It's now officially fall (or autumn), but many major electronic companies already have several new items, gadgets and products that are currently available or upcoming (including new video game players, smartwatches, iPhones and tablets, which will also make awesome holiday gifts).
Did you know that smartwatches have actually been around for years? Consumer interest was very low, until recently (this product may have been ahead of its time). The sudden rise of the smartwatch may coincide with the fact that since many people already own smartphones and tablets, a “computerized” watch is just a natural extension (or progression, if you will).
The Galaxy Gear by Samsung will be available in a few weeks; you can choose from six colors. When it's linked wirelessly with the newer Samsung phones and tablets, you'll be able to set alarm clocks, check e-mail and Facebook updates and even make phone calls! It's pricey, though; Galaxy Gear will set you back $300!
Qualcomm Inc.has the Toq smartwatch which will be available before year's end. Apple's working on an iWatch and Sony Corp. has an updated SmartWatch 2 that's upcoming.
Apple's in the process of refreshing the look and functionality of its phone lines (!).
Recent phones can get the iOS 7 update for free, which started Sept. 18th. The software also comes with the new iPhones that became available Sept. 20th.
The company also has a regular model, the iPhone 5S (selling for $199 with a two-year service agreement) and a cheaper model, the iPhone 5C (retail price, $99). The 5S comes in three colors and the 5C in five.
Galaxy Note 3, from Samsung, is the latest phone in a line that comes with a stylus for handwriting on its large, 5.7-inch touch screen.
Sony's coming out with the Xperia Z1; features include a high-resolution, 20.7 megapixel camera and the ability to attach better lenses. Both the Xperia and Galaxy use Google's Android operating system.
And there will soon be a new version of Android, Kit Kat.
It's now possible to play games on smartphones and tablets, but many diehard fans still prefer to use standalone video game consoles.
Xbox One by Microsoft is multidimensional; not only can you play video games, you can also watch TV, listen to music, play movies and browse the Internet (a Kinect motion-control system's included). It's a bit pricey, though ($499!). For those who can afford it, the Xbox One will be available Nov. 22.
Playstation 4 by Sony becomes available Nov. 15 for $399 (!). It's a supercharged PC, which makes it easier for developers to create games for it (but it won't play older games, unless they're streamed online).
7-inch tablets are becoming very popular; they're easier to carry and are much cheaper than the regular-size ones.
In July, Google updated its Nexus 7; the basic model sells for $229. Amazon and Apple are expected to update their tablet line, too.
Many, if not most, of the new smaller tablets will be running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system when the update comes out Oct. 17 (the current Windows 8 software wasn't designed for the smaller touch screens).
Kobo is a company that specializes in e-book readers; there will be new tablets in both smaller and regular sizes. Their new Arc HD tablet line minimizes battery use while reading (how cool is that?). The 7-inch model starts at $200 and the 10-inch one retails for $400 (!). Both will be out Oct. 16th (the tablets can also play video and music). The Aura e-book reader has been updated and is currently available; retail price is $150.
The Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon (starts from $119) has also been updated and is now available as well.
Desktops, Laptops and Hybrids
Even though tablets and phones are currently the “hot” items, people are still buying the traditional desktop and laptop computers. And as a result, Google, Apple and Amazon will be updating their full-size models; expect to see new PCs upon the release of Windows 8.1 in October.
From Apple, there's a MacPro for high-end, professional users. And the company may possibly update their MacBook Pro laptop line (a new MacBook Air debuted in June, with a longer battery life).
Lenovo (formerly IBM), Dell and other computer makers have new Windows tablets that can convert into laptops. From Acer comes the Aspire P3, which offers a Bluetooth-powered separate keyboard attached to a leather cover. The IdeaPad Yoga 11s from Lenovo has a 360-degree hinge that gives you four viewing modes!
Sources: "Gadget makers reveal lineups" by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer-The (Sunday) Vindicator, Sept. 15, 2013 and "The Transformers" by John Patrick Pullen-Entrepreneur magazine, October 2013