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2009 In Gadgets, Gadget Freaks Picks For 2009, Part 1

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The Olympics are over, the 3G iPhone, MacBook Air and first phone with a Google Android operating system has been released.

2008 is officially over.

It is time again for everyone to dust off their crystal balls and see if they can be as wrong about 2009 as they were about 2008.

Here at gadget freaks we firmly believe that you should never be afraid of a humbling experience (they build character we’re told) so we decided that we would try to make our picks for 2009.

So, without further ado…

High definition and high resolution gadgets will continue to gain in popularity

It wasn’t so long ago that, if you wanted a high definition TV or a HD camcorder you almost had to take out a second mortgage on your house to afford it.

With the latest developments in technology that has all changed.

sony-oled

HDTV technology like OLED is finally making some inroads with Sony’s OLED TV… oooh pretty (source Gizmag)

It is now completely reasonable to find a HDTV for under US$500 and a high definition camcorder for around US$200.

It goes without saying that more and more will be buying high definition 1080i TVs, HD camcorders and high resolution cameras in the coming months as even more mid-ranged products go high res.

Digital TV will take off

The world isn’t only in the middle of a perceived financial tightening it’s also going through a digital television revolution.

Much of the world is changing from analog to digital TV.

The DTV process started in 2003 and the first wave of countries converted is expected to finish the process between 2012 and 2013.

digital broadcasting standards

A map showing the spread of the first and second waves of digital TV standards in the <a href="Digital TV changeover(source Chinavasion)

US is going through a forced change in 2009 and many other countries in the developed world are proceeding swiftly through their transitions.

As a result, interest in digital TV (which has quickly been dubbed DTV) is constantly growing.

While many do not fully understand the division of digital TV standards (Chinavasion has put together a handy DTV FAQ) they are actively searching for the televisions Digital TV tuners and peripheral devices that enable them to continue to watch TV in the new millennium.

This trend towards digital DTV is going to continue into 2009.

Projectors will gain in popularity

The world appears to be nesting.

Not so long ago you would be hard pressed to find a projector designed for the home theater and even harder pressed to find a market for them.

Developments in technology and massive reductions in price have changed all that.

It is now possible to get a multimedia projector or a LCD projector for less than US$300 and there are several pico projectors on the market that can be put into peoples’ pockets.

Hell, Chinavasion has even brought out a cell phone with a projector tucked away inside, and it looks like some of the bigger phone companies are catching on with the display of the Samsung MBP200 and well known??? Logic Bolt.

Here’s the projector phone that we found in June

The growing popularity of the home projector and projector home theater is going to continue through 2009 as projector gets more coverage and consumers make their nests more comfortable.

Blue Ray will get closer towards the mainstream.

For 2008 much of the high definition home theater news focused around the battle between the two HD titans…HD and Blue Ray.

By CES 2008 blue ray was declared the winner by many of the film studios but not much happened after that.

That wasn’t strictly true.

More and more content started appearing on Blue Ray and some major players began offering blue ray equipped players at bargain basement prices.

2009 will be the year when almost everybody makes the shift to Blue Ray.

Cell Phones will continue to grow steadily in developing markets.

In the developed world there wasn’t too much going on in the cell phone world last year apart from big releases (the 3G iPhone and the HTC G1, the first phone with Google’s long-touted android OS)

HTC G1

The shape of things to come? the HTC G1, the first phone to feature a Google Android OS

This was perhaps reflected in sales with handset sales increasing by just 3% in Europe and the US last year.

It must almost be getting to the point where everyone in the western world has a mobile phone, really doesn’t want one, or is just going to the cell phones shop to get a replacement phone.

It’s quite a bit of a different story in developing nations though where cell phones are no where near as commonly seen. In China cell phones are one of the hot ticket items with no contract cell phones being the most popular.

The popularity of the prepaid phone and the unlocked phone will continue through 2009 and in the foreseeable future.

Most customers wanting to buy unlocked cell phones are looking for phones that give them high degrees of freedom and networks don’t tend to have the data support and features that companies like AT&T and Orange do.

