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Brookstone's Content Opportunity

Wireless_baseballWhile dining with the family and waiting for a table at The Cheesecake Factory Saturday night I decided to kill some time in Brookstone's.  They had a device on display that really caught my eye.  It's called the SportCast Wireless Baseball Scoreboard.  It's a simple LCD display that provides up-to-the minute box score and standings information, all received through a satellite feed. 

I'm a baseball junkie but even I feel the $99 price tag for this was way too high.  I look at something like this and think of what it could become though...

The device's dimensions are ideal for placement on a desk or shelf.  Sitting next to your computer you'd have a bit of additional content surface area that could be used for a variety of things.  It's also a great size to take with you.  I could see them adding a flap that's set up to serve as both the stand and a protective cover.

Why make it more portable?  Because I think there's a great opportunity to provide more content.  Think of this as a stripped-down Kindle.  Thanks to the satellite feed it could receive all sort of additional content.  Would I want to read a book on this thing?  No, but it would offer a great way to take newspapers, magazines and other short form content on the road, always up-to-date.  If there's not enough memory already built in to house the content, just add an SD slot for customers to increase it on their own.

Then there's the advertising component.  It would be pretty simple to create an additional revenue stream by including banner ads, for example.  They could offer two subscription models: One that's less expensive with ads and an ad-free one that's a bit pricier.

(Speaking of advertising, when we finally got seated at The Cheesecake Factory I noticed that every other page of the menu is an ad for another store in the mall.  Pretty smart, especially when you think about the captive audience reading the menu and the fact that they're already at the mall.)

Suddenly that $99 price tag wouldn't seem so expensive, especially if this device could be my gateway to portable content that's priced at the same level as what Amazon charges for the same content on the Kindle.  I wouldn't need the sexier eInk technology for this...a simple LCD would do the trick.


Jason Marcuson

Joe, I think I know of the device you speak. It's the Chumby (http://www.chumby.com/).
They're priced at $179.95, but they have all the features you're looking for and more. Check out their site, you might be surprised.


Joe Wikert

Hi Jason. I wasn't familiar with the Chumby till you pointed it out above. I spent a bit of time looking at the website and although it's interesting, it's not what I have in mind. I'm looking for something that's built for content and doesn't need a cutesy look. The Chumby looks like it was designed for kids. The display looks too small, I don't need color and it looks more like a ball than a flat device (at least that's the way it looks online).

Additionally, unless I'm missing something, it looks like the Chumby's connectivity is through wifi. I like the satellite option the Brookstone device offers; I'd prefer to have access to content anywhere the satellite is accessible, not just through a hotspot.

Then there's the price. At $179 I think you might as well pay the extra money for a Kindle. I was envisioning something lower-priced, sub-$100 if possible, but with many of the Kindle content options (and satellite/cell phone connectivity) and without the pricey, limited-availability eInk display.

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