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Posts Tagged ‘mp3 players’

Apple iPad3 coming March 7, smaller version may be in the works

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

The iPad3 is due for unveiling March 7, while a smaller version is in the works.

Apple Inc. fans drool over every new release of the company’s hardware and March 7 they’ll get their first look at the new iPad3, accoridng to iMore.

Quoting “sources reliable in the past,” Rene Richie says, it will feature a quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip, 2048×1536 Retina display, and possibly 4G LTE networking.

The site admits the 4G LTE and quad core system are both speculative at this point.

Rumors say the new iPad3 may also have better cameras.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is testing a smaller version of the iPad with a screen of about 8 inches, a size that would put it in competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire – especially if priced lower.

Personally, we find the smaller form factor of the Kindle Fire is much easier to use generally than the 10-inch tablets we tried – although we haven’t used an iPad.

We think Apple needs some lower-priced entry level products now that cheap mp3 players are everywhere, high powered PC laptops go for under $500, and inexpensive tablets such as the Kindle Fire are available.

Tips for buying holiday tech gifts

Monday, November 14th, 2011

tablet computersWhen shopping for tech gifts this holiday season, purchasing quality, highly-rated products will help ensure your gifts will be enjoyed. But even the perfect gadget can present issues.

The experts at The Savvy Shopper Blog suggest researching in advance and purchasing service plans to protect your tech gifts. Here are their tips for a variety of popular items on the 2011 holiday checklist:

E-Book Readers and Tablets
Consider your loved one’s preferences; do they wish to primarily read, play games, access email or social networking sites? Or would they prefer a device that can do all that and more?

Tablets and e-readers typically access the Internet via Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G networks, or a combination of Wi-Fi and a network. While e-reader models are offering more capabilities, tablets still reign supreme in terms of multi-functioning devices.

When determining whether you wish to gift a tablet or an e-reader, consider the price. Tablets typically run from several hundred dollars to $1,000, while e-readers start at less than $100 and run to several hundred.

For e-readers, consider either an e-ink or an LCD screen. E-ink screens mimic the appearance of printed ink on paper, while LCD screens use liquid crystals to display colors.

  • E-ink — The e-ink screen image appears just like a printed page and can be read in bright light or sunlight. However, the pages appear in black and white and cannot be read in the dark.
  • LCD screens — Bright and colorful, these lit screens can be read at night, but the screens can be difficult to read in bright light or sunlight, and some consumers believe the screens can tire or strain the eyes.

For tablets, keep in mind that most tech lovers have a preferred operating system, such as Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. Also remember that storage size is important — if your loved one saves a great deal of photos and music files electronically, they will require more storage capacity.

Size, weight, speed and storage are the most important elements to keep in mind when purchasing a laptop. For ample photo and music storage, purchase a computer with plenty of gigabytes. If your loved one streams videos, you’ll need a fast processor and good speakers. Likewise, for video game use, make sure you have a quality graphics card.

While light-weight and small screen laptops are more portable, larger screens are better for video and gaming use. Models with built-in cameras and microphones are great for video chatting too.

Flat Screen TVs
Today, there are many options beyond size and picture, such as 3D technology and Wi-Fi capabilities. To get started, consider the following:

  • Plasma screens — Plasma screens display a wide range of colors and a cleaner picture with fewer instances of motion blur while retaining faster refresh rates. However, the screens are made from glass and therefore reflect more light. When purchasing a plasma screen, look for a model with an anti-glare filter.
  • LCD screens — These screens are lighter weight and come in a variety of sizes compared to plasma. They use less power and some models also feature LEDs, which illuminate the display and deepen blacks. But with the LCD, picture quality can be inferior, with slower refresh rates as well.

Video Gaming Systems
Each year, manufacturers continue to improve upon video gaming platforms. With so many games and accessories, it can be difficult to choose between gaming systems. Here are the top three:

  • Xbox 360 — This gaming system features high-definition graphics and also plays DVDs and CDs, but users are required to subscribe and pay for online gaming.
  • PS3 — With high definition graphics, this system also plays DVDs, CDs and Blu-rays as well, but it’s priced higher than the Xbox, and if a user wishes to play PSOne or PS2 games, they must purchase an adapter.
  • Nintendo Wii — While the graphics aren’t as sharp and the system doesn’t play DVDs, users can get up and move while virtually playing tennis, golf and other games, making this system much more interactive. In addition, this system is compatible with the GameCube.

