As in all years before it, 2008 included lots of shiny and fun introductions into the marketplace. And since Christmas IS coming and my loved ones SOMETIMES read my blog, I thought I would put together a list of items that I would love to find under my tree. You might have to use the expedited shipping option for delivery by December 25, but you can always stop by and personally deliver the package if you are pressed for time. I might even give you an egg nog.
So, here goes:
1. Flip Mino HD: Billed as the smallest HD camcorder on the market, this little beauty can film an hours worth of 720p video and can then plug directly into your computer with a little USB swing out arm (hence the “Flip”). It has 4gb of internal memory. It records in a 16 by 9 aspect ratio. And you can even customize the case with a pattern generator on the Flip’s website or with your own uploaded image. Lots of fun in a tiny package.
2. iPhone 3G: Now, who doesn’t include this iconic phone in their list? Maybe a few, but the more I research my next cell phone, the more I move towards the iPhone 3G as my weapon of choice. Sure it has its limitations for business use, but the seamless integration of useability and design is compelling. Business apps and features keep popping up, giving me more justification for looking at the iPhone as a potential workhorse. And, there’s no denying its purty physique.
3. Gateway XHD3000 Monitor (30-inch): Let’s face it, I am not getting any younger. Years of focusing on these tiny computer screens has taken its toll on my eyes. I would just LOVE a giant monitor for a crystal clear and GINORMOUS image of my articles and computer- generated artwork. This beast from Gateway has been getting decent reviews and would look lovely next to my tiny little 17-inch toy.
4. Wacom Cintiq 21UX: Oh, this is really SHINY! Wacom combines an approximately 22″ screen and a very sensitive digital pen to create a near-IRL drawing and drafting experience. The pen works directly on the screen, so the feel is more natural. Its 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity afford amazing line control. Wacom incorporates its trademark programmable express keys and touchstrips for efficient use of commonly employed features. It accepts a classic and airbrush version of the Wacom’s pens for input variety. I want!
5. LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen: A pen that converts your writing into digital files? Cool! A pen that converts your writing into digital files and accompanying audio soundtrack? Even cooler! Using the pen on special digital “paper”, you can point back to anywhere on the page and hear back what was being said at the time you wrote the note. The Pulse offers either 1GB or 2GB of internal storage. You also can upload what you wrote into a computer for later searching. This little Swiss Army Knife of digital pens also includes a calculator, translator and a little piano game so you can play notes on a piano drawn on the paper (like I need another angle to my doodling distraction). The notebooks are sold separately and aren’t cheap, but they aren’t exorbitant either – 4 for around $20.
6. B&W Zeppelin: As a former high-end audio / video sales consultant (read: mall-worker) and musician, quality sound is important to me. I don’t yet have a speaker dock for my iPod Nano and really would love to just plunk it down and let it play out loud at home. Sure, I could jump on that overpriced Bose bandwagon, but if I am going to shell out between $200 and $300 on a SoundDock, I might as well spend a little more and get this totally awesome Zeppelin. With five speakers including a 50 watt bass, 25 watt mid-range and two 25 watt tweeters, it cranks.
I am biased towards the Zeppelin for a couple reasons. First, I have Bowers & Wilkins speakers in my home audio system and they are truly a well-made, gorgeous-sounding, all-around speaker (of course my Aragon amp doesn’t hurt either). Second, its looks are beyond cool. Third, what could be better than cranking some D’Yer Maker on these little Zeppelin shaped speakers?
7. Plastic Logic eReader: Unfortunately, this pretty reader isn’t out yet, but you can give me an envelope with an IOU. The reader is the size of an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper and is around the thickness of a standard pad. It supports Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, permits viewing of Adobe PDFs, and offers access to newspapers, periodicals and books. The user-interface is gesture-based. Information can be obtained via wires or wirelessly. The beautifully-thin screen uses E Ink technology. Low power consumption, long battery life and room for thousands of documents makes this a total winner in my “book.” The Plastic Logic reader is expected to land in the first half of 2009.
8. Wildcharge. This gadget came out in 2007, but I still would love to find it all wrapped in Christmas bows in 2008. The flat pad will charge compatible devices placed on its surface, sans wires. You can charge up to five devices at once, and the list of compatible units includes MP3 players, cell phones and PDAs (who uses those anymore?). It does require adapters for different units, but the base cost of $60 does not offend me for this much tech goodness.
9. Sentry Safe Fire Safe / Waterproof Hard Drive: I have a lot of sensitive digital information and one can never know when the next plague, fire, flood or natural disaster will hit. While I don’t have one of those survival bunkers in my basement or backyard, I can see a real benefit to this little armored digital safe. Despite its somewhat smallish capacity, the Sentry Safe is a very tough external drive that can guard your information from everything short of a nuclear explosion. It contains a One-Touch Mini hard drive from Maxtor and connects via USB 2.0. Of course, it offers password protection and data encryption for those more mundane web-based attacks. If you like to see gadgets blended, then hit the jump above to Sentry Safe’s website for some destructive video demos.
10. Canon EOS 50D: I am still shooting 35mm film. I know, I know, how can I have any tech credibility when I use such arcane methods of photographic capture? I am on my fourth Canon AE-1 body and I have been reduced to scouring pawn shops and eBay for replacements when I inevitably break the poor things. If I was to switch to digital photography, however, I would definitely remain loyal to Canon and would thoroughly enjoy futzing with this awesome package that blends professional and consumer features. With a 15.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 processor, and up to 12800 ISO for low light imaging, your pictures can’t help but look good. It also has HDMI out so you can maintain the same high quality after transfer to an HDMI-capable TV. There are lots of bells and whistles for us discriminating amateurs, such as Face Detection Live mode, Lens Peripheral Illumination correction and Creative Auto with onscreen setting display. It also sports a very high resolution LCD screen that can convey 640 by 480 RGB pixels. The EOS 50D doesn’t come cheap, but you love me, right?