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Q-and-A: Randy Fry on the future of the consumer electronics industry

2 min read


Randy Fry is president and co-founder of Fry’s Electronics, a privately held company founded in 1985. He also serves as executive board chairman for the Consumer Electronics Association. Fry holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an honorary doctorate degree from Santa Clara University.

CEA SmartBrief lead editor Susan Rush talked with Fry about the future of the consumer electronics industry. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

What is the most interesting development in the CE industry this year?
I think that the realization of an operable public cloud is the most interesting. It will make sharing personal media much easier than ever before. Maybe too easy.

What will be the hottest products to come to the foreground in 2012?
Innovative connected personal devices will continue to drive consumer demand. Consumers react with fervor whenever the “next cool smartphone” is released. Tablets as well as the new ultra books will be hot items this new year as all three platforms converge seamlessly supported by some type of cloud experience.

Why have Internet TVs and other connected devices become so popular with consumers?
Today’s consumer expects immediate access to the Internet on as many devices as possible. Internet TVs and set-top Internet TV boxes are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional TV content delivery.

How will the CE retail landscape change in 2012?
I don’t think there will be much change to the retail landscape in 2012. Of note, I did recently see a new product report on television comparing the technology of two new e-readers. In that report, because the two products are somewhat evenly matched, the better overall consumer value was recommended to be the one that did not include sales tax. Hardly the way we want our consumers to pick winners and losers. It would appear that a federal sales tax bill is gaining popularity in Washington, D.C.

Image courtesy of CEA.

This question-and-answer session was produced as part of SmartBrief’s 2011 Best Of reports, which capture the year’s most important stories in each industry. Sign up now for CEA SmartBrief to get tomorrow’s report on the top must-read stories from the consumer electronics industry.