Home' A Plus Magazine : Dec 2012 Contents 32 December 2012
But VTech doesn't plan to rest on its lau-
rels. "We need another breakthrough," Tong
acknowledges. The group has been produc-
ing innovative electronic learning products
for children since the 1980s, such as child-
friendly laptops and, most recently, educa-
In addition, its cordless residential phones
arm has a 31 percent market share around
the world, making it one of the leading firms
in that field. The firm as a whole churns out
more than 100 new products for the market
every year thanks to vibrant research and
development centres in Canada, Hong Kong
However, there are two intrinsically
linked global trends that could thwart
VTech's boom in both areas: the increased
use of mobile gadgets, including the Apple
iPad, and the decrease of landline usage. Re-
search from Strategy Analysis reveals that
globally, there are almost 1 billion smart-
phone users and, according to the Pew Re-
search Center, nearly half of the adult popu-
lation in the U.S., a crucial VTech market,
own a smartphone.
In terms of tablets, figures from the ma-
jor player, Apple, are indicative of trends: 34
million iPad units have been sold in the U.S.
since its launch in 2010.
These trends raise the questions about
why children would want an InnoTab above
an iPad or why customers will go on buying
VTech's residential handsets. "The big dif-
ference between the InnoTab products and
iPads, for example, is the focus on the learn-
ing features," Tong responds.
VTech, she adds, has a library of more
than 200 downloadable learning games,
e-books, music and videos specifically for
children, which makes the product safe
and thus attractive for children and parents
alike. Furthermore, parents don't have to
spend as much money and can protect their
own expensive gadgets from the clumsy
hands of a child.
VTech says it is getting around the issue of
low landline usage by installing Bluetooth in
selected products. This allows users to sync
their mobile phones with their residential
handsets and use them to answer calls to
their mobiles. "I have one of those at home,"
says Tong excitedly, as she explains the
mechanisms of the handset. The user then
doesn't necessarily need a separate landline
to use some of these products.
VTech doesn't plan
to rest on its laurels.
"We need another
market share of
V Tech in cordless
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