This season usually brings press previews of new technology toys for the upcoming holiday season. Pepcom's New York Holiday Spectacular lured us with the prospect of margaritas and fiesta food in addition to the products. Notable among this year's displays were several wireless USB products, a new Skype videophone, an amazingly small full HD resolution camcorder from Samsung, as well as many laptops, storage devices, media players, headsets, phones and more.
Since we generally talk about the more serious products, we decided that this was the show to inject some fun. Here are a few of Sandy's favorite fun toys.
We were very amused by WowWee's portfolio of robotic products. The remote controlled Tinkerbell Easy Flier and its flower wand remote controller will light up our granddaughter's Christmas.
Her techie dad will think the vertical flier is pretty cool, but will probably have his eye on the new Rovio. This webcam-enabled three-wheeled robot has a GPS system, can have preprogrammed routes and streams live audio and video to you via any web-enabled device.
In the "we can't decide if this is cute or creepy" category was the N-Power: SpongeBob SquarePants Eyeball Speaker Dock. It comes with a pair of eyeball loudspeakers that rock and roll back and forth.
In the slightly more serious vein, the Asus AiGuru S2 videophone provides Skype video conferencing without a PC. It has built-in Wi-Fi to connect to your broadband router. We're slated to receive a pair to give them a trial run and look forward to reporting back on them.
We're always attracted to new products and services to make our media more convenient and accessible. Several years ago we wrote about ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0403_6.html ) Get Digital, a service that converts personal CD collections to MP3s or other digital audio formats. Scan Cafe is a similar concept focused on images. It accepts your old photos, slides and negatives, and converts them into high quality digital files on DVD.
Sometimes you want to go the other way--from digital images to hard copy. We liked the quality of products we saw from SmileBooks, which has just entered the US market after a long history in photo finishing and printing in Europe. The software allows great flexibility, including personalized backgrounds and the ability to put text anywhere. The software is downloadable, so you can put your SmileBook together on your next plane ride. It looks very nice but we have not yet tried it out yet. We've been enthusiastic users of Shutterfly in the past, and we're looking forward to trying SmileBooks once this newsletter is on its way to you.