Gadgets, We Love Em

Australia’s appetite for consumer technology seems to be never ending. Just recently a major national retailer that focuses on the sales on consumer electronics has increased it’s profit outlook for the year. In a time of doom and gloom for practically every, everyday essential from petrol to housing, consumer electronics remains on the shopping lists of Australians.

I have a couple of theories as to why this is so.

First up gadgets have a shorter life span. I remember being young and the family TV lasting for over ten years. Today TV’s may still last that long, but the technology change in a flat panel over a ten year period so much that after a few years the flat panel on the wall of the lounge is quickly moving to another room to be ‘the second’ tv set. With this in mind we’re encouraged to up-grade our gadgets more frequently to take advantage of the better features, technology and so on.

Gadgets are also used a lot more in our daily lives. We choose a gadget and do everything with it. It doesn’t matter whether it is a laptop, digital music player or mobile phone. The simple act of using our gadgets more today than yesterday means they wear out faster either through use, or being dropped, crushed or my own personal favourite – falling into water!

Gadgets are getting cheaper each year and therefore becoming more of a purchase option than a luxury item. Now before you yell at me in disagreement let me clarify. Have you seen a 42 inch flat tv costing $15000 lately, me neither. You can pick up a great 1080P flat screen for under $3000. Phones and digital music players packed with features are now far cheaper than five years ago. There are still top of the line devices that fit into the luxury pile, but overall if you want a great phone or a great digital music player $500 should see you purchasing one outright.

The big question is, “will the party continue”. Let’s check back on this one in six months.

iPhone 3G – Patience Is A Virtue

Finally the iPhone 3G has been announced and it will arrive in Australia on July 11th. To purchase one you will need to sign up with either Optus or Vodafone, and both are running sign up’s for people who want to register their interest. Which phone company? It will depend on the price of the phone, the plan and the coverage of the provider, and this last point is going to be specific to your area.

This is the time when we can all point at the people who purchased an iPhone from the USA (and unlocked the device to be used on local networks) and say “Dude, you wasted your dollars”. I am sure they will disagree, however time and time again history shows that when purchasing technology, patience is a virtue.

The 3G iPhone will be the technology gadget of the year. It will have all the productivity features, ease of use and ‘cool factor’ of the 2.5G iPhone, but with much faster download ability for it’s content. But what extra features will we see in the future?

With the iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit) now available and being downloaded by small developers all the way up to mega corporations you will soon see a multitude of software available. In the future from Apple I bet we will even see a service like the Itunes music store for your pc, but sitting natively on your iPhone so songs can be downloaded directly through the phone network.

For the first time since 3G launched I am keen to trial 3G phone content, load music onto my phone and use it for more than just calls and email.

Bring on July 11.

Gadgets On The Today Show

By popular demand we are now taking Today Show viewers through the latest from the Gadget world every two weeks at 8:20am. This mornings Today Show Gadget wrap up (June 2, 2008) was a mix of some of my favourites and some of the gadgets we have seen getting world wide attention. Here is an outline of each and why I think it is a rockin item to look out for:

1) Sony Rolly – RRP Not Available In Australia

When Sony released vision of the Rolly onto Youtube it ended up getting over 120 million views! It’s a cross between a Digital Music player and a Robot (well kind of), and will play all your favourite tracks while also dancing across the table. I don’t really see the point of it, however it is new and different, and no doubt being bought by many in Japan. For me the digital pet idea has never been a big draw card and so I will not be shedding a tear when I return the Rolly to Sony.

At present the Sony Rolly is not available in Australia and there has been no announcements as to when it may be released (whether it will be released or not)

2) Lamborghini Notebook from Asus – RRP $4599

I have always watched the arrival of Notebook PC’s licensed by car companies with great interest. I doubt whether I will ever own a fast Italian car, but it is exciting that I can at least have another prized possession related to the car so many aspire to own.

The Asus VX3 Lamborghini Notebook PC is new to the Australian market and is a notebook pc I wish I could own. Some of the specifications that you need to know include: 4 Gig of ram, 320 gig hard drive, 12.1 inch screen and built in DVD multi drive this has all the specs that a high end notebook must have. the VX3 also includes a titanium alloy in it’s construction to ensure strength but maintain the lightweight design. Add to that leather stitched into the area next to the keyboard and hey presto, this is a hot machine.

The only negitive is the price, at just over $4500 it is by far the most expensive notebook on the market, without including high end machines that weigh over 4 kilograms and those unbreakable laptops that you see at open stripe mining sites!

Asus have built a notebook PC that any hot blooded Italian would be proud to rest on the back of their Vespa.

Read more about it here, but I am impressed.

3) Portable Apps – Download Here RRP FREE

When a Technology reviewer says – “This free program is awesome and I use it all the time”, you should definetly spend 30 seconds of your life listening to what it is. I did and I have to say this is one impressive program.
Portable Apps requires a USB memory card, a host pc, an internet connection (for some of the programs like the web-browser and the email) and that is about it. The concept is an easy one, load portable apps onto the memory card and then plug it into the host pc (this could be any PC running windows).

Some great uses for Portable Apps are backpackers and people who want to check their email on their office pc.

The best way to learn how to use it is to watch this short video on Youtube (Watch Me!).

If you love the great outdoors and some of the locations you visit are no where near any kind of civilisation then a personal locator beacon might be something for you. The new technology of the Kannad allows rescuers to know your position down to 120 metres. The positioning service is global and the Kannad uses the newer 406 global frequency.

Be careful not to set it off by accident as the search and rescue authorities will send help and you will need to pay for the costs!

Check out locations to get them here

5) Jabra BT3030 Stereo – Headset for Mobile Phones – RRP $99

With phones and digital music players converging into the one device accessories are now available that make using your phone easier. If you want to pack your phone away in a back pack, say you are riding a bike or hiking etc, then a blue tooth enabled device like the BT3030 is a good option.
Connecting wirelessly to the phone this ‘Dog Tag’ hangs around your neck and has all the controls you need to listen to music, take a phone call and most importantly keep doing what it was you were doing without worrying about your phone.
Check out the details here