Posts Tagged Gadgets

Keeping Grandma/pa Busy with Gadgets

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Why your Christmas gadgets aren’t getting cheaper this year

Most of us eagerly wait for the festive seasons as it is accompanied by huge discounts over almost every consumer goods starting from clothes, watches, gadgets, computing devices, jewelries and many other such items. This trend of decline in the price of the consumer goods especially electronic goods has been recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the year 1998 i.e. the time from which the electronic goods began to be marketed at an affordable price that was acceptable to the consumers.

The Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics in United States has closely studied this downward trend in the prices of the electronic goods and has come to the conclusion that from the year 1998 till 2005 the decline in the prices of the electronic goods amounted to as much as 85% of the initial price of these goods. However, after 2005 a noticeable change is visible in the percentage of decline. From 85% the price decline figure reduced to only 65% in a matter of just a year. Moreover, in the recent time the percentage of price decline has weakened further and presently it is merely 6% of the earlier price.

The drastic fall from 85% to about 6% within a time span of less than two decades has led the economist and market analyst to wander the probable reason behind such a trend and they have come up with the following conclusions.

Economies of scale

Firstly, analysts are of the opinion that the economies of scale theory was primarily responsible for the declining price of the electrical goods since 1997. According to this theory the price of the goods are bound to fall as the production of the number of units of the same good increases. This decrease in the price of good per unit is primarily triggered by increase in demand.

When the demand for goods increase, the amount of goods manufactured also increases and mass production leads to the reduction of the price of the product. This is exactly what contributed to the decreasing prices of the electronic gadgets like mobile phone, laptops and all the high tech devices.

Wifi enabled phones, Bluetooth enabled phones, iPods, pen drives and other device that were considered unaffordable at one point of time were commercialized. Once the common people began to understand their value and dynamic utility, the demand of the goods increased leading to decrease in the prices of the products.

Explanation behind current stagnancy

So the question that is certainly going to crop up in our mind is: What are the factors that have contributed to the stagnancy in the prices of the electronic goods? The analysts are of the opinion that, in the recent time stagnancy is noticeable in the prices of the electronic goods because the manufacturers of these brands have reached the bottom line as far as their profit margin is concerned. The prices at which they are selling the electronic products right now are giving them the minimum profit. Therefore, there is no scope for further reduction in the prices.

These are the two important factors that have been pointed out by which have contributed to the stagnancy of the prices of the electronic goods this Christmas.

If you have planned to invest in a gadget, then do it right away because this is the best price at which the electronic goods are being offered to the consumers.

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Google unveils the new Samsung Chromebook at $249

ChromeBooksSamsung on Thursday a new budget Chromebook laptop known as  “the computer for everyone.” The 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook, priced at $249 and is available for preorder now from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers. It runs on Chrome OS and is very slim, measuring only 0.8 inches thick and weighing 2.5 pounds.

The device packs a Samsung-made ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage. The screen resolution is 1,366 x 768, and the computer supports 1080p video playback as well as Bluetooth 3.0. It also comes with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, is rated at hours of battery life and includes 100GB of free cloud storage on Google Drive.

The machine is less powerful than the Chromebooks Google unveiled earlier this year.

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The Limitations of the iPad Mini

The mixed feelings about the iPhone 5 has already brought Apple into an unlikely foray of uncertainly with just how much further the company can really go with their gadgets. Between the failed Apple Maps, which actually got bad enough for CEO Tim Cook to issue an apology about the poor performance of the program and the few differentiations from the former products, sales were high but popularity was questionable.

But everyone is beginning to move on to the next big Apple thing, which is the iPad Mini. This seven-inch tablet has been a focal point of gadget discussion for quite some time now, and some reports this weeks are causing a Mini-outrage concerning its connectivity. According to several reports, including one in in Cult of Mac, the iPad Mini is going to only have a WiFi connection.

This move is a big retrograde from iPads of the past, which did include 3G and 4G technologies. For all of the hype that is surrounding the iPad Mini, there doesn’t seem to be much of an advantage of acquiring one expect for the enhanced ease of carrying it around.

With its price expected to fall between the $200-250 range, it would seem that Apple is really just going for an “easy” iPad – one that is scaled back for those who don’t ask for much out of it in the first place. Prospective customers of the iPad Mini shouldn’t really be expecting much. Apart from its limited connectivity, the display is reported to be non-retina.

With all things considered, this writer does not really understand all of the attention being wasted on the iPad Mini. If enhanced ease in mobility is expected to be one of the main selling points, then that is not going to get very far when the connectivity is lacking. Sure, take the iPad Mini anywhere that you want, and use it anyway that you want…as long as there is internet connectivity around. In this day and age, a tablet is pretty much obsolete and maybe good for just gaming if there is no internet access.

