Archive for February, 2009

Panasonic has DivX-certified HDTVs now

Panasonic has announced that it will offer a new line of DivX Certified HDTVs from Panasonic that are available in Europe (why not in other parts of the world?), and they will consist of the Panasonic VIERA Z1, V10 and G15 series that boast cutting-edge 1080p full-HD flat panels to enable consumers to easily playback high-quality DivX video straight onto the television. I guess there is much more reason to get those terabyte-class external hard drives and storage solutions now, while keeping your computer on all night long to download full HD movies (just make sure these are legit copies and not bootlegs - we don’t condone piracy here at Coolest Gadgets) in DivX format for viewing later in the living room.

Despite these times of economic hardship, some of us would still find that upgrading a TV to keep up with the Joneses (or just to have a better home entertainment experience) is at the top of the priority list, and Panasonic hopes to have a HDTV for every budget with their new VIERAs. The Z1, V10 and G15 series will consist of nine different models, and all of them will incorporate its next-generation plasma display panels (PDPs) known as NeoPDP technology to offer superior picture quality, higher efficiency and thinner dimensions. Thinner dimensions are good - as the world’s population continues to grow, urban areas get more and more crowded, so the lack of breathing space among the populace will indirectly result in smaller living room for all, so thin displays are more than welcome. Not only that, the VIERA CAST online content service will also be made available in Europe for the first time ever.

In order to view your favorite DivX video, all you need to do is load up your SD/SDHC memory card with the said video, insert it into the SD/SDHC memory card slot directly on the VIERA HDTV and you’re good to go. A 4GB SDHC card is able to store more than six hours of high-quality DivX video (not High Definition, mind you). Not only that, DivX content can also be streamed directly from a network as long as you have a DLNA server. This makes life much simpler for folks who prefer to playback their entire library of favorite videos straight from the PC to the TV without going through the hassle of transferring such content to the SD/SDHC memory card.

Press Release


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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic hits the US

Folks living in the US who have long looked forward to the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic handset will be pleased to know that it has finally arrived Stateside after being released in other regions of the world earlier. This looks set to be a feature packed phone without breaking the bank, and potentially offers a high rate where bang for your buck is concerned. The 5800 XpressMusic allows you to tote around a stylish yet affordable music device that boasts a touch screen interface that will appeal to the mass market. More details on this seemingly invincible music phone right after the jump.

First of all, Nokia has ensured that its 5800 XpressMusic covers all bases to satisfy the cravings of more serious than casual music listeners, including a graphic equalizer, 8GB internal memory that can store up to 6,000 tracks on average, support for all main digital music formats and a 3.5mm jack. We heave a collective sigh of relief as Nokia included the 3.5mm jack since that would mean we don’t have to hunt for pesky converters to use with high quality headphones. Just in case you prefer to share your favorite tunes with those around you, there is always the built-in surround sound stereo speakers that can pump up the volume to rock your cubicle (as well as your immediate neighbor at the office).

Touch screen technology is well known to be intuitive, and this is why Nokia has taken this route with the 5800 XpressMusic. Granted, Nokia is still very far behind the game when it comes to building a user interface that relies on a touch screen, but at least they seem to be making progress. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is able to deliver easy and fast access to all music, video and photos via a one-touch ‘Media Bar’ drop down menu. This very same Media Bar also offers a direct link to the Web and to online sharing. Unlike other phones that need updates to support Flash, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic doesn’t with native Flash support for a seamless web surfing experience. Other features include a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl eiss lens, a virtual alphanumeric and QWERTY keyboard, a pen stylus and a 3.2″ widescreen display. You can pick this up for $399 before taxes and subsidies in the US.

Press Release


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Two New PS3 Controllers

I’m not really a fan of the Sony PS3, I’m more of a Wii guy. I guess I like the simplicity of the Wiimote compared to the button munching, finger cramping PS3 controller.

It appears that someone has developed some new controllers for the PS3 that are a little less burdensome on the digits. The first is the mLani Wireless FPS Controller. This is designed for those players who love PS3 games like Fallout3 and other First Person Shooter games, but would rather play them like they would on their PC. There is a mouse and what looks like a tiny joystick.

The second is a concept called the DualShock Vortex. This is simply your average PS3 controller, with a twist. The twist is that hinge in the middle there.

