Will Consumers Go Hybrid With Their Cars?

February 5th, 2008

Go-Reviews recently investigated hybrid cars to update how well these fuel efficient, low emission cars are being perceived by the market, and more so whether the market is ready to pay the premium to buy one.

The good news is that the technology being integrated into hybrid cars is leading edge, and is being rolled out into conventional cars also. This means that greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions are working their way into standard car manufacturing processes.

But the sad news is, that whilst hybrid cars remain signficantly more expensive, there is some hesitation in the market. This is a totally unscientific claim, but the fuel saving economics just don’t stack up enough to sway the cost conscious consumer to support the planet. In most cases, it takes 12-14 years to get payback on the addtional cost.

Check out our :

Hybrid Car Buying Guide

Comparison of Toyota Prius and Hona Civic Hybrid

Masher

Is Talking Or Texting On Your Cellphone More Dangerous When Driving?

February 5th, 2008

Do you think talking on a cellphone whilst driving is safer than texting on a cellphone whilst driving?  You may be surprised…I certainly was.

I was watching an interesting program on television last night about this very thing. A parent was horrified that her teenage daughter was constantly receiving and sending text messages whilst driving. She also admitted that she spoke almost constantly on her cellphones whilst driving, using a handsfree kit. She felt this was safer than her daughters habit. So the local safety authorities took up the challenge to prove exactly which interaction was more distracting…….and the texting won. Texting proved safer than talking on a mobile phone even using a handsfree set up.

The reason it seems, is that texting, like using your GPS, is something that is within your control in terms of concentration. The drivers tested generally deferred any inputs if they were in close proximity to other vehicles or negotiating more hazardous road conditions.

Those speaking on mobile phones, however, were largely at the mercy of the person on the other end. Their interaction required concentration on the other person at all times. And this proved to cause more accidents than expected.

So there it is. Personally, I don’t believe in either. I don’t have too much problem disengaging my conversation when I need to concentrate more, and I find people talking to me in the car, or loud music even worse.

Each to his/her own I guess?

Whats your thought.

Masher

HD-DVD Loses Fight For Backing By Warner Bros.

January 31st, 2008

The jury is finally out on the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray, well as far as Warner Bros is concerned anyway. Warner Bros. has announced it will drop the HD DVD format entirely by the end of May 2008 and go exclusively with the Blu-ray. Whilst many will say the war is not over, this is certainly a round one victory to Blu-ray.

The question on everyones lips is will the support of just 2 studios [Paramount and Universal] be enough to keep HD DVD viable? And what does Toshiba slashing prices on their entry-level HD DVD players say – a move to reinvigorate a flagging product, or getting a few cents on the dollar out whilst they can.

At a time when the world share markets are in chaos, I wouldn’t be putting any money in HD DVD stocks just yet.

And who knows, one never knows what technology is just around the corner to shake Blu-ray out of its boxes.

Will Kindle Ignite The Passion of Readers?

November 22nd, 2007

Amazon Kindle Book ReaderAmazons launched its electronic-book reader, Kindle, this week. Analysts are mixed as to its likely success, with some reminding up of the launch of the iPod in 2001 attracting adverse comments as to its likelihood to fly, especially with such a “silly name”.

The book reader is not the first product of this type, but are its additional, unexpected features enough to drive its adoption.

Books for use with the reader cost just $10 and can be bought from Amazons online store via a built-in free cellular connection. This means there is no need for a PC.

Users can also pay to subscribe to newspaper and magazine articles and blog feeds.

Of the device itself, critics are calling it “clunky” and say its capability to carry hundreds of books at one fails to solve a universal problem. The 4.9 inch x 7.7 inch x 0.7 inch book reader device comes equipped with a 6-inch 800 x 600 display, 256MB internal storage [not a lot], small two-thumb keyboard cursor bar [could be difficult for large thumbs], scroll wheel, standard mini USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, SD slot, and an EV-DO data connection.

However, for commuters, travellers, and those who like to live in minimalism, the device could hold some value.