The GSM phone and GSM in general is likely to reign supreme as a result.

There will be a new level of importance being placed on the international phone as well, largely because of the wider market. The quad band phone and quad band telecommunication device will be an almost essential item for anybody looking for a cell phone wholesale company because they want to start a mobile phone business.

Features like the cell phone camera, WAP and MMS will become increasingly common as the world moves from cellular technology 2.0 to cellular technology 3.0.

Don’t forget to check back for part two of this predictions blog

The 10 Most Memorable gadgets In Asia In 2008

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While it may not be the most astounding gadget on the market (Polaroid have been doing the same thing for years) This ad for a recently released digital Japanese camera, will change the way you look at Polaroid pictures from now on.

2008 has almost drawn to a close and its time for the world as a collective whole to draw breath gather its thoughts and throw out those lists of changes in the year that made people sit up and take notice.

While the first half of the year could have been called a Mac(intosh) attack (first there was the Macbook Air, then the 3G iPhone) and the second half of the year was the approaching ecopocalypse there was still other news and gadgets out there that caught people’s attention.

Here are our picks of memorable gadgets to come out of Asia for 2008…

Asus Eee Netbooks

It could be their size, their price or the fact that, for a while, the makers of Eee laptop line put the Linux operating system on their laptops above windows and OSX but you didn’t have far to come accross a release about this Taiwanese company this year.

asus-eee-pc-1002ha-netbook

The latest entry onto the market were two models which made everything thinner and added a 3G modem in the November release of the Eee PC S101, Eee PC 1002H captured almost as much attention as the start of the year.

HTC G1

Much of the buzz around the HTC G1 surrounded the Google Android operating software (which was actually being worked on by a US company called Android before Google bought the company in 2005 and worked them into the team) announced in November 2007.

However, Taiwanese company HTC, (better known beforehand for touch phones like the HTC touch and computers like the HTC Shift) was the first off the line when it came to making the hardware to go along with the software.

Many of the reviews of the HTC G1 have been mixed so far but signs are improving.

g1

According to Engadget T Mobile were so excited to get the G1 that they couldn’t even wait one day to give customers a taste of what was up for offer.

Chinavasion Projector Phone

2008 was very much the year for phones and the Chinavasion projector phone was another that grabbed the attention from a lot of people. This could have come from two places…

Pico projectors were just as much hot property as cell phones with companies vying to be the first to release a commercial pico projector and gadget blogs trying to guess when that would happen.

3M looked like it was going to be first in line to get the mass produced projector onto the market when Chinavasion did more than beat them to the post. It did a little web 2.0 mash up to create a cell phone/projector.

Mind you, given the current Chinavasion track record, perhaps it is not such a surprise.

Softbank 823SH Tiffany

Japan, famous for their love of cell phones, gadgets and anything strange.

So it should come as no surprise when a Japanese phone provider, Softbank Mobile went “ecopocalypse what ecopocalypse?” and put out a smart phone with a case made completely of silver and diamonds from New York jewelers ‘Tiffanies”

diamond-phone

The Softbank 823SH Tiffany has 537 diamonds, weighing 18.34 carats, encrusted in the case and cost around the 13 million yen mark (that’s 130,265 dollars to US dwellers). If you want one better get your skates on because according tothe company only 10 will be made initially.

Pyocotan’s Noriko San Goggles

While we’re on the topic of ‘aint Japan strange’ this piece of technology hit the interwebs around October. The length of time people spend commuting in Japan isn’t exactly anything new, neither is the fact that people go to sleep on commutes and miss their stop.

Japanese hacker, Pyocotan, came up with a new spin on the old-fashioned sign around the neck and the smell of cheap booze, Noriko-san googles which showed off the destination you were heading to… would people wake you up though?

Cassette MP3 Player

While launched by the company Chinavasion in late 2007 the Cassette MP3 player didn’t really capture the blogger’s attention until the start of the next year. Once people grabbed the idea they held onto it and for at least 12 months it was on somebody’s lips somewhere.

cassette MP3

Perhaps the success of this MP3 player was that it was cheap, cute and let people use equipment that might have been destined to be sold out of the boots of cars at flea markets and underneath motorway overamps.

Styson i Knock

Another cheap and cheerful gadget from the greater China area (OK Taiwan) is the i-Knock. This gadget would be handy for the ‘social networking set’ hooked to their Facebook pages and instant messaging services it knocks itself out (and plays a tune if you program it nicely) every time you get an instant message. The perfect place for any unused photos of the ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend

Hopefully the end of 2008 will herald the end of the i- movement. This vowel movement makes me want to punch babies.

i-knock

Samsung Touch Sight

While still in concept stage this would definitely have to be one of the coolest things to come out this year. The Touch Sight is a camera for the blind that takes a picture using braile and sound which owners can store and share with friends.

Chinavasion Super Cool Mobile Phone Wrist Watch

The cell phone watch idea has been for a long time, ever since a 1946 Dick Tracy strip at the very least, but it really didn’t hit the market until half-way through this year.

watch phone

This cool cell phone watch from Chinavasion was the start of a torrent of wrist phones and the wonderful realisation of the childhood dreams of many middle-aged men.

Tokyo Flash Watch

There hasn’t been too many months go by that one of these watches didn’t turn up in the gadget blogs.

They require special knowledge to work out, they use digital time if they don’t and they’re silver… it’s a wonder they weren’t first thought up in the 80’s

Written by gadgetfreaks

December 9, 2008 at 2:13 pm

F1 2008 Round 6 Race Review. Monaco Grand Prix.

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Well race fans the Grand Prix of Monaco for 2008 must go down as one of the more interesting and dramatic races in recent memory. With an all Ferrari front row for the race it looked as though the Monaco drought may end for the Italian marque. However, rain began to fall as the cars sat on the grid with all teams switching to intermediate tyres. One team though tried to hang on just that little bit too long to see what the weather was going to do. That of course was Kimi Raikkonen’s team. They had not fully fitted their tyres within the regulatory ‘3 mins before the start of the warm-up lap’ and the Fin was hit with a drive through penalty. This was to be just the start of his troubles for the race. Without the aid of traction control and other banned driving aids this was going to be a race and a half, and we weren’t dissapointed here at Gadget Freaks at all!

Massa led off the start with Lewis Hamilton edging by Raikkonen with a great start, almost getting alongside Massa into the first corner. As rain began to fall the field miraculously managed to get around the opening lap  without incident, quite a feat at Monaco.

The order did not last long as incident after incident brought chaos and drama. Alonso was driving like he was in Nascar causing several collisions due to being over optimistic. Still it was nice to see some competitive overtaking on the street circuit! Lap 6 and Lewis Hamilton hits the armco barrier with his rear wheel destroying the tyre but nothing else. He was able to pit and hence change his race strategy. He rejoined the race in a good position and when on lap 16 Massa went off handing the lead to Robert Kubica, Lewis was looking good. 

 The conditions out on the circuit were treacherous as the number of front wing replacements would testify. Hamilton had found his way to the lead after the first round of pit stops and appeared to get some extra speed, leaving the rest in his wake ( or should that be spray? ) Kubica had passed Massa at the stops relegating the Brazilian to third with Adrian Sutil in the Force India car a brilliant fourth. Sutil was driving the race of his life and it looked as though the new team would not only get points but were perhaps in line for a podium finish. Sutil was racing the two Ferraris ! However, exiting the tunnel Raikkonen lost control under braking, his car weaving and skidding out of control smashing into the back of Sutil. Both cars sustained damage with Force India having to retire, much to the disdain of all watching. Raikkonen rejoined the race to finish in ninth place.

So at the checkered flag it was a jubilant Hamilton from Robert Kubica then Massa with Australian Mark Webber fourth, continuing his good run of points finishes this year. All in all it was a great race which saw Massa slip up again and Hamilton regaining the lead in the 2008 Championship. Raikkonen had a day to forget and was slammed in the press by former 2-time F1 Champ Niki Lauda who said, ” I cannot understand how the highest paid driver can have a race as stupid as that.”

After the excitement of the F1 Monaco race we here at Gadget Freaks are looking forward to the race of the year! The Moto GP Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello, June 1st 2008.

5 Gadgets Guaranteed To Get You A ‘Darwin Award’

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The Darwin Awards honour individuals whom die or are sterilized by their own stupidity. Taking its name from the move, ‘The Darwin Awards’ , those individuals are posthumously rewarded for ensuring the successful continuation of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool.

Here at Gadget Freaks we love motorcycles and fast cars and crazy gadgets but some people really go to extraordinary extremes with extraordinary devices or vehicles in the name of fame, fortune and fun. So lets take a look at ‘5 Gadgets Guaranteed To Get You A Darwin Award’.

1- 3800 Horsepower Jet Motorcycle.

Looking at this motorcycle several words come to mind some of which I will not write here. Imagine riding this insane creation. Fitted with a Rolls Royce Viper MK 202 Turbo Jet engine it whacks an amazing 3800 horsepower plus a further 1200 ponies with the afterburner. With a wheelbase of 3.4 metres, it runs double disc brakes and has no chain or sprockets ( unlike the Y2K Jet Bike ) making it a true Jetbike!! Ironically the bike was built by Ron ( Mad ) Laycock who resides in of all places Darwin, Australia! This IS the Gadget Freaks top pick for a sure Darwin Award for the rider of this thing!

2- Turbo Pocket Bikes

Now if you’ve ever riden a pocket bike you’ll know how insanely dangerous they are. Not to be dissuaded some future Darwin Award candidates have made the decision to turbo charge these things. That makes an insane power to weight ratio coupled with the procarious centre of gravity with a grown man atop makes these babies a definite sure fire gadget to get you an award.

3- Car Visor DVD Player and Game Station.

If you like playing computer games or watching DVDs while you are driving then you must be in the running for potential ‘Darwinian Stardom’. This neat Car Sun Visor DVD and Game Player  will keep your eyes off the road so much that you can get an award without hardly trying. Imagine doing 100 mph down the highway and playing Mario Kart! Go on buy one, your posthumous 15 minutes of fame are calling!

4- Jet Engined Volkswagen Beetle.

Jet engines and terrestrial vehicles just don’t mix. The legendary Jato Rocket Car ( jet assisted take off) which won the 1995 Award was a fine example. Combining a jet engine and a 1967 Chevy Impala equates to car and driver experiencing speeds and G-forces usually reserved for fighter pilots. It can, and in this case did, result in the vehicle becoming airborne for 1.3 miles and impacting 125 feet up a cliff face! Not pretty. I wonder if the owner of this ‘Street Legal’ Jet Engined Beetle is aware of this! Hold on Gadgeteers, we may have a winner! 

 

5- Rocket Powered Speedway Bike.

Just to show that folk have been ‘chlorinating the gene pool’ for considerably longer than the awards   have been running we have this blast from the past. In 1947 90,000 people in Wembly Stadium saw an attempt to increase the performance of a speedway bike by attaching 4 rockets to it. Check out the article here and there is even an historic news reel from the occasion.

 

Written by gadgetfreaks

May 23, 2008 at 10:50 am

Top 5 Gadgets That Could Save The Planet!

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The Planet is in Peril!!! So it’s up to us Gadgeteers to do something to save it. We here at Gadget Freaks have become totally freaked out at the rapidity of the decline of species. Recently the polar bear, the largest terrestrial carnivore is now on the endangered list. In Australia ( a continent which has one of the worst rates of faunal species extinctions ) the hardy Tasmanian Devil has been listed on the endangered list. Ultimately it will be us, Homo sapiens that will be facing extinction. So let’s take a look at some gadgets and gizmos that may help to save the planet.

1- Seastead Project

First up on our list is this awesome concept house/construction. With this dwelling you can have energy self-sufficiency via wind,wave and solar power. Also you’ll have a steady supply of seafood,you can build a seal platform and a seabird rookery as well as using the support structure as a reef habitat.
Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich’s are responsible for the Seasteading project, which was originally conceived as a way to experiment with “diverse social, political, and legal systems.” Can’t really figure out what all those aspects have to do with floating spars topped with habitats, communications relays and solar panels, gathered into huge suspended gadget homes. They say these structures can result into self-governing enclaves. The home design is actually based on the same ballasting system that some older oil rigs used.

Each Seastead construction consists of a concrete-reinforced main pillar and tethered ballast weights. Adjusting the water in the ballast raises or lowers the spar in the water, while the small cross-section makes it resistant to strong waves, if you ever decide to place one in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Around 300 square feet of space on the upper platform can be used for residential purposes and the provided image even shows an Aeolian turbine that is able to provide the needed energy. Presumably there is enough room for many out-doors home appliances. Predicted costs are a few hundred million dollars to build a Seastead for a few thousand people, not that much considering how much it may potentially help the environment.

via Techpin

2- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

This whacky way out gadget could really help save the planet. All we need is one environment saving looney megalomaniac to round up all those that refuse to denounce greed and persist with profiteering at the expense of our fellow earth inhabitants. By simply deactivating the part of the brain that inspires greed we can rid the world of those that harm the planet.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a process in which you run an electromagnet over parts of the brain, which essentially turns them off. You may have LOL’d at the idea of Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo erasing Jim Carrey’s brain while dancing around in their underwear, but this brain altering technology is no joke. While effects don’t appear to be permanent or long-standing, doctors and researchers think it could show how the brain recovers from traumas such as stroke. Though the technology might run a teensy-weensy risk of causing epilepsy, that’s all. The video below shows grown men reciting nursery rhymes and turning into stuttering messes. [Daily Telegraph via Medgadget via io9]

3- Solar Powered Handheld MP4 and Nintendo Emulator

Here’s a third-party Nintendo emulator that doesn’t look like total garbage. Though it has the typical generic name of Solar MP4, this little device actually has some impressive features. It can play MP4 files up to 320×240 in size on its 3.5 inch TFT screen, it also has built-in emulators for NES, GameBoy and GameBoy Color games. Of course you have to use ROMS loaded via an SD card, but those are easy enough to find. It can even function as an e-Book reader with the ability to read out loud any text file as long as it’s written in English or Chinese.

Did I mention that it has a USB port to charge your other gadgets?

Via Slipperybrick

4- Surreal Spanish Solar Tower

 

The BBC has a report on the Europe’s first commercial solar power station. 600 giant concentrated heat boils water into steam to drive turbines. mirrors focus the sunlight onto a 40 story white concrete tower where the super-

I’m remembering the old joke about solar powered torches here, but even though the plant will only work for an hour after sundown, the main power draw in the south of Spain is air-con, and this station pumps out enough daytime juice to power 600 homes, with future expansion to 600,000 (that’s every home in Seville).

It doesn’t get much greener than this, but a side benefit is in the surreal beauty of the place. BBC science correspondent David Shukman paid a visit:

A concrete tower – 40 storeys high – stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside […] In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air.

It sounds like a tourist destination in the making. Remember to take your sunglasses.

 

Via Wired Blog

5- The Single Most Important Environmental Innovation

One word………….. CONDOM !!

The problem of population was first really explored by Thomas Malthus in a paper published in 1798. His idea was that, unfortunately, populations increase exponentially until all available resources are used up. Then competition and starvation halts the growth of the population. This, Malthus predicted, would happen to the population of humans alarmingly soon.
What he didn’t count on was our unique ability to create more resources from the land. We could rip up more, create machines, burn stored carbon, pave the world, manufacture powerful chemicals and otherwise subdue and control the Earth. We did it all because, by the very nature of life, we hate to see our children die, and we can’t stop, y’knowmakin‘ babies. That is the heart of our ecological crisis, and, without effective means of controlling Malthusian population dynamics, the Earth was screwed.

