Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

Gadgets

Kindle 2 and maybe 3

August 28, 2008

Amazon.com plans to unveil at least one model (potentially 2) of its Kindle e-book player in the coming months for the Christmas season.  The new models are said to be geared to market better to younger readers.



 The first new model is expected to feature an updated look, with smaller and sleeker features, and an improved interface.  The second new model is supposedly shaped like a piece of 8.5 x 11-inch paper (considerably bigger than the first model).  Both will potentially be offered in multiple colors.

 Someone who has seen the new version said that regarding the look, feel and style of the new model; it's a big leap from its predecessor.  They compared it to the difference between the first iPod and the iPod mini.



 The Kindle itself seems like a great idea, but I'm personally not ready to spend $400 on it.  I like my paperback novels and taking a trip to the book store once in a while.  Also the design (including the interface) right now isn't infectiously compelling like other gadgets out there.  Actually, come to think of it, I've never seen one out-and-about in the real world even though it was launched last November.

New Nano Impression

September 9, 2008

Today the new iPod Nano was introduced to the world by Mr. Steve Jobs and I'm mildly impressed.  It's smaller, somewhat thinner, and comes in every color of the rainbow (actually it only comes in 9, but that's good enough for me).

It has that curved surface, tapered edge, slick-aluminum look that Apple seems to be taking their latest designs in the direction of.  It's actually as thick as the old model of the Nano at its thickest point, but it tapers off greatly and accompanied with its length, it gives an overall "thinner" feel.

It also features an accelerometer like the iPhone and iTouch, so a user can turn their Nano and view in landscape.

So far the only criticism I have is this whole "shake-to-shuffle" feature.  Neat idea, but I sense a flaw.





Even Santa needs Tech

December 22, 2008

On a recent trip to the local shopping mall I caught a glimpse of technology helping out Ole Kris Kringle himself.  During a lull in the line of children waiting to tell the big man what they wanted this year, Santa got up from his chair to take a call (from Mrs. Claus I'm sure) on what looked to be an iPhone.

While I wasn't quick enough to snap a photo of Santa on an iPhone, I was able to catch him returning to the electric back massage upgrade he had installed on his chair for the long days of posing for pictures with the children of Connecticut.

It's nice to know that even Santa appreciates technology.

Bloggers dream of a perfect iPhone

December 29, 2008

Earlier this week Gizmodo posted a concept design of what they vision should be the next generation of the popular iPhone.  The design was originally developed by blogger Matt Brady and named the iPhone Elite.  Gizmodo took his concept and tweaked it with some added features of their own and named it the iPhone Pro.

Their basic complaints about the current iPhone follows that of many in the blogosphere.  No physical keyboard, lack of storage, and a sub-par camera.  The iPhone Pro concept features 60 GB of storage, a slide-out keyboard, true 16:9 aspect ratio, and a better all around camera.

While Matt's original concept is incredible, I think Gizmodo made one very impressive addition.  A D-Pad and two buttons.  iPhone games are becoming increasingly popular and by adding easier and more recognizable controls, I think it could really begin to compete with handhelds like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.

The only problem that I can see with all of this is the risk of adding too much size.  With an added keyboard and a better camera with zoom capabilities, you could potentially get close to doubling the 4.7 ounces that the iPhone 3G currently weighs.  There's also the potential that the depth would increase to well over a half inch (currently at 0.48 inches).  Features are great, but no one wants to talk to a brick.





GEDC Sets a New Wireless Standard

January 23, 2009

I personally get very excited when I read about new steps in wireless technology.  I own a lot of gadgets, a lot of media hardware, and a lot of computers. With all of that comes a large electric bill and worse yet... a lot of wires. They're everywhere, they're a pain to keep organized and to hide, and they keep my gadgets confined to restricted areas.  I dream of the day when every gadget I own is wireless.  According to a report from ScienceDaily, my dreams may be approaching reality.

The Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a new chip design that promises wireless functionality for ultra-fast media applications.  The new Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chip is capable of transmitting 60 GHz digital Radio Frequency (RF) signals.  The chip "represents the highest level of integration for 60GHz wireless single-chip solutions."

What does this mean?  Multi-gigabit wireless technology is the next step for new wireless applications.  Consumers and IT markets alike will benefit from this new technology.