Gadget Show Live – Tickets still available!

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I was fortunate to be invited to the Gadget Show Preview / Professional Trade Show event yesterday, and it’s nice to see The Gadget Show Live even bigger and better than last year. Whilst last year everything was iPhone / iPad related, this year it was nice to see a wider range of devices supported by the various accessories manufacturers at the show, with Kindle and Samsung Galaxy Tablets also getting a look in.

Even better; if you haven’t already bought a ticket, I understand from the organisers that a limited number of tickets are still available for today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday), although the rest of the week is now fully booked, so don’t travel unless you already have tickets.

Along with the main Gadget Show Live Super Theatre (featuring a massive 360 degrees viewing screen), there are a number of smaller seminar type presentation areas, and a few stands are running their own presentations too. In terms of exhibitors, there are the big guys (LG, Samsung, Sony, Canon, Kenwood, Philips and Pioneer), the larger retailers (PC World, Scan), and even a couple of mobile networks (Orange and O2), both of whom are running Show special deals during the event. As always, there are smaller companies (such as OrbitSound and Bicygnals) who are often worth a look at their slightly more specialised items.

There’s lot of food facilities (though a little expensive), including Subway and Starbucks, and even a chance to try the new Volkswagen Up! car in the driving experience; equally, for gamers, there are plenty of XBox consoles to try out, and a fair few Kinect installations on various stands. If you have children, look out for LeapFrog for younger ones, or something more fun such as the Parrot AR.drone for the older children.

Although The Gadget Show have announced that as from the new series (soon to start) only Jason and Polly will be presenting, all 5 of the “current” presenters will be appearing at the Gadget Show Live this year. For details of the shows and a full exhibitor list, head off to the Gadget Show Live website for more details.

If you want to attend, head over to the Gadget Show Live website and buy your tickets in advance of travelling (if any are left!); also don’t forget NEC charge £8 per car for parking.


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Three abolish out of bundle data charges

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Three have announced a refresh of their price plans as from tomorrow. Although The One Plan remains, all other plans seem to have been modified. However, the big news is that Three have abolished all out of bundle data charges, although this looks to be at the expense of newer lower limits.

The plans come in two flavours, Essential and Ultimate; all plans come with data, although the Essential plans only have 250Mb included for free. Should you run out of data (and you’ll get a text to tell you this), we assume your data will get cut off, instead of automatically incurring fees, but you can then add either another 250Mb (for £2) or add All You Can Eat data for £5, with both of these options lasting up to 30 days, and without any commitment to pay again in the next month.  This idea of allowing more data on an occasional basis seems a good move to me, although I would personally have preferred to see a slightly higher data bundle.

However, all the Ultimate plans have All You Can Eat data, so no worries there over your data usage. Again, I assume that The One Plan remains the only new plan available where you can tether (connect your PC to your handset and access data).

The plans are (with example handset prices; some handsets will cost a higher monthly charge, and all plans are for 24 months):

Essential Ultimate The One Plan
100 300 500 100 300 500 1000
Data 250MB All-you-can-eat data
Minutes 100 300 500 100 300 500 1000 2000 + 5000 Three-Three minutes
Texts 5000
Samsung Galaxy Ace

£15

Samsung Galaxy SII

£27

iPhone 4S 16GB

£36

HTC Wildfire S

£20

Samsung Galaxy Ace

£18

Samsung Galaxy SII

£30

Sony Ericsson

Arc S

£25

iPhone 4S 16GB

£36 (£49 upfront)

Samsung Galaxy SII

£34

Nokia Lumia 800

£30

iPhone 4S 16GB

£36 (£69 upfront)

Samsung Galaxy SII

£36

iPhone 4 8GB

£36


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Nikon 1 system and why it’s important

Monday, October 10th, 2011

A few weeks ago, Nikon announced their new 1 System, a compact digital camera system with interchangeable lenses. The new Nikon 1 has two models (at the moment), the J1 and the V1, with the V1 adding an electronic viewfinder (EVF) as well as both having 3″ LCD screens. Nikon have announced the new 1 mount, which means an all new range of lenses to go with these new cameras (although Nikon plan to release an adaptor to allow existing lenses to be used in the future).

