Consumers have been drawn to smart gadgets, wearable technology, and hands-free convenience in 2013. Some companies have come up with improved versions of their gadgets while others launched innovative products. Here is a list of gadgets that captivated techies this year.
1. Google Chromecast – Plug this thumb-sized gizmo on your TV’s HDMI port then connect it to WiFi in to send multimedia content from your laptop, tablet or smartphone to your TV. Enjoy videos and music on your TV screen without using wires.
Some companies have come up with web browser-equipped TVs but many users have reported problems such as interface issues, remote difficulties and awkward performance. Google launched its Google TV platform in 2010 but it failed to captivate the market. Logitech, Google’s hardware partner almost went out of business because of it. Google redeemed itself with the revolutionary Google Chromecast.
2. Apple’s iPad Air – Before, iPad users had to choose between a powerful iPad (iPad 4, iPad3) or the portable iPad Mini. Now Apple has come up with a light and handy iPad without compromising power and performance. The new iPad Air is equipped with an A7 chip that makes it twice faster compared to previous iPads. It is 7.5mm thin and weighs just one pound; making it light and convenient to carry.
3. Apple’s new iPhones – Apple recently launched two new iPhones – iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
The iPhone 5s doesn’t vary much from the iPhone 5 in terms of appearance but the iPhone 5s is slick, fast and light. It comes in an aluminum frame. One of its cool features is the TouchID, a fingerprint scanner located at the phone’s home button. To unlock your iPhone 5s, without using a pin or password, simply hold your finger over the sensor. Reviewers noted a big improvement to the iPhone’s to battery life. For local prices, check local carriers like Globe and Smart.
iPhone 5c comes in five colors — yellow, green, blue, pink, and white. Its structure is made of special kind of durable plastic. iPhone 5c is also encased in colorful cases. The iPhone 5c is cheaper compared to iPhone 5s. For local prices, check local carriers like Globe and Smart.
4. Microsoft Xbox One – This game console goes beyond gaming. It is an all-in-one entertainment system. It is equipped with “built-in video calls via Skype, integration with cable and satellite TV boxes and an interface derived from Windows 8.” Xbox One also has the new Kinect sensor which allows users (depending on the game or app) to use voice commands and hand gestures to interact with the device.
5.Sony Playstation 4 – The Playstation 4 or PS4 for short is roughly the same as the second generation PS3 in size. It is made from two durable slabs with PC-like structure. When PS4 was launched in the US, many Playstation fans braved the cold temperature and queued to get their hands on the much awaited game console. Sony claims that compared to its predecessor, PS4 is ten times better in overall performance. PS4 has improved DualShock 4 controller and uses PS Vita Remote Play over WiFi.It is equipped with ultra-fast customized processors and 8GB of high-performance unified system memory
6. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX – This Android-powered tablet is Amazon’s flagship tablet. It features a 7-inch HDX display with a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels. It is light and handy, making it convenient to carry around all day. It connects instantly with Amazon, allowing you to conveniently purchase and download books, music, movies, and games.
7. Leap Motion Controller – This small gadget which is barely bigger than a regular USB flash drive allows users to work their way through the digital word without the aid of keyboards, mice and touchscreens. Leap Motion Controller uses infrared optics and cameras capable of tracking hand and finger movements in three spatial dimensions. In the past, people only dreamed of motion-sensing technology but now Leap Motion Controller lets users interact with your computer with a simple wave or swipe of the hand. People can now play games or read stories on the computer by waving their hands in the air.
8. Nokia Lumia 1020 – This gadget’s strongest feature is its camera. Nokia Lumia 1020 is equipped with an oversized sensor fully capable of 41 megapixels of resolution and Xenon flash. Users can take detailed photos and zoom it without reducing the picture into a pixilated image. Nokia Lumia 1020 has 4.5” display size. It runs on QualcommSnapdragon S4 and has maximum talk time of 12.5hours on 3G.
9. Nest Protect– The sound of a smoke detector can be very irritating. Silicon Valley’s Nest Labs came up with Nest Protect, a smoke and carbon-monoxide detector. It is equipped with a Web-savvy touch-screen thermostat. Unlike usual smoke detectors that gives off an ear piercing sound, Nest Protect alerts people to the presence of dangerous air or gases using a calm female voice. If the alarm is triggered because of your cooking, you can easily disable it with a wave of your arm.
10. Google Glass – The innovative smart glasses allows you to take pictures and record videos without using your hands. You can also share what you see with others live. It has accurate voice recognition that lets you speak to send a message; get directions right in front of you; make voice and video calls hands-free; and more. Google Glass has more room for improvement but has big potential to make it big in the market.
Photos: “Playstation & Xbox booth” by Gage Skidmore, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved; “Chromecast Arrived!” by Casual Historian, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved; “iPhone 5S & iPhone 5C” byJohn Karakatsanis, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved; Photo: “Google Glass OOB Experience 27132” by Ted Eytan, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.