Sunday, December 4, 2011

GDGT: Live in San Francisco - Part 1

By Bayle Emlein

Some forty companies assembled to kick off the holiday gadget garnering season on a balmy (for San Francisco in December) evening in a lovely ballroom at the top of the Metreon entertainment and shopping complex.

My absolute favorite was Sphero. I’m devastated that they’re not planned for release until the beginning of 2012, but totally willing to pre-order or have someone reserve one with my name on it. What is Sphero? It’s a ball, about 2" in diameter. But if you expect no ordinary ball in a place like this, you’ve got it figured out. This robotic ball has an accelerometer and bluetooth connectivity and who knows what other electronic innards so that it can respond to motion from an iPad or iPod Touch to control its path on the ground. I haven’t thought of a single productive justification for a Sphero. (I’m studying trigonometry and the physics of angled force on the Angry Birds platform.) So I think that I absolutely need to get one in order to explore the educational potential in greater depth. If you feel the same, or just want to keep the kids busy for a few hours, is the place to start.

My next “gotta have it” item is the Acer Iconia A100 Android tablet. This is the 7" model and infinitely more portable in my opinion. The effective device real estate is less than half that of the A500 10.1" version. I found the onscreen keyboard surprisingly useful and user-friendly. At this size and weight (1.5 pounds) it would fit easily into my purse or even a jacket pocket. This looks like my next step in productivity in the field. Lots of places on the Internet to shop and explore and read indepth reviews. You could start at

I was very pleased to see AT&T promoting their program to recycle cell phones for use by military personnel overseas. AT&T is so ubiquitous that they don’t need to be telling us how they facilitate the making of telephone calls. Especially at this time of year when we’re so involved in shopping, it’s good to be reminded of opportunities to share especially when it can be so easy. Learn more about the program and even how to get involved at or will help you recycle all your old/unused gadgets and make space for new ones, offering you some cash to help with the replacements. Learn how starting at

Gunnar Optics offers a line of advanced gaming and 3-D eyewear that enhance the visiual experience and reduce eye fatigue in long, arduous viewing sessions. A must for the serious gamer or movie buff. Gunnar’s Outdoor Eyewear for the user who must see a screen in bright daylight has technology that reduces glare and burnout. Start learning more at
For the wireheads among us, Monster Cable has expanded with a range of over the ear phones and earbuds to make the most of the listening experience. Find more at

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