Seagate DVR Drive
PalmOne Treo 650
Dual Core Processor
Mini USB Drive
As we approach the end of the year we begin to reflect on our decisions,
our choices and take account of what we did right and where we went wrong over
the past year. Of course, I’m talking about our gadgets.
Thanks to huge advertising campaigns, we can easily predict some of the new
gadgets coming out that we never knew we could live without. Others are little
more than rumor and wishful thinking. By this time next year, our electronics
environment will have surely changed dramatically. But until then, let’s
look back at some new technologies that came out this year.
Portable. The Sony PlayStation Portable is the gadget of 2005. If you haven’t
gotten one already, you must not have seen one in action. The screen alone
is so much more than what you would expect from a portable. And it isn’t
just for gamers stuck in the back seat on a long car ride to Aunt Martha’s
house; it plays music and movies, too. It also has outstanding sound and graphics,
a built-in Memory Stick Duo slot, and Wi-Fi. Fun for all ages, trust me.
Large Plasma TVs. Sets weighing in at 71 inches burst onto the TV scene this
year. And Samsung followed that almost immediately with their 102 inch set.
At 8.5 feet diagonally, it is about a foot-and-a-half more than the height
of Shaquille O’Neal. But if you decided you didn’t want to build
that new addition onto your home just to contain your new TV, there are many
more moderately-sized models out there.
Harmony 880. Now that you have your ultimate TV on layaway, let’s tackle
that pile of remote controls scattered around the coffee table. Logitech’s
universal Harmony 880 TV remote uses Web-programmable settings to ease the
process of consolidating all of your clickers. It has a color LCD screen, a
rechargeable battery and tips the scales at $250. It might seem a bit excessive,
but you wouldn’t want some puny remote sitting next to your widescreen
TV, would you?
Video Recorders. DVR’s have seen a huge growth this year. Not only are
they so much easier to set up and program than their VCR counterparts, but
you don’t have to deal with handling all of the video tapes, labels and
worrying about accidentally taping over your wedding video. This year, hard
drive manufacturer Seagate started selling a huge 400GB drive delivering up
to 400 hours of standard television to DVR users. It also gives the type of
storage needed for HDTV.
Pocket Camcorder. Now with a 6MP makeover, improved video quality, and skinnier
than a supermodel, Sanyo’s successor to its C5 pint-sized palmcorder
is much like its older brother, with a pistol grip design and LCD that folds
out to the side.
The new Xacti now incorporates a decent 6MP camera and a better frame rate.
The result is smoother, better-quality video footage from a camcorder that
still fits easily in your pocket. The C6’s image stabilizer and close-ups
using the 60x zoom are better than most compact camcorders.
they played songs. Then they stored photos. Then came podcast, and now they
play video. They come in 30GB and 60GB flavors and start at $299. The iPod
can hold up to 20,000 songs, thousands of photos and album art and 150 hours
of video. They also come in Nano and Shuffle varieties.
Treo 650. This little doozie has managed to cause many of us to leave our laptops
at home. Just about the ultimate convergent device, it bundles about every
conceivable tool into one handheld device, including phone, PDA, e-mail, camera,
wireless Bluetooth, MP3 player.
Earpieces. The newest fashion accessories this year are stylish earpieces.
Bluetooth wireless devices are nearly a standard feature in cell phones. The
earpieces themselves contain many of the same functions as the phones themselves,
with their own ring-tones, LCD display, vibrate mode, a jog dial and buttons
to accept or deny incoming calls. In other words, with one of these, you don’t
ever need to remove your phone from your hip.
Processors. Both Intel and AMD plan to release an entirely new type of chip
for home computers. In the good old days, we could pretty much be assured that
the faster your chip ran, the better it was. But while it’s easy to run
them faster, keeping them cool isn’t. The solution doesn’t depend
on a faster chip; instead, two chips in the same computer run separate applications.
A dual-core chip is one chip that operates as two – requiring less power,
producing less heat and handling more at the same time. Not something you can
put on your shelf and show off to your friends, but definitely a cool gadget.
Memory Cards. USB memory cards are by far one of my favorite gadgets this year,
and it isn’t just because they have the most reasonable price tag. Having
a pocket-sized hard drive in my pocket has saved me on more than on occasion.
USB flash drives have come from small-capacity devices to new units able to
store from 1GB to more than 4GB of memory. The snazzier models have thumbprint
security and build in MP3 players.
With all of the cool gadgets that came out this year, I can’t wait
to see what comes out next year.