Hong Kong is a city where technology and gadgets make a part of everyday life. People cycle through mobile phones multiple times per year, and there are over 100% phones in use per person! In fact, the elevator in my hotel proudly boasted cell phone service, per the photo on the right.
Stores in Hong Kong abound with cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, and that doesn’t even start to include the “little” pieces of technology. I went to stores with practically nothing but webcams and mice. Others had keyboards and LCD screens. It’s like going to the butcher, grocer, and dairy shop separately, except with more electronics. I must admit, it was fun seeing literally dozens of different shops carrying the Slingbox!
One technology that’s done a lot better in HK than in North America is from a company called Fon. If you haven’t heard of them, go check them out – think of it as a worldwide, peer to peer wifi Internet service. You buy a Fon router, install it at home, and sign up to the service. Then you basically share your Internet connection with all other Fon subscribers, and you get access to their Internet connection when you need one. Nice idea, I hope they find some success here soon.
I also saw an interesting GPS unit from HP, the “iPAQ rx5900 Travel Companion.” It runs Windows Mobile 5, and has all the PDA features, but no phone. Seems nice, but for $495 (from Amazon) I think it’s a bit pricey and a weird combo without the phone. I’ll stick to my Garmin Nuvi 350 as my favorite GPS device.
Next up, I went to the
PlayStation 3 and Bravia store Sony Style Hong Kong. I have very mixed feelings for Sony these days. I think the Vaios have come such a long way and are possibly the best Windows laptops on the market. The PlayStation group (aka Sony Computer Entertainment) is a marketing machine, and represents a substantial portion of the parent company’s income (I had been told roughly 50% by an analyst colleague of mine, but since I cannot find a confirmed source of that, let’s leave the offical statement as ‘substantial’).
And then there’s the rest of the company. What the heck is going on over there? Five years to build a competitive MP3 player? Three different versions of Memory Sticks? MagicGate? Where’s the vision and leadership in the industry that Sony used to represent? I really miss it – I miss being inspired by their products, rather than watching them play catch up. Although I do think their e-book has a lot of promise, once they get the buttons right.
The last part of the trip included a day visiting a couple of factories in China. I’ve seen them before, but had a few moments to capture some video of the machines making various electronic components (sorry, no audio). My favorite moment of the tour was probably seeing the Manbong 4050. I don’t really know what the machine does, and I don’t much care. It’s the Manbong 4050, and that’s just fun to say. Manbong.
Anyhow, this completes my Hong Kong trip reports, I hope you enjoyed them. I’m back in the US of A now, and will be writing a few reviews of some cool new gadgets I’ve seen. I’m also getting ready for CES and have some thoughts to share on that as well.