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Consumer Electronics

Great Geek Gadget Gifts

December 21, 2011

Bluetooth Smart Ready Shows Potential

December 19, 2011

Bluetooth to me is one of the most convenient technologies I use as it allows me to get rid of the cord from my mobile and desk phones. I am surprised actually that everyone doesn't use a stereo bluetooth headset - at gyms around the country it seems like one out of 10 music listeners have given up their typically white cords in favor of new technology.

Frankly I just don't get it but am hoping that the new bluetooth 4.0 standard which is more miserly with power will make a good technology even more useful. It is worth pointing out the SIG wants you to refer to it as Bluetooth Smart Ready.

In theory the power consumption is so low that you can get a year out of a device using a button size battery - now that's low-power.

As you might imagine, applications in home automation and the medical field are prime examples of where such a low-power wireless technology will shine.

Thanks to Kickstarter there may soon be an automotive app - one which syncs with your iPhone 4S which was the first phone to support bluetooth 4.0 BTW. The solution constantly updates your car's location via a small device which is connected to your automobile.







Ignoring Increased Accident Evidence, NTSB Pushes Gadget While Driving Ban

December 17, 2011

Recently the NTSB voted this week to recommend all 50 states and the District of Columbia enact laws banning the use of personal electronics including hands free and handheld devices while driving. While it is obvious to all of us that using a smartphone to surf the web and text while driving is a major distraction I should also like to point out that perhaps the NTSB is focusing on the wrong area. After all, fixing your hair, daydreaming, dealing with kids in the back seat, eating, drinking, sneezing, coughing, crying, laughing, dealing with difficult radio controls which often by the way manifest themselves in the dashboards of German automobiles are potentially more distracting than texting. At least that’s my take on the issue.

Avaya's Top Communication Trends in 2012

December 16, 2011

Recently I had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with Avaya about the trends they see for 2012 in the communications space. In particular I spoke with George Humphrey a Director and Line of Business Owner at Avaya and Diane Royer, Senior Marketing Services Manager.

The trends below are at times augmented or enhanced with my thoughts.

1) Mobility raises the expectation of availability

Some E-Books Now Cost More than Paperbacks

December 15, 2011

Its a staggering concept really - e-books don't need to be printed or shipped and aside from the cost to transmit an electronic book on a wireless M2M network to a non-WiFi Amazon Kindle reader, distribution is a matter of very small bandwidth and cloud charges. We're talking a fraction of a penny or so.

So hearing that electronic books are in some cases more expensive than their print counterparts is a bit surprising. Turns out Apple pushed the major book publishers to set retail prices as opposed to charging a wholesale price and letting book discounters set the price based on market demand.

This is why books on the Kindle have escalated in cost from $9.99 to $18.99 or even more.

Obviously convenience is a factor as not having to lug physical books is a great benefit as is being able to have various devices sync and allow you to continue reading your book on any reader you choose.

But this story is more than one of increased convenience manifesting itself into higher prices - or free markets at work. Turns out Steve Jobs didn't want to compete on discounted book pricing with Amazon so he lobbied book sellers to set retail prices for e-books.







Nokia says we are Fed up With iPhones

December 13, 2011

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Niels Munksgaard, director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia Entertainment Global said the youth of today are fed up with iPhones and Androids are too complicated and insecure. My informal analysis of the situation shows that yes, many people do think Android is too complex but I am not sure security on mobile devices is a main concern of consumers. Regarding Apple, it is very possible he is right but the flipside to this argument is that Apple consumers are locked in.

Consider the fact that once you switch to another phone manufacturer, your apps no longer work and your chargers don’t either.

TouchFire Keyboard the Ideal iPad 2 Companion?

December 12, 2011

Last week while up in Boston shooting videos of a number of tech and telecom companies in the area, I realized I left my laptop power cord at home. Thankfully I took my clunky “luggable” Apple iPad keyboard with me and used it and the iPad to approximate the functionality laptop. It wasn’t the same due to some challenges I had with blogging software but I hope this annoyance gets resolved soon.

But what the experience showed me is the iPad can be even better with a solid keyboard.

Sites, Apps and Gadgets for the Holidays

December 12, 2011

Google Currents Crashes Newsreader Party

December 9, 2011

Flipboard calls itself the pocket-sized social magazine and this is an apt description for a social newsreader so popular that this week when it launched an iPhone edition, it was overwhelmed with traffic and crashed. Obviously there is tremendous interest in this category which explains why in April of this year the company raised $50M at a $200M valuation.

Another player in the space Yahoo! has Livestand, an app which has improved over the months but still has a somewhat non-intuitive user interface.

Using Amazon to Compare Kindle Fire to iPad

December 5, 2011

Apple customer loyalty is the stuff of legend as anyone who visited an Apple store this holiday season can attest to and to delve further into this issue Philip Elmer-DeWitt at CNNMoney did some research on Amazon to see which device customers liked better. As the Kindle Fire has only been out a short while it may be unfair to compare the devices as Apple has had some years to improve the tablet’s software. Then again, running on Android, the Kindle Fire does benefit from software updates which have been issued to solve problems faced by other tablet and smartphone makers.

The bottom line is the Kindle fire has 47% five-star reviews and 13.3% one-star reviews.

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