Based on what has been learned about the iPad Mini, it serves as the equivalent of the iPod Shuffle. It roughly does the same functions, but with limited access and ease. Apple probably doesn’t have anything to worry about, since all of the attention has pretty much secured locked down sales already. The main market will surely be those who are interested in experiencing the basic interface of the iPad without having to spend the $400-500 to have it.

The probable high sales of the iPad Mini will serve as just another example of Apple’s master branding efforts. With the $200 price range, the Mini will be going against big guns like Google and Amazon and their more convenient tablets, but with Apple being Apple, the sights will be set on the Mini. If people are okay with primarily using it in a situated location with limited mobility, then the complaints should be at a minimum.

Kevin Abrahms is a tech writer and a frequent follower of Apple’s product efforts, as well as entertainment offers like Directv packages. If you have any thoughts on the iPad Mini, let us know below.

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The Top 10 Skiing Gadgets

Skiing is a lot of fun, but it has some downsides such as the cold and the potential danger. Luckily, there are a lot of inventive minds working on these problems and they have come up with some pretty interesting gadgets. These are the top 10 gadgets that are either fun, useful, or some combination of the two.


1. REI Ski Carrier


Skis are big and awkward and once the poles are added in it’s often something like a dance trying to get everything to and from the slopes. The REI ski carrier is a very bland looking piece of strapping, but it holds all of your equipment snugly and allows you to even have a hand free. At only $12.50, it is an absolute must for all skiers.


2. Pro-Tec Audio Force Helmet


Wearing a helmet on the slopes might seem like a bit of a drastic measure but it’s probably not a bad idea. It’s definitely a better idea than trying to wear headphones, which this helmet can substitute for. It has speakers within the ear pads and is compatible with most types of audio players.


3. Get A Grip Clip-on Grips


Ski boots are great for skiing but not so great for walking. Ski boots don’t have much of a texture to the sole, which makes walking on slippery, icy roads and pathways interesting to say the least. These clip-on grips for ski boots provide some very useful extra traction.


4. Thermic Smartpac


Heated insoles for your ski boots. These are words that many people have prayed they would someday hear and now they are a reality. They even have levels so that you can determine how toasty you want your toes to be. The lithium-ion battery pack clips to your boot and can be quickly recharged in just an hour or two.


5. Ski Mojo


The British-made Ski Mojo system is either a funny joke or a useful product but people disagree on which. Either way, it is an innovative idea. The system looks like two medical knee braces, complete with the fancy hinge. Supposedly, it takes up to 30 percent of the strain off your knees, allowing you to ski longer.


6. Venture Trizone Heated Fleece Jacket


The name of the product pretty much says it all. If you love skiing but can’t stand the cold, pair up this heated jacket with some heated boot insoles and stay toasty warm on the slopes. The front and back of the jacket can be heated separately for maximum comfort.


7. Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Pro Ski Mask


This one sounds ridiculous but is probably actually useful. That bite of icy cold air into your lungs could be a distant memory if you use this handy gadget to heat your breath a bit before it hits your insides. It’s surprisingly affordable at a little under $40.


8. Zeal GPS Goggles


For those skiers who must have the latest and greatest gear, this is just the thing. It’s a pair of goggles that has a GPS system built in. Users view an LCD screen mounted inside the goggles while the system tracks where you are, where you’ve been and what speeds you’ve reached.


9. The Avalanche Airbag Safety


This one is either over the top or absolutely necessary. It is an inflatable airbag that creates more space and provides lift if you are trapped in an avalanche. The extra space gives you more breathing time and the lift supposedly pulls you towards the surface to make you easier to find.


10. Digital Avalanche Transceiver


This seems like a more practical device, if only because it is smaller. Avalanche transceivers let rescue crews locate you if you are trapped in an avalanche, but they don’t come cheap. Expect to spend at least $200 for a baseline model.


Visit the MadDogSki website to find out all of the latest skiing and snowboarding information.

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A lowdown on hottest new gadgets & gizmos

Alienware X51

Gamers looking for a beast of a machine need not look further than the Alienware X51 desktop. Its power-innards are housed in a slim and compact profile letting you place it vertically or horizontally, depending on your space constraints.

Besides, you also get the Alienware Command Center, which features software to let you customize performance settings for each game, set lighting themes, and manage power consumption.

Of course, most of the components can be upgraded for a price.


3.3GHz Intel Core i3 dual-core processor
1TB hard disk drive
1GB GDDR5 Nvidia GeForce GT545
Slot-loading DVD writer
LAN, Wi-Fi connectivity
7.1 high-def audio output
Alienware keyboard and mouse
No monitor included
Windows 7 Home Premium

Price: Rs 48,900





HTC Desire C

This latest offering from HTC boasts of Beats Audio technology, which promises “rich, clear audio whether you’re listening to music or playing a game” at a mid-level pricing.

