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Ed Curran Discusses High-Tech Toys for the New Year

Aired January 2, 2001 - 2:49 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's time now to talk with our gadget buddy, Ed Curran, who will be disappointed -- I didn't get any gadget for the holiday gifts.


ALLEN: I don't know if you received anything, Lou, to help Ed feel better.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: I can't -- oh, I can't think of a thing.


WATERS: I got a sweater.

ALLEN: All right. All right, Ed...

WATERS: I don't have to plug it in or anything.

ALLEN: Hopefully, we'll get with it in 2001, and you're here to help us out.

CURRAN: I'll tell you, well, maybe we can get you a little MP3 player you can clip onto the sweater or something to make it real high-tech. I'll tell you what, when it comes to music, big changes ahead here in 2001 or 2001.

First of all, satellite radio: You know the way you can now get television direct from satellite? Well, this coming year now, you'll be able to get satellite-delivered music to your car.

Two different services out there. One, Sirius Radio; the other one, XM Radio. And XM sent over a mockup of one of the radios, the way it may look in your car. I think we're going to see different versions of this certain -- certainly at the new consumer electronic show that's coming out in -- it'll open on Saturday. And we'll see various receivers made by different manufacturers.

These will go into your car. There's a small antenna that goes on the back of your car. Don't worry, you don't have to put a dish on your car. And you'll be able to pick up satellite radio with beautiful CD-quality sound wherever you drive nationwide.

Again, these services will be starting earlier this year. The satellites for XM will actually be launched, the first one, on Monday, and then a second one after that. So, that's a cool new way that we'll be receiving music.

Here's another neat way to listen to music. This is from Aiwa, and this is a prototype "boombox" that they'll be showing at the consumer electronics show when it opens on Saturday. And not only does this play your cassettes and get your AM/FM radio and all that type of thing, but it also plays your CDS and plays your DVDs.

Look at this: Not only do you put a CD or DVD in here, but you can play back your DVDs right on this screen here, all built together. It's a boombox that does everything. Again, a prototype type of model. And the reason why you do see these at the consumer electronics shows is that they'll show something like this and they'll get feedback from retailers to see how hot of an item it appears to be and see what the interest in something like this is.

That's from Aiwa, so we'll look for that at the consumers electronics show when we're out there in Las Vegas.

Now, we're finding MP3 showing up everywhere. We have MP3 that's integrated into a telephone, MP3 players that you can take with you anywhere. This is from Fuji Film. It's a camera, and yes, it has an MP3 player built into it.

As I said, we'll see -- I'm sure at the consumer electronics show we'll start to see MP3s showing up in everything: your toaster, your fish tank, everywhere -- we'll find MP3s.

This is a very nice camera, 2.4 megapixel camera from Fuji Film: take you pictures and also playback your music and take your music right with you. All you do is plug into the little headphones here and take the music wherever you go.

The ability of various items to do a number of things is what we're seeing more and more of. And this is a communications device from Motorala, the V100, that does everything. It's not just a pager. It's not just a two-way pager. I mean, this is a pager to receive your pages. This'll do your e-mail messages, receive them and allow you to send them by typing out on the keyboard here.

But beyond all that, it can also organize your life by keeping your schedule in here, keep you contact information, and then plugging in a headphone to here that goes in your ear with a microphone attached. This is also a wireless phone: a wireless phone that can hang on your belt just like your pager, and by voice, without even touching the keyboard, can go ahead and make a phone call for you.

So this is the kind of integration products that we expect to see more of at the consumer electronics show as a lot of different products converge for better or worse.

WATERS: Are the prices going to come down any, Ed?

CURRAN: Well, you know, once products are developed, when they first come out, of course, they're priced rather high. And then once they're out for a while, the price of all that development starts to -- starts to come down. The research-and-development costs on these things certainly are quite high. But then after the items are out for a while, they start to come down in cost.

A good example of that would be DVD players. I mean, when DVD players first came out, they were priced way up there, and now they've come down in price tremendously, where you can get one for a little over a hundred dollars: tremendous popularity in that particularly item.

And so you pay for new technology, you enjoy it when it's new, and then the prices start to come down.

ALLEN: Give us an example, Ed, of some of the things that you talked about last year here on CNN, new products that are really going to take shape this coming year and more people will be getting their hands on.

CURRAN: Well, I think what you're seeing more and more of are people getting into digital imaging, and I think the types of things that we showed -- both digital imaging on videotape, digital videotape, the ability to edit that videotape on your desktop -- you remember when we had the whole revolution of desktop publishing? Well, I think desktop video is ahead for a lot of people in the future, where you can take your home movies and put them together.

Getting your movie on a videotape in digital form, putting your movie on a small DVD in a camera. We showed you that from Comdex, and I think we'll see more of these DVD types of movie cameras in being able to do that. And then taking your still photos in digital form and being able to process them on your computer and print them out with high quality.

It's this whole digital imaging area, both still and motion pictures, I think is going to be one that we'll continue to see grow a whole lot over the next year.


ALLEN: And we'll see you after the big show and you'll have all kinds of other neat stuff for us next week.

CURRAN: Right. We'll have a lot of reports for you from the consumer electronics show, with all kinds of great new gadgets.

WATERS: All right. Have a safe trip, Ed.

ALLEN: Happy New Year, Ed. Thanks.

CURRAN: Happy New Year.



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