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Go hi-tech in 2007

Go hi-tech in 2007
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First Published: Wed, Feb 07 2007. 01 18 AM IST
As far as beginnings go, there are very few years that have started with as much promise as 2007. For the geek, that is! A year that saw the announcement of the iPhone in the first two weeks just cannot go wrong, can it? And it doesn’t end there either. There’s much more on offer.
The iPhone will obviously be the talk of the world through 2007. Already, there have been comparisons with Windows Mobile platform and some experts are now wondering whether the Mac OS in the iPhone will really be any better than the existing Windows Mobile 5.0 platform. Of course, the look and the graphics would be superior, but functionally, the iPhone may not really rock your world.
Apple, though, is not the only manufacturer trying to make a mark. As form factors have stabilized, the new fight in the mobile market is to make the phone as similar to a PC as possible. Microsoft, therefore, has an advantage off the blocks but with the launch of Sony Ericsson P990i late last year, Symbian has shown itself to be rather versatile especially when teamed with UIQ3.0, now 3.1.
And this makes the launch of Nokia’s newest line of N-series phones more interesting. The N93i and the N76 are already feature-packed and having shrunk considerably since their last versions, may be able to grab a larger share. Motorola is another manufacturer to watch out for. With the announcement of the MotoRIZR Z6, it is getting stronger and it did have a fairly active 2006 in terms of product launches.
iPhones can be part