When need meets desire

  • Lenovo Yoga
  • Nokia Lumia 900
  • Makerbot replicator
  • Tech-o-meter. See article for details. Diagram by Julien Rivoire
Date:21 May 2012 Tags:, , , , , ,

More than 3 000 companies gathered in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (see our report-back in the March issue). Over 20 000 products appeared, but only a few stood out. Here are three new machines you need to know about for 2012.

LENOVO YOGA
With both a traditional desktop mode and an all-new touchscreen interface, Windows 8 represents Microsoft’s first complete rethink of the desktop operating system since 1995. The Lenovo Yoga can open up as a 13-inch folding laptop. But the screen can move backward a full 360 degrees until it rests against the bottom of the computer. Then it operates as a flat tablet computer with a capacitive touchscreen.

NOKIA LUMIA 900
The LTE-capable Lumia, with its 11 cm screen, is the halo device for Nokia and Windows Phone in the US. It shares a sleek design with the 3G Lumia 800 but has a bigger, 1 840 milliamp-hour battery. It also sports a killer camera with a wide-angle 28 mm f/2.2 lens.

MAKERBOT REPLICATOR
Larger than the original MakerBot, MakerBot Replicator allows the amateur inventor to create objects roughly the size of a loaf of bread out of common manufacturing materials such as ABA or PLA plastic. Also, unlike the company’s original 3D printer, the Thing-OMatic, the Replicator has the ability to rapidly print dual-coloured plastic prototypes.
The Tech-O-Meter
By John Herrman

We’ve addressed this issue many times, and still we hear stories of PM readers who acquire absolutely essential electronic gadgets and then have to explain to their partners why their lives would be empty without them (the gadgets, that is; not the partners). New gadgets hit the market at such a fast pace that they can become a blur. Here, we take a candid look at 10 items worth focusing on, for better or worse.

1 VIZIO THIN + LIGHT LAPTOP
In a sea of MacBook Air clones, these well designed laptops stand out with clean lines, a matte fi nish and a distinctive style. But the guts are just Ultrabook basics.

2 ROKU STICK
This USB-size device plugs into the back of newer TV sets and instantly turns them into smart TVs with no external power source required.

3 DISH NETWORK HOPPER
A DVR that can record every major network’s prime-time lineup every night for eight days. The 2 000 hours of content requires 2 TB and dubious taste. (Bundled with satellite packages in the US. Do we really want this in South Africa?)

4 GOPRO WI-FI BACPAC
GoPro makes action cams for snowboard helmets or BMX handlebars. This clip adds wrist and smartphone controls.

5 OLPC XO3
A cheap tablet for the developing world from the people who made the first cheap laptop for the developing world.

6 GRIFFIN TWENTY
The elegantly designed Griffin Twenty device turns any Apple AirPort Express into a powered stereo system.

7 POWERSKIN SPAREONE
This simple, low-tech phone runs off an AA battery. Perfect for your storm shelter, first-aid kit or underground seed bunker.

8 SHARP FREESTYLE
A small TV with wireless connectivity and batteries. Watch the game while you’re tending the braai.

9 GALAXY NOTE
At 13,4 cm, this Android device is a bit too small to be a tablet and far too big to be a phone. Consolation
prize: a free stylus.

10 VICTORINOX USB DRIVE
It’s a USB drive you can’t take on a plane or into a school or maybe even to work. In a more appropriate setting – say, a forest – you might have trouble finding uses for that astounding 1 terabyte of storage.