Today, there are 4 lenses available:

  • 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6
  • 1 NIKKOR 10mm f/2.8
  • NIKKOR VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM

Nikon are claiming this new system is the smallest and lightest range of cameras.  In my opinion they are not perfect (it seems the V1 which has the EVF doesn’t have a built in flash), and at £799 for the Nikon 1 V1 with the 10-30mm lens, it’s pushing DSLR territory.  However, for me, this is important; the Olympus PEN range (and the new Olympus E-P3 is well worth looking into as well) along with the other Micro Four-Thirds devices haven’t been popular with the semi-pro camera users, but with this move by Nikon, I think these smaller cameras with interchangeable lenses will now get more attention. Even more interesting will be when Canon show their hand and compete in this marketplace (given Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and now Nikon are in this segment, Canon can’t be long away from joining in); combining a compact system with interchangeable lenses along with Canon’s own CMOS sensors and they could easily lead this market segment in the same way they lead the DSLR marketplace.


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Gadget Show Live happening soon; a few tickets left

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Gadget Show Live 2011 takes place from 13th April to the 17th April at the NEC this year.  The Gadget Show Live team tell me…

“The Gadget Show Live has quadrupled in size since it began in 2009 and this year expects 100,000 visitors through the door. It features 250 of the world’s leading electronics firms, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, JVC, Nintendo and LG, and features many UK product premieres. New tech includes the latest smart TVs from Sony, Panasonic and LG, which boast not only the usual HD and 3D capabilities, but also a raft of streaming content and online applications.

Visitors can participate in numerous free features, including the new HUB Theatre, an entire hall dedicated to the Game Zone, the Future Technology Project and a larger interactive Test Track. There will also be a one hour long, live theatre version of the TV show in the newly designed Super Theatre (three times a day).

NEW TECH AND GAMES

As well as watching the new smart TVs, visitors can also try out the latest 3D photography and video equipment, such as the new high definition 3D camcorder from JVC (Everio GS-TD1). They can also watch a 3D printer re-creating real objects (on Bits from Bites stand, in Future Tech Project and in The HUB Theatre).

In addition, they can listen to the new Zeppelin Air from Bowers and Wilkins, which has the ability to wirelessly stream music for iPhones, iPads and computers running iTunes. They can also watch through the new augmented reality (AR) video eyewear from Vuzix, which enables 3D video viewing in real time, whilst overlaying the video with home-made 3D content.

A full on tablet war is predicted with all the leading contenders to the crown on show. The best in home computing can also be found with the full HD touch screen VAIO L-Series from Sony and the new multi-touch enabled AKOYA desktops from MEDION. For the house proud, there will be the new compact and lightweight robotic lawnmower from Husqvarna, the new lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner from Dyson – the Digital Slimô – and the next generation of domestic servants from iRobot.

The Game Zone (an entire dedicated hall in association with GAME), will include a major outing for the Nintendo 3DS, a live professional gaming tournament with a £5,000 cash prize from Alienware, plus their new 15 inch gaming notebook. New game launches include the first UK viewing of DiRT3 from Codemasters (released 24 May), the new Duke Nukem game from 2K games, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed plus the European finals of the new Mortal Kombat beat-em-up from Warner Bros.

TECH OF THE FUTURE

The Future Tech Project is an unforgettable chance to experience technology of the future. This area includes 3D printing and robotics from Warwick University, mind controlled computing (www.neurosky.com) and even eye controlled computing, seen for the first time in the UK from Waterloo Labs (part of National Instruments).

There will also be a blurring of the real and virtual world with the latest augmented reality creations from T-Immersion, plus smart textiles and intelligent clothing from CuteCircuit, and wireless kitchen gadgets and food that can heat itself whilst still in its packaging (using the eCoupled countertop from Fulton Innovation).

NEW FREE HUB THEATRE

The new circular theatre offers free access to six daily presentations, led by Stuff TV’s Lucy Hedges and Radio One’s Aled Hayden Jones. They will do the hard work of filtering down the headline news and best tech at the show. Sessions will cover The Future Tech Project, T3’s hottest gadgets, a review of tablets and smart-phones, home gadgets and a music gadget review.

LATEST E-BIKES AND PERSONAL TRANSPORT DEVICES

The first street-legal electric bicycle, the Grace One, will launch at The Gadget Show Live – it’s a carbon neutral e-motorbike which can travel up to 28 mph (UK limit is 15 mph) and requires no driving license or registration, but you must be over 14. A huge range of vehicles, such as Segways and the latest electric bikes from Create, Dumco and Pacific, can be test-driven at the 1,000 square metre Test Track. There will also be a kids transport area with vehicles from Razor and the UK’s top professionals showing off their tricks on the Remote Control Demo Area.

