You've read about 4G and LTE. You may have scoffed at my and other critics' warnings against buying an iPhone 4 from Verizon because it isn't 4G. But I don't get the sense anyone shares my amazement of just how radically the coming of 4G to Verizon and AT&T (and Sprint's year-old WiMAX 4G network) is going to change our lives. In fact, despite all the ground-breaking tech changes that came last year (detailed in Part I of this review), I believe people will remember 2010-2011 primarily for being the foundational years of 4G connectivity.
No other two-year span in the history of consumer electronics has both wrought and promises as much radical change as last year and this new year. While there may have been years with one or two significant product introductions and advancements — 1920: the first radio broadcast, 1939: the introduction of TV, 1947: the invention of the transistor, 1982-83: the introduction of the CD and launching of the first cellphone systems (click here for a list of memorable tech years) — no two-year span has been as chuck full of potentially behavior-changing technology in television, digital imaging, car electronics, gaming and especially cellphones. There is so much happening on so many fronts, even I'm having trouble keeping up with it all. But we can narrow our time frame even further — more like 18 months, from the near simultaneous introductions of the first 3D HDTVs and the iPad last spring to AT&T's pending launch of its 4G LTE network sometime this summer. In between — a series of stunning technological leaps. Here's what I think has and will make 2010-2011 the most memorable tech years ever.
Finally. An iPhone from Verizon. An iPhone I can use on a real network. Unflappable. No dropped calls. No sluggish connections — hell, any connection in crowded metro areas. It's even got mobile hotspot capabilities. Great. Except for one thing. It's not an iPhone 4G running on Verizon's brand-new LTE autobahn. Therefore, the Verizon iPhone 4 sucks. I won't be buying one, and here's why you shouldn't either.
Motorola's long anticipated unveiling of the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, now dubbed the Xoom, along with the introduction of its first 4G dual core 1 GHz + 1 GHz processor phone, the Atrix 4G, might have been trumped by an unexpected and unique accessory: a keyboard/12.1-inch screen/battery dock. By snapping in the Atrix into the rear of the otherwise dumb "dock," you get a 2 GHz 4G-connected notebook PC running Android.
Casio has taken digital camera form factor to its inevitable "why didn't we think of this" conclusion with the Tryx. It's a digital camera that pops out of a frame, enabling it to swivel 360-degrees in both portrait and landscape mode and every way in between. This two-way swivel actually means a multitude of positions and angles, freeing the casual snapper from just pointing and shooting.
In this post-Aron Ralston/127 Hours world, every extreme adventurer will want to carry both an iPhone or an iPod Touch and this Spot Connect, which connects you to the Globalstar satellite phone network. Y'know, unless you want your outdoor adventure to literally cost an arm or a leg!
You're fat. Well, not fat. Let's say overweight. And you're on a strict diet under a doctor's supervision. Or, you have allergies, and you have to be careful about your environment and what you eat. Or, you have diabetes, and...
Everyone thinks the big story at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show starting January 5 in Lost Wages will be the new crop of tablet PCs as everyone rushes to topple Apple. Again. (Good luck with that!) They'll miss the real story at CES: a new 3D HDTV technology.
Given the state of the economy and the likely number of tech-savvy receipients on your gift or Secret Santa list, spending a lot on gifts this season isn't in the Christmas cards. Yeah, you could be lazy and just get gift cards, a DVD or a video game as stocking stuffers, but what fun is that — especially since any movie buff or gamer is likely to have the DVD or game you think they don't have. Here are a half dozen groovy gifts for less than a Grant.
Remember those small portable TVs you used to carry to ballgames or the beach, the ones where if you moved an iota, the picture went from shaky to snow? Once analog TV broadcasting went away, so did these skittish portable TVs. And once digital television came in, we were supposed to get mobile digital television — MDTV — built into cellphones. So where are our cellphones that receive digital television signals? When? Find out after the jump