Gadgets: the hardest thing to make now is a profit

Be it smartwatches or smart speakers, it’s never been easier to make gadgets. But only the big players have the muscle to survive

Imagine a shopper in an electronics store. Look, there’s a Fitbit display, with its “activity bands” which measure your steps and show details. Or, more pricey, its Versa smartwatch. Perhaps to save money, just buy the activity band? But wait … just over there are some generic activity bands, and they’re cheaper. Maybe save some money with those.

Move along a bit, and there are GoPro cameras. But once again, there are some slightly cheaper models beside them; not well-known brands, but a camera is a camera, surely? Further along, there’s a Parrot drone. Next to those is a Sonos speaker, which works with Amazon’s Alexa. But beside it is a cheaper Amazon Echo, and a voice-controlled Google Home, and a Siri-enabled Apple HomePod. Why would you go with the smaller brand, faced with those offerings from tech’s behemoths? Or, at the previous displays, why not just buy the cheaper models?

Related: The 20 best gadgets of 2018

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10 New Year’s Day Reads

My morning train reads: • Ryan Holiday: Holiday: How to Develop Better Habits in 2019 (Medium) • Hedge funds’ hopes for 2018 dashed amid closures (FN London) • Robert Mueller: TIME Person of the Year Runner Up (Time) • Facebook And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 2018 (Buzzfeed) • The Best Investments of 2018? Art, Wine and Cars (Wall Street…

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