The Coolest Gadgets Coming in 2009
Gadgets? Hell, yes! Modern man is nothing without his bleeping, blinking accessories. Gadgets aren’t only useful tools and not-so-useful toys, they’re also status symbols. Sure, the latest cellphone might not get you into a woman’s panties but it will make a great uh, conversation piece.
So, in case you missed this year’s Consumer Electronics Show or Q Branch cut you off for wrecking one jetpack too many, here are some of the must-have gadgets of the year:
You didn’t just go and shell out for an HDTV, did you? Hopefully not, ’cause the Next Big Thing is 3D. Now, you might be thinking holograms, like R2D2’s projection of Princess Leia – but no. Instead of Star Wars, you should be thinking Creature from the Black Lagoon – as in 3D glasses required.
Now wearing a set of specs to get the full benefit may seem a bit retro-gimmicky, until you actually get the full benefit. Then it just seems damn awesome, as your favourite actress’s bosomy bits bulge invitingly from the screen. 3D is great for watching sports too – and everything else really. The immersion factor, especially when combined with surround sound, brings you to the line between the Boobtube and the Matrix.
Macintosh types will want to skip this part, lest it cramp their uni-clicking style in the local WiFi coffee boutique.
For squares: a new Windows coming 2009? Definitely maybe. Microsoft’s already released the beta, and says there’ll be a full release by Fall. Consider a 2009 release lightly scratched in stone then.
Vista users might be scratching their heads at this point, wondering why they’d want to gamble on what be another flawed – even downright infuriating – MS OS. The answer is that Microsoft have learned from Vista, kinda like how Napoleon learned from invading Russia.
Windows 7 will (they say) be faster, more compatible, and feature less “do you really want to do what you just did?”-type messages. Oh, and the killer app this time around? Touch-screen functionality.
Amazon brings up a step closer to the self-updating, disposable newspaper with the new Kindle e-book reader – and you thought you were the one reading them!
The Kindle 2 is a quite a step up from clay tablets. It’s a plastic tablet. The Kindle has a fair-sized screen, designed for maximum visibility and lengthy battery life – which has been further prolonged over its predecessor. Its bookshelf-space has also been improved upon, and it’s got better controls too, making for improved handling through the twists and turns of your favourite thrillers.
What Amazon are going for here, with their iPod/iTunes-like combo of product and delivery system, is nothing short of absolute dominion over all recorded human thought, though Bezos states it this way: “Our vision is every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.” Pretty cool concept, especially as he also says his “books” will cost less than their print equivalents as well as make trees happy. No word yet on how you insert the bookmark.
The Kindle 2 hits stores Feb 24th, has a silly name, and sells for $359. A bit steep, but if you read (and why else would you be here?) it’s a deal worth considering.
MyVu Media Viewer
iPods and other portable media players (insert charitable Zune mention) do a reasonable job of shutting out the drone of reality – but let’s face it, they don’t do much for its ugliness. iPod screens are way too small to serve as portable cinema screens – and the real thing’s much too strenuous to carry around. Enter MyVu and their not-quite-sleek-enough-to-be-called-“shades,” which look faintly ridiculous but let you see brilliantly.
While not quite as cinematic as front-row Imax seat, the MyVu Media Viewer fills a fair chunk of your field of vision, and looks at least twelvety times better than a standard portable’s screen. Sound quality through the ear-buds is great too, making these Borg-like beauties the perfect distraction from dull subway commutes, boardroom meetings or lecture halls.
Downside? Well, you’ll struggle to use MyVu with glasses. The silving lining there is that they’re a great excuse to finally get Lasik and then ruin your eyes all over again watching hours and hours of movies. Battery life’s about four hours, the cost’s about $250 and, we predict, pretty soon devices like this will overlay the virtual world as a kind of heads-up-display atop the real one… And if that sort of thinking gets you going, check out this guy’s attempt at making a wearable computer through some impressive MyVu hackery.
The Wasabi Handheld Printer
Now this is just too cool for school. It’s a printer so tiny you can hold it in your hand or keep it in your pocket – or are you just pleased to see us? Well, at only five inches long, you better hope it’s the printer!
Like hot mustard to raw fish, Dell’s Wasabi is the perfect accompaniment to that other thing in your pockets; your camera phone (expect 12 megapixel versions this year, by the way). Wasabi uses Bluetooth, so getting it talking to your phone is a simple, wireless business. Point, click, print – bonus points to the first pickup artist who builds a routine around the possibilities and convenience of this bit of tech.
The Wasabi uses heat-activated, coloured crystals in its printing process and, at its introductory price of $99, (regular price $149) you may be tempted to crack the case to see how all that works. However the magic happens, it produces an adhesive-backed, two by three inch image within sixty seconds.
The only downside we see here is that Wasabi paper costs about half a dollar per sheet. At nearly ten cents per square inch, wallpapering your house with those pics you snapped under the table of your date’s legs gets expensive.
Powermat Wireless Chargers
Back in 1899, the great Nikola Tesla lit 200 lightbulbs from 25 miles away. Sounds commonplace, until you consider that he did it wirelessly… So, a century and change later, why are we still dependent on spaghetti-tangles of cord to power our gadgets and gizmos?
Good question. Wireless technologies are only as useful as their battery life, after all. Our electronic doohickies get smarter and faster, but the necessity of keeping them juiced remains their limiting factor. Wireless power transmission is the solution, and devices like the Powermat are the first steps towards the free, ambient energy envisioned by Tesla.
One of these pads will allow you to recharge your cellphone, camera, iPod, laptop or whatever other device either comes or can be fitted with the right receiver – simply by placing it on the mat. No Gordian Knot of tangled wiring, no juggling adaptors between power points – no wasted human or electrical energy whatsoever.
The Powermat is able to charge up to four devices at a time, and is energy-efficient as well as safe. The only drawback is that it’ll only be out in the Fall. Sign up now if you want the company to update you on the exact release date.
As for wireless lightbulbs, we should see the release of Wunderlights in time to decorate your tree this Christmas. What better way to end 2009 than with twinkly Christmas lights you don’t have to string?
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