Protection — The Extra Gift 
Consider purchasing a replacement or service plan to protect your electronic gift. It’s important to know the difference between the two standard types of product warranties:

Limited Manufacturer Warranty

  • Generally comes standard with your product purchase. However, this type of warranty will only cover a problem with the product considered a “manufacturer’s defect;” not products that fail from wear and tear; heat, dust and humidity; or accidental damage.
  • Basic protection is limited, typically 90 days to one year.
  • Manufacturers have been reducing the duration and scope of what they cover. Parts and labor may be split, so you could find yourself paying out of pocket.

Extended Service Plan (or “Extended Warranty”)

  • Builds upon the manufacturer’s coverage.
  • Provides for coverage due to defects in materials and workmanship, including those due to normal wear and tear and environmental factors like heat, dust and humidity and, in some cases, accidental damage from handling.
  • Coverage ranges from two to five years.
  • Due to the “no lemon” clause of many extended warranties, if your gift cannot be fixed, it will simply be replaced with a new product or gift card for the value of your purchase.
  • Can provide support 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

To learn more about protection plans, visit

Top Five Electronic Gifts Most Likely to Fail
N.E.W. Customer Service Companies provides the following list of holiday gifts most likely to fail:
1. Video game consoles
2. LCD screens
3. MP3 players
4. Laptops
5. Digital cameras

Smartphones, tablets, replacing older devices from alarm clocks to radios and cameras

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

SmartphonesSmartphones and tablets, loaded with features and apps, are replacing other technology devices for many consumers, according to a recent mobile survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights among smartphone and tablet users on their devices.

A majority of smartphone/tablet users say their mobile device has replaced a traditional alarm clock (61.1%) and a GPS device (52.3%). 4 in 10 smartphone/tablet users say their mobile device has replaced a digital camera (44.3%), a personal planner (41.6%) and a landline phone (40.3%). More than a third no longer need a separate MP3 player (37.6%) or a video camera (34.2%).

It is no surprise that smartphones and tablets can easily take the place of other devices or media outlets, but can they replace a wallet? 57.7% of smartphone and tablet owners say they would be somewhat or very comfortable using their device to make a purchase in a store. 22.8% are unsure while 19.5% would be not at all or not very comfortable using this new “swipe technology.”

Replaced by Smartphone or Tablet

Alarm Clock: 61.1%
GPS: 52.3%
Digital camera: 44.3%
Personal planner: 41.6%
Landline phone: 40.3%
MP3 Player: 37.6%
Video Camera: 34.2%
Newspaper: 28.2%
Radio: 27.5%
Desktop/Laptop Computer: 24.2%
Gaming device: 20.8%
Books: 20.1%
Internet service at home: 19.5%
DVD Player: 14.1%

Despite innovative new gadgets, thousands of apps and a growing number of uses for new mobile devices, consumers still say reliable service is key. A vast majority (77.9%) of smartphone/tablet users say the best service is more important than the newest technology (22.1%).

The full report (requires filling out a form)


Cell phone the gadget of choice among Americans, Pew says

Friday, October 15th, 2010

PewInternetWASHINGTON, DC – When it comes to personal communication devices, the cell phone remains the “gadget of choice” among Americans in 2010—fully 85 percent of all adults and three quarters of teens now own a mobile phone, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Computers are the second-most commonly owned piece of personal technology, as six in ten Americans own a desktop computer and half own a laptop. Just under half of all adults own an mp3 player (47%) or console gaming device (42%), while e-book readers and tablet computers are currently each owned by around one in twenty adults.

The results make sense. Cell phones and computers play the dual role of work tool/personal tool, whereas devices such as MP3 players, games consoles and e-readers are primarily used primarily for personal entertainment. We suspect that e-readers are going to gain considerable traction going forward, however. Ours goes with us in the bag with the netbook or PC and MP3 player whether we’re headed to a work gig or traveling for pleasure.

The key findings:

  • Cell phones – 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults illustrate the extent to which mobile phones have become a necessity of modern communications: fully 96% of 18-29 year olds own a cell phone of some kind.
  • Desktop and laptop computers – Three quarters (76%) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.
  • Mp3 players – Just under half of American adults (47%) own an mp3 player such as an iPod, a nearly five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.
  • Game consoles – Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42% of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64%) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33%) to own a game console.
  • Tablet computers and e-book readers – Compared to the other devices in this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans. However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated–ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national average.