Archive for November, 2011

Gadget gifts to add to your holiday shopping list

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone but I still haven’t started my holiday shopping. Sure I hit the stores last weekend, except my purchases were for myself. If you’re weekend was devoted to spending on yourself (guilty), here are several gadget gift ideas for this holiday season:

  1. Jambox from Jawbone. This small wireless speaker packs some big sound. From pumping up the jams to conference calls, its small size is perfect for someone on the go.
  2. Digits. The cold weather won’t stop you from updating your Twitter status from your phone any longer. The small electronic pads attach to your gloves to keep you texting on the go.
  3. OnStar rearview mirror. A great gift for someone who spends a lot of time on the road, the OnStar mirror has a slew of features including emergency roadside assistance, GPS navigation and hands-free calling.

    Up by Jawbone

  4. Up by Jawbone. This bracelet monitors your activity, meals and sleep patterns to give your reports right on your iPhone. Up can be a great gift for someone looking to enter 2012 on a healthier foot.
  5. myGrid charging pad from Duracell. Forget the cords and the hassle of your charger. Just drop your phone on the pad and it’ll be ready to go.
  6. E-reader. Digital readers will be popular again this year.  The original Amazon Kindle and the Nook from Barnes and Noble are both good choices for the bookworm on your shopping list.
  7. Earbud headphones from American Eagle. No longer will you have to sacrifice your ears to listen to music on your way to work or class. This headphone set from American Eagle is practical, fashionable and an easy gift idea. 
  8. Motorola H17txt earpiece with Motospeak. If someone on     your shopping list is guilty of texting and driving, this earpiece from Motorola reads text messages. The headset is also great for hands-free calling.
  9.  Beats headphones from Dr. Dre. These high definition headphones from rapper Dr.Dre  are a great gift for music lovers.  They’re definitely expensive, but could make for a great surprise Christmas morning.
  10. Tablets. One of the most popular gifts this season is a tablet The Samsung Galaxy from Verizon and the iPad 2 from AT&T are two of our favorites.

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Waffle no longer

In the weeks leading up to the holidays, there’s always a certain level of debate over the right time to buy that latest electronic gadget you have your eye on for someone special. Will the price go down? Will it go up ?

Decide.com takes the guesswork out of it. The firm, co-founded by Internet search pioneer Oren Etzioni, has millions of dollars in venture capital behind it. We think it’s brilliant in its simplicity.

Not sure if it’s the right time to buy? Go to decide.com and type in the item you’re thinking of buying. Not only does the site show you what it’s available for now, it also calculates the probability of the price going up or down in the near future.

The site is more than just a high-tech Magic 8-Ball. Because it relies on proprietary algorithms to make price and product predictions, rather than marketing campaigns, it’s highly accurate. As of today, the site is running at 77 percent accuracy, with an average savings for consumers of $54 per item. It’s also available as an app for iPhone, which is great for those who haven’t finished their holiday shopping and want to check it out while in a store.

If you’ve already purchased the item, it’s an even better reason to hold on to those receipts. A price adjustment or a better deal somewhere else is likely to be in your future.

Check it out at www.decide.com.

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Apple experiences record-breaking Black Friday

Two Apple insider reports are claiming record-breaking Black Friday sales. Analysts from Deutsche Bank checked in with more than 200 Apple stores and retailers to gauge customer demand for products including the iPhone 4s, iPad and MacBook Air. Their findings suggest Apple should be pretty thankful this holiday season.

The analysts found 75 percent of the stores polled were sold out of the iPhone 4s on Friday while iPad sales were up 68 percent. iPad sales surpassed projections with almost 15 units sold per hour on Black Friday alone. MacBook and MacBook Air were also popular with their $101 dollar discount.

With online retailers expecting a big Cyber Monday, we’re eager to see how Apple products faired the rest of the shopping weekend.

Did you pick up any Apple products this weekend? Or, did you put off shopping for today’s Cyber Monday deals?