I’m not certain why, but someone designed the Dual Shock Vortex who the user can control it by twisting. I suppose this is for Hang On type games where the controls are like motorcycle handlebars. I’m not certain how this would come in handy for the aforementioned FPS games.

Maybe you should keep both controllers on hand for both types of gameplay. Unfortunately, none of my sites have any word on price or availability, for now.

Source 1 and Source 2


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On-Orbit Coffee Mug designed by an astronaut for space travel

It’s not uncommon to see designers pushing the barriers of design, to see what they can come up with.  A lot of times it’s with luxurious items that even if they became available the general public, it wouldn’t benefit them.  With this new design, it’s highly possible the general public won’t benefit, but you have to appreciate the designer looking out for those in zero gravity conditions.  It’s pretty obvious that any liquid would be difficult to deal with in zero gravity, well with this mug astronauts could ditch the heated aluminum bags and straws and drink coffee like it was meant to be.

The designer is technically Travis Baldwin, however, it comes straight from the brain of Donald Petit who was an astronaut during the mission STS-126.  Travis Baldwin offered up his services to help turn the design into an actual product.  By giving astronauts back one of the luxuries they give up while in a spacecraft, that luxury being their morning cup of joe.  They admit that it is difficult to predict how the cup would fair in zero gravity, but it should work.  The coffee is held by surface tension in the narrow bottom of the cup, the deep groove then acts as a wick that draws liquid up as it is removed.  The lip depression should hold the bead of the coffee in place at the top of the groove.  The entire thing features thin walls making it possible for this to be made out of disposable materials.

Source: Uberreview


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MotoComm Digital Recorder great for Extreme Sports

A few years back, Samsung had a great idea. Create a solid-state camcorder for extreme sports enthusiasts which would use an auxiliary lens that could fit on a helmet to record the action. The next generation, had a wireless lens – but customer complaints about static and connectivity issues ended up deep sixing not only the wireless version, but the whole extreme sports line period. It may have been that extreme sports are simply too hard on recording technology – even solid state cameras that record on flash media – or that there simply wasn’t enough interest to warrant a long term commitment to the line. But even though there may not be enough And since nature abhors a vaccum, MotoComm has developed a Digitial Recording System that promises to fill the void Samsung left behind.

Looking for like a miniature VCR with a camera connected, the MotoComm DSR-1003G allows adventurers to connect the weatherproof (and no doubt shock proof) bullet style camera to a helmet. Turn the recorder on and it’ll record both sound and audio, or one can listen to the built in mp3 player. Some even suggest that thanks to it’s onboard LCD, that it can be used as a rear view camera system to see what’s behind. The MotoComm comes with 1GB of on-board memory and can take up to a 4 GB SD card.

Cost is $359.99

Hat Tip – Travelizmo


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Walmart makes available Nintendo DSi preorders

Walmart.com will definitely brighten up the day of any video game fan by offering preorders for the upcoming Nintendo DSi console. Regardless of how many zillions of DSis that Walmart stocks, they will still sell it for $169 a pop, so don’t expect it to come any cheaper compared to other stores. According to Kelly Thompson, Walmart.com’s chief merchant, “Walmart.com has made tens of thousands of Nintendo DSi units available for preorder, giving more customers the chance to enjoy one of the most sought-after handheld consoles in history. Customers continue to choose Walmart.com to find the best online selection and strongest values in video games, especially for popular releases like the Nintendo DSi.” As usual, you are able to choose from black and blue finishes only, but that’s just because Nintendo hasn’t made other colors available - yet.

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Brain Training games no better than crosswords, experts say

Expensive electronic brain trainers like “Brain Age” are no better than keeping the mind young and sharp than the daily crossword puzzle, according to experts in the United Kingdom. Based on a study commissioned by the consumer group “Which?,” three experts were tasked to check claims made by Nintendo and other devices that brain games increase memory and are instrumental in staving off mental disorders like Dimentia.

Games costing as much as $100, including “Dr. Kawashimas Brain Training” for the Nintendo DS state that the exercise games target the frontal cortex region of the brain and that they increase blood flow to that section. But experts such as Dr. Chris Bird of the Universiry College of London found simply doing a daily crossword puzzle, as well as eating a healthy diet and keeping to a consistent exercise regimen does just as well. In fact, the peer review found that research requested from the game manufacturers was wholly insufficient to support the claims.

