Gadgets

Chris Nuttall

In the decades since Dick Tracy got his own wristwatch radio in a cartoon strip, many technology companies have tried and failed to produce a successful wristwatch gadget in real life. Wimm Labs, a Silicon Valley startup backed by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, is the latest to come up with a wearable device, insisting its own timepiece tells us the wristwatch gizmo’s time has come. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Boxee, the internet entertainment service, is bringing its TV set-top box to the UK this week. Netflix, Pandora and Major League Baseball have proven popular on its D-Link-manufactured device in the US since its launch last year, allowing owners to watch web TV and their own digital downloads on the big-screen TV set. Read more

Chris Nuttall

I was up with the Lark this morning – not the bird, but a new wearable “un-alarm” that wakes the user, but not the person sleeping next to them. Lark is an intelligent wristband that links via Bluetooth to an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad app, where an alarm can be set and sleep patterns recorded. It vibrates silently at the appointed time to nudge you awake without disturbing a partner who rises at a later time. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Livescribe is making its digital pen technology easier to share and afford, with new software that will convert notes to common formats inside popular services and the launch of a budget version of its Echo pen. Livescribe Connect will allow notebook pages to be exported easily in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format that includes both handwritten pages and the embedded audio recording made by its Echo smartpen, which will now be available in a $100 (£100, €130) 2Gb version. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Anyone buying a 16Gb iPad and finding it full to the brim with videos and music in no time at all may experience a little buyers’ remorse at not going for a bigger capacity. There is no means of expanding the iPad’s internal Flash memory once bought, but a groundbreaking wireless hard drive from Seagate launched today provides one effective way of getting round storage limitations not just on the iPad but on any Wi-Fi enabled device. Read more

Chris Nuttall

To be chumby8-ed is to be transfixed by a constantly changing 8-in screen informing you of all the weird and wonderful happenings on the web. In addition, the new Chumby8 is part digital photo frame, part internet radio and alarm clock. Read more

Chris Nuttall

My geeky New Year resolutions for 2011 are the same as 2010 – back up my stuff, digitise content, clean out my computer and centralise my media.

At least this year, I have a few more tools to review and help me finally achieve this – namely a Drobo S, a Western Digital My Book Live external drive, an Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card, iolo’s System Mechanic 10 software and the MiCorder. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Like Santa, I’ve been making a list, and checking it twice, of gadgets of the year, both naughty and nice. My hot and not lists for 2010 were the subject of this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. Links to previous fuller reviews are in this online version. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Google is giving us a glimpse of the future with its Nexus S phone, the first to run Android version 2.3, and its CR-48 notebook, a prototype for its Chrome computing system.

Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters wrote early reviews of the products before I had an opportunity to play with them for this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. For me, the CR-48 represented the biggest change in my computing habits since I moved from the keyboard commands of MS-DOS to the Windows operating system nearly 20 years ago. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The acid test for gadget success comes not from reviewers, but from shoppers in stores and during this busiest time of the year in the West.

This week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section has some gadget gift-buying suggestions, with the online version after the jump linking to previous reviews of products. For convenience, a list here too of products reviewed in detail: Read more

Chris Nuttall

Aliph, the San Francisco company that brought style and better sound quality to Bluetooth headsets with its Jawbone series, has reinvented the boombox with the launch of its second major product.

The Jambox is a small, wireless speaker, with a minimalist design and speakerphone functionality added with a built-in microphone. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Qualcomm’s bold experiment of building a mobile TV network in the US from the ground up can officially be called a failure with the suspension of sales of its FLO TV Personal TV standalone device.

The San Diego-based chipmaker said on Tuesday it expected to maintain the network till next spring for existing subscribers and there would be refunds in the event of its closure. Some layoffs are also anticipated in the near future. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The debutantes of the tech start-up world emerged to make their pitches in September at Demo Fall 2010 in Silicon Valley and TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

After looking in earlier posts at Bump.com and other startups presenting, this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section takes a view on some of the gadgets that could be heading your way from these shows and their chances of success. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

There are two ways one could think about Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab.

One would be to look at its slick casing, its compact 7-inch form, the latest Android software and extensive 3G support from European mobile operators, and say: here is a device which proves the iPad isn’t the only show in town.

The other would be to look at its slick casing, its compact 7-inch form, the latest Android software and extensive 3G support from European mobile operators, and say: isn’t this just an oversized smartphone? Read more

David Gelles

Amazon has just updated the Kindle, giving the world’s most popular e-reader a much-needed facelift just in time for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

The new device is sleeker, stronger and faster than the previous Kindle. Its body is 21 per cent smaller and 15 per cent lighter at 8.7 ounces. It has double the battery life at one month, plus double the storage capacity — enough for 3,500 books.

At $139 for a wifi only version and $189 for 3G, the new Kindle puts e-readers firmly within reach of mainstream consumers. For those looking for a cheap way in to digital reading, the Kindle is a compelling package. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Livescribe, the company whose pen combines paper note-taking with digital recordings, is launching its next-generation product and new ways of sharing pages and audio.

The Echo pen has a number of improvements from looks, to capacity and new standard interfaces that open up fresh uses for a signature product among digital pens. Read more

Paul Taylor

The evolution of digital photo frames has followed a familiar pattern in the consumer technology industry.

First generation devices had a fixed amount of internal memory and had to be updated by plugging them into a PC, second generation devices supported expandable memory and were updated using plug-in flash memory cards and the latest generation can be updated wirelessly – using Bluetooth, WiFi or a cellular connection. Read more

Paul Taylor

Those innocuous-looking  ‘wall warts’ that plug into the mains to recharge the batteries in most portable electronic devices including mobile phones, laptops and digital music players have a dark side.

If you leave them plugged in after removing the portable device they continue to consume a small amount of power or ‘vampire energy.’ While the amount of energy wasted by a single wall charger is fairly insignificant, it quickly adds up if everyone does it. Read more

Paul Taylor

The Friday Personal Tech column in the FT’s Business Life section this week looks at portable scanners:

“Anyone in need of a digital version of paper documents knows how useful a scanner can be – but few people would ever describe one as cute or sexy. Until now, perhaps. Read more

Paul Taylor

Panasonic's C1 convertible tablet

Despite the best efforts of Microsoft and its hardware partners over the past decade, pen-operated tablet PCs – particularly slate-style devices – never really took off outside niche verticals like health and insurance.

Even convertible tablets – laptops with touch screens that fold down on top of the keyboard to turn the devices into a slate-style PCs – never really made much headway though I personally used a convertible X- Series ThinkPad for several years. Read more