I brought some of my favorite Back to School tech ideas to show Michelle Charlesworth on WABC TV. I love all the gadgets I chose but my hands-down favorite is the Lenovo LaVie Z laptop which is the lightest 13-inch laptop you can buy. Honestly, it feels like a prototype when I carry it but it really does have a hard drive and a kick-ass Intel Core i7 processor. Check them all out, plus the full video here.
Still trying to figure out what your child would like as a gift for the holidays? I took my best ideas to WABC TV to show David Novarro the latest in STEM toys for girls and the best tech gifts for children on your list during the holidays. Watch the video here and read about all the items below.
Leap TV $149
Leap TV is a made-for-kids video gaming system that provides hours of fun, while ensuring the kids get up and off the couch to play.
It has motion sense technology and a Kinect-like camera to put the kids in the game so they’ll be jumping, hopping and laughing their way through the levels. Three ways to use the controller; body motion, pointer play and classic control.
There are over 100 education games that automatically adjust to your child’s age and ability. Also games like LeapFrog sports and Kart Racing.
Kindle Fire HD6 Kids edition $149
The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition is a real tablet with a quad core processor, front and rear cameras and an HD display. It comes in 6-inch and 7-inch sizes and includes a colorful, kid-proof case to protect against accidental drops and impact.
Parents will love that it comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited; a library of 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games-at no additional cost.
Parental controls let you set limits on content and screen time for each child. It can be taken out of kids’ mode and used as a regular tablet with a password. And because we all know accidents happen, Amazon offers a two-year warranty; “If they break it, we’ll replace it. No questions asked.”
Sphero Ollie $99
Ollie is a super-fun racing robot you control you control with an iOS app. It pairs instantly to any Bluetooth LE-enabled device. It will run one hour on a single battery charge, and it’s tough; built to withstand drops and falls. Its polycarbonate shell protects it from high speed collisions.
Roominate is a toy that helps young girls build just about anything they can imagine. It’s a hands-on toy developed by female engineers designed to get girls interested in engineering and technology. They can build walls and floors – this set is for a studio, perfect for a NYC apt.
Using the modular building pieces they can create beds, tables, lamps and they can even wire up a motor to make items like elevators and fans.
There are a wide range of kits that can be used together.
Selfie case with built-in remote shutter $40
We all know kids love to take selfies but who has arms long enough to get everyone in the picture? The Selfie iPhone case has a built-in shutter for your phone’s camera so you never lose it. Just slide it out when you need it, connect via Bluetooth and snap away.
Works with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.
New Android tablets seem to be about as prevalent as KitKat bars at Halloween, but Lenovo’s YOGA Tablet 2 Pro distinguishes itself with some very innovative, new features. It has a built-in Pico projector, a cylinder shaped bottom that makes it comfortable to hold, and a first-of-its-kind, built-in subwoofer delivering rich, immersive sound.
Lenovo introduced the new tablet along with 8 and 10-inch Android and Windows tablets, and the Yoga 3 Pro ultra slim convertible PC at an event in London last week that I was lucky enough to attend. More on the YOGA 3 Pro below.
The YOGA Tablet 2 Pro was developed with Ashton Kutcher, who you may recall joined Lenovo as a product engineer last year. Apparently he had a lot to do with the design of this tablet. For starters, Lenovo told me Kutcher was the one who came up with the idea for the subwoofer. He met with a team of designers and engineers in Beijing and put out the challenge. The engineers were eventually able to get the subwoofer small enough so that it not only fit, it sounds amazing.
The enhanced audio system with 8 watts of sound isn’t the only innovation; this 13-inch tablet has a built-in Pico projector. You may wonder, as I did, why do I need a projector on my tablet? Lenovo’s Jeff Meredith, vice president, Mobile Business Group, told me their research shows 88% of users are consuming large amounts of digital content on their tablets at home. And more than half of them watch TV on their tablet. Of course, it helps that home is where there’s Wi-Fi so watching digital media doesn’t burn through precious data.
The YOGA Tablet 2 Pro with its 13-inch QHD 2560×1440 display is designed to be a media tablet. You can project movies, videos, games and photos to a wall or even your ceiling. Add in the immersive sound from the front-facing speakers and rear subwoofer and you can see why projecting movies from your tablet onto a wall for a 50-in theater experience will soon become a thing.
Those of you familiar with the YOGA design know it offers modes of use to enhance your experience. If you’re reading an e-book, you might prefer the Hold mode which affords a better reading angle. Tilt and Stand mode use the built-in kickstand for easy browsing. There’s now a new Hang mode so you can hang it wherever you like.
The tablet, which will be available at the end of the month starting at $499 runs on the latest 4th gen Intel Atom processor, has an 8MP rear camera, and comes with 32 GB of storage, expandable up to 64 GB. Battery life is projected at 15 hours, with 5 hours of video playback time.
If you’re in the market for a new PC the slim, light YOGA 3 Pro has a watchband hinge design that lets the device open to completely flat. That new hinge allowed Lenovo designers to shave 17% from the previous version, and when open the PC is thinner than a pencil. Like its predecessors, there’s Laptop mode, Stand mode for video chatting, Tent mode for watching movies or presenting and Tablet mode.