Furthermore, those lucky enough to have a ticket for the Super Theatre will be blown away by a high-energy version of the TV show. Three times daily (each show seating 4,500 people), the presenters will demo the latest tech, whilst the audience participates to win prize – they’ll also see a Jason-cyborg and Suzi Avatar on stage.

…And if all of that isn’t enough, visitors can also find how to make the most of the latest digital cameras in the Photographic Workshop and check out the best in new 3D kit in the new 3D Theatre.”

If you are interested in attending, then there are still some afternoon only (2pm to 6pm) tickets left, which you can purchase at http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/. UK Gadgeteer is hoping to attend and report back on the useful and worthwhile stands to visit.


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Is this going to be a popular phone?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

This is the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, announced last week, is one of their top Android models for 2011.  Featuring Android v2.3, it has a high specification, including:

  • 8 megapixel camera
  • HDMI port, Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm audio port
  • 480 x 854 pixels scratch resistant 4.2″ touchscreen with 16m colours
  • 125 x 63 x 8.7 mm weighing 117 grams

However, one of the key things about the announcement (and the likes of Nokia should take note here); the phone is due to be available within the next two months; not the 8-12 months we often wait for the latest Nokia model; Sony Ericsson have said it will be available in Q1 this year.

Personally, I think this phone will turn out to be a popular model throughout the year.


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3UK release new MiFi bundle

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

3UK MiFi In Car Wi-Fi

3UK have announced an updated bundle for their 3UK MiFi, called the In Car Wi-Fi.  As well as the device itself, and 1GB of data allowance (valid for 30 days), they have included a mains charger (as before), but now a car charger and also a windscreen suction mount, and all for £59.99.  In comparison, normally you would pay £69.99 for just the device, although with 3GB worth of data valid for 3 months.

Suddenly providing Internet access for Sony PSP / Nintendo DS / iPod Touch devices whilst travelling has just got a lot easier, and with the ability to share the internet with multiple devices, this does seem a nice offer; especially with a car charger to keep the device working even on long trips.

This new bundle is not yet available online, but I’m sure it will be soon.


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Sony Dash powered by Chumby…

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Sony Dash

This is the new Sony Dash, their new Personal Application Viewer.  It features a 7″ touchscreen and will have, at launch, access to over 1000 applications “including news, calendars, weather, sports, social networking” and uses a wireless network connection to connect to the Internet.

However, the interesting thing to note within the smallprint of the press release is that it says “The new product offers free access to more than 1,000 apps from chumby industries, inc. as well as the robust audio and video content from Sony’s Bravia™ Internet video platform”.  This is very good news for Chumby, who always envisaged providing a service for other companies, as well as producing their own hardware, which they often portray as “reference hardware”, ie samples of what could be done…

It looks like the Chumby widgets don’t fill up the whole screen (they do fill the whole screen on the Chumby hardware) leaving room around the side for quick launch links, and other features; time, date, weather and music controls to be permanently displayed.

“Within the device, an internal accelerometer supports vertical flip, allowing for two optional viewing angles: upright, ideal for a table or nightstand; and tilted, perfect for a countertop. It also supports multiple user profiles and channels, allowing several members of the household to create and maintain their own customized view of the Internet.

The dash personal Internet viewer also features built-in stereo speakers as well as a USB port for simple connection to a variety of external electronic devices. Additionally, a headphone output jack gives users the option to listen privately through headphones or through external speakers.”

No word on UK availability yet though, but it will retail for $199 in the US.


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New Kindle on its way, but not for the UK

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Amazon Kindle

Rumours are starting to gather pace on the Internet that the Amazon Kindle 3 will soon be launched in the US.  Whether this is in a direct response to the Barnes & Noble Nook, or whether it’s just time for an upgrade we’re not sure, however, we understand that the device will only be available for the domestic US market for time to come, so there’s no reason to not order the International Kindle now.

With sales of over 2 million Kindle devices in the US to date, yet only a rumoured 80,000 eBook readers bought so far in the UK (mainly Sony eReaders), it’s understandable that Amazon want to concentrate on the US market for a new device, where there are many more potential buyers than in the International markets.

Some information on the Kindle 3 courtesy of Kindle Review.


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Amazon Kindle coming to the UK; but it is worth it?

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Amazon Kindle

This is the Amazon Kindle, which is now available for purchase and delivery in the UK.  However, it’s not that simple, and we feel people should be buying this aware of the full situation behind the service offering.

You’ll need a UK Amazon account, and you then need to go to the US Amazon site where you will be able to purchase the device for US$279.  First little point to note; this includes a “Customs Deposit”, which, as Amazon will ship from the US, may incur additional costs when the device comes into the UK, however, this won’t be confirmed until later this month, when the first units ship.

As it will come with an AT&T 3G SIM in the unit, the Kindle will roam onto a 3G / EDGE network where AT&T already have a roaming agreement, which should mean, ironically, that most of the country is covered, and the device will have better coverage than if it was supplied with a UK SIM.  Unfortunately, Amazon get charged a premium by AT&T for the roaming charges, and Amazon are passing these onto the UK customer, so if you elect to purchase an eBook, as well as the cost of the book (which we understand will be in US$), there will be $1.99 surcharge for this service (which is hidden in the cost of the book, even if you elect to download via your PC and install via USB).

This roaming issue is key to another limitation; in the US, the device has a web browser and the ability to access blogs, but due to the additional roaming charges, neither of these functions are available outside of the US, and hence these will not be available either.

Update: Also, when considering this particular device, please remember it will ship with a US power cord, and hence you will need a power adaptor to charge the device; it’s a multi-voltage power supply, but will simply have the wrong plug on the end.

Having said all that, as others have pointed out, at this price, the device still works out cheaper than a Sony eBook Reader, and hence even with these limitations (after all, the Sony device doesn’t have any form of direct download, nor a web browser) it’s a good buy.

If you don’t want the 3G data surcharge, you are able to download eBooks via your PC and transfer them to the device via USB.  Also, if you think the cost of eBooks is a little expensive at Amazon, then there are other options too…

  • First of all, there are other sources of Kindle eBooks, with manybooks and feedbooks being two such options, both of which seem to offer free books (basically any unencrypted MOBI eBook can be read on the Kindle).
  • Secondly, if you have an eBook in another format, there are utilities to convert them for use on the Kindle.  This particular tool will also take news web sites or RSS feeds, and create an eBook for you to later read, which may well handle those missing features on the device itself.  This tool will take many formats, including PDF, HTML, EPUB, PDB, PRC, RTF and TXT and convert them for use.
  • Apparently, if you don’t want to use that tool, you can send Amazon a PDF file, and it will send you back a Kindle-compatible file for free.
  • Finally, there’s Project Gutenberg, where you can download many books for free, although again, some may require conversion before they can be read on the Kindle.

So, it’s cheaper than a Sony eBook reader even with the limitations, and if you use your PC, you won’t be charged a premium for the books, and there are plenty of options for free books, or tools to convert other eBooks and data into the Kindle format.  Overall, we think this device is one to consider very carefully; pre-orders will ship in the order the order was placed, starting October 19th.

We believe that this may well be Amazon‘s first foray into the eBook reader marketplace outside of the US, and in a few months, they will release an updated unit with a UK network SIM (we have heard it’s likely Amazon will be making an International version of the Kindle DX available early next year, although this might still ship with a US SIM), allowing functions like the web browser to work, and the books to be downloadable without a surcharge, but that doesn’t mean you should discount this device if you are in the market for an eBook reader, and after all, Christmas will be with us soon…

Thanks to Ben Smith from The Really Mobile Project and Bone Killian at The Blasphemous Bicycler blog for additional content / hints.


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UK Gadget Rumours

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Amazon Kindle DX

Although we don’t usually speculate on rumours, a couple of interesting ones seem to be flying around at the moment.  Firstly, there’s the rumour that with the release of the Apple iPhone 3GS, O2 have lost their exclusivity on the old iPhone 3G, and we may well see it turning up on at least 2 networks in the next few months.  Although good for consumers and sales of the elder device, we’ll have to wait and see on this one.

However, another rumour, which seems much more likely, is that Amazon are working on releasing their latest Kindle ebook reader across Europe, and in particular, the UK.  They are looking for both WiFi and 3G connectivity options, which may well point to another device heading to O2’s networks.  It’s been known for somewhile that their latest Kindle device has a space on the motherboard for a GSM chipset, and with sales of other eBook readers (Sony devices at Waterstones, or the Elonex eBook Reader at Borders), it’s a logical step for Amazon UK.

These are both interesting rumours, and both would create significant sales for their manufacturers should they come true…


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