December 6, 2017

IT'S A DEFLATIONARY EPOCH:

The Hidden Player Spurring a Wave of Cheap Consumer Devices: Amazon (Farhad Manjoo, Dec. 6, 2017, NY Times)

A few weeks ago, Wyze Labs, a one-year-old start-up in Seattle, sent me its first gadget to try. It's a small, internet-connected video camera, the kind you might use for security or to keep tabs on your dog or your baby.

On the surface, the camera doesn't sound special. Like home internet cameras made by Nest or Netgear, the Wyze device can monitor an area for motion or sound. When it spots something, it begins recording a short clip that it stores online, for access on your phone or your computer.

But the WyzeCam has one groundbreaking feature that no rival can match. It is being sold for such an unbelievably low price -- $20 -- that it sent me tunneling into the global gadget industry to figure out how Wyze had done it. That, in turn, led to a revelation about the future of all kinds of products, from cameras to clothes.

That future? We're going to get better products for ludicrously low prices, and big brands across a range of categories -- the Nests and Netgears of the world -- are going to find it harder than ever to get us to shell out big money for their wares.

There's a hidden hero in this story -- or, if you're a major brand, a shadowy villain. It's Amazon.

Posted by at December 6, 2017 8:10 PM

  

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