New avatars

Gadget makers tend to proclaim every reincarnation of a product they make as a pivotal moment in human history.

Published: 03rd March 2018 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2018 07:57 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Gadget makers tend to proclaim every reincarnation of a product they make as a pivotal moment in human history. Partly because they have to sell stuff and partly because they are impressed with their own cleverness. Like the timer added to a toaster as the greatest invention since sliced bread. The new alarm clock with the tiny touchscreen tacked on is a monolith from Kubrick’s space epic. But now as personal technology evolves, the time has begun for computers to begin seeing the world around them. And not just supercomputers. Even ordinary smartphones in everyone’s pockets.

The new iPhone X is the best example of this growth. In the tiny notch carved into the top of its screen is a camera that can recognise faces. Not just any face from the “likes” of photos on Facebook, but human faces in their 3D glory, with all the warts. Megacorps like Apple, Google and Samsung continue to dominate the race. Gizmos are getting more exotic as competition smarts up; the best ones are for health and home—a globally connected workout machine, a Bluetooth denim jacket, a robotic dog that can recognise faces, electronic personal assistants and more. For travellers, there are translation devices, autonomously moving suitcases, remote control vacuum cleaners to make being on the move better. Refrigerators tell you who is at the front door and gamers can multitask on many screens. The new plan is clear. To make the world one, everything will stay connected from now on.

Phones

iPhone X(From Rs 89,000)
On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the most revolutionary consumer electronic device ever, there were doubts about Apple’s ability to innovate. Apple’s answer was the iPhone X. The jewel-like phone has two flagship features that make its users feel as if they are living in the future. The first is an edge-to-edge screen without any distracting bezels, with a massive 5.8-inch display in a gadget that is only slightly bigger than the iPhone 7. The second new feature is face recognition technology, dubbed Face ID. Unlike similar technologies in other phones that take photos of faces to unlock and so are easily hacked, Face ID captures over 30,000 IR dots on the user’s face to make an intricate map. Not to mention the sophisticated cameras, wireless charging and super fast speeds to make the X the best smartphone on the market.

OnePlus 5T (From Rs 32,999)
If you want the polish and performance of flagship Apple and Samsung phones at half the price in an Android phone, look no further than OnePlus and its newest version, the OnePlus 5T with a 6-inch display. The small size of bezels on the top and the bottom makes the grip easy. The well-polished Android rendition named the Oxygen OS makes for a pleasant user experience. The aluminium unibody is available in ‘Midnight Black’ and ‘Sandstone White’ with a ceramic finger print scanner on the back.
You also get access to Dash charging, which gives you a day’s worth of charge in just half an hour. Available with either 6GB or 8 GB of RAM, it is also one of the fastest Android phones available.

Music

Sennheiser HD 820(Approx. Rs 1,50,000)
Headphones are constantly upping their game to satisfy the dedicated audiophile. Sennheiser believes it has changed the game with HD 820 closed back dynamic stereo headphones. The company’s biggest innovation is a glass-inducer cover made out of gorilla glass, which minimises resonances giving the listener a realistic and natural sound field. It comes with a metal headband with an inner damping element, silver-clad OFC cables, gold-plated plugs and ear pads handcrafted in Germany. In case you wondered what a gorilla glass is, it is super thin, light-resistant and damage-resistant.

Apple HomePod(Approx. Rs 25,000)
Apple continues to enjoy big moments. The HomePod brings its unique i-design language, superior audio quality skills and own AI assistant, Siri, to living rooms. It will be in shops in the next few months, in both black and white, boasting high technology features such as upward-facing woofers, a six-microphone array, a seven-tweeter array—all wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric. But what sets the HomePod apart from the Google Home and the Amazon Echo is its spatial awareness. The device even changes its music delivery to suit the room and also segues with other HomePods nearby.