A sample of the content Kindle will have access to includes:

  • More than 88,000 books available, including most best sellers.
  • Free book samples – download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
  • Top U.S. and International newspapers – delivered automatically
  • Top magazines – TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes
  • International newspapers – France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times
  • Over 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics

Like any other new gadget, only time will tell…although early indications are that it is going to surprise a few skeptics. The device is already sold out, but you can get find out more about Kindle and get your order in line for the next delivery here

 Masher

Microsoft Zune Has iPod On The Ropes

November 21st, 2007

 In round 2 of Zune versus iPod, Zune has the iPod firmly on the ropes. 

Microsoft Zune MP3 PlayerHot on the tail of our recent updates on MP3 player reviews Microsoft have announced that Zune is outselling iPod on Amazon.com.

The heavily discounted 30G Zune was only introduced a week ago and is already ranked No.1 best seller in Amazons Electronics category, followed by Apples 4G ipod Nano and Apples 80G ipod Classic.

The 80G Zune is currently out of stock, but you can order Zune here for delivery as soon as they are available [December], so keep watching this blog for updates. Microsoft launched Zune about a year ago to mixed reveiews. However, the recently launched three new Zunes, with revamped software and a new Zune online community are proving very popular.

Microsoft is attempting to replicate the iTunes model, using the Zune players and online Zune Marketplace store. Note – Zunes don’t work with Napster (NAPS), Rhapsody or other services.

The main feature changes in the latest release set include:

  • Relaxed restrictions on swapping music wirelessly with another Zune owner.
  • Podcasts and music videos are now available in the Marketplace. [Unfortunately you have to use the Microsoft Points currency — typical track costs 79 Points ; equating to the 99 cents you pay elsewhere].
  • Wireless synching with your PC – [some issues with older internet routers]

Overall, the new Zunes are hotter competitors to the iPod. They boast features long awaited for in an iPod, such as an integrated FM radio and monthly subscription plan that allow you listen to downloaded tracks as often as you like, provided you keep your account current.  Unfortunately no wireless sample uploads as yet.

For more details on the latest Microsoft Zune Lineup

Masher

Apple iPhone “Invention of the Year” ….yeah right!!

November 8th, 2007

Apple iPhone ” has been dubbed by Time Magazine as the Invention of the Year” sparking all sorts of hot debate between lovers and haters of the device. The main debate is more around whether Apple ‘invented’ the cellphone component or just built it into their form factor. The only outcome to date on this debate is confusion…..sure, Apple has improved on the concept of the cell phone and as such may the title would more aptly be innvative technology of the year.

One poll at consumer technology review site CNET cites the following user debates:

  • Not an invention
  • iPhone, an invetion. You can’t be serious!
  • Who cares and what difference does it make.
  • Iphone? Invention? AHAHAHHAHA
  • did blackberry’s treo’s get this title?
  • (NT) Nope, doesnt count
  • Not for the working person
  • It is an invention, in all definitions of the word
  • Not an invention New!
  • Give me a break . . .
  • The term is Re-Invent
  • are you crazy
  • Excuse Me, However Its Only Time Magazine New!
  • It’s a joke, that iThing
  • did blackberry’s treo’s get this title?
  • I love my iPhone, but “Invetion of the Year”?

For the most part it seems that Time is under scrutiny for its short-sightedness in viewing the iPhone as an invention, rather than a crtique on the phone itself….. maybe it indicates that we are reaching a plateau in inventiveness and instead, innovative extension and repackaging of existing invention is where most of todays hot products are evolving. As they say….as true entrepreneur is not a developer, rather someone who takes something existing and makes it better and/or more attractive to the market.

Masher

Most Wanted Electronics Oct 14 2007

October 16th, 2007

Top Consumer Products For Week Ending 14 Oct 2007

Top 5 Overall

  1. Nintendo Wii
  2. AT&T Tilt
  3. Zune (80GB, black)
  4. Apple iPhone – 8GB (AT&T)
  5. Sony PlayStation 3 (60GB)

Cellphones

  1. AT&T Tilt
  2. Apple iPhone – 8GB (AT&T)
  3. Nokia N95 (North American Edition, Unlocked)
  4. Nokia N95 (8GB, Unlocked)
  5. LG Voyager – VX10000 (Verizon Wireless)

See Cellphone Reviews

Home Entertainment

  1. Pioneer Kuro PDP-5080HD
  2. Panasonic TH-50PX77U
  3. Samsung LN-T4665F
  4. Samsung LN-T3253H
  5. Sony KDL-46XBR4

 See Home Entertainment Reviews

Portable MP3 / Video Players

  1. Zune (80GB, black)
  2. Apple iPhone – 8GB (AT&T)
  3. Creative Zen (16GB)
  4. Apple iPod Touch (16GB)

 See MP3 & Media Player Reviews

Digital Cameras

  1. Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
  2. Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH (Silver)
  3. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 (silver)

