By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CTIA 2013 Las Vegas — CTIA 2013 is not just for hardware.
Accessories suppliers occupy a large percentage of the exhibition space here and can offer retailers high-margin add-on dollars to each and every smartphone or mobile device sale.
Here is a rundown of some of the recent and imminent accessories introductions to the mobile market.
BodyGuardz is showing it newest iPhone 5 case, (Right) the Guardian, which combines a clamshell-designed case made from a bullet-proof form of polycarbonate material with an impact-resistant ScreenGuardz Pure Premium Glass Screen Protector.
Bracketron is at CTIA 2013 to debut its portable rotating Twist & Charge USB charger, which adds USB charging to any AC outlet while freeing up the outlet in which it is plugged. The Twist & Charge features one surge-protected USB outlet that rotates up to 270 degrees, giving users an extra AC outlet. It will be available for purchase on June 19 for $17.95 on Bracketron's website. Retail distribution will follow.
Creative Technology’s colorful new Creative Hitz headsets include an in-line microphone, onboard call control and audio playback controls, neodymium drivers for high frequencies and deep bass, gold-plated 3.5mm plugs and flat, tangle-free cables. They are available in a variety of colors and driver sizes and feature ergonomically designed head band padding and ear pads. Prices range from $29.99 to $69.99.
Divoom’s IFIT-1 mobile/tablet speaker is a portable hi-fi speaker with a sliding stand to accommodate most smartphones and tablets. Its built-in rechargeable 300 mAh battery powers up to six hours of audio playback, and the stand integrates a cone design speaker system with 2-inch drivers that deliver a 360-degree sound field.
Escort is taking part in several off-site events during CTIA and has its recently launched StickyCup windshield mount on display. The StickyCup, which is currently available for a $24.99 suggested retail, features a “semi-sticky” gel ring on the cup surface to adhere to the windshield, and has a rotating knob to adjust the bracket’s angle. It’s designed to work with Escort’s radar detectors and select Beltronics models.
Griffin Technology is showing new models of some of its most popular cases newly designed for the Galaxy S III and S4 and Blackberry Q10 and Z10 smartphones. New models of the Survivor, Survivor Skin, Survivor Slim, Reveal, iClear, Midtown Wallet and Holster lines are on display, along with a Trainer armband for the gym and a new Survivor + Catalyst waterproof case for the iPhone 5, which began shipping on Tuesday.
iWalk is showcasing its newest lineup of consumer solutions during CTIA 2013, including what it called “the industry’s largest selection of backup batteries featuring Apple’s Lightning connector.” At the high end is the Extreme 10000 Duo, which is capable of rapidly charging two 2.1-amp tablets at the same time with a whopping 10,000 mAh of extra power. It includes an integrated LED flashlight and an LED power-level indicator.
Among Kensington’s broad line of CTIA offerings is the Evap Wet Electronics Rescue Pouch. It contains a unique drying agent that removes the moisture from accidentally submerged electronics, preventing permanent damage. It has a suggested retail of $19.99.
MapiCases is exhibiting its 2013 line of authentic Turkish leather smartphone and tablet cases and previewing new colors and models scheduled to launch this summer. Among the new offerings coming is the Nais (pictured), created for the BlackBerry Z10, which includes a rotating belt clip. Also on display: the Milano for iPad Mini which includes a zip closure on three sides and two sculpted ID-sized storage pockets; and the Orion for iPad or iPhone, which offers full cover protection and multiple viewing stand options.
Mophie announced the availability of its most powerful Juice Pack battery case for the iPhone 5, the Juice Pack Plus. The case is said to double the usage time of the iPhone 5 with a 2,100 mAh battery. The case's dual-injected sleeve is engineered with a shockproof band and anti- scratch guides to help buffer the impact of drops and falls. It retails for $120 and comes in three colors, monochromatic soft touch black, glossy white and metallic red, in collaboration with the Product (RED) charity endeavor.
Pong Research announced its new Gold Reveal smartphone case with a proprietary gold-plated antenna that disperses non-ionizing radiation away from a phone user's head and body. Pong products were proven to reduce radiation exposure by two independent facilities, CETECOM and RF Exposure Labs, both accredited by the Federal Communications Commission and certified to U.S., Canadian, European, and Australian standards for mobile devices. The Gold Reveal is now available for iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III, with both classic and rugged versions. Cases for additional smartphone models, including the iPad, iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4, are available for pre-order at PongResearch.com.
Powerocks is exhibiting its new Super Magicstick line of portable power banks to charge devices on the go. The chargers provide 2,800 mAh of power in a compact package for two full emergency charges for smartphones or tablets. A smart LED indicator shows remaining capacity and charging status, turning red when charging and blue when fully charged. They measure 3.4 inches by 0.86 inches and are available in silver, red, black, blue, golden and purple, as well as textural finishes in Red Crocodile, Yellow Leopard, Blue Leopard, Grey Leopard, Grey Paisley Lace and Black Paisley Lace. Pricing begins at $34.99.
Seidio has extended its Obex waterproof case line to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Obex (Latin for barrier) is a polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane impact-proof case that meets the military standard for drop protection and exceeds the IP68 rating for underwater submergence. The new version was revamped and redesigned to be slimmer, easier to install and remove, and maintain the sound quality of the device’s speakers and microphone, Seidio said. It will be available in Q3 for $79.95. There are existing Obex models for the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3.
SuperTooth launched its new NFC-enabled, Bluetooth over-the-ear Freedom headphones with nearfield communication (NFC) pairing, allowing consumers to touch their NFC-enabled device to the headphones to pair. They feature 40mm drivers, support the AptX codec for wireless audio streaming, and boast of up to 15 hours of battery life on a full charge. The Freedom also supports AVRCP so users can control the play/pause/volume up/down/next/previous track functions directly from the headphones. The Freedom will be available in white, black and blue for a suggested $149 beginning this summer.
Ventev’s Powercase line of battery cases provide an additional 6-8 hours of talk time for the iPhone 5. The unique charging port design allows uninhibited access to the device’s 3.5mm jack enabling most headsets to fit without an adapter. The six-hour Powercase 1500 (1,500 mAh and eight-hour Powercase 2000 (2,000 mAh) are two-piece cases featuring Ventev Mobile’s signature soft-touch finish, while the device buttons remain fully functional through the case. The Powercase boasts an LED battery level indicator and micro USB charging port. An on/off switch enables users to control when the device is being recharged and current protection prevents overcharging.
Wilson Electronics announced a new marine initiative with the development of a signal booster kit that improves cellular coverage for boaters on inland and near-shore waterways. The Marine Signal Booster Kit (model 841246) pairs Wilson’s AG SOHO 60 signal booster with its marine antenna, and includes all cables and components needed to complete and install the system. It supports all carriers and all generations of CDMA, TDMA, GSM, and 3G networks. It does not support Nextel/iDen, Verizon 4G LTE and AT&T 4G LTE/AWS. The kit retails for $400.
zNitro is exhibiting a broad line of protective accessories and device cases, with demonstrations by Z2, the fighting robot, who is performing kicks and dropping elbows onto devices protected by zNitro products. Among the new products are new and improved Nitro Glass screen protectors for popular smartphones and tablets. Now with an “oleophobic” and hydrophobic coating, the hammer-tested and tempered-glass screen protectors resist fingerprints and smudges and have a hardness rating of 8H on a scale of 10, the company said.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.