Two quick items from the world of consumer electronics:
First, Motorola stock looks to have a promising morning, after the company reported its third-quarter earnings tripled. What did the trick? No one thing, of course, but the business press latched on to hot sales of the Razr cell phone. In case you’re one of the eight people in America who hasn’t seen it, it’s a cool phone.
Second, Steve Jobs of Apple has landed on the cover of Time Magazine, headlined as “The Man Who Always Seems to Know What’s Next.” He’s holding Apple’s new video iPod. In case you’re one of the four people in America who hasn’t seen it, it’s cool too.
The video iPod (it’s worth reading what my fellow blogger Jake Tapper — one blog to the left — has written about it) genuinely does stand a chance to change American life. If you can watch TV on it while you walk down the street, the way we “consume entertainment” could be altered dramatically. (Standard disclaimer: Apple, if you haven’t heard, has made a deal with The Walt Disney Company, parent of ABC and this Web site, to offer downloaded episodes of several ABC shows, including “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”) This could be very big.
But what does that have to do with the Razr? It’s just a cell phone, albeit a cool one, right?
Right, and that’s a point worth arguing. The Razr may not give you better sound quality, or run longer on a charge — Motorola has been quite up front in saying the technology is a given — but it’s really great to look at. Very sleek, very, very flat, with a bright, shiny keypad hidden inside.
Likewise, Apple is not the first company to come through with a super-portable video player — and it sets no records with its 2.5 inch screen — but the company has managed to make something unmistakably iconic out of… a small white box with two white earbuds. When the wire to one of the earpieces breaks — as often happens — people willingly go to an Apple store for a $39 replacement set.
Who else would get you to pay as much? Prada? Givenchy? Technology as fashion.