 See Digital Camera Reviews

Video Gaming

  1. Nintendo Wii
  2. Sony PlayStation 3 (60GB)
  3. Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
  4. Sony PSP (black/slim)

 See Game Station Reviews

Source: CNET

 Masher

Most Wanted Consumer Products 7 Oct 2007

October 10th, 2007

Top Consumer Products For Week Ending 7 Oct 2007

Cellphones

  1. AT&T Tilt
  2. Apple iPhone – 8GB (AT&T)
  3. Nokia N95 (North American Edition, Unlocked)
  4. Nokia N95 (8GB, Unlocked)

See Cellphone Reviews

Home Entertainment

  1. Samsung LN-T4665F
  2. Sony KDL-46XBR4
  3. Pioneer Kuro PDP-5080HD
  4. Samsung HPT5064
  5. Panasonic TH-50PX77U

 See Home Entertainment Reviews

Portable MP3 / Video Players

  1. Apple iPod Touch (16GB)
  2. Creative Zen (16GB) – portable video player
  3. SanDisk Sansa View (16GB)
  4. Zune (80GB, black)

 See MP3 Player Reviews

Digital Cameras

  1. Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
  2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 (silver)
  3. Canon PowerShot SD1000

 See Digital Camera Reviews

Video Gaming

  1. Sony PSP (black/slim)
  2. Sony PlayStation 3 (60GB)
  3. Nintendo Wii
  4. Digital ELPH (Silver)
  5. Halo 3 (Xbox 360)

 See Game Station Reviews

Source: CNET

 Masher

Palm Centro Aimed At Youth Market

October 8th, 2007

Palms Centro finally hit the streets with Sprint recently and at only $99.99 with a two-year Sprint contract, promises to be a hot item with the youth market.

Sprint has 90 days exclusive on selling the Centro, but expect other carriers such as Verizon Wireless, and maybe Alltel pick it up when Sprint’s exclusivity period ends

The screen may still be the standard Treo touch screen and the QWERTY thumb-keyboard is still pretty much Palm but little more than that is standard fare, especially considering the price.

 The Media focus is very much targeted at the social activities of the youth market –  1.3 megapixel 2x digital zoom digital camera, a bundle of email and messaging capability and with enough storage muscle and expansion slot to hold a nice supply of media memorabilia.

Full details of Palm Centro

Customised Ringtones For iPhone

September 13th, 2007

Apple has unveiled the feature set for the next version of iPhone. One of these is custom ringtones -30-second snippets from pop songs. These snippets are an industry in themselves earning $5 billion a year, worldwide. At present only about half a million of the store’s 6 million songs are available as ringtones. More are following once Apple gets permission from the record companies, for each sone.
Heres how it works –

  1. Set the options to display the ringtone icon – View menu > View Options > Click Ringtone checkbox.
  2. Buy a song from Apple’s iTunes store for $1that bears the little bell [ringtone] icon.
  3. Download the song to the iTunes program on your Mac or PC
  4. Click the little bell icon to open up a the ringtone editor.
  5. Select a slice of the song, between 3 and 30 seconds long
  6. Set options to either loop or fade in or out.
  7. Buy the ringtone for another $1 and transfer it to your iPhone.

Apple is selling a ringtone and the full song together for $2, that’s a bargain when you consider that the clip lasts a lifetime and the price of ringtones from Telcos

Pop song ringtones from:

T-Mobile and Sprint – $2.50 each

Verizon – $3 each

NOTE: Incredibly, Sprint ringtones only last 90 days before you have to pay another $2.50 to keep it. Verizon’s last only a year.

AND you don’t get to customize them, choose the start and end points, adjust the looping and so on.

Not sure that I agree that you should have to pay more to “play” the ringtone on your phone – surely it is no different than playing a clip on your CD player, MP3 or PC. With the number of free ringtones available from countless dubious sources, it seems to be a common agreement….but if you have to have one….it seems like the deal from Apple is hot.

One more up for Apple!

For more on Apple iPhone Review

Masher