When it comes to the Gadget-O-Sphere, we all stand on the shoulders of one particular brand: Hammacher Schlemmer. In business since 1848, this New York-based specialty store supplies such must-have items as the $500 iPod Gramophone and the $60 underwater pogo stick. But, during the turn-of-the-century gadget wave, remarkably, Hammacher Schlemmer got overlooked. Sharper Image came along, as well as many big box electronics stores.
But now, Sharper Image is in bankruptcy and the local big box retailer is having a hard time keeping its doors open. Not so for the Hammacher man. The gadget store continues to chug along. So, we felt it was time to see what keeps them techno hip. The secret? A sense of fun and utility for the end user.
How else do you justify a $99 motorized bumper boat? Or a $99 slide and negative-to-digital picture converter, or a $150 photograph-to-digital picture converter? See them all listed here.
Now sure, these gadgets are all wacky, sort of. But the lesson is clear: Be useful. Be relevant. Be affordable. Imagine what the iPhone 3G would have been if it obeyed these three simple laws.