Saturday, January 07, 2006
CaseLogic, accessories, and CES
Dennis and I stopped by the CaseLogic booth. They make all kinds of cases, from laptops to ipods, to cameras, etc. They make some great sleeves, but all geared toward notebooks and powerbooks.
We talked to one of the product managers about cases specific for Tablet PCs. He said they had no plans to make cases specific for tablet PCs (like carrying sleeves with the tablet part open for writing, etc), because they don’t see a need in the retail market. He didn’t know that retail establishments were selling tablet PCs (M200, Gateway M280, Averatec, etc). They mainly sell their cases in Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, CompUSA – exactly where the M200 is being sold.
We didn’t seem to make any headway with him, but it was apparent that folks at CaseLogic are not familiar with the surge in retail demand for tablet PCs brought on by the Gateway M280. I would encourage the folks at CaseLogic to do some usability case studies with slate users and find out how unique their needs are – then address them and come out with products that throw their competitors for a loop. The good thing about CaseLogic products is that they are normally very light and thin.
To be fair to CaseLogic, overall, there were very few accessory booths with tablet pc specific products. Dennis and I did run across a vendor, CellFan.com who made skins for cell phones, notebooks, and tablet PCS. They had a little kiosk in the Toshiba booth. They sought us out because they saw Dennis and I demoing the M400 to prospective Toshiba customers in the Toshiba booth. We spent a good hour talking to them about what they were doing. They plan on putting up a request page for customers to request their tablet pc models and they will make a skin pattern to fit your model if there is enough demand – hello Slate users! The only tablet pc model they support right now is the M200, but they said they would add more tablets if people put requests in. Otterbox also had a booth at CES
Not much has changed from last year to this year in regards to accessories and tablet PCs. Vendors just don’t see the demand and consequently are not developing product. Either the message is not getting out or the demand is really not there. The good news is that many of the notebook specific accessories work perfectly with a tablet pc. Where the need comes in is optimizing the accessory for use with a tablet pc, particularly when it comes to operating in slate / portrait mode.