Walt, Kara & 300 of Their Best Friends

Originally posted on janyxu.com

Maybe not 300.  Maybe not their best friends.  But the 6th Annual Gadgets Event hosted by the Churchill Club was pretty freakin’ awesome.  As part of their PR Agency, I got to attend and see some of the coolest gadgets out there.  Some are out.  Some aren’t.

Along with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg,  Evan Williams, Twitter Co-Founder and CEO, and Greg Harper, co-founder of Gadgetoff, showed off gadgets from fuel cells to a Star Wars Wii controllers (with LEDs that light up the laser end of the light saber).  Here’s a quick and dirty look of my favorites:

.

This is the Flip Mino HD.  Not only is it smaller than the gen 1 Flip, but it also records in full HD.  As usual, the minimalist design and buttons on the back make operating tres easy, as does the pop out USB connector up top.  Retail: about $229.

.

When a friend from Portola Valley, home of many a well-to-do/VC types, invited me over for dinner and discussed such a portable projector, I quickly dismissed it as totally impossible.  A projector this small?  Will it actually work or explode into a burning mess?

So I was ridiculously wrong (like that hasn’t happened before).  This little guy is not much bigger than an iPod, as you can see, and from the demonstration that Greg gave, the projection looks amazingly clear with pretty good color precision.  Retail: $300-500.

.

There’s also the phone projector.  I couldn’t find the exactly image of the one that Greg showed, but this is pretty close.  It’s shaped exactly like the iPhone, except longer and even has the same interface.  My guess that it’s from China- looser copyright laws.  No idea on the price, and to be honest, I’d probably skip gen one.  If the product works well and with MS Office, you’ll never had to carry a laptop and projector to a presentation again.  A carry case that comes with a laptop connector (for troubleshooting) and a laser pointer, would make this a top sell for all the corporate types. 🙂

.

This is the much talked about Blackberry Storm.  For those with Verizon (and not stuck with *cough cough* AT&T), the Storm is supposed to be an iPhone killer.  From what Walt showed us on Tuesday night… not so much.  What’s with Blackberry’s need to use that weird non-QWERTY keypad?  And why would you include the numeric keypad for typing text?  Silliness.  It does have international SIM card slot and GMS but doesn’t work in the US (a.k.a. doesn’t work with other mobile services).  Retail: $249 with a $50 rebate, which puts it at the same range as the iPhone.

.

Unlike the Blackberry, because it’s less useful but so much cooler, is Plantsense.  This doo-hickie has a pronged fork at the bottom that you stick into the ground.  It detects the soil PH, moisture, etc., while the green flower up top takes measurements from the air, like light and moisture.  Then (of course), it snaps open to reveal a USB stick, which plugs into your computer and gives you a detail analysis of the flora conditions and what plants would best suit the conditions around you.

This is perfect for me.  My last two plants have sadly died and I’m not sure what to grow anymore.  The window next to my office gets blazing sun from morning until noon and shade for the rest of the day.  I think my last plants, local wild flower varieties, died from sun poisoning.  They were growing fine one day and limp and dark green the next.  Retail: $59.95.

.

The femtocell, made by Samsung for Sprint, extends the cell network anywhere you go.  Just plug it in, and it acts like a cell tower, giving you full bars with a radius of 1, 500 feet.  Greg mentioned that other cell carriers have a similar product, and he loves it when he’s in the middle of New York State and needs some bars in hicksville.  I don’t think I’ll be getting one soon, but if you’re like my ex, who lives in a stone house, please consider it on your Santa list.  Retail: a couple hundred plus any subscriber fees, $15-30/month for Sprint customers.

.

I started with one of my favorite (the high quality, useful & inexpensive Flip cam), so I’ll end with one too.  This is the Panasonic SDR-SW20.  I’m not 100% sure what that means, except this: it’s a waterproof camcorder that takes pictures too.  And not waterproof, i.e. you can splash water on it.  It will actually go into the swimming pool with you!…!!!  I know!

This lightweight little contraption also comes with wi-fi, which means that you can automatically back up the videos and images on your computer inside the house, while you’re playing underwater (or if you’re my friend in her apartment’s pool, giving a back story to the bandaid floating near the bottom of the pool).  I haven’t hear much feedback on how well the camcorder works in salt water, i.e. on a scuba dive in the Caribbean, but will report back during an unboxing party. 😛 Retail: about $282.

.

Those were some of the highlights of the evening.  Others like the singing Elvis, which already made a debut on the Late Show with Letterman, and a tiny camera on a stick like those you see in the proctologist’s office, weren’t as exciting.  I can’t wait to see some of these products on market.  With the marketplace in a coma, this is a great time to buy cool gadgets with deep price discounts.  w00t!


SHIFT on Twitter


%d bloggers like this: