Top 10 Gadgets for 2009
If you missed it I did my top gadgets and electronics for 2008 in a previous post last weekend, check it out for some good Christmas gadget ideas. However this post is about some of the gadgets and electronics we have to look forward to in 2009 and are not yet available but which should be big sellers. (there are a few more gadgets at the end of the top 10 which will be released before 2009, hence not making the list, but will no doubt be massive next year).
Nokia have been the top seller of mobile phones for a long time now and want to revive the market with their Nokia 5800 / N97 touch screen phone – their effective iPhone killers (Nokia N97 N-series touch phone has already been announced and released this year).
From Q3 2007 to Q3 2008 they lost 15.4% of the market share, dropping to 35%, due mainly to the iPhone. With the release of the Apple iPhone it has caused a ripple in the market and mobile phone manufacturers have realised that they need to raise their game. Blackberry have out their Storm 9500 (bottom of top 10) which will be a hot gadget of 2009 (once it gets the firmware it needs to speed up navigation) and will be available before the end of the year. Sony have their X1 touch phone out which, if it was running Google Android, would probably be my number 1 – as it is gorgeous to look at. But since the X1 has Windows Mobile 6 and is therefore rather slow and clunky, it’s not. HTC have release their G1 which albeit has the best mobile OS in my opinion, Android, doesn’t leverage it and certainly isn’t attractive – no where near the iPhone killer it was marketed as. more information…
Specification – The 5800 has all that you would expect from Nokia including finally support for flash:
- Symbian 9.4 Series 60 5th Edition
- Quad-Band 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- HSDPA (3.6 Mbits) / GPRS Class 32 / Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
- Bluetooth (2.0)
- 3.2 mega-pixel Carl Zeiss Optics camera
- microSDHC card slot
- 640 x 320 pixels – 3.2 inch touch screen display
- 30fps Video Recording
- Supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264, Flash, H.263 WMV & Real Player
- E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange)
- Battery: Talk Time: 528 mins – Standby Time: 406 hrs
The Rolly from Sony is all about fun. It is essentially a robotic MP3 playing robot that dances to the music you play. It comes with Rolly Choreographer software to create your own motions and even share them online with others. But if you don’t want to create your own it comes with an Auto and Self Motion modes which will analyse the music and create the type of style dance you request. It also comes with Bluetooth streaming (A2DP), 5 hour battery life, 2GB of storage, high quality speakers with 180 degree baffle effect. – more info…
40″ OLED TV
Currently your best bet for an OLED is the Sony XEL-1 which I also included in my top Christmas gadgets list. It’s not the best price screen per inch but certainly is the best looking on the market. But as with all good technology the price will start to come down and screen sizes will go up. Samsung have already prototyped early this year a 40″ Full HD OLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and is under 1cm thick. Samsung therefore have proved it can all be done so it just a case of making them at a consumer friendly price and I think next year they will we will see these large sized OLEDs appearing. – more info…
New Google Android Phones
Not long ago Google announced that the source code at the core of its Android platform would be available for free to anyone wanting to use it and develop with. This open source approach has opened up the market to more phones manufacturers and developers able to make Android based phones but it also means there will be a host of application to download for it – and I suspect we will see more useful applications than the mainly games ridden App Store on iTunes (I want a good Exchange Mail client). It looks like Asus, Motorola and Samsung will be the next to follow Kogan and the rather averagely designed HTC G1 with a Google Android phone early next year, hopefully making the most of the Android platform finally. – more info…
Also look out for the new Palm iphone killer – the Pre. It looks to be a top contender in the touch screen phone market and I’m pleased that as with all the other iphone killers they have included a slide out keyboard.
Touch Screen Eee PC & Eee Keyboard PC
Again the Eee PC was mentioned in my top gadgets of 2008 and due to it’s success, 4 million sales to date, and Asus have some new devices planned for next year. One of the most innovative devices is the Eee Keyboard PC which will be featured at CES 09. The CEO of Asus, Jerry Shen, has also apparently announced a touch screen Eee PC laptop early 2009 capable of running Windows 7 (below) – but I’m not holding my breath. However something that is more promising is the Eee Top All-in-one touch screen desktop which should be available this year and I think this will make it big next year. Currently launched in white only with 1.6GHz Intel Atom, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, 15.6″ screen, Window XP, 1.3 megapixel camera, Wi-fi, built in speakers and enough ports to keep you more than happy – look out for this one, prices will be around £450. – more info…
Resident Evil 5 (PS3)
Resident Evil 5 is the most anticipated game of 2009 for me (I have some others Heavy Rain, Streetfighter IV and Gran Turismo 5 – but just not as excited about these. 1up.com has an excellent list of 25 of the hottest video games of for 2009 – that is worth checking out, albeit I think they have missed a few like Resident Evil 5).
