Will there be iPhone frenzy on July 11? We know that there will be plenty of phones to go around, but still my friends and I are already planning to line up at the Apple Store in the wee hours of July 11th to get first dibs. Why do we care this much about a mobile phone upgrade?
The new iPhone 3G has a lot going for it—simply stated, the pricing strategy alone is a win-win (we'll pay less upfront and about $40 more in the long-term). But, it's not about the price or the 3G tech, or the new plastics involved.
Far more significant than the hardware upgrades, all iPhones will be able to connect to the App Store, an online service from Apple that will allow us to easily install third-party software that utilizes all of the iPhone's capabilities. This newfound ability to run virtually any application will soon let the little, mobile Apple computer in our pockets do things for us that the machines on our desks could only dream of.
But what will all these life-changing applications cost us? Will the $200 I save on my iPhone 3G just eventually get gobbled up by the App Store instead? Will the average iPhone customer even want to pay for these apps? And, how in the world will companies focused on the Apps, like newly launched Instinctiv.com actually monetize the software?
Enter Eric Litman, founder and CEO of Medialets, a New York-based advertising delivery platform whose work I hope will end up saving me a lot of my hard-earned cash. His company encourages developers who might otherwise charge up-front licensing fees to instead give their wares away for free. The costs of development would be supported by showing innovative, dynamic advertisements displayed inside the apps with Medialets technology.
More news for the June bride--June 2011, that is. Get married in space. Well, some 62 miles up there, to be precise, on the Rocketplane XP suborbital spaceplane.
The one-hour flight-plus-ceremony will cost $2.2 million, but it's actually a bargain because the price includes the wedding dress. The price also includes a telecast for guests, but it appears that reception food and drink is still on you.
I'm a huge fan of the Flip Ultra video camera (sold at the Henri Bendel Popgadget Pop-up Shop last Christmas) because it's the only video camera that I could trust my father to use. You literally need to push just one button to operate it. The quality isn't anywhere near high-def, but for web use, and simple home video, it's definitely good enough.
The newest addition to the Flip family, the Flip Mino, adds some great new features, and actually loses some bulk from what is already a very compact camera. The Mino weighs just a hair over 3 oz, while the older models are just about 5 oz. Not a huge difference, but significant when you"ve already got a bag full of gadgets. It's a little shorter and narrower, and actually much thinner, just over half an inch thick.
Other cool new features:
-A higher resolution transreflective screen which makes the screen visible even in bright sunlight.
-Lithium-ion rechargeable battery which lasts for about 4 hours. The older models use standard batteries which last for about 2 hours.
-There are new touch-sensitive buttons and faster start-up time (4 seconds).
-The built-in mic is omni-directional for better sound quality.
The Mino, like all Flip models has the pull-out USB connector for easy uploading of video. You can upload directly to YouTube or MySpace.
While the Flip cameras, including the Mino, don't take true still images, you can use the Flip software to take screenshots of video frames.
The Flip Mino is available in black and white, and is available now for $179.
As evidenced by the ever-popular Hello Kitty vibrator, and Gloomy Bear, cute Japanese toys are not always as sexless or as gormless as they may appear at first glance. Tomy's "Healing Partner" doll may not be that cute, and isn't covered in bloody wounds, but it follows the Japanese tradition of something which looks benign being a little menacing. The Healing Partner doll shadow sleeps with you- so using six sensors it goes to sleep when you do, and stays awake ungodly hours when you do. And then it lets you know what it thinks about your joint sleeping pattern by singing sweetly when it's well-rested, or hurling abuse when you've been out all night, leaving it alone and shaking with fury, filled with robo-psychotic thoughts.
Since Healing Partner already looks like it's suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a few tours of duty at war, you probably need to kick it out of bed before going on a sleepless weekend bender.
Healing Partner is available in Japan only, but can be purchased from Audiocubes for $180.
You know those shopping sites where you have the option to view clothing you're thinking of buying "on a model?" Of course, everything looks great on the model, but for all you know, she's six feet tall and weighs 90 pounds. Some online shopping sites have a virtual model feature where you pick a model based on body type (for instance, you might be given a choice of triangle, upside triangle, or hour glass - but what if you're more of a rectangle?), height, skin tone, hairstyle, etc. I've never found this kind of feature to be useful because the model never looks anything like me.
