Zara Stone

Zara hails from the cold city that is London Town, but finds the horrible weather a great excuse to stay in and play on her XBOX. She has been involved in the technology world for many years now, and finds that her day can be easily brightened by a (tastefully) diamante encrusted USB stick or a new Android device. She’s an expert on all types of gadgetry, with a particular penchant for eReaders, compact cameras and PMP’s. She believes the future of technology will be application based, and that social media is going to change the way that businesses behave. You can find her musing about non gadget related goodness on her blog AlmostZara.com or updating you on her dinner plans via her Twitter feed.

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    The Motorola Bionic Droid: Way more exciting than the Bionic Woman

    The Motorola Droid Bionic has so many impressive specs it’s hard to know what to put in the opening teaser. Do I lure you in with the 4G speeds (10 times faster than 3G) or tempt you with the fact that the dual core processors both run at 1GHz, or the 4.3inch QHD screen? See, you’re reading now aren’t you?

    It has 1GB of Ram to keep your applications running at high speed, and features an 8 megapixel camera with flash and a front facing VGA camera. You get an HDMI out for connecting to your HDTV and viewing footage in 1080p. It also has a Mirror Mode function which allows you to simultaneously stream video to the TV and watch it on the handset.

    It’s suitable as a work phone as well, as it has many office friendly features such as data security and encryption as well as Quickoffice for document viewing and editing. You can arrange conference calls from the phone, and it allows you to remote wipe your data in case of loss.

    The Motorola Droid Bionic will run on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network. Price and Release date TBC.

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    Lenovo takes on the iPad with the LePad.. again

    If you think the LePad looks familiar.. well you’d be right. This launch from Lenovo is not actually new- as it made headlines LAST year, when it was announced as the U1. It never made it into production though, so hopefully the renamed version will actually ship. The name pretty much gives the game way in terms of product design, as it’s another iPad wannabe. The Lenovo LePad runs on Android 2.2 and features a Snapdragon processor. It features a 10.1 inch screen and weighs in at less than 2 pounds. It comes in scarlet and white, and has a leather like finish.

    The LePad will be available in Q1 in China for approx $520, and the U1 laptop with LePad will cost approx $1300 in China. Overseas release dates have not been announced.

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    EFun add two Android tablets to their Nextbook lineup

    Efun demonstrates that tablets are their preferred medium by adding two more to this year’s CES 2011 line-up. Their new tablets are both Android based and feature capacitive touchscreens for ease of use. The tablets on offer are the 10.1 inch High Definition Next4 and the 7 inch Next6. The former runs off Android 2.2 whilst the latter uses Android 2.1.

    What’s interesting about these is that they are trying to juggle both the tablet world and make dents into the growing eBook marketplace, as the tablets both come equipped with built in Wi-Fi and the Borders eBook store app. The Next4 features 8GB of flash memory whilst the Next6 has 4GB and they’re both expandable via an SD card slot. They come preloaded with 25 eBooks (most likely classics out of copyright) and feature Wi-Fi for streaming content. The tablet has multiple uses, as not only does it allow you to stream and browse the web, but it also acts as an alarm clock, weather station and photo viewer.

    Both devices feature built in speakers and a G sensor which acts as an accelerometer, adjusting the screen when you turn it.

    The new Next tablets will be available in Q2 of 2011, the Next4 for $349.99 for the Next6 for $269.99 from NextBook USA.

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    Turn 2D footage into 3D with the updated Toshiba Qosmio X500

    The Toshiba Qosmio X500 has a great reputation as a gaming laptop, but it has just taken an extra step and introduced some seriously cool updates. It now enables you to view movies and play games in 3D, and you can display 3D footage on a compatible TV via the HDMI interface.

    What’s so exciting about this is the face mapping software they’ve introduced, to give you glasses free 3D which uses eyeball tracking to give you the perfect picture. The software utilizes the built in webcam to map your eyes to nose ratio, and using this they make sure that however you move you always get the perfect picture. Details and images of how this works are a little vague, but you can see the picture above for an idea of how this functions.

    They’ve also created a cool function that I like to call ‘3D upscaling’ which will render 2D content into 3D viewings, using the Toshiba Video Player 3D software. This will hugely expand you DVD library, by allowing you to view classics in a whole new way.

    The laptop uses the second generation Intel Core i7 processor to enable multiple application use at fast speeds and features 8GB of RAM.

    The updated laptop will be available from the end of January 2011. Price TBA.

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    The Pipsqueak saves you from Mary Poppins moments

    The rise of the designer bag has led to many Mary Poppins moments when searching for your mobile. Once you’ve manoeuvred your way around your keys, wallet, makeup, sticks of gum.. the phone has often stopped ringing and you’ve missed an important call. Devices do exist that alert you when your phone starts vibrating- but this is the first we’ve seen that answers your call with a ‘Janet will be with you shortly message’ to keep the caller online.

