Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Gadget makers put the emphasis on individuality

SCHOOL COOL Vendors at this year's electronics show are aiming to attract young buyers with a range of unique MP3 players, printers and other goodies

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman looks at USB hard disks during the 2006 Taipei Computer Applications Show yesterday. The five-day show includes LCD displays, notebooks, digital cameras and other information technology products.

PHOTO: AFP

With summer back-to-school sales heating up, vendors at the Taipei Computer Applications Show are promoting personalized products targeted at students with strong purchasing power.

"Young buyers nowadays want to show off their personality with something different," said Jack Chen (陳國樑), sales director of the imaging and printing group at Hewlett-Packard Taiwan Ltd.

Teenagers prefer technology products that are not only user-friendly, but also emphasize personalized designs and entertainment value, Chen said, citing statistics that 75 percent of those aged between 20 to 29 years old are willing to pay more for unique products to show off their individual style.

In response to these trends, HP Taiwan is gearing up to cash in on the student segment with the launch of a series of printers sporting stick-on covers.

These printers are wrapped with colorful stickers with images such as butterflies, cute bugs, or flowers, as HP Taiwan aims to dispel the notion that printers are almost always white.

The Deskjet F380 printers offer scanning, printing and photocopying, and are able to support six-color printing for high-resolution photos. They are priced at NT$2,999 (US$91) apiece.

Among a slew of the latest mainstream offerings such as notebooks, digital cameras and flat-screen monitors at the show, Creative Technology Ltd is another company attempting to attract the attention of student buyers.

"Teenage shoppers want to flaunt gadgets that represent their mood," said Tommy Tsai (蔡禹奮), product marketing manager at Creative Technology.

The Singapore portable media player maker is promoting its Neeon 2, a series of revamped MP3 players with various eye-catching, colorful stickers to decorate the front cover.

The stickers come with various themes, such as hip hop, punk rock or pop, with a cute animated character to depict each carrier's personality.

The Neeon 2 has a voice recording function, and is equipped with a 1.5-inch screen and a choice of five colors for the back cover. It will be released later this month with the 2GB model retailing at NT$6,590 and the 1GB model at NT$4,790.

"Users can create their own combinations with the stickers and back covers. It is unique and will help us increase sales," Tsai said.

The 16th Taipei Computer Applications Show opened to the public yesterday and will run through Monday at Hall I of the Taipei World Trade Center.

A total of 55,712 visitors attended the show yesterday, an increase of 10 percent from last year's first day, according to figures from the Taipei Computer Association.

Despite its smaller size this year, organizers expected that the five-day event will attract 300,000 visitors, up from 282,000 last year.

There is a NT$200 admission fee, with NT$50 discount vouchers available in major newspapers and magazines.

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