just for driving: GM announced Monday morning that it will integrate a popular radio app into car dashboards, and BMW already lets its drivers send e-mail and check fuel prices while they ride.

Manufacturers will need all the bells and whistles they can muster to survive, especially in the current economic climate. A recent NPD report found that even computer and flat-screen TV sales were soft over the holidays, making feature phones, digital cameras and DVD players look like so many unwanted toys.

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Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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