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We are nearing the end of the first quarter of 2009, and we think that based on what we’ve seen happen already this year, combined with some announcements of things to come, that we can start to make sense of what 2009 will look like when we look back on it. For instance, we think consumers will see a number of technological advancements in the devices they buy—the laptops, media players, gaming systems, and televisions. That’s always the case. However, we think there are a handful of trends that will dominate the consumer technology market, and we thought we’d take a look at five of them here. Let’s get started:
It seems that mobile phones and GPS can’t be kept apart these days. With the release of Apple’s wildly successful iPhone 3G, GPS has become a standard feature on many of today’s advanced mobile devices.
While GPS used to be reserved for geeky standalone gadgets, like that of a Garmin or Tom Tom, being able to locate yourself wirelessly is now firmly in the realm of cell phones. And that’s just the start. Expect to see GPS penetrating a greater number of tech devices in 2009.
We ask that you try and contain your excitement on this one. You ready? Microsoft has just released the final version of Internet Explorer 8, the company’s home-grown web browser. According to Microsoft, IE8 is “one of the fastest browsers on the market today.” Of course, that really can’t mean much, as there are really only a handful. Being “one of” the fastest doesn’t sound like too confident a statement. A few things you can expect out of IE8 are Web Slices, Accelerators, and Instant Search.
IE8 has been in beta for over a year, so let’s hope this final release is as good as it should be, at least as it pertains to security, and, you know, displaying websites correctly.
Read More | Internet Explorer 8
A couple of days ago, the folks at Sprint invited us to take part in a Palm Pre webcast demo, along with an opportunity for Q&A. They just made the video demo available, and we think this is the best real-world demo yet that actually shows the capabilities of the Pre and Palm’s webOS. Even in the midst of the iPhone 3.0 excitement, you’ve gotta agree that Palm is making waves in the smartphone UI area. Check out the video above for 11 minutes of Palm Pre goodness, and let us know your thoughts.
By now, you probably know that we are big fans of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones. We are also fans of ColorWare, the peeps that custom paint just about every popular gadget. Well, now ColorWare is offering custom-painted Beats by Dre Studio headphones, and they look hot. We’ve previously shown you a few custom ColorWare Beats headphones, including the Ron Herman white Beats, LeBron James red Beats, and Charlie Hamilton pink Beats. As you can tell from those three features, ColorWare does some amazing work on these headphones.
If you’ve got a pair of Beats that you wanna send in for a paint job, that’ll cost you $249—otherwise, you can buy a new pair direct from ColorWare, with design, for $525.
We’ve got a video showing off a few pairs of ColorWare Beats for you, after the break.
Read More | ColorWare Beats by Dr. Dre
In this first episode, Monica goes in for a pre-op consultation, and meets with the folks over at LASIK Plus. During the visit, we captured just about every question about LASIK and laser vision correction surgery that we could, and we bring you all the common questions that most people have about LASIK, in great detail. We also show you some of the pre-op procedures that are done in order to determine if a candidate qualifies for vision correction, and ask about other alternatives for those who don’t.
That’s it for this first episode - if you are someone considering LASIK, or just wanted to know more about it, this is the video to watch. In our next episode, we give you a look at the actual procedure, as we take our cameras into the operating room. Be prepared.
Yup, even more Apple update news for you guys today, as it would be irresponsible of us not to inform you of the spec bumps to the iMac line. Like all the other Apple computer products, the iMac picks up a Mini DisplayPort with this revision, but that’s not all. Prices are looking good, with a 20-inch model starting at $1,199, and the 24-inch model starting at a price of $1,499. There is only one 20-inch model, which hits you with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM, 320GB hard drive space, and a GeForce 9400M graphics chip. The baseline 24-inch model includes the same processor, but 4GB RAM and a 640GB hard drive. You can move up from there if you want a 2.93Ghz, or 3.06 GHz, processor. You can pick up a new iMac now.
Read More | Apple iMac
Continuing with all the Apple desktop releases today, the company has announced a newly-redesigned Nehalem-based Mac Pro. The price starts at $2,499, which gets you a 2.66GHz quad-core Intel Xeon 3500, 3GB RAM, and a 640GB hard drive. If an 8-core system is more your thing, you can grab a Mac Pro with two 2.26GHz quad-core Nehalems, with 6GB RAM, for $3,299. The Nehalem chips support HyperThreading, so you get double the amount of virtual cores as you do real cores, and they support triple RAM data rate. As in customary with all the new Apple computers, the new Mac Pro sports a Mini DisplayPort, which means it is usable with the LED Cinema Display.
The new Mac Pro is available now.
Read More | Mac Pro
We know, you Mac mini fans out there have been waiting a long time for something—anything—from Apple, as it pertained to an update of the platform. That day has come, as the early 2009 Mac mini was added to the Apple desktop lineup this morning. Not too much has changed, but what you should know is that the new model sports five USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, the new mini DisplayPort, and a miniDVI port as well. Yup, that means you can use thing with your dual monitor setup. There are two models, both of which offer a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, and 8x SuperDrive, and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics chipset. The $599 base model nets you 1GB of RAM and 120GB of hard drive space. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, the $799 model hits you with 2GB RAM and a 320GB hard drive. We’ve got an image of the ports for you, after the jump.
The new Mac mini is available for purchase now.
Read More | Apple Mac mini
We’ve spent a few days with the Amazon Kindle 2, which has been the talk of the gadget world this week. We know some of you are wondering if you should pick one up, so we are here to give you our thoughts on the latest iteration of Amazon’s e-book reader. If you’re like us, you already know that the Kindle 2 is available for purchase now, and you likely have one in your hands - but for the rest of you, join us for our full review of the Kindle 2 (and if you missed it, check out our Kindle 2 gallery.)
Okay, so while we were working on the review, we sent a couple of questions out to some of our Twitter peeps asking what they thought of the device, and Lisa from EllisLab hit us back with so much info, that we are using her feedback to break this down for you. Sometimes you need the point of view of a “real world” user anyway, as opposed to one of us gadget fiends. So what we will do is give some of our thoughts on the Kindle 2, and then bring in Lisa’s thoughts as well.
The Kindle 2 was announced on February 9th, and just started shipping on February 24th. The announcement came with the promise of a 25% improvement in battery life, 20% faster page turns, a better screen that supports up to 16 shades of gray (as opposed to 4 shades with the original,) and a much thinner design.
Time to bring back the Gear Live poll, because we’re wondering what method most Xbox 360 users are employing when they connect their consoles to their home networks. We’re talking about you. Did you spend the extra benjamin on one of the Wireless Networking Adapters? Do you run a long-ass cable from your router to the 360 to avoid latency (or cost of said adapter)? Something else?
Hit up the poll and let us know, and feel free to use the comments to give us a more thorough response!
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