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BRIEFS: March 1

Too cool – HD video sunglasses…WOW calls in receivers….Locals take most online sales…Adorama opens iPhone Toolshed…

Too cool – HD video sunglasses!

Retailers who have enjoyed recent success with ‘active lifestyle’ capture devices such as the GoPro range, may be interested to read that US company Pivothead has announced sunglasses with built-in camera shooting stills at 8 megapixels and 1080p video, with a 4.1 Khz microphone, gyroscopic image stabilisation and continuous autofocus.

H.264/MPEG-4 video can be shot at 30fps in either 720p or 1080p, with an option of a 720p-only 60fps mode.

The camera is operated by buttons on the left arm, with LEDs showing on the inside of the sunglasses to indicate modes, etc. When connected to a computer USB port, the camera’s settings can be adjusted with the included ‘Glasses Manager’ software.

The stills camera employs a Sony CMOS sensor, optimised for capturing high speed images. Stills can be captured in 3-, 5- or 8-megapixel esolutions and there are burst modes to take three, five, 10 or 16 stills in rapid succession.

A variety of time-lapse options take either individual stills or bursts at 1, 8, 30 and 60-second intervals.

The glasses themselves have lenses that filter out unwanted frequencies at both the infrared and ultraviolet ends of the spectrum, and include anti-scratch, anti-reflection and hydrophobic coatings.

Pivothead has put a US$349 retail price on the new photo-sunglasses. They enter the market in competition with less well-specced products from Xonix, ZionEyez, and, from the ‘House of Gaga’, Polaroid GL20 sunglasses.

Slated for April release in the US.

Anyone for A/NZ distribution?

WOW calls in receivers

Queensland-based CE and imaging retailer WOW Sight and Sound, has called in the receivers, with up to 500 jobs at risk.

Administrator Ferrier Hodgson announced the retailer had gone into receivership on February 27, with the receivers and managers now in control of the business, conducting ‘an urgent assessment of WOW Audio Visual Superstore’s financial position.’

‘WOW has been subject to declining sales and profitability which has escalated in recent months,’ said Ferrier Hodgson partner James Stewart in a statement.

‘We will be seeking expressions of interest for a possible sale of the business as a going concern immediately.’

WOW Sight and Sound has 10 stores in Queensland, two in New South Wales, and one store respectively in Victoria, the ACT and Northern Territory.

It was established in 2003. Mr Stewart said WOW had been hit by a bad debt of about $20m to a related company, Aristocon Pty Ltd, which collapsed in 2010.

Aristocon is a property arm of the failed SSI Group, associated with WOW founder Sam Savvas, who died at his Brisbane home in May last year.

Aristocon’s sole director is Mr Savvas’s former business partner, Con Sotiris.

Locals take most online sales

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index indicates that while the online retail sector grew by 29 percent in 2011, it still represents less than one dollar in 20 (4.9 percent) of total Australian retail spending.

Domestic retailers account for almost 75 percent of online sales, but sales to overseas retailers are growing faster than the general rate of increasing online sales, rising 40 percent in 2011, compared to 25 percent for domestic retailers.

Adorama opens ‘iPhone Toolshed

Photo retailing website Adorama has launched an ‘iPhone Toolshed’ – an online ‘store within a store’ specialising in iPhone picture-taking accessories under the tagline: ‘Our special selection of photographic inventions for the world’s most ubiquitous camera.’

According to a story in Photo Reporter, the hot products after the site had been running for five weeks were the Glif, which cradles the iPhone and adds a standard tripod socket; the Olloclip, which adds a wide-angle, fisheye or macro lens via supplementary optics; the Belkin LiveAction remote control unit; the Kogeto Dot, enabling 360-degree stills and movies; and the Steadicam Smoothee camera stabiliation device– available in Australia via APS (see separate story).

Adorama told Photo Reporter that some products are selling five to 10 times as well as they did on the main Adorama website.

‘The fact that savvy iPhone shooters now have their own place to go also gives the iPhone Toolshed a kind of in-group cachet, and that certainly creates a buzz, adds eyeballs and spurs sales,’ an Adorama director said.


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