This game from the Toyko Game Show looks so polished already that I just know it is going to come out as a real eye popping next gen game. Most of RE5 remains under wraps at the moment: there’s no word yet on how the weapons purchasing or upgrading will work, no details on which flavours of co-op will be available, and the long-hinted-at cover system hasn’t been revealed yet too. But given the release date of March 2009 with the game’s already looking solid: the AI seems smart, and the levels I have seen were filled with details and strategic options. With the controls they have opted to refine RE4’s revolution, and, if the game isn’t quite as good as scaring you in the hard African daylight as it was in the misty half-darkness of previous titles, it’s still able to bring on a visceral thrill as the crowd gets closer. It’s more about tension and full-on panic that the sudden shock approach from previous incarnations and I think this is a clever evolution. – don’t miss out pre-order today…
New Intel Chip – Codename Nehalem
This is the next generation of chip sets from Intel – codenamed Nehalem. It brings a critical change not just to the processor but also in the way it communicates with memory and other processors. Intel have branded this as the QuickPath Interconnect (or QPI). QuickPath involves two main ingredients – one is a built-in component called a memory controller that is separate on today’s Intel chips; integrating this memory controller reduces communication delays in transferring data to and from memory. All in all this should mean a dramatic increase in memory latency and bandwidth improvements with initial reports of as much as 3 times performance increases on today chipsets. They are expecting to sell “Nehalem” processors with 8 cores on a single slice of silicon in 2009. – more info…
I only actually got a DS lite this year but one thing that I like over the Sony PSP is that it is very much built on the more is less approach. Everything is very simple and works well. This new DSi from Nintendo builds on the DS with some good and bad features:
- 12% thinner than the DS lite
- 0.3 megapixel camera
- Larger 3.25″ screen (DS lite has 3″)
- SDHC slot – which can be used to playback audio
- 256MB of internal flash memory
- New DSi shop
- Upgradable firmware
However due to the smaller design the battery is not quite as good and the Guitar hero on tour grip isn’t compatible due to the GBA slot being removed. Otherwise it’s a great new handheld console that will no doubt be as successful. The DSi has recently been released in Japan and will hit the UK and US in Spring 2009 – find out more…
2009 BMW M3 Convertible
A little bit more pricey than any of the other gadgets here but the 2009 BMW M3 is certainly one to look out for. With 15 impressive years in the world of motoring, the straight-six power unit is now giving way to a truly worthy successor. The new BMW M3 comes for the first time with an eight-cylinder power unit. This new V8 muscle engine offers 414 bhp and a peak torque of 295 lb-ft at 3,900 RPM with 85% available throughout the speed range of 6,500 RPM (revving all the way to 8,400 RPM). The exterior of the new BMW M3 was designed and developed from the start to give this M3 a truly unique and very traditionally sporting look. One of the best gadgets in the M3 is the MDrive which is the hub of the car and offers technophiles a host of customisation and engine management features. Start drooling in 2009 for this one. – more info…
This transparent toaster allows you to see your bread while it is toasting so you can make sure you never burn toast again. This idea is based on a transparent heating glass technology. Although the glass unfortunately does not currently get hot enough to toast bread, the vendor explained with some research and development this appliance will be hitting the shelves by 2009. The concept was developed by the Inventables Concept Studio. – more info…
USB 3.0 (Universal Serial Bus 3.0)
All you speed freaks out there look out for USB 3.0 coming soon. Apparently the connector, although looking very different, are back compatible – which is great news. The speeds we are looking at for this bad boy is 4.8 Gbit/s (600MB/s) which will make it the fastest consumer connector (Firewire S800T is a long way off). How does this compare to USB 2.0 that you will no doubt be using now? Well USB 2.0 can manage a rate of just 480 Mbit/s (60MB/s) – that is a 10 fold increase to USB 3.0. This isn’t quite as much as the jump from USB 1.0 to USB 2.0 which took speeds from 1.5 Mbit/s to 480 Mbit/s. Some other benefits to the USB 3.0 update is a much improved and more intelligent powering system. This isn’t likely to be available till the tail end of the year though. – more info…
Microsoft Window 7
Vista didn’t really do Windows brand any justice and Microsoft have responded with promising a release or a new operating system in 2009 – Microsoft Window 7. There are loads of benefits to this new system and from looking at the Beta it seems to fix a lot of the problems with Vista. Some of the new functions to look out for:
- Improved task bar with full screen preview.
This has always been a problem with users who open on average of 7 – 15 windows at once. I love the invisible window option.
- Jump Lists
A nice convenient way to reach recent files or files you want to access often.
- New User Interface
There is a bunch of new copy and paste features, more open, re-size, close, maximise, arrange windows options – but it still has the familiar windows style (in fact it does look branding wise just like Vista).
- Internet Explorer 8
Mozilla 3 is currently my choice of browser having lost my patience with IE7 and memory issues. IE7 is still much quick at opening that Mozilla but the overall experience isn’t as good. IE8 plans to fixs this and pull back some of the market share it is losing. Some new functions to look out for with this release are;
Highlight text or info from a page and select from a number of online services like address look up and
Which monitors changes to websites like weather, sport scores etc.
- Improved Device Management
A single device windows to manage all devices on a computer and Device Stage which allows you to interact better with devices seeing it’s status and run common tasks.
- Home Group
Home groups is a easy way to setup a home network. Microsoft has managed to make this extremely simple to share files, videos or music but with more security.
- Faster and increased performance
- Extended battery life for laptops and portable devices
- Action Center to sort problems easier
- Windows Touch
After all Microsoft’s work on their touchscreen devices and tables of recent this should be a great feature albeit I think devices that start using this will take a while to appear. The problems with touch screens like the Eee PC is that your arms starts to ache after extended use – but it is great for quick tasks like selecting a film, sending an email or checking some news.
- Improved Voice and Handwriting recognition
This should start appearing mid 2009 and I hope to see Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack) out by the end of the year – just in time for Christmas when gadget and electronics sales are up again. – more info…
BMW MINI – E
Now I have had a couple of the new BMW Mini and I am in anticipation of the next Mini Cooper S Works Clubman but there is also another new Mini to look out for – The Mini-E. It is first going to hit the US in 2009 with 500 of these first electric powered Mini’s. Powered by a 100% electric powered motor, 0 – 62 mph in 8.5 secs and a top speed of 95 mph – it’s not a bad performer. With much more environmentally conscious buyers this is a smart move from BMW who have generally sold petrol hungry cars. There is a field trial scheme available now where you can pay a fixed amount each month on a trial lease. – more info…
Wii Sports Resort
Nintendo Wii’s, as you will see below, big release near the end of 2008 has been the Wii Music. In 2009 it will Wii Sports Resort that you need to keep an eye out for – who isn’t a fan of Wii Sports and wants more activities? This game will make use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory, making gestures and movement even more precise. It will come with many more games including new sword play, power cruising, disc dog and a host of others. – more info…
Gadgets released this year but big in 2009
The Wii, Wii Fit and Wii Sports have been a big success and Nintendo are hoping to further that with Wii Music. Wii Music is a music video game for the Wii that simulates playing musical instruments using the Wii Remote and the Wii Balance Board and definitely looks like bags of fun but not sure what market they are aiming it at. Wii Music was originally suggested as a Wii launch title, but was not released at launch and received little coverage until recently. It will have a job to take the “Simon says” type game crown from Rockband and Guitar Hero, which are recognised as the king of the genre, but if any platform can do it – Wii can. Wii Music will be available in 2008. – more info and prices (UK) / (US)
Blackberry Storm 9500
The Blackberry Bold 9000 made it to my top gadgets for Christmas and 2008 and the Storm 9500 sees RIM taking it further by adding a full touch screen (the first Blackberry without keys and their attempt at an iPhone killer). It also has more multimedia emphasis than usual for a Blackberry – with a fantastic 480 x 360 pixel display, 3.2 Mega pixel camera, 1GB on board storage and video support for MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.264, WMV. The Blackberry Storm should make a release at the end of 2008 and after a firmware upgrade it should be a top gadget phone in 2009. – more info…
Sony Bravia Z4500 with Motionflow 200Hz
If 100Hz wasn’t enough for you, then say hello to Motionflow 200Hz on the Sony Bravia Z4500.
Usually this is something I would of expected from Philips but it’s a world first for Sony. They have taken their already excellent Motionflow 100Hz technology (doubling the number of frames you see on screen) and doubled that technology again. This results in a tremendous 200 frames per second – quadruple the standard frame rate of other no 100Hz TVs. It certainly removes the blurring you can get on fast moving films and sports and is a lot easier on the eyes, but it is reaching the critical point at what frame rate our eyes can actually achieve.
Intelligently adding new frames, Motionflow 200Hz takes every high speed scene and plays it back in silky-smooth, crisp detail – even cutting out blur effects. The technology works by multiplying the number of frames you see on screen. New ones are inserted into fast-moving sequences, like the flight of a ball for instance, to smooth out the motion. Based on information it gets from the before and after frames in every sequence, Motionflow predicts motion in all directions and cleverly creates brand new pictures based on this information. So existing frames aren’t just copied – find out more (UK)…
True 3D Satellite Navigation
True 3D satellite navigaion units have started to surface at the end of this year but none of them as yet have impressed as promised. However the concept of seeing your surroundings in a much more 3 dimensional space is definitely something is going to keep sat nav sales up. Tomtom, who for me make the best sat navs currently on the market, will be releasing a new 3D range in 2009. It will be interesting to see how well they they stack up to the current 3D NavMan S50 sat navs which already offer 3D landmarks of more than 1,000 European buildings.
- Time’s Best Inventions of 2008
- Gizmodo’s Best Gadgets to come in 2009
(Their list includes hints of another new 2009 iPhone).
- Tech Crunch – 2009: Products I can’t live without
- Wired 2009 Predictions
What would you say are the best Gadgets to look forward in 2009?
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