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AT&T stores stock up on iPhone 4s and iPad 2

If you have either the iPhone 4s or iPad 2 at the top of your wish list this holiday, you’ll be relieved to know that AT&T will have both available in stores on Black Friday. After inventory shortages of the iPhone 4s after its initial release, we’re excited to hear that anxious shoppers can pick up their new phone right at the store this Friday.

If you’re looking to invest in a tablet, AT&T stores will also have the iPad 2 along with a slew of accessories.  With recent launch of several other tablets such as the Kindle Fire and the Nook by Barnes and Noble, it will be interesting to see how the iPad 2 performs during the shopping season.

 

What about you? Are you looking to snag any gadgets on Black Friday?

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Apps to get you through Thanksgiving

From ambitious and sometimes experimental cooking (Tofurkey, anyone?) to a houseful of extended family, Thanksgiving can be a stressful day. Though this holiday is meant to be a day of gratitude and family, things tend to awry.  To keep you from daydreaming about your in laws getting taken out by Clay Matthews during tomorrow’s Packers vs. Lions game (Go Pack Go!), we found some Thanksgiving-focused applications that may help make your day a little less stressful.

1. Thanksgiving Coloring Book. While you’re in the kitchen juggling the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, the last thing you want are flock of kids playing flag football in the kitchen.  The Thanksgiving Coloring Book allows kids to finger paint and color right from your iPhone, iPad or Android. The best part—there’s no clean up afterwards.

iPhone Screenshot 1

 2.  Turkey Plucker. The name speaks for itself. But if you need to let out some steam before you sit down to dinner with your extended family, this feather plucking application could be for you. You even can battle with your in laws for the best time.

 

iPhone Screenshot 1

 3. The Professional Chef. If you eagerly volunteered to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving even though you can’t make a grilled cheese sandwich, maybe you should invest in this $50 application only available on the iPad. Developed by the Culinary Institute of America, Professional Chef is designed to be your personal cooking mentor. With over 700 photos, instructional videos and a discussion board, this application can help you channel your inner Martha Stewart.

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Cyber Monday to be biggest yet

While some of my friends will be waiting to rush the stores during those early hours of Black Friday, I’ll still be sleeping off my turkey hangover. Instead, I’ll be anxiously waiting for Cyber Monday to snatch up the good deals from the comfort of my home, or desk at work.

It appears I won’t be alone. Cyber Monday is expected to the biggest yet with projected sales to hit $1.2 billion. The busiest part of the day will be over the lunch hour for online shoppers looking for big bargains. Unless your company has blocked nearly every online store on the web, executives should prepare themselves for lower productivity. The lure of free shipping, exclusive on-line sales and big deals will be hard for many workers to resist on Cyber Monday. I’m definitely be hopping on the bandwagon.

As someone who rather not stand in line at Target at 3am on Black Friday in Wisconsin, I’m excited to see what deals are available come Monday as I try to tackle my holiday shopping list.

What about you? Are a traditional Black Friday shopper, a new-wave Cyber Monday consumer or a little of both?

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Tech Blog Review: HTC Titan

We were excited to get our hands on the newly released HTC Titan running on a Windows Platform from AT&T. For consumers not interested in the iPhone 4s, the HTC with its 4.7-inch touch screen could be a good alternative.

 

With such a large LCD screen, it allows you to view a lot at once without having to zoom in and out as you would with other smartphones, not to mention the quality of the picture is great. I was a little turned off by how big the phone felt in my hand, but it could be something I grew into. For users who want a larger screen rather than a phone that’s easy to handle, this could be a good fit.

With the Windows platform, the phone allows you to run Microsoft Office, making it easy to work on the fly. On your down time, you can watch TV by connecting to U-Verse, play games on X-Box Live or download some 10,000 apps. With all the capabilities on this phone, I’m a little intimidated by it and not sure if I need a phone where I can play Call of Duty on the go. For a techie who spends a lot of time out of the office or is bored with the iPhone, this could be a great phone for you. But, for a smartphone novice or someone using it for more casual use, I’d stick with the iPhone 4s.

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