What’s the Good Word? (reprinted from the Metro Spirit 11-27-14)
Black Friday – What are going to be the best tech gadgets for the 2014 shopping season? This year has been a good year for gadgets. No one type of item has exploded into relevance, although several are making significant advances. Here’s some ideas as you stake out your place in line.
At the top of the list are the Smart Watches. The first generation smart watches serve mostly as an extension of your smart phone or tablet. The functionality is somewhat limited – you can receive notifications and texts. Your smart phone or tablet is required to respond (depending on the model). Other applications found on various smart watches include offline music player, voice memo recorder, and speakerphone. Smart watches also include some sort of heath monitor. This first generation of smart watches shape up as typical Gen1 devices – a high cool factor, but just a little short on practicality. Apple’s smart watch arrives early next year, so expect significant advancements over the next 12-months.
In addition to the smart watch, various types of fitness trackers were introduced in 2014. These health-monitoring devices track items such as walking distance, calories, and sleep cycles. These devices connect to your smart phone via Bluetooth where the fitness band apps will display your progress toward your personal fitness goals. The fitness bands is one the sleeper apps in 2014. The apps are starting to slowly catch on. Fitness band technology will be one of the products to watch during the next year.
You’ll see a couple of new technologies as you shop for televisions this season. The most noticeable feature is the continuation of curved TVs. “Just like a movie theatre,” they say, the curved is either advancement or a gimmick, depending on who you ask. A more significant technology is the OLED. The current generation of OLED provides a picture quality better than LED or plasmas. The screen thickness of the television is remarkable – about the same thickness as the width of a pencil. Unfortunately, high tech TV comes at a cost – the least expensive OLED TV is $3,500.
(Aside: as you browse the television department, notice the model names. Why do manufacturers give TV names such as “55EC9300” and “DM85UXR”? Why don’t they give them normal names like everything else? I don’t get it.)
If you are really looking to be on the bleeding-edge of Christmas gadgets, consider getting your loved one a printer. Now I know what you are thinking – what in the world could be new and exciting about printing? Well, consider for a moment that these are 3D printers. Instead of printing ink on a sheet of paper, 3D printers create 3-dimensional objects. All consumer-grade printers use a process called fused-deposition modeling (FDM). Using this process, very small drops of plastic are melted from a filament and placed at precise positions to create the object. The print area of the printer determines the object’s size, typically anywhere from 6” to 8” square depending on the printer. Most printers come with a single filament – that means you can only print in one color. Some printers come with multiple filaments or allow you to change color during the print job. These wonderful, bleeding-edge toys don’t come cheap – prices range from $500 to $2,000 and higher – but you mostly certainly be giving a one-of-a-kind experience.
Have a blessed holiday! Gooble, gooble and #THWG!
Until next time… @gregory_a_baker