Fall Gadget Preview and Schmoozfest
It’s almost Christmas—if you work in the consumer electronics trade. Yesterday, September 19, I actually attended an event called “Holiday Extravaganza” where vendors showed off some new wares for the season. There wasn’t a whole lot of brand-new stuff, and most of it had already been announced in press releases, but this was a first chance to touch and play.
The following photos are all courtesy of one of the best toys there—Canon’s new EOS 40D digital SLR, which Canon loaned me a few days ago. (More on that one later.)
Motorola was showing its new Moto Q music 9m. this new version of the-love-it-or-hate-it smartphone has a new Jekyll-and-Hyde interface. As a studious Dr. Jekyll phone, it has the regular Windows Mobile interface, and now also Documents to Go software that lets you not just read but also edit Microsoft Office documents. Hold down a button on the new, firmer keyboard, and it switches to the rockin’ Mr. Hyde music interface (shown here). $300, Verizon only, available now.
GE showed a different kind of phone – a cordless home model with long-range DECT wireless technology and an RSS reader. The base station plugs into a home router and pings the Net for news feeds that appear on the InfoLink phone’s kinda-tiny screen. Still, it fits three or four headlines, and the text-only stories are not too hard to read. Why would you want it? GE thinks that people will like to get quick bits of news—like weather reports or sports scores—without having to fire up the PC. The phone comes pre-configured with basic RSS feeds from sources including MSNBC, NOAA weather and the Department of Homeland Security. Keep your duct-tape in one hand and your GE phone in the other! You can also log into the phone from a computer to custom-configure your own feeds. $180, available in November.
GE also hawked another new technology – Kleer. Having seen the tortuous, decade long struggle to get Bluetooth into devices, GE decided it wants some of that suffering too and is including Kleer’s wireless headphone tech in its new Jet Stream MP3 player. Kleer does claim some benefits over Bluetooth. A higher data rate lets it stream uncompressed music (that is, uncompressed streams of the compressed MP3 music on the device). It did sound pretty good to me, but I couldn’t say for sure that it’s better than Bluetooth. Maybe a bigger benefit is the power savings. Kleer isn’t as hungry as Bluetooth, so the headphones don’t have to engorge a giant battery. These little guys run for ten hours, they claim. $139, available in October
And then there’s the lovely Canon 40D. Fans of the 30D won’t see much of a difference. But it is faster (shooting 6.5 frames per second), has inconsequentially higher resolution (10 megapixels, up from 8), the on-screen menu is easier too navigate, and it includes an ultrasonic shaker to knock dust away from the image sensor.
Autofocus felt very fast to me, too, though Canon says it’s not substantially swifter than the 30D. Maybe it’s good that the camera hasn’t changed much, since the 30D was already fabulous. After the show, I went to trivia night at a bar in my neighborhood. It was dark in here, the perfect setting for a Cannon SLR with its great low-light/high IOS performance. Most of these photos are as bright or brighter than what my own eyes could see. Check out the pictures after the jump and see for yourself.—Sean Captain