THE ANVIL

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Posts Tagged ‘SmartPhone’

Traditional products fight to stay relevant in the gadget age

Posted by oldancestor on April 25, 2011

The future is here. Woops, missed it. Here comes another one... Damn!

By Eric J Baker

NEW YORK – With Smartphones and iPads and other multi-purpose gadgets all the rage in electronics these days, shoppers are showing little love for the everyday, non-digital products that were once symbols of high status. No longer do children care about being the first on their block to own the latest tube of White Out. None of us carry around our corded house phones anymore, the 30-foot-long wire dragging behind us while we waste precious arm space on a big, plastic door stop.

It’s just not cool anymore.

So what are manufacturers of traditional products to do? Give up and let devices that work better, do more things, and cost the same price or less take over? No! They fight back.

In an effort to compete with popular eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle, bricks and mortar retailer Barnes and Noble is now requiring its hard-copy, paper-bound books to take batteries as well.

“It’s much more energy efficient than the Kindle device,” says Tony And, one/third owner of the company. “You just stick a couple of AA batteries in the cut-out area, and they never wear out. If you don’t have AA, stick in whatever battery fits. It’s that versatile.”

Some shoppers have complained about the chunk taken out of each book to make room for the batteries.

And says no one reads the top right quadrant of a page anyway, according to focus-group testing. “That’s where writers put periods and commas and the boring parts of sentences,” he explains.

Another print medium, the newspaper, has suffered badly from a sales standpoint since the rise of the Internet, a popular online information-sharing service.

“Newspapers are too big when spread out,”says Internet entrepreneur Betty Google, mastermind behind the somewhat popular Web-based search engine, Yahoo. “It’s, like, 35 inches across. Would you buy a 35-inch monitor?”

In response to similar consumer complaints, the New York Daily News has recently been reconfigured to resemble a 20-inch computer monitor, and its articles now only show every tenth word. New ads for the paper boast that it’s “10 times faster than before!” in an effort to lure back former readers who have switched to broadband information sources.

Sadly, some products seem doomed to be wiped out by their digital counterparts. Old-fashioned, gas-powered search engines have seen sales drop precipitously, which is believed to be worse than a lot.

“Every once in a while an old guy who refuses to use the Internet wants one,” laments heavy-equipment seller Pinky Middleton of Little Rock, Arkansas. “But, realistically, these things are just big, greasy engines that pollute the air, make noise, and chug along doing nothing. Hell, I sell the damn things, but I’ve got an Internet at home.”

Recent economic doldrums have even hurt sales of items that normally can’t be replaced by phone apps, like houses and clothing.

One business segment particularly hard hit has been the clothes iron industry, with sales of the devices plunging despite modern science’s inability to genetically engineer unwrinkling polyester.

“It’s the shortage of iron that’s the problem,” says Sir Edmund Bollocks, an Oxford University professor and expert on heat-producing, flat-sided, metal appliances that aren’t used for cooking.

Indeed, since the United Nations banned the use of iron in products, clothes iron manufacturers have experimented with numerous materials to build a new kind of iron, with little success. The early plastic versions melted and the paper ones frequently caught fire, resulting in ruined clothes and hospitalized customers. More recent models made of leftover space shuttle tiles don’t get hot enough.

“Odd,” says Bollocks. “The device is called an ‘iron,’ yet we make them out of every substance but iron. It’s so… I’m sure there’s a word for it, but I just can’t think of it right now.”

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Posted in Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

Crapple finally releases StupidPhone

Posted by oldancestor on March 29, 2011

By Eric J Baker

Crapple CEO Potsie Weber

NEW YORK – Consumer electronics giant Crapple announced the release of their unawaited new multi-gadget handheld device, the StupidPhone, in New York City today. Company CEO  Potsie Weber was on hand to explain the features, but he appeared to be intoxicated and forgot what they were.

“Uuuuuhhhh,” he told reporters.

The StupidPhone, which replaces the DumbPhone, carries a suggested retail price of $129.99 and, like its predecessor, doesn’t work.

News of the product’s release sent Crapple stocks tumbling even lower, setting a new NYSE record at minus eight dollars a share. Crapple shareholders, already stung by having to pay five dollars a day per share simply to hold the stock, now have to pony up three more dollars.

Investor Pinky Middleton, who owns 3000 shares of Crapple, says, “I already sold my car and my house. Now I’ll need to take a home-equity loan out on my parent’s place.”

Still, he’s not giving up hope. “I’ll hang onto my shares for another year. If they don’t pick up after that… See ya, Crapple. I’m no idiot.”

Most economists and investment analysts consider Crapple to be the worst company on the planet. Indeed, last year, Crapple executives attempted an unsuccessful bid for a hostile giveaway of the company, but no other organization was stupid enough to take it. This, despite many companies being run by crack-headed incompetents bent on losing customers, putting out inferior garbage, and ruining once-respectable reputations, according to economists.

The Crapple organization isn’t interested in all the negative talk, says CEO Weber.

“We made a mistake with the DumbPhone,” he admits. “There aren’t enough dumb people. But there are tons of stupid people. We think this product will really find its niche there.”

Most DumbPhone sales last year were attributed to Crapple’s contract with the U.S. Military, which distributes the phones to terrorists in order to annoy them.

After we gave him coffee and dunked his head in a men’s room toilet, Weber remembered some key features of the StupidPhone:

X-Ray camera

“This is a real, working x-ray machine,” he says. “You can take see-through close ups of your friends’ organs and bones over and over and over again. It’s better than 3D. No other phone does that.”

Q-Tip extension

“At the press of a button, a little Q-tip shoots out and cleans your ear while you talk. Don’t break it though. It’s not replaceable. And remember to switch ears once in a while. You don’t want the dirty one getting jealous.”

North Korean Internet

“We got the parts from our North Korean supplier,” says weber. “So it only comes with Google-North Korea. But you get a nice wallpaper of Dear Leader.”

He adds, “It’s actually the only wallpaper.”

Random dial

He explains, “Whatever number you punch in, the phone dials a random different one. It’s wacky! This feature is always engaged, so it’s always fun.”

NoPhone

“There’s actually no phone service with the StupidPhone. We forgot to add that feature. Next time.”

That’s an admittedly glaring omission, but Weber sees a silver lining.

“We have a new slogan that goes, ‘StupidPhone… we will NEVER drop a call. Guaranteed.’”

Crapple is already working on next year’s iteration, which is tentatively called Stupid@#$@!Phone. Company executives say it will be made of coffee-flavored Jell-O.

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Posted in Health and Living | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »