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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

Gadget News and Reviews: Pleo Destroyed At Maker Faire 2008

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We here at Gadget Freaks were shocked and appalled this week when we heard of the vicious and wanton destruction of an innocent and defenseless Pleo at Maker Faire 2008.  

Makers of Pleo, Ugobe have distanced themselves from the stunt and have stated they had absolutely nothing to do with this despicable act. Ugobe reps at the fair said they were, “shocked and appalled” at this act which was perpetrated by a so-called ComBot known as Vicious Verdict.

 

                                                        How Could Anyone Harm This?????

We here at Gadget Freaks had a sinking feeling when we heard this news and and were truly sickened when we viewed actual video footage of the incident. Funny how human nature works. We know it’s a robot but because Pleo is cute and a baby but somehow our protective instincts kick in as if it were a living animal. More as news comes to hand!

Written by gadgetfreaks

May 10, 2008 at 10:11 am

Who’s Who ? Whooooo Wee Oooooo!!!

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Well it would seem we got some incorrect information here at Gadget Freaks. We posted on April 28th that the composer of the Doctor Who theme, Tristram Cary, had died. While it is true that Mr. Cary sadly passed away it is not true that he was the actual composer of the theme. Cary was a composer on the show but wrote the underscore not, as  wrongly reported in the media, the theme track.

                              Delia Derbyshire created the electronic realisation of the theme.

As Seba kindly commented, it was actually an Australian born composer  Ron Grainer that indeed composed the original theme track. However, the actual electronic version which has become legendary, was actually adapted from an original composition of Grainer’s by Delia Derbyshire. It is said that upon hearing the electronic version Grainer exclaimed, ” Did I really write that.” The tune was to remain as the theme to the series for a 18 years.

           Ron Grainer ( August 11, 1922 – February 21, 1981 )

Gadget Freaks apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

Five Nice Mice.

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Where would we be without the computer mouse. That little disposable piece of modern technology that is used by hundreds of millions each day. Here at GadgetFreaks we took a bit of a peek about the net to see what’s new and wierd as we bring you ‘Five Nice Mice’.

1- The Origins Of The Species.

According to Wikipedia, the mouse was invented in 1963 by Douglas Englebart. It was a rather ungainly device ( see below ) which used a large wheel and was constructed of wood. The builder of his design, Bill English, later went on to invent the ball mouse whilst working for Xerox in 1972. Now 83 years old, Mr. Englebart must look at what he started with his invention and have a quiet chuckle to himself as the computer mouse becomes increasingly high-tech and/or bizarre.

2 – USB Vacuum Mouse

From Japan, here’s a rather unique and quirky spin on the mouse. It’s a mouse and it’s a USB vacuum cleaner. Yes folks you heard right, this 800 dpi laser mouse incorporates a tiny vacuum cleaner with removable dust reservior, a scroll wheel and an on/off switch for the cleaner. Keeping your workspace clean just got a whole lot more gadgety !

 

3 – USB Hand Warming Mouse.

Yet another mad mad mouse from The Land of the Rising Sun. This rather neat and relatively normal looking mouse actually keeps your hands warm. Reaching a maximum temperature of 45 degrees celsius, it has an 800 dpi resolution. Looks like Mac users may be out in the cold though as it only supports Windows NT/ME/2000/XP. However, as it is plug and play and therefore needs no driver we may see Mac users warming to it! 

 

4 – Fingerprint Reader Mouse.

For those security conscious gadgeteers, fringerprint recognition technology is now available in a mouse. With it’s cool gadget grey and black design this mouse has an 800 dpi sensor sensitivity, a 508 dpi finger sensor and a 256 bit encryption algorithm. It boasts a 1 in 1000 false rejection rate and a 1 in 1,000,000 false recognition rate. It can also be used as a decryption tool for files and drives, a protection layer for website log-ins and it can be set up with 10 fingerprint samples to allow multiple users. That is one smart mouse!

 5 – The Body Mouse.

This would have to take the cake for the most grotesque, bizarre, repulsive, creepy and just downright wrong gadget we’ve seen in a while. Looking like something from a Frankenstein movie, The Body Mouse was designed in 2002 by Chris Lomaka and seems to have just seen the light of day. There are no technical details available for it and I am not sure I want to know too much anyway ! The realism of the hair, skin and nails is positively creepy….I so want one ! Great for keeping the faint of heart away from your computer ! A definite chick magnet for geeks or the perfect mouse for crazed eccentric med students or morticians with a sense of humour?

Written by gadgetfreaks

April 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

“Pimp My Wii”

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When Nintendo launched its Wii game console in 2006 I’m sure that even they could not have imagined its universal popularity. As of December 31, 2007 20.13 million units have been sold and demand continues to outstrip supply making the Wii a much sought after gadget. Not surprisingly a significant after market accessories industry has sprung up manufacturing all manner of gizmos to pimp your Wii. With its remote controllers the game has become so popular that it is said that even Queen Elizabeth plays on a Wii ! So we here at Gadget Freaks took a Wii peek into the wierd and wonderful world of Wii and here’s some of what we found.

 

If you are into ‘shoot ’em up’ gaming then this is for you. This Wii Shotgun is just the ticket if the Wii Zapper is not macho enough for you. Basically it’s a shotgun shaped holder for your Wiimote and Nunchuck so you can blast virtual zombies with ease and gusto. I can just imagine Queen Lizzy mowing ’em down with this baby!

 

To further enhance the ‘rumble’ feature of Wii controllers one company has developed this Wii game chair. Dubbed ‘The Hot Seat’ , the Pyramat Sound rocker S2000 looks somewhat like an old car seat but packs twin 8 watt speakers in the headrest with a 5.5 inch Powersub 30 watt subwoofer under the seat. Great for feeling your music and living your movies but we think it would really come into its own with car racing games. Hmmm……I hope they make a mini-moto gp rumble bike!!!!!!

 

Do you like to Wii on the road ? If so then check this out. This LCD Wii Monitor attaches to the base of the Wii unit and features a ball socket to allow the screen to be placed in many ways and it folds down when not in use. With its built in stereo speakers and 7 inch LCD display it is like having your own Wii laptop. A car cigarette lighter adaptor is included so you can even Wii in the car ! I can just imagine Queen Liz playing Mario Brothers in the back of the Royal Roller whilst taking the corgis out for a spin!

 

You gotta love the folk from The Land of the Rising Sun. This Wii gadget must take the cake as the craziest after market Wii product out there. The Super Pi Pi Brothers is …… well click the link to see! Somehow I can not and do not want to picture Her Majesty indulging in this ! ( Note – This was an April Fools gadget on Thinkgeek)

 

Written by gadgetfreaks

April 19, 2008 at 8:09 am

Moto GP 2008 Round 3 Race Review.

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Wow what another amazing Moto GP race! As usual the magnificent Estoril Circuit in Portugal produced amazing racing and all the drama you could wish for with it’s changing weather and challenging undulating layout. Rain affected the free practise sessions with all teams losing valuable time in their pursuit of the perfect dry set-up.

Another stunning effort from rookie Jorge Lorenzo put him on pole for the race making it 3 poles from 3 attempts from the ultra-talented young Spaniard. Compatriot and arch rival Dani Pedrosa qualified in second with Valentino Rossi completing the front row. Curiously, this was Rossi’s first front row start on Bridgestone tyres with the next Bridgestone shod bike being Casey Stoner back in 9th spot. Stoner had a pre-race to forget as Ducati continue to struggle with set-up issues.

                                             Jorge Lorenzo takes his maiden Moto GP win!

With all eyes on the weather light rain began to fall as the riders were making their way around for the warm-up lap with Rossi pointing to the sky. With the mechanics in the pits frantically preparing wet set-up spare bikes Loris Capirossi managed to line up in Casey Stoner’s grid spot causing both riders to dismount their machines and push their bikes to the correct position while the whole field waited. After Casey Stoner’s latest string of woes he must have been wondering what else could go wrong!

When the lights finally went out it was Dani Pedrosa who led the pack into the first lap with Lorenzo and Rossi hard on his tail. A cracking battle raged between the trio with Dovizioso in tow in fourth. The Honda rider was soon taken by both Yamahas with Rossi leading briefly until Lorenzo made an audaciously brave move at the uphill chicane to take Rossi. The Doctor had no remedy for Lorenzo’s pace and dropped back to be hauled in and passed by Pedrosa soon after and fading to a distant third.

                                                  The action was fast and furious.

Pedrosa mounted challenge after challenge on Lorenzo but the rookie had an answer for every gain his bitter arch rival made. Pedrosa would pull Lorenzo back by a tenth and Jorge would reply by setting  new fastest laps and pulling out 2 tenths. He went on to comfortable victory with Pedrosa second and Rossi third. Dovizioso crashed out of fourth as did Nicky hayden with Colin Edwards taking that spot.

It was an eventful race for Casey Stoner for all the wrong reasons. Something had come loose on the bike around the left handlebar and was flapping in the wind with Stoner seen grabbing it several times and stuffing it back into the bodywork. It was later reported to be one of the onboard cameras that all bikes are obliged to carry by Dorna. Stoner clearly unhappy said later that the loose component was getting caught up in his clutch lever and was interfering with the bikes steering. Not what you need while racing at over 300 kph! He finished a credible 6th after languising around in 11th for most of the race. Needless to say Stoner and the Ducati team will be hoping for better fortune for the next round.

                   The patience of a saint. Casey Stoner must be wondering what else can go wrong!

So with Lorenzo and Pedrosa joint leaders in the championship and Rossi in third the Moto GP circus heads to Shanghai in China. A fantastic sweeping track with that 1.2 km back straight will perhaps suit the Ducati more than the last two venues. Will Lorenzo continue his dream run? Will The Doctor regain his winning ways or will Pedrosa and Honda top the podium? We’ll find out on May 4th when hopefully we here at Gadget Freaks will have recovered sufficiently from last nights race!

                               Get used to this! Jorge Lorenzo celebrates his “Dream” victory.

Written by gadgetfreaks

April 14, 2008 at 6:26 am