Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some interesting survivors

So, I have two new laptops, it would seem: the excellent HP on which I'm typing right now and the HP I was issued by my school. Both are excellent machines. The keyboards have excellent tactile feedback and feature a number pad. The finish of the machines feel substantial. It takes little time for either to boot. Both have clear and vivid displays.

But wait! I thought laptops were dead, slayed by the tablet. Though I find the tablet really neat (we've had an iPad for more than a year) it doesn't satisfy my interests in creating content or sending e-mail. Perhaps others feel like me. What I speculate to more interesting, however, is the competition the tablet has brought to the laptop market. Manufacturers had to create some compelling products for us. The iPad has probably made the market more desirous of Macbooks, which Apple has kept pricey, so HP, Dell, Samsung, Asus, and the like have had to respond by creating laptops that would woo us away from tablets or the sleek machines Apple tries to sell. As a result, we're benefiting from better machines at better prices.

In addition to the surprising survivor we have in laptops there is radio as well. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning described NBC Sports attempts to start a sports radio network. They've already engaged ESPN on TV, now they want to do so on radio as well. Fox Sports is also interested in increasing their TV and radio reach. The article quoted an NBC Sports executive in talking of how such great growth potential in sports radio. A WIP executive claimed that because sports contests are getting too expensive to attend in person, people are becoming more passionate about their sports talk outlets.

In addition to that I would add that television itself is getting so expensive it might drive us to radio as well. When I watch TV at home and sit through a commercial, I feel my time is being wasted. When I hear a commercial on radio, I figure that's what I need to sit through. After all, I'm in a car most of the time I'm listening. As I start to look at watching sports as an inefficient use of my time, I'll tune in to WIP's excellent program more and more. WIP can give me satisfaction about sports consumption while I'm on the way to something rather than sitting at home through a contest that may make me happy but will subject me to untold numbers of W.B. Mason and Citizens Bank commercials on the way to that unsure ending. And as Spotify and Pandora take music away, the music stations left become more competitive or switch to formats we find more appealing. The old WYSP has become WIP and is must-listen radio. It's only a matter of time until 1210 AM switches over to 98.1 FM with its new lineup.

Schumpeter once wrote that capitalism is a perennial gale of creative destruction. For the most part he's correct, but even horrific windstorms leave some survivors in their wake. Laptops and radio might just always have a place in the stormy environment that is media.

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