On top of the thin and light design, the YOGA 3 Pro now has Harmony, Lenovo’s software that adapts to the device’s different modes. For example, if you’re reading an e-book Harmony will automatically adjust the brightness depending on the existing lighting in the room. When the device is in tent mode, Harmony will enable software and mode-specific controls that help you understand what’s available.
The 13-inch YOGA 3 Pro has a QHD 3200×1800 display and is running Intel’s newest Core M processor, which means smooth playback, great multi-tasking and long battery life. You can choose from Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver or Champagne Gold when they become available at the end of October.
While the rest of the tech world is focused on the Apple news out of Cupertino, the IFA Tech show is well underway in Berlin, Germany. I spent the last week in Berlin walking the massive halls of the show and meeting with companies to get a hands-on look at the latest innovations.
IFA is a lot like the huge International CES that takes place in January in Las Vegas, except IFA features more European companies and is open to the public who can roam the expansive halls and get their own hands-on demos of the latest tech coming out for the holidays and beyond.
From connected kitchens and robotic vacuums to smart coffee makers, washers and dryers and convertible laptop/tablets, it was all about mobility and connectivity at IFA 14. There was so much to see and talk about but for now, here are the top five items that I’m waiting impatiently to get my hands on, as first published in the Huffington Post.
It seems like the northeast is the last area to head back to school. While some kids have already been hitting the books for a week or more, the NYC area is hitting the stores for last-minute supplies. Here’s my round-up of back to school tech gadgets for high school kids for WABC-TV:
Or you can see all the products I talked about below.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
- The tablet that can replace your laptop – great for students who work with Microsoft Office programs
- Portable and designed for productivity, multi-tasking
- kickstand turns from tablet to laptop with keyboard cover
- Starting at $799 for Core i3 processor
Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop
- Split keyboard layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position, and a cushioned palm rest to provide wrist support.
- Works with laptop or desktop, using the USB receiver.
- It’s all in the angles. Reverse tilt design positions the keyboard at the correct angle to give you a straight, neutral wrist position. Additionally, the shape of the mouse is designed for maximum wrist comfort.
Tylt Energy+ Backpack
- no need for separate charger cables if you have this backpack with its own built-in battery
- keeps you charged wherever you are
Tylt Syncable-Duo Charge and Sync Cable
- 2-in-1 cable solution with both microUSB and Lightning connectors
- avail in different lengths and colors $24.99 Tangle-free flat design
- charges AND syncs data to mobile devices
Samsung Galaxy Tab S – Android
- It has a brilliant Super AMOLED display, better than iPad’s Retina display, making this the perfect tablet for watching Netflix videos or browsing images.
- SideSync 3.0 lets you seamlessly connect your Galaxy S5 phone to your tablet so you can transfer data, cut and paste text and even send and receive voice calls directly from the tablet.
- The Wi-Fi only 8.4-inch tablet starts at $399.99 and the 10.5-inch starts at $499.99.
Toshiba Encore 2 8″ tablet – Windows
- thin and light, 5MP camera, microSD card
- 1288 X 800 resolution
- comes with one year one year subscription to Office 365
- Starting at just $199.99
- give consumers the optimal experience
iPad KEYBOARD CASE Custom Quest iPad keyboard case w/ retractable strap
- holds your iPad safely and stylishly
- a suede interior to nestle your tablet
- flip-out rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard
- When you want to travel light, toting only your iPad, a retractable handle pulls out from the edge of the case, letting you sling it on your shoulder in style.
- $ 70 QVC
Jawbone Mini Jambox
- the one speaker you need, great sound quality, doubles as a speaker phone
- connect via Bluetooth or cable
- turns your room into a party or movie theater
Nokia Lumia Phone Windows
- This 1020 has an amazing 41 MP camera, image stabilization, LED flash, Qualcomm dual core
T-Mobile iPhone 5C
- Affordable phones for kids just starting out with a smartphone
- T-Mobile Family Plan: unlimited everything for only $100
- Four smartphone lines with unlimited talk, text, and data until 2016
- Simple Global plan connects you in over 100 countries with no international data roaming fees. Texts are included.
If you’re looking for new ways to listen to your music, the halls of the International CES are lined with Bluetooth speakers, headphones, wired systems, sound bars, any way you want to enjoy your music. The solutions are as personal as your taste in music. One person with strong opinions as to how music should he heard and enjoyed is Rohan Marley, son of the late Bob Marley.
He and his brothers carry on the Marley tradition of great listening with House of Marley headphones and speakers. The House of Marley is built on the principles of superior quality, earth-friendliness and a commitment to global charitable causes, like 1Love, the Marley family charitable organization dedicated to supporting youth, planet and peace.
He sat down with us at at MommyTech TV to talk about the listening lifestyle.
This week at the IFA Tech show in Berlin, I got a pre-brief from Samsung where I got to try out the Galaxy Gear watch and new Galaxy Note 3.
I found the Galaxy Gear to be a perfect accompaniment for your phone, if you use a Galaxy device. I liked it for what it is, which is a way to extend your phone as wearable tech. It’s not a smart watch, in fact it doesn’t do anything except tell time and run a pedometer unless it’s paired with your device. But, to have notifications and the ability to quickly answer a text or take a call without taking your phone out of your bag…it works. Samsung’s price of $299 is way too high though and I think many will wait to see what Apple comes out with next week.