Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 50° Cloudy
News >  Business

TVs, tied to person’s individuality, ready to hit U.S.

From wire reports

Imagine owning a television set that looks and feels like a baseball, a cello or even the horse-drawn coach that whisked Cinderella to the ball.

Hannspree Inc., a Taiwan-based TV maker, is preparing to offer such designs as it launches U.S. operations this summer.

As electronics companies flood the market with new plasma and LCD TV sets, Hannspree wants to stand out by offering appliances that appeal on the basis of style or just plain wackiness.

“We want to tie our sets into a person’s individuality and personality traits,” said Rick Calacci, senior vice president of marketing for Hannspree.

Among the more than 100 designs are sets that look like a golf ball. Even the TV’s stand looks like a tee.

The baseball set is made of leather and features the same number of stitches found in a baseball. The cello set is made of rosewood. Other models look like apples, cows and sheep. For soccer enthusiasts, the back of one set looks like a giant black-and-white soccer ball.

Hannspree hired four design firms to help construct its flat-screen LCD sets, which will retail for $449 to $1,399. Hannspree is opening stores in Beverly Hills and San Francisco and has deal with several major retailers, which Calacci won’t name.

Who will want a television that looks like a giant sheep in their living room?

“This is strictly pride of ownership,” Calacci said. “It’s for the people who want to be the first on the block with this product.”

India looks toward biotech

Now that software development, call centers and other outsourcing ventures have boosted India’s status in the world economy, Indian officials hope to pull off the same feat in biotechnology.

Several dozen Indian executives and government officials made that pitch to U.S. investors and scientists in advance of BIO2005, a major industry conference next week in Philadelphia. Their message: India’s huge market and low manufacturing costs make it ideal for multinational drug and agriculture companies.

India’s biotech industry remains small, generating about $700 million in sales in 2004, mostly in generic drugs such as insulin and hepatitis B vaccines.

But at a luncheon Monday at the Indian consulate, Kapil Sibal, India’s science minister, said the government plans to invest heavily in biotech.

Hackers break controls on new PSP

Gaming enthusiasts have figured out how to run unauthorized programs and games on the U.S. version of Sony Corp.’s new handheld game console.

Like its rivals, Sony had tried to keep its new PlayStation Portable on a tight leash, installing controls so it couldn’t run programs and games not vetted and licensed by the company.

But the PSP, released in the United States in March, has been the target of fervent attempts to unlock its capabilities, which go beyond any previous handheld game machine.

Sony’s restrictions were defeated by a program disseminated on the Internet last week. It requires two memory cards, which are switched while the PSP is working.

The exploit may not be practical or safe (an accompanying warning says it could cause damage if done improperly), but it represents a challenge to Sony’s policy of tight control and opens the possibility that PSP games could be pirated.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.