In Japan, Avielan Company has developed software for a virtual fitting room called Awaseba that lets you create an online model of the real you rather than a cartoonish avatar. The software application is sold to online merchants who provide the service for free to their customers. To use it, you simply upload a photograph of yourself in the designated pose (face forward, standing straight up, arms at your sides not too close to your body).
I have a box that moves with me to every apartment never getting smaller, it holds all my old print photos and a few albums. I get very romantic over this box, because so much of my past is tucked away inside. But, I find myself increasingly worried about losing even a single item or damaging a precious photograph. I also find myself taking photos of my photos to share with friends (as you can see here).
Hammacher Schlemmer’s Photograph To Digital Picture Converter efficiently converts photographs into digital images faster than a conventional scanner. I'm giving it the mom-safe seal, meaning that if my mom can use it so can anyone!
Photographs are placed into a tray that slides into the converter, you just press the button and the image is recorded. The entire image is captured with a 5MP CMOS sensor (just like in your own camera).
This device currently works soley with PCs, so I’m out of luck, but I like the concept and the functionality, so I’m keeping my eyes open for a similar Mac-friendly device.
Price: $149.95 at Hammacherschlemmer.com
There aren't many things that annoy me about writing about technology for a living. Having permission to ring the founder of Postsecret and ask him about his vision for the site? Not horrendous. Being offered new gadgets to trial before they are even on sale? I can deal with it. Writing about a fun topic I enjoy learning more about as time goes by? Two words spring to mind: cushy gig.
But one thing is hard to cope with, and that's being patronised on a regular basis.
When you say you're a woman who writes about technology, you still receive looks of astonishment or disapproval, even in 2008. When you put out a call for technology press releases of interest to women, you'll still be inundated with cellulite zappers and baby monitors (what, women don't like games consoles, laptops and cellphones?) even in 2008.
Things are getting better, and one of the reasons I love Popgadget is that it's woman-friendly - which doesn't mean it features pictures of half-naked women straddling new technology while giving seductive looks to the camera. Unlike some places I could mention (but won't).
The number of tech-savvy women does thankfully seem to be growing, online at least, so here's my shout-out to some of my favorites:
For anyone who grew up in the 80s or early 90s, mix tapes were an essential part of pop culture. Whole evenings were devoted to the practice of creating the perfect mix tape (and learning to apply liquid eyeliner) and we would make them for parties, for our walkmans and for our friends. What's more, if a potential love-interest surprised you with a mix tape, it was as close to a confession of undying love as a teenage boy was capable of. (Unfortunately, the only teenage boys who were that romantic existed in Hollywood screenwriters' heads. But never mind.)
Mix tapes were soon superseded by burning CDs and making iPod playlists, but neither has the same amount of romance and nostalgia. Which is why I was delighted to hear about a new application called Muxtape, which lets you create your very own mix tape, online.
You sign up for free and then upload up to 12 songs from your hard drive to create your perfect (virtual) tape. The upload process takes a little while, and the site only works with MP3s at the moment but it's much easier than the days of painstakingly rewinding and recording, and hopefully it will accept WMA files soon.
LifeAt.com is a funny but interesting online social networking concept. Rather than trying to connect you with people in distant places, people you would never expect to run into in real life, this site connects you with people who you might see in the elevator in your apartment building or bump into in the parking garage on your way home - people who are already around you but with whom you may not have any immediate natural occasion to connect. This New York-based business attempts to make your neighborhood (your apartment building, that is) feel . . . neighborly. It's a "modern twist on the community bulletin board, the self-proclaimed neighborhood gossip, the welcome wagon, and the earmarked local business guide."
"CARRY WITH FUNS" (Look for this one as a giveaway in this week's Popgadget Drop email. Not a subscriber yet? Takes only a second to sign up here.)
You can't help but smile when you see an E.Square Bag - the bright colors, the cheeky designs - but hiding under all that fun is a meticulously crafted, functional bag. I've been carrying my MacBook around in it for a week, and it's comfortable (has a padded shoulder strap which I've come to learn is essential for a 13 lb.laptop). It sports padded pockets for all your electronics, plus essential outside pocket for easy access to travel docs.
Kristina Kim, who founded the company with her husband says they "put fun prints on the bags in order to add splashes of colors" into our lives. "We know the designs are very bold and in very eye-catching colors, no one would ever think to have YELLOW on a laptop bag, but we did it and together with some other bold colors and big retro flower prints. AND hey! It's working and actually is very very well received in the market. So, we know tech cases (are) missing some colors, we will continue to put fun prints and bold colors on the bags."