    Pipsqueak is a pocket sized device that uses Bluetooth to sync to your phone. It features a clip to allow you to clip it to your bag or waistband and vibrates and emits both light and sound when you have a call- with the number ringing displayed on its surface. You can opt out of the sound option if you’re somewhere very quiet.

    You can use it to hang up on a call, or to alert your caller that you are about to answer. This feature is called ‘extended time’ and tells the caller to ‘Please Hold’. You can customize this message with your own voice- or use celebrities via the website (not yet launched).

    The Pipsqueak also alerts you if you’ve left your phone behind, with a 30 foot radius. When you’ve stepped out of range your Pipsqueak will vibrate and display a ‘Phone Lost’ message. I think this is a very clever idea, and know it would help me out a lot.

    The device is created by SeekerPND and the launch date and price is still TBA.

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    The American Red Cross TurboDyne Series keeps you safe and stylish on the road

    ‘Be safe not sorry’ is a common motto, and this can apply to all areas of your life. The American Red Cross has joined forces with Eton Corporation to create a three piece set of eco friendly roadside assistance products, with a stylish twist.

    The TurboDyne series features three products aimed at making breakdowns easier to deal with. First up is the Road Torq, a wind up flashlight that includes a retractable tripod so it can be used as a beacon. It works off a rechargeable lithium ion battery and 1 minute of cranking gives 15minutes of juice.

    Next we have the Axis, a wind up radio, which can also operate on AAA batteries and mains power. You get an AM and FM digital tuner as well as access to the NOAA weatherband, which includes weather alerts. There’s a 3.5mm jack if you want o listen in with headphone and a USB connector which allows you to charge compatible devices- including some mobile phones. Should you be totally out of power, the Axis has four white LED lights and a flashing red LED light which will allow you to alert people you’re in trouble.

    The third device in the TurboDyne series is the Rover, a portable emergency radio. It’s very similar to the Axis, but is larger and looks sturdier. It features the same specs, apart from the fact that it also features connectors with rubber plugs to seal out moisture. It will no doubt be more expensive as well.

    I like the attention to detail they’ve taken with these products as they are attractive as well as functional, and the streamlined design means you’ll be more likely to keep it in your trunk. They will also be available in black.

    The products will be out on 2011 from the Eton Corporation. Prices TBA.

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    The Withings Smart Baby Monitor lets you use your iPhone to check on your baby

    Baby monitors used to be fairly basic devices. They’d transmit noises from a transmitter to the receiver and you’d be able to tell whether your precious was cooing or crying. Welcome to the next evolution of the baby monitor, where your receiver can be any web connected device, including your iPod, iPad, eBook or computer. The Withings Smart Baby Monitor features a 3MP camera which transmits to any connected device, allowing parents to remotely check in on their progeny. They can access both video and audio data, as well as use the inbuilt microphone in the monitor to soothe their child remotely.

    The Smart Baby Monitor is more than just a camera though, as the device includes a whole bunch of extra features. Infrared LEDs give you access to night vision, and you can also check the temperature and humidity of the room to make sure that your baby is comfortable. You can also select music to play through the monitor (lullabies etc), and stream playlists to the Smart Monitor from anywhere in the world.

    You can even go one step further, and set up personalized alarms that alert you when there is unusual behaviour relating to their movements or temperature, based on certain parameters. The monitor is cubed shape, and you simply open it to use the functionality and snap it shut to turn it off.

    The Withings Smart Baby Monitor will be available in March 2011.

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    The Top 13 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010

    2010 has been an interesting year in terms of technology. We’ve seen tablets become an everyday part of living (though we’re still not sure of their purpose), 3D viewing advance dramatically, and augmented reality took off, thanks to the rise of compatible mobile applications. Alongside these tangible products, there has been much advancement in the […]

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    The Rise of the iPhone Artist: Is Canvas Dead?

    We live in a world of too much information, where everything is processed at lightening speeds and what was hot once becomes easily discarded (Sega Dreamcast, HD DVDs, Minidiscs, iPhone 3GS) as something new and shinier comes along. In such a fast paced age it’s no wonder that artists are turning online in an effort […]

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    The Girl Gamer Guide to E3 2010: 3D Consoles and Glee Karaoke games!

    Convening quicker than ice cream disappears at a five year old’s party, the big names in the gaming industry descended upon LA this week. Conference floors were awash with news of forthcoming games, accessories, and those odd people who like to pretend they’re Xena the Warrior Princess. There was a lot of news about what […]