Summer Tech: Top Apps, Gadgets and Trends

Summer Tech: Top Apps, Gadgets and Trends

Whether you’re planning on road tripping it, hopping a cross-country flight, or simply enjoying a relaxing staycation this season, technology continues to play a growing role in many individuals’ summer plans. Thank meteoric growth in apps, tablet PCs and travel-ready mobile devices, which increasingly allow leisure seekers to stay connected wherever they go, and cram an entire household’s worth of ways to unwind into sleek, easily transportable carry-ons. We’ve teamed up with some awesome companies to take a look at the latest technology trends that can help heat up the coming weeks. Several worth keeping in mind off the bat include:

  • The rise of home automation systems, multi-purpose mobile computing devices, and interconnected gadgets, quickly becoming more fully-featured and accessible through a growing range of apps. It’s getting to the point where you can control your home, DVR and entertainment collection remotely, and even your scale and refrigerator are starting to conspire together to help keep you looking trim by the pool.
  • Rising advancements in mobile devices, leading to larger screen sizes, higher resolution graphics, and a growing range of choices in every shape, style and size. Thanks to promising handsets from the Samsung Galaxy S4 to Sony Xperia Z and HTC One, be on the lookout for improved battery life and better computing performance, as well as enhanced multimedia capabilities and download speeds.
  • Massive strides in cell phone digital camera capabilities are also being made, meaning it’s easier than ever to capture or share vacation moments and memories. But dedicated waterproof and shockproof cameras from the likes of Olympus, Pentax and Panasonic are also growingly worth considering as an alternative, given shrinking prices and superior performance at capturing underwater or fast-action shots.

Of course, summer is also always a prime time for workout apps which promote fitness and exercise, several of which even use the GPS or other features of your mobile device to track distances and workout performance so you can compare progress with friends. Music apps that offer streaming audio from your favorite artists or quickly help identify songs playing in the background at BBQs and beaches should also prove popular as well. Expect deal apps to come in especially handy as well, potentially saving you tons of money and keeping you connected to the best activities and vacations available this summer.

As an example, if you’re looking to get away, definitely check out Expedia’s free mobile travel app. Not only can you book killer last minute deals at rates up to 60% off, but also track and manage travel itineraries with ease as well. Besides getting real-time updates on things like flight status, you can also add activities and car rentals if your plans change, plus access useful information like airport maps, addresses and confirmation codes on the fly. Plus, if you’re already on the road, it’s super easy to find and book last minute hotels with mobile-exclusive deals.

Like we mentioned earlier, tablet PCs are also increasingly becoming a preferred choice for many shoppers. Systems powered by the Windows 8 operating system like the Acer Iconia W3 make a great choice, letting you enjoy a full range of entertainment options – music, movies, TV shows, books, games, etc. – wherever you travel, without having to pack multiple devices. A great way to keep kids occupied watching movies or playing games, it can lie flat on any surface and two people can touch the screen at the same time. As with any Windows 8 system, you get power, performance, and the ability to customize your interface using live tiles with downloadable apps from the Windows Store, making for great times and great value.

While we touched on new features that are hot in phone technology previously, many of the most crucial new advancements are being made in processors, the heart of these devices, which directly impact performance, as well. As an example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor has steadily been raising the bar for mobile devices. Already in more than 800 phones like the super-popular Samsung Galaxy S4 and many other Android and Windows Phone devices, the Snapdragon processor provides the best mobile user experience possible. This means enhanced GPS, web browsing, music playback and gaming capabilities, as well as better battery life. When shopping for a mobile device, you’ll want to know if one’s inside, and can check out this handy tool to find a good fit.

Be sure to tune back in regularly for more of the best new high-tech gadgets, apps, online services and accessories. With so many promising ways to relax and recline, we’ll keep you posted as more news breaks.

Top 10 Home Gadgets for 2013

26 February, 2013 Life No comments
Top 10 Home Gadgets for 2013

Technology is playing a constantly-growing role in our lives. We can adjust our house’s temperature from miles away. We can charge our electronics with the aid of the sun. Rooms can even sense when people are absent, and dim the lights accordingly. What comes next? Possibly state-of-the-art playrooms that project a virtual veldt complete with parent-eating lions. No need to worry about that just yet, though. In fact, you should relax and enjoy the savings and convenience that modern household tech can offer you. 

Here are the 10 best home gadgets for 2013. 

MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer – 3D printers generate perfect replicas of objects. Sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s completely real—and the technology is coming home at a rapid pace. The MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer can “print” copies of objects utilizing a sturdy bioplastic. 

Voltaic Solar Charger Kits – Voltaic’s solar charging kits are available as portable adapters, panels, and even as backpacks. Each one utilizes the sun to charge up a multitude of electronic devices. 

Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch – Remember The Clapper, the device that turned lights on and off with audio cues? This works in much the same way, sans clap. Maestro’s Occupancy Sensing Switch uses sensors to turn on and dim the lights according to whether or not people are in the room. 

Fujitsu Lifebook 2013 – All-in-one devices are convenient, but the Lifebook 2013 goes above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a laptop, a camera, a phone, and a tablet. All of its parts buddy-up together for easy travel and storage. 

Raspberry Pi – Computers are vital components of our lives, and the Raspberry Pi ensures that everyone gets access to one regardless of income level. This simple credit card-sized board plugs into a TV and a keyboard and is capable of performing many of the same tasks as a full-sized PC. 

Google Glasses / Project Glass – Project Glass admittedly looks silly on the face of a human being, but these glasses allow you to surf the Internet hands-free via voice commands.    

Basis Band – The Basis Band is a must-have for fitness enthusiasts, or anyone who just wants to know their fitness problem areas. The band reads heart rate, blood flow, heat dissipation and sleep cycles, and then pushes you go beyond your previous limits. 

iPhone 5S – We’re almost certain to see the iPhone 5S before 2013 is done. Summer or Fall are popular estimates, and rumored features include improved durability and wireless charging. 

Lockitron – Lockitron should see release in 2013 thanks to a successful Kickstarter. This handy device lets you lock and secure your home from anywhere with a simple application. No more driving backwards back up your street to ensure that you locked the door before you left the house. 

SmartThings – SmartThings lets you monitor, secure, and control your house through your smartphone. You can also keep tabs on the comings and goings of your family. The device’s first pre-orders will ship in Spring 2013, so if you haven’t pre-ordered, do so.

Top 10 Tablets for 2013

Top 10 Tablets for 2013

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Are you looking to upgrade your tablet over the coming year? Or maybe 2013 will be the year that marks the purchase of your first tablet. Either way, the bustling tablet market has you covered: There are more models to select from than ever before, and they’re all available in a multitude of colors, sizes, and price brackets. And between iOS, Windows, and Android, you even have your choice of operating systems. 

Stumped on what you ought to buy? Here are the top ten tablets for 2013. 

iPad (Fourth Generation) – The iPad is still the go-to brand for tablet computers. The highly popular device is now into its fourth iteration and boasts powerful hardware, a familiar interface, and tons of game and app support courtesy of the App Store. 

iPad Mini – Apple’s trimmed-down answer to the 7” tablet craze is approximately as powerful as the iPad 2, and for the most part it supports the same apps and games as its larger cousins. 

Nexus 7 – Looking for an Android-based tablet that’s affordable and versatile? This little fellow from Google and Asus might be your answer. It’s perfect for reading eBooks and watching television programs, and it’ll only set you back $299 USD. 

Microsoft Surface – This laptop/tablet hybrid is the perfect buy for anyone who wants the portability of a tablet, but the accuracy of a keyboard. Its detachable keyboard doubles as a protective cover, and there are two versions to choose from: A model that comes with Windows RT, and a model that includes Windows 8 Pro. 

Motorola Droid Xyboard / Xoom 2 – The Xyboard is smaller, sleeker, and faster than its predecessor, Xoom. The “media edition” of the tablet can stream content from your PC, and the whole package has been made water-resistant. Perfect for bad weather, though we don’t recommend taking it for a dunk in the pool. 

Sony Xperia Tablet S – The Xperia Tablet S is the successor to the Sony Tablet S. It has a thinner, lighter design than its ancestor, and an improved camera. It’s even equipped with an infrared blaster, which lets you use the device as a universal remote. 

Asus eee Pad Transformer Prime – Arguably  the coolest-named tablet in the world, the Asus eee Transformer Prime actually does transform from a tablet to a more complete laptop. All you need to do is pick up the Prime’s optional docking keyboard for a little QWERTY power. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – Samsung’s popular tablet runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Delicious, but what does it mean for you? It means tons of processing power that blasts through work during the day, and deliver gentle stories at night. Between books, pictures, movies, and video, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is a perfect family media hub.   

Kindle Fire HD – The Kindle Fire HD is the color-screen follow-up to Amazon’s enormously popular Kindle line of book readers. It runs on a modified version of Ice Cream Sandwich, and is capable of playing video, movies, and games. Needless to say, you can also read ebooks off it. All yours for a still-affordable $199 USD. 

Blackberry Playbook – The Blackberry Playbook may not have set the world on fire upon its initial release, but price cuts have made it more attractive. You can use the Playbook to make and record videos, play games, and much more. Interestingly, the Playbook is pre-loaded with an app that grants access to over 1,500 films from the National Film Board of Canada, which makes the device worth the price of admission for nostalgic Canadians.