Gadget industry gears up for a big Christmas season – but are there headaches ahead?

Gadget industry gears up for a big Christmas season – but are there headaches ahead?

There certainly has been no shortage of recently released devices for gadget lovers to put on their Christmas wish lists over the past few months.

Whatever platform or device type you prefer, there’s something on Santa’s sleigh for everyone this year.

After refreshing its smartphone line-up in September with a new version of iOS, the high-end iPhone 5s and lower-cost 5s, Apple unveiled the iPad Air and a refreshed line-up of MacBook Pros last month.

Major rivals Samsung have released a few new devices of their own, including the Galaxy Note 3 phablet, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and the South Korea-only, curved-screen Galaxy Round smartphone.

Not to be outdone, South Korean compatriots LG have also been busy, unveiling their new flagship smartphone, known as the G2, the low-cost Firefox OS-based Fireweb smartphone, the South Korea-only G Flex, the G Pad 8.3 tablet and – in partnership with Google – the Nexus 5.

Of course, the Nexus 5 isn’t the only gadget Google wants you to consider this Christmas.

After releasing a new series of eight-core smartphones back in July, Google’s smartphone subsidiary Motorola released its flagship Moto X smartphone, the $US179 Moto G. As if that wasn’t enough, Google also announced a major update to its Android mobile operating system, known as 4.4 KitKat.

Taiwanese tablet makers Asus has also been busy, recently unveiling the PadFone Infinity, FonePad Note 6 phablet and an NFC-enabled PC.

Sony has released a waterproof Android smartphone with a 20.7-megapixel camera called the Xperia Z1 along with the PlayStation 4.

And the joy of new devices has not just limited to Apple or Android users.

Microsoft has released the Surface 2 and a new version of Windows – Windows 8.1 – soon to be joined by the Xbox One video game console.

Their recently acquired subsidiary Nokia, meanwhile, has unveiled a 10.1-inch tablet called the Lumia 2520, along with two new 6-inch phablets, the Lumia 1520 and 1320.

Even BlackBerry users will have some new toys to play with this festive season, thanks to the Z30 smartphone and a new version of the BlackBerry operating system, BlackBerry 10.2.

With so many tablets, phablets, smartphones and consoles all competing for the consumer dollar this Christmas, it’s a great time to be a gadget aficionado.

For obvious reason, the fourth quarter has historically been the strongest for consumer electronics devices. To a tech giant selling the right products, it can be a very merry time of the year indeed.

But just how financially sustainable is it to have so many devices to all hit the market over a narrow two- or three- month period?

The tech giants will obviously want enough inventory in their channels to avoid missing out on sales should one of their gadgets prove to be a smash hit this Christmas.

But with the economy remaining sluggish both at home and abroad, the multi-billion dollar question is whether there are enough consumers out there willing to part with their cash to clear all that inventory?

If not, this Summer might come with a post-Christmas financial headache that lasts well into the new year for some of the big names in the consumer electronics sector.


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