Letting the GiiNii out of the Bottle


GiiNii was perhaps the biggest surprise out of CES in January. The company seemed to appear out of nowhere with a brilliant line-up of CE devices including C-U-C-Me cameras, PixPlus Wi-Fi photo frames, and a touch-screen, Android-based handheld called the Movit Mini (think iPod Touch with an Android OS). Of course it’s one thing to put on a good show at CES, and quite another to bring good products to market, so I went digging for a few more details… and landed an interview with GiiNii VP Dennis Sones.

The most exciting gadget news I learned during the conversation is that GiiNii’s 7-inch touch-screen tablet, the Movit Max (due out in Q4), will be priced “about the same as other brands’ Wi-Fi picture frames.” In other words, for this year’s holiday season we could be looking at a sub-$300 tablet display. Other companies are focused on introducing their own “kitchen computers,” but the $600 price tag is simply too high for a secondary device. On the other hand, the 7-inch GiiNii MoveIt Max could well be within reach if it truly hits the lower price point. And that brings me to GiiNii’s overall strategy for CE products. In brief: emulate Vizio.

Sones described the Vizio model as an inspiration for GiiNii’s launch. Vizio brought a high-value commodity to market – the big, flat-screen HDTV – and made it affordable for the masses. GiiNii plans to do the same thing with other devices designed for distributing consumer content. Even in a difficult economy, Sones claims this is possible because of GiiNii’s financial backing (funding from a private equity group), and GiiNii’s  connection to Foxconn, the largest manufacturing company in China outside of the petroleum industry. In Sones’ words, the goal is to make easy, accessible products priced within reach; the major risk being that GiiNii’s timing must be impeccable.

Speaking of timing, GiiNii has a lot planned for the second half of this year. While you can buy GiiNii cameras and basic digital photo frames now (Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc.), the Wi-Fi PixPlus frames and the MoveIt Mini are due out in late Q3. The MoveIt Max launch is planned for Q4.

According to Sones, more than a million homes already have GiiNii products. If everything goes according to plan, millions more should have them by this time next year.

Final note: GiiNii promised me review units of their new products when available. The PixPlus frames are near-ready now, with the MoveIt Mini review units likely on tap in a couple of months.

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