Gadgets On Today – June 30, 2007

HP Touchsmart
Apologies for the delay in getting this info online, I was asked by some of the Today floor crew to work out their body fat percentage using the hi-tech scales. It’s great to see this morning’s gadgets were a hit and thank you so much for all your emails so far today. Here is this morning’s segment product by product:

1) HP Touchsmart PC –

I have said it plenty of times that 2008 is the year of the ‘Touch’. We’re now being offered technology products that allow us to use our index finger to operate. This includes PC, PDAs, mobile phones and much more.

This morning I showed the touch operation benefits of the new Touch Smart PC from Hewlett Packard. This is a fully self contained TV that includes all the regular features like:
– DVD Burner
– Wireless lan
– Wireless keyboard and mouse
– 22inch screen
– Built-in Webcam

But also includes other cool features like a built in:
– TV tuner
– Complete touch control operation

Prices start from $1999 (the model with the TV Card costs more than this) and the model I showed this morning hits retailers on July 14th.

Check out all good electronics retailers to see one in action.

Check out the official website from HP for more details on the product.

2) SC 565 – Digital Scales

These are the latest in digital scale technology for the home. Once you enter your height, age, gender and fitness level, it calculates your weight and measures body fat, body water, muscle mass, bone mass, daily calorie predictor , health status monitor, and takes weights up to 180 kgs.

RRP – $130

These will be in stores in the next few weeks, but check out the distributor’s website for more details – Homedics

3) QR Codes for Telstra Next G

The big phone companies want us all to consume content and download ‘data’ on our mobile phones. With 3G and HSDPA we can download videos and webpages quicker than ever before. Telstra is launching a new technology they have had in development called QR Codes that will make it easier to download content on your mobile phone that you may be interested in viewing.

It works by using the digital camera in your phone. Your Telstra Next G device has a small application installed on it (this part is free). You then scan the barcode with your phone which then executes the command stored in the barcode. This morning I showed the NineMsn Website loading up, but the barcode can be programmed to do anything allowed – I believe this function is held by Telstra.

The application is free, however the data you use is charged at the rate set out on your phone plan.

Check out more details here –

4) R2D2 Robot Projector RRP $2999
We also showed you a really cool Video Projector for Star Wars fans. I can’t believe someone has actually built one of these! Last time I checked with the creators, the unit is not available in Australia yet however Check out the R2D2 Robot projector online to see if they will ship one to you –

Slow Down Said The GPS

GPS units were the hottest selling item last Christmas. Australia has finally embraced the benefits of a gadget that tells you where to go with a few extra bits and pieces thrown in.

Three states of Australia are running a trial to use the technology that powers GPS, to ensure our cars maintain the speed limit ceiling and save lives through less crashes from speed.

GPS was created by the United States Department of Defense to provide accurate positioning of military vehicles. It was made available for commercial, non military use in the early 1980s. Technology has allowed prices of SatNav receivers to drop and today we can now afford to have one in our cars.

The plan, is to use the positioning and speed monitoring benefits of GPS to monitor your speed and slow the car if you exceed it. We discussed some concerns on the Today Show this morning, however we didn’t get time to address a pretty major one. GPS requires line of sight to at least four satellites, if you are driving in a built up area with high rise buildings your GPS may lose line of sight. Should this happen, your system will not know what street your car is on and must estimate its position. I’ve had this happen to me already when driving in the Sydney CBD and it is so annoying, the SatNav has a major melt down and is practically useless. I can handle that for driving from point A to point B, however if the streets I am driving through have different posted speed limits what will that do to my safety and that of others?

We’re planning to test this technology out on CyberShack TV next week, to air in July. I will let you know what limitations we find in our review.

To Tivo OR Not To Tivo – That will be the question this July

The SMH reports today that a source inside Channel 7 has confirmed that Tivo will be released in July. The original vibe I received was that Tivo would be released in time for the Olympics so that Aussies could run out with their credit cards and not miss a moment of the Olympics’ coverage. Great plan, but in reality I doubt that a couple of weeks is enough time for the bulk of us to get Tivo in our houses for the event.

So the Tivo is arriving late, but what are the pros and cons of Tivo? Exactly how successful has Tivo been in countries where it has been on sale for some time?

In existence for just over ten years, Tivo as a company makes Personal Video Recorders (PVRs). They’re most well known in the USA, although they have had units sold in other countries such as Great Britain (although they are no longer sold there any more). In the U.S. Tivo is used for recording cable, free to air and satellite TV services. I was really impressed when staying at a hotel in New York once and the in-room TV had Tivo. Not only could I record shows when I was at meetings, I was able to record shows in a subject of interest. I asked it to record all NFL games, and it did that over the next three days that I was there. Every time I wanted to watch TV I was able to click a couple of buttons and watch NFL games, discussion panels, highlight shows and more.

The market share success of Tivo in the US PVR market has been said to be about 30 to 40%. It’s been argued this would be higher except that subscription fees need to be paid each month otherwise the electronic program guide does not work and the Tivo is unable to receive other online content assistance.

Landing in Australia again and Tivo (we’re told by Asher) will launch with a sale price of about $700. Um, are you serious $700! But wait, there is no monthly subscription fee attached and once you buy it, you own it forever.

I still need some convincing on Tivo. I have a media center pc, I hardly ever use it for recording TV, apart from watching back my Today Show segments. I prefer to just flick the TV on and watch a couple of shows when they are on and when nothing else is on I find something else to do. That said Tivo is easier to use and faster to schedule your TV shows

Will Tivo change Australia’s pattern of watching TV? In my opinion, not this year and not for while.