Hot Products Ready For The 2009 Holiday Season5:37 PM EST Fri. Sep. 18, 2009
Home media players are becoming more and more popular, with a list of manufacturers releasing their own versions. Known primarily for storage products, Seagate Technology introduced the next generation of its player, called the FreeAgent Theater+. Designed with a dock for use with the company's FreeAgent Go external drives, the device also has two USB ports for other drives and an Ethernet connector to stream media from other computers on the network.
With support for more file formats than any other device we've seen, the FreeAgent Theater+ improves upon previous versions.
One of the most anticipated phones to be released this year, the HTC Hero is Sprint's first Android-based phone. It is also the first HTC phone in the U.S. to feature HTC Sense, an interface that allows the user to customize "scenes" to display exactly the information they want. The intention is for users to create scenes for each aspect of their life, i.e. work or travel, and have relevant information shown. The company states that Hero was developed to focus on how people use their phone. With lots of advanced features, the HTC Hero is sure to be a hot seller when it goes on sale Oct. 11.
Announced last month, the TL-225 digital camera from Samsung Electronics America has a 12.2-megapixel CCD and a 3.5-inch touch-screen display. What really makes this device (and its sibling, the TL-220) different is the addition of a 1.5-inch touch screen next to the lens on the front.
Perfect for self-portraits, when the smaller screen is tapped, it turns on and by default is set, in self-portrait mode, with Smile Shot. Holding the camera at arm's length, the user can view himself in the screen and the camera will automatically release the shutter when it detects a smile.
Almost all settings and controls are configured via menus on the rear LCD, which also offers haptic vibration feedback. A more in-depth look can be found in the CRN Test Center's review.
The D-Link DIR-685 was first announced at CES in January, but took until this summer to finally see the light of day. Billed as an "All-In-One Router/Storage/Photo Frame," the DIR-685 mixes the features of an SMB Wi-Fi router with the convenience of a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, and adds the personal touch of a photo frame. This is truly the definition of convergence.
With support for 802.11n, the DIR-685 also has a slot that holds a 2.5-inch hard drive for network storage, as well as a 3.2-inch, 1.6-million color LCD screen, which, besides being capable of displaying system information and status of the device, also functions as an Internet digital picture frame. The photo frame feature can display pictures that are stored on the internal hard drive as well as from Internet photo-sharing sites such as FrameChannel, Flickr, Picasa and Facebook.
Other features include an FTP server, bit torrent client, iTunes server and streaming media server.
One of the most popular external drives being sold, Western Digital's My Passport Essential, has been available in a variety of colors and capacities. The company has now released a new version of the model, which is smaller than previous versions and now includes WD's SmartWare software and hardware-based encryption.
The new drives come in various colors and have capacities as high as 1 TB.
Like the HTC Hero, Motorola's Cliq, is an Android-based phone that uses a customized interface to enhance the user's experience. This time the interface is called MotoBlur, and was designed specifically for communication applications. With a focus on cloud-based technologies and social networking, the Cliq is sure to be a hit with those who need to be constantly in contact.
With the recent attention to the dangers of texting /e-mailing while driving, DriveSafe.ly is a free mobile application that reads text messages and e-mails aloud and automatically responds without the driver touching the mobile phone. Using advanced text-to-speech technology, the application will read text messages and e-mails through the mobile phone's earpiece or any paired Bluetooth device. It also will send a reply to the originator informing them that you are driving and will respond when it is safe.
The free version delivers 25-word maximum message reads, and may include brief provider/ad-supported sponsor messages at the beginning or end of messages, while a premium version delivers 500-word maximum message reads and eliminates ad-supported messages.
The application is currently available for BlackBerry and Android devices, with Windows Mobile and iPhone versions in beta.
Memory manufacturer Kingston Technology entered the Solid State Drive (SSD) market through a partnership with Intel, selling rebranded versions of its Enterprise and Mainstream devices. With the SSDNow V+, the first made by Kingston itself, the company is stepping out on its own.
Shipping immediately, the SSDNow V+ features capacities up to 256 GB, higher input and output operations per second (IOPS) and faster read/write speeds than a standard mechanical hard-disk drive. According to Kingston, the drive has a sequential read speed of up to 220MBps and write speeds of up to 180MBps.
Powermat features a full range of wireless charging solutions for a range of devices, including iPhone, BlackBerry, MP3 players, cell phones, headsets, hand-held electronic games, digital cameras and GPS units. It frees the user up from a tangled mess of cords or from looking for the right adapter. The user can simply place an enabled device on the Powermat to charge.
The Vue Personal Video System is a multicamera system that combines realtime remote video viewing and the Internet. What really makes it stand out, though, is its ease of setup. Consisting of a router-type gateway, the extremely small cameras attach to their mounts via a small, but powerful magnet. The mounts can be attached to surfaces with either double-sided tape or a small screw.
The miniature cameras stream realtime video directly to the Internet, viewable on all major browsers. An innovative ultra-low, power-patented technology called FrameMesh allows the cameras to operate for up to a year without changing the battery. After setting up an account, users can share the streams with family and friends and upload and share video -- or still images -- to popular social networking sites like YouTube and Flickr.
Up to 50 cameras can be associated to one gateway, and are easily added with the push of a button. In the future, repeaters will be available to extend the 300-foot range between the cameras and the gateway.