And to further differentiate itself from the pack, the Desire C is housed in a durable metal frame, and comes with deep integration of Dropbox (along with 25GB of free online space) to securely back up your documents, videos, music or photos to the cloud.


3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen (480×320 pixels resolution)
600MHz processor
512MB RAM, 4GB internal memory, microSD slot up to 32GB
3G, Wi-Fi , Bluetooth, GPS
5-megapixel camera with autofocus and VGA video recording
1230mAh battery
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Optimus UI 3.0

Mercury mTab Rio

It’s rare to see a goodquality screen on a low-cost tablet, but Mercury is looking to fix that with its mTab Rio, which features an IPS panel. The main advantage of an IPS panel is that it offers consistent and accurate colour from all viewing angles when compared to traditional LCD screens which display ‘partial true colours’. The slate also rocks a dual-core processor, and claims to be ideal for reading e-books, watching movies, playing games and working on your documents.


9.7-inch IPS capacitive touchscreen (1024×768 pixels)
1.2GHz dual-core processor
1GB RAM, 4GB internal memory, expandable microSD slot up to 32GB
Wi-Fi, USB, HDMI ports
2-MP rear camera, VGA front camera
8000 mAh battery with up to 10 hours back-up
480 gms
Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Price: Rs 11,999


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Google ramps up competition in hot tablet market

WASHINGTON: The Google Nexus 7 heightens competition in the red-hot market for tablet computers, which is dominated by the Apple iPad but has a number of other players.

An ABI Research survey showed overall global sales of media tablets amounted to 18.2 million in the first three months of the year, up 185 percent from a year earlier, but down 33 percent from the fourth quarter gift-giving season.

Here are some of the major entries in the tablet industry, with prices for US consumers:


Apple held 65 percent of the market in the first quarter with 11.8 million iPad shipments, boosted by the launch of a third-generation model and price reductions on the iPad 2, according to ABI.

The newest version launched in March sold three million over the course of its first weekend on the market. It features a screen of 9.7 inches (24.6 centimeters) and still and video cameras.

The new iPad sells for $499 and up depending on memory size and whether a buyer chooses Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity. The iPad is also backed by Apple’s online entertainment store iTunes and more than 500,000 free and paid applications in the App Store.


The newest entrant to the field, Nexus 7 is smaller than the iPad at seven inches, and much cheaper at $199. It roughly matches the price and dimensions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Nexus weighs 340 grams (12 ounces), runs the latest version of the Google Android operating system, and links to Google Play, the tech giant’s answer to iTunes and Amazon for books, films and other content. It is to be available starting in mid-July.


Microsoft said this month it would launch a new Windows-powered tablet with a cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad that switches into “desktop” mode. Pricing was not announced, but some reports say it could be more expensive than the iPad, starting at $599.

It boasts a 10.6-inch (26.9 centimeter) high-definition screen and will be available with 32 or 64 gigabytes of memory. A model powered by Windows 8 Pro weighs 903 grams (two pounds) and will be available with 64 or 128 gigabytes of memory.

Surface appears to straddle the tablet and the “ultrabook” PC market, and will have access to some 100,000 apps for Windows users.


Samsung has overtaken Amazon as the number two tablet seller, and up to now the largest maker of Android-powered devices. The South Korean firm shipped 1.1 million tablets, or six percent of the global market, overtaking Amazon, which saw an 80 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in sales of the Kindle Fire, according to ABI. The 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab sells for $400, but this week a judge ordered sales halted, saying it infringes on patented designs of the iPad. Samsung also sells a smaller tablet at $249, similar in size to Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.


The Kindle Fire introduced last year grabbed a significant chunk of the market, helped by its $199 price tag at the start of the holiday season. Amazon does not release Kindle sales figures, but research firms say the Fire has lost steam since its launch. IDC reported Kindle Fire had just four percent of the market in early 2012, compared with 16.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Kindle Fire features a seven-inch (17.78-cm) screen and has a modified version of Google’s Android software. It does not have a camera or 3G connectivity, only Wi-Fi. It comes with a pre-installed shopping application as Amazon seeks to drive Kindle Fire buyers to its online store, which features books, music, movies, TV shows and games.


The BlackBerry PlayBook from Canada’s Research In Motion made its debut last year to desultory reviews and sales have been sluggish. Priced initially between $499 and $699, RIM has been cutting the price since then in a bid to spur demand.

The Nook tablet from bookseller Barnes & Noble at $249 offers an alternative to Kindle Fire, serving as an e-reader with access to the store’s e-books and other content, and a modified Android system for Web access.

PC makers including Lenovo and Asus have also been selling tablets. Other vendors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and LG are currently retooling tablet portfolios for mid-year launches, using Android or the Windows 8 platform.

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