Sunday, August 07, 2005

Back to School for Students on the Go

With students getting ready to go back to school, The Star Tribune looks at the hot mobile gadgets this season. As expected, the iPod and the cottage industry it spawned will continue to be hot this fall. However this causes a conundrum for major retailers according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

"Apple has kept iPod profit margins thin so it can dominate the music player market. But that forces retailers to accept lower profits and puts iPod competitors in the unpleasant position of having to lose money to offer similar prices," he said. "Retailers are not excited about the iPod, but it gets people into the stores."

Portable storage is another must-have. One flash memory alternative "is the new Iomega Mixx MP3 player, which is both a music player and a thumb drive. It costs $60 for 256 megabytes of memory." Dave Reinsel at IDC thinks "the Mixx faces an uphill climb against the entrenched Apple iPod." He said, "What makes it tough for a new MP3 player like this is that the Apple iPod has really set the standard for what a music player should be."

Lastly, cell phones will be on many back-to-school lists. Munster notes "what's relatively new are cell phones designed for young people that include coverage plans only a young person could love."