When effective, simple and reliable birth control was invented, first in the form of the latex condom, and then through various hormonal contraceptives, our species was given the ability to control this vicious system. For the first time in the HISTORY OF LIFE on this planet, a species is choosing not to use up every available resource and, instead, control it’s own population without the looming prospect of starvation.

Condoms aren’t solar powered or reusable or even recyclable, but they’ve made the environmental revolution possible. As simple birth control continues its spread across the globe, it leaves behind happier healthier societies with significantly less impact on the planet. That is the power of true innovation.

via Ecogeek

Written by gadgetfreaks

May 21, 2008 at 9:02 am

Moto GP 2008 Round 5 Race Preview.

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Well we are late in posting our race review from Sundays action but we though we’d make a few post-race comments. It was an amazing race full of action, drama and some absolutely sensational riding. The French weather loomed and caused all sorts of tension and uncertainty. Would it rain would it hold off. The race was declared a ‘dry race’ however, it did drizzle slightly.

Casey Stoner got a blinding start and led for the first section of the race. He was hauled in by a hard charging Rossi and was later overtaken by Pedrosa. Meanwhile Rossi was creating a gap at the front while Jorge Lorenzo was making his way up the field after a bad start.

Casey Stoner seemed to regain some composure after looking uncomfortable for a spell but that was to come to nothing as his machine seemed to expire at the end of the main straight. Stoner had to push his Ducati to get back to the pits where a spare bike with ‘wets’ had been prepared for him. Hoping for a miracle (rain), he rejoined the race two laps down. Meanwhile Rossi was in vintage form at the front while Lorenzo had amazingly moved up to second with Colin Edwards third and Pedrosa dropping off to fourth. And that would be how they crossed the finish line with Chris Vermeulin in fifth.

It was a welcome victory for ‘The Doctor’ who equalled Angel Nieto’s total of 90 Grand Prix wins. Rossi collected Nieto on the warm down lap and let the legend ride his M1 Yamaha with Valentino as passenger holding a flag that read ’90+90′. Only Giacomo Agostini has more wins than Rossi but with 32 more to get the record it remains to be seen if even the great Vale will be able to reach the milestone.

Special mention goes to “Iron Man”, Jorge Lorenzo! What an amazing ride to come from 10th place at the start of the race to second and was actually pulling time on Rossi. Simply amazing considering the guy can hardly walk! We here at Gadget Freaks firmly believe that if he can keep himself out of trouble he will be in line for a real upset this year. We’ll have to check the record books to see when the last time a rookie won the premier class.

So a great weekend for Yamaha getting a clean sweep of the podium. Ducati, however had a weekend to forget. With Casey Stoner’s (16th) machine failure and Marco Melandri (15th) at odds again with his machinery there will be some serious searching as the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello is next and they will be certainly be hoping for a taste of the Moet on home soil.

Championship Postions After 5 Rounds.

1- Valentino Rossi Yamaha  97

2- Jorge Lorenzo    Yamaha  94

3- Dani Pedrosa     Honda    94

4- Casey Stoner     Ducati    56

5- Colin Edwards   Yamaha  47

Next Race; Italian Grand Prix Mugello Italy June 1, 2008

Schumi Debuts in German Superbike Championship.

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Well after all the rumours and speculation,  Formula One legend Michael Schumacher indeed made his debut in the German Superbike series. Somewhat of a mixed weekend for the 37 year old and his Honda CBR1000RR. After qualifying 39th fastest he finished race one in 28th at the flag posting times just 3 seconds of the pace of teamate and race winner Martin Bauer. Unfortunately, race two saw Schumi crash out while working his way through the pack.

                                      Schumacher gets a taste of the German tarmac

There has been quite a lot of talk about why Schumacher has chosen to take up bike racing. Even Bernie Ecclestone has commented in the press hinting that it is not really a good idea. However, hats of to him and we’ll certainly be watching his exploits here at Gadget Freaks.