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Stereo Sculpture

This is all you need: Audio company Harman Kardon has created a new aesthetic for the home stereo. No messy CDs, no ugly speakers, no hulking amplifier. Just these bubbly, see-through speakers and a subwoofer perpetually lit with a blue glow. The Soundsticks II speaker system looks like a jellyfish. Or a neon donut. Plug it into an iPod or MP3 player. Or, if audiophiles prefer to keep their CDs, it works with any Discman or Walkman-type player — any audio output device, in fact — that has a 3.5-mm audio jack. Looks aren’t everything, of course. It also offers ultraclear sound quality, according to Cnet. It retails for only $200.

Knowledge worker

Most high-end retailers have yet to replace their black books with clienteling software, but a Symbol spin-off hopes to change that with its Web-enhanced application. Retaligent Solutions Inc. is now the place to go for what was previously Symbol’s clienteling software. The renamed Clarience 1:1 clienteling suite has been updated to use a standard Web browser on a personal computer or handheld device. The software prompts salespeople with suggestions for items or services a customer may like based on the customer’s previous purchases. It includes customer profiles, wish lists, a wardrobe and home furnishings coordinator, and an associate’s daily planner and to-do list. It schedules appointments and can remind an associate to call a customer when that perfect pair of pants she’s been coveting arrives in the store.

Walkabout

If draping virtual fabric on a virtual model lacks bounce, now design firms can simulate the swish of a garment as the virtual wearer sashays down a runway. Design firms that use OptiTex’s Runway 3D can add movement to their client presentations with the company’s Fabric Motion Simulator. The software comes with a variety of motions to choose from or users can import their fave walks from other applications. The software computes how the fabric will move based on its characteristics. OptiTex has tested the results against live fit models for accuracy. Can a digitized version of Naomi’s famous strut be far away?

Price check on aisle 6

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

New high-tech assistants for grocery store shoppers may soon be available from IBM and Fujitsu, which both demonstrated tablet PCs mounted on carts at last month’s NRF show. IBM’s version is being tested at three Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts under the name Shopping Buddy. The grocer touts the technology as a way to help its customers save money. How it works: Shoppers who swipe their loyalty cards on the tablets can see a running total of items scanned, see favorite items on sale in each aisle, get personalized coupons and browse recipes. Better yet, shoppers don’t have to stand in line at the deli, and they can check out more quickly. The Fujitsu version, shown here, is permanently attached to the cart and can display grocery lists that shoppers have created on the Internet. It will soon be ready for retailers to beta test, said the company.

Pastel portables

X2 Corp. showed off super-thin notebook computers in Easter-egg colors at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. The StyleBook 2000 portables come with color-coordinated bags in microfiber, faux crocodile, leather and suede. The computers weigh less than 4 pounds and feature the latest Intel Pentium M or Celeron M low-power processors, 12-inch screens, hard drives with as much as 100 gigabytes of storage space and built-in wireless networking. — Cate T. Corcoran

Top 5 Sites Visited by Shoppers Over 55 During the Week Ended Dec. 11, 2004:

  1. Symantecstore.com
  2. QVC.com
  3. HSN.com
  4. Hallmark.com
  5. LLbean.com

Source: Hitwise

2:1- The ratio of new e-commerce sites to all other types of new sites online in 2004.
Source: JupiterResearch