In addition, the team found that these brain trainers weren’t any better than computer games like Tetris in accomplishing it’s aims.
Martyn Hocking, editor at Which?, said: “If people enjoy using these games, then they should continue to do so - that’s a no-brainer. “But if people are under the illusion that these devices are scientifically proven to keep their minds in shape, they need to think again.”

Hat Tip – The Beeb


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Water Powered Alarm Clock

Have you ever been late because you forgot to set your alarm? Your boss might buy that excuse, but imagine telling him or her this one: “Sorry I’m late, but I forgot to pour water into my alarm clock”.

Yes, it does make sense if you own the Water Powered Alarm Clock. This is one of those eco-friendly gadgets that doesn’t require a battery or power cord. All you need to do is “just add water”.

Apparently, the evaporation creates a constant supply of energy, using an electrochemical reaction between the electrodes and the water. Believe it or not, you only need to fill the Water Powered Alarm Clock once every three months for it to work. Looks like the “I forgot to pour water into my alarm clock” excuse will only work four times a year.

In addition to telling the time, the Water Powered Alarm Clock can also give you a temperature reading as well. I’m not really certain how the user sets it, but I’m guessing that there are some buttons on the back, or something.

I’m also not certain if it is easily portable. You wouldn’t want this thing to spring a leak in your suitcase, what you? By the way, what is that thing to the left of it? It’s probably a tiny container to fill up the Water Powered Alarm Clock, but it looks more like a butane lighter.

Well, if you want to check it out for yourself, feel free to head on over to the Gadget Shop and lay down £19.99.

Source


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Grace Tape2USB Cassette Converter

I’m sure that some of you are looking at that picture of the cassette recorder and saying: “Is this the coolest gadget that you can find today?” and “What is this, the early eighties?”

However, this product is for those of you who may remember the eighties, who might still have a collection of albums on cassettes that were purchased before the advent of CDs. Some of you probably keep your cassettes around because you don’t have the song on any other media. Of course, you still have to go through the rigmarole of fast-forwarding or rewinding to find your favorite track. What you really need to do is take the songs off the cassette and put them on your iPod.

Fortunately, the Tape2USB is designed to convert those old cassettes into MP3 files. All you need to do is plug it into your computer via USB and use the included Audacity software to edit the cassette-to-audio files.

There is definitely a retro look to the Tape2USB. Notice that all the controls are dials, and there is even an old-school counter with a reset button. Could this be any more old-timey? I’m surprised it even has a USB connector. That’s like putting an iPod dock inside a Model T.

I actually have a pile of cassettes that I could use the Grace Tape2USB for. Perhaps I should get over to the Grace Digital site and lay down $129.99 for it. While I’m at it, I should purchase the Vinylwriter Pico for $99.99, and turn my old vinyl LPs into MP3s. Of course, I wonder how the digital versions of my old favorites will sound when they are converted.

Source


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Hershey’s Chocolate gadgets are sadly not edible

Hershey has no problem creating non-chocolate products to go with their line of sweets.  They even have Hershey dedicated stores filled with t-shirts, mugs and some chocolate scented lotion so that you can cover yourself in chocolaty goodness, which I wish I had bought when I came across it.  Then again having Hershey products, you’ll probably gain 10lbs just due to being reminded of your chocolate cravings.  Well now Hershey is even breaking into gadgets to go with their line of Hershey accessories.

The new line will include a USB drive that will range from 1GB to 4GB  and features a plain Hershey bar (as shown above) or Mr. Goodbar, Krackel, Twizzlers or Bubble Yum.  The USB drives will range in price from $14.99 to $29.99.  You’ll also be able to pick up 2GB and 4GB drives in the shape of Hershey Kisses for $19.99 to $29.99.  Besides USB drives, they will offer digital cameras featuring a Jolly Rancher design, Hershey’s miniatures and Bubble Yum for $24.99.  Then for slightly more expensive, the Hershey’s Kisses camera will cost $29.99.  To go with your music you can pick up plus MP3 speakers in the shape of giant Kisses for $9.99 and Kisses earphones for $7.99.  You’ll be able to find all of this on Jazwares.  As of now, it’s still set as coming soon.

Source: Gearlog


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