WEARABLES

L’Oréal La Roche-Posay UV Sense (Price TBA)
The first wearable gizmo from fashion giant L’Oréal, the UV Sense will tell you how long you have spent in the sun. Packed with sensors and NFC technology, it works by syncing data with either your Android or iPhone to give you a detailed breakdown on its dedicated app. Small enough to stick on a nail, it will give you the right score about the time UV rays ravaged your skin. During the initial set-up of the app, please give all details about your skin tone. As the amount of sun a person’s skin can handle vary, the score depends on your skin tone. And since it is L’Oréal, the gadget will not only give you advice depending on your skin score, but will also try to sell you their anti-sun products.

Levi’s Jacquard by Google (Approx. Rs 23,000)
Google has partnered with Levi’s to show off their smart fabric technology. Levi’s Jacquard is a denim jacket with controls on its sleeve. It works with both Android phones and iPhones, and lets you know of incoming calls or messages through haptic feedback, reads out the messages, enables you to send calls to voicemail, announce navigation prompts turn by turn, and of course lets you choose your music. Using a USB port, power can last up to two weeks on a single charge. But use deos: the thingamajig can be washed only 10 times in its lifetime. Welcome to wearing your world on your sleeve.

 

KIDS

Sony Aibo

The old robot dog has new tricks like OLED panels for eyes, cameras on its nose and touch sensors on the chin, head and back which make it respond to petting and cuddles.  With face recognition tech, it even distinguishes between owners. Wow Bow!

My Special Aflac Duck

This is a companion robot for kids with illnesses like cancer. Through naturalistic movement, a companion app to explore the duck’s virtual world and through distinct emotions, it helps comfort children.

 

 

TRAVEL

Travis the Translator(Approx. Rs 15,000)
This tech polyglot is a puck-sized, black pebble with a screen that lets you translate 80 languages while on the hoof. By having a standalone device, you supposedly save on battery life of your smartphone, as Travis works for 12 hours after being juiced up just once. With noise cancellation mics, Travis works easy in the most noisy outdoor areas. Using AI and machine learning to improve its translating chops, the more you use it, the better it gets. Operating both offline and online, the accessory even works in places where you would be too afraid to take your expensive phone.

CX-1 Smart Suitcase (Price TBA)
Self-driving cars are still in the experimental garage, but self-driving suitcases are here. The CX-1 Smart Suitcase made by Chinese company ForwardX has a 170-degree wide-angle camera and radar to look around and sense objects around. Using real-time recognition and tracing algorithms, CX-1 follows its owner autonomously. Because the wheels are rubber, it can move freely over soft and rough surfaces. You also get a Bluetooth wristband to stay connected with the “world’s first self-driving carry-on”. If both of you are separated, your smart suitcase will ping you its location. And it even has a thief alert! It’s not just clothes and your toothbrush it is packed with: the CX-1 has GPS tracking, a smart lock, and a built-in socket to charge your cell phone.

GAMING

ASUS ROG Swift PG65 (Price TBA)

Serious gamers often find themselves shifting between PCs and TVs to watch separate content or to stream games to different users. ASUS ROG Swift PG65 seems made just for them. For starters, it comes with a massive 65-inch screen that can be hooked up to any PC. Its 4,000 resolution screen with a 120HZ refresh rate that supports HDR content, the games pop up with the most vivid details. And wait, the doodad’s screen is more than just  a screen. Tucked away behind is an Nvidia Shield that makes it double as an Android TV. So play games on it, even streaming them on Twitch without ever having to move or switch screens and watch Netflix as well to multitask your enjoyment.

Nintendo Switch (From Rs 32,490)

Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile gaming consoles on the market. Out of the box, it comes with a tablet-size screen, two removable controllers called Joy-Cons on either side and a docking station. So if you are on the move, attach the controllers to the screen and just play. At home, drop the screen in the dock and connect it to your TV. Having friends over? Use the built-in stand to prop up the screen on a table and watch. By attaching the included Joy-Con grip, the two individual controllers come together to turn into a traditional game controller. The controllers themselves have haptic feedback called HD rumble, enabling your hands to feel every action that happens in the game.

Fitness

Peloton Tread (Approx. Rs 2,60,000)
This mini home workout studio comes with a 32-inch touch screen that helps you get help from the experts in the company’s New York studios for everything from running, to interval training to even yoga. With a state-of-the-art rubber slat belt and easy-to-use controls for changing both speed and incline, Peloton Tread also shows you in-depth, real-time workout metrics such as heart rate and elevation. The touchscreen also comes with powerful stereo speakers that make the toughest jog a walk in the park.

Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ Edition (From Rs 29,900)
For fitness tracking, the Apple Watch is the best gizmo in the market. And when it comes to helping you stay fit, there is nothing better than Nike+. A combination of the two means Apple Watch’s latest Nike+ edition is the best tool you can count on to keep you fit. It has built-in GPS and altimeter for outdoor runs; gym equipment sync for indoor runs; and by being swim-proof, there is no worry being in many laps of luxury. The latest edition of the series also comes with the Nike+ Run Club app, which is the perfect companion for anyone on the run.

HOME

Lenovo Smart Display (From Rs 13,000)
When Google engineers wanted to create a smart home assistant with a touchscreen, they came up with the Lenovo Smart Display. Available in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes and in soft grey or bamboo finishes, Smart Display comes loaded with Google Assistant. It is capable of doing everything a smart assistant is supposed to do like answering questions, playing music, checking weather, reading the news etc. It can play YouTube videos and let you make video calls using Google Duo and also act as a smart hub for other smart gadgets in your home.

Neato Botvac Connected (Approx. Rs 63,000)
Botvac, the robot vacuum cleaner, connects to your home WiFi and can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Its unique D-shape allows it into tight corners, and the exclusive LaserSmart technology maps your house with all the furniture and floor levels. Capable of cleaning up to 5,000 sq ft in a single cycle, it sends notifications once it is done. Using the corresponding app, you can set up its cleaning schedules. Though why one would want to vacuum the house while away on holiday is anyone’s guess.

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator (Approx. Rs 2,11,065)
The Korean electronics giant has improved on its Family Hub Bixby with an intelligent voice assistant and connected home controls. It’s a family’s home digital controller, which will tell you the amount of food in the fridge, give recipes, seamlessly connect with hundreds of compatible devices, see who is ringing the door bell, adjust the thermostat, check on a sleeping baby in the next room and more.

Nest X Yale Lock(Price TBA)
Expected to launch this month after much experimenting for two years, the smart lock Google Nest, made in collaboration with Yale, has no keys. Instead, it has a battery-powered (four AA ones) entry system with a touch-screen, and can store up to 250 passcodes, which can be customised according to users. The lock can be remote controlled using the Nest app.

Pc

Razer Project Linda(Price TBA)
Last year, Razer introduced a powerful mobile phone, which now  has been combined with its most powerful gaming laptop. The 13.3-inch Quad HD touchscreen has been fitted inside a laptop shell with a visible hole where traditionally trackpads go. The Razer phone neatly docks into that space, not only to act as a touch screen trackpad but also powers the laptop to give the user the best of both the worlds. The built-in keyboard has Android buttons and backlit keys glowing in RGB colours. The laptop also doubles up as a power bank for the phone and has 200GB storage to store offline phone backups, apps and games.

iMac Pro (From Rs 4,15,000)
Desk machines for niche professionals such as filmmakers, musicians and game developers need to be powerful. Hence they can be large, clunky computers that go for function over form. Apple is changing all that. Instead of upgrading its Mac Pro lineup, the company has integrated a most powerful computer with the sleek iMac design. In the process, Apple also painted it black. With a 5K, 27-inch screen, Xeon processors that go up to 18 cores, up to 22 terraflops of graphics performance, 128GB ECC memory and 4TB of SSD storage, the new iMac Pro is one of the most powerful, yet most beautiful computers  ever built.

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