The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

At CES 2012, Lenovo introduced a versatile new laptop called the IdeaPad Yoga.  The name of this new laptop must refer to its flexibility — a patented dual-hinged screen flips 360 degrees to turn the Yoga into a tablet or to create a self-standing screen to watch video and films.  When you flip it into a tablet, the Windows 8 OS automatically switches to the Metro UI. 

The Yoga features a 13.1 inch screen with a resolution of 1600×900.  According to Lenovo, the Yoga is the thinnest and lightest convertible ultrabook, weighing in at a mere 3.1 pounds. 

Read more about the Lenovo Yoga at Wired’s Gadget Lab blog.

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Popular Science’s Top Innovations of 2011

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Popular Science magazine has released its list of the Top Innovations of 2011.  Topping the list is the Lytro Light-Field camera, which allows photographers to focus pictures after they’re taken. The Wacom Inkling doodle digitizer also made the list (we wrote about the Wacom Bamboo Stylus in a recent post). 

One of the gadgets on the list that caught our eye is the Kycero Echo, an Android phone that mimics a tablet with a second 3.5-inch touchscreen that can be snapped into place alongside the primary screen.  This creates a total screen resolution of 960 x 800, just slightly less than a 7-inch tablet.  The pair of screens share one image by default.  App creators are also expected to code games and other apps that display different coordinated images on the two screens.

Find out more about the Kycero Echo and the other Top Innovations of 2011 on the Popsci website.

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Consumers Return Record Number of Gadgets

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

According to the Chicago Tribune, American consumers are returning electronic gadgets in record numbers – even when the gadgets aren’t defective.  These returns generate huge costs for manufacturers and retailers.  Eventually those costs, which added up to $16.7 billion in 2011 alone, are added to the price of products. 

Sales data from the Consumer Electronics Association indicates that almost 70% of returns are categorized as “no problem found,” while 27% of returns are attributed to buyer’s remorse.  When consumers return products that are not defective, chances are good that they were unable to set up or learn how to use them. 

Gadgets that were included in the survey included computers, mobile phones, HDTVs, digital video cameras, gaming consoles and software.  The situation seems to indicate that consumers need more support and training and that gadgets need simpler designs.

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Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

If you want to try drawing, sketching or adding handwritten notes to documents on your iPad or iPad2, you’ll need a digital pen that feels like a regular pen. Look no further than the Wacom Bamboo Stylus. This elegant stylus is available in five colors (white, blue, green, orange and pink) and features a narrow 6mm tip and a natural, ergonomic design.

Use the Wacom Bamboo Stylus with iPad apps such as Penultimate or Autodesk Sketchbook. Wacom also offers a line of pen tablets that can be used with desktop computers or laptops. Find out more about the Wacom bamboo Stylus on the Wacom website.

You can also see a demo of the Wacom Bamboo Stylus in this YouTube video.

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Mystic Pyramid Fortune Teller

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

If you ever played with the Magic 8 Ball when you were a kid, then you’re sure to appreciate the 21st century version of the fortune telling toy. The Mystic Pyramid Fortune Teller answers your questions about the future with more than 100 different recorded responses. It also glows with synchronized light effects. It the perfect gift for that person on our list who has everything!

The Mystic Pyramid is produced by U.S. Games systems, a small games company founded by a former stock broker named Stuart Kaplan. Read more about the Mystic Pyramid Fortune Teller on the Daily Grommet website.

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Phosphor Appear Crystal Watch

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

This sparkly watch features a face covered in Swarovski crystals. Beneath the crystals is Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital technology that uses miniature rotors and magnets to rotate each crystal to form the correct time and date. Every minute an electrical pulse generates an electromagnetic field that triggers a change in the position of the watch’s crystals. The effect is pure magic.

Available in black, white, pink or red, the Phosphor Appear ranges in price from $199 to $249. Find out more on the official Phosphor Watches website.

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Streaming Media Players from Apple and Roku

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Streaming media players promise to be popular gifts for the upcoming holiday season, allowing streaming content from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and other Internet sites to be viewed on TV. Apple TV, priced at about $100, is a palm-sized box that can be used to watch TV shows and movies from iTunes, Netflix and YouTube.

For only $50 (yes, that’s half the price of Apple TV) there’s the Roku LT. This compact box has all the same features as Apple TV with the exception of iTunes support. The Roku LT streams content from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, HBO Go and a variety of other sources.

Find out more about these streaming players at the Apple and Roku websites. You can also read an in-depth comparison and review of these two products on CNET.

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India’s $35 Aakash Android Tablet

Friday, October 28th, 2011

At around the same time that Amazon put its Kindle Fire on the market for $199, the Indian government was preparing to unveil the $35 Aakash Android Tablet.  The goal of this super-low priced device is to put a tablet computing into the hands of more students.  The devise (whose name means “sky” in Hindi) was developed by a U.K. company named DataWind and produced entirely in India.  The cost of the 7-inch tablet is $60, with the Indian government subsidizing almost half the price of each tablet.  Even so, this is the world’s cheapest Android device.

The Indian government expects to distribute between 10 and 12 million tablets by the end of 2012.  Read more about the Aakash Android tablet, including the results of hand-on testing, at the VentureBeat website.

You can also see an impressive Aakash demo in this YouTube video.

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UltraViolet Online Digital Library

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Many people have a variety of different gadgets that they use to watch movies.  Until now, they had to buy multiple copies of the same movie if that wanted to watch it on different gadgets.  Now a new service called UltraViolet promises to save these people money and make their lives easier.  This cloud-based service acts as a kind of digital locker, keeping track of movie purchases and allowing them to download copies onto smartphones, laptops and other devices.

Several years of negotiations between Hollywood studios, gadget makers and retailers were required before UltraViolet could get off the ground.  There are currently a limited set of support gadgets and movies available, but the movie library is expected to grow over the next few months.  Read more details about UltraViolet in this Wall Street Journal article or visit the official UltraViolet website.

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Real Racing Party Play

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Real Racing is about to introduce an exciting new feature called “Party Play” that lets up to 4 players compete with each other on their iOS devices.  Using AirPlay, each player’s view can be combined in a single split screen image and viewed on a TV.

Most gamers agree that Real Racing 2 is one of the most realistic racing apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Find out more about the Real Racing 2 Party Play update on the Firemint website.

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