September 22, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Shiny Technology Toys Are Distracting

Shiny Technology Toys Are Distracting

I love new, shiny technology toys. While I don’t have nearly enough of them, I qualify as an early adopter. So when the new web site GDGT (pronounced gadget) came to Boston with some technology companies in tow, I joined some 500 other gadgetistas to see which would rise to become the new, shiny OMA (Object of My Affection).

GDGT is, to use their words, “a social gadget platform that enables you to connect with the community through your gadgets, and connect with your gadgets through the community.” Huh? Oh, a community site to hang out with other gadget geeks. To their credit, they have developed a smart way for sharing and navigating useful opinions on emerging tech.

A more subtle point, this community is growing socially at a fairly good clip, proving that Facebook and Twitter don’t have it all. There are other social communities, like GDGT, that fill needs very nicely. Besides, this has to be successful: Tron was there. Or at least someone dressed and glowing like Tron was there. (Please pardon my 1982 hacker-gets-sucked-into-role-play-game reference).

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to review nor have I been promised or given any of the products I am about to discuss. But if my family members want to read this and think about the holidays, I won’t stop them.

Here are a few of my standouts, and for different reasons. Mostly, these products seem to reflect the growing social media market.

Kodak was enjoying their well-deserved rebirth into the video and photo sharing market. They were spotlighting the new cameras including the Kodak PlaySport Zx3 video camera. Forget what you think you know about video cameras. This is cassette-sized (remember them?), tapeless, touch screen enabled and cool. It’s shooting 1080p HD video and weighs about four ounces with the battery.

Logitech had their myriad of tech toys including an impressive combination speaker system/lap-desk and cooling pad for notebooks. Also of note is the very light K800 illuminated wireless keyboard.

Digital picture frames finally got a lot cooler this year thanks to Isabella. Every frame has its own e-mail address and online storage. Your friends just e-mail your frame. You can forward photos to others from the touch screen on the frame as well. This could be perfect for the technophobe in your family.

Western Digital and DIVX represented the exploding home television market, but Boxee was getting a lot of attention. The collaboration between Boxee and D-Link allows you to use your computers on a big screen TV. Their little cube resamples web sites so they look fantastic on your big screen television. With YouTube, Hulu and more video options coming almost daily for computers, Boxee could be a year from being a necessity, not just a cool toy.

To my surprise, the most interesting product wasn’t a product – it was a business model.

Gazelle.com will pay you for your well loved gadgets, and they pay for shipping. “We rotate products from early adopters to late adopters”, according to Kristina Kennedy, Senior Manager of Branding and Communications.  “These electronics have a lot of life left in them … so we’ll teach people about what we call re-Commerce and [the products] won’t go to the landfill.”

GDGT goes gather content from different sites as well as let users add content. They monetize with links showing a variety of prices on the product page. But they can throw a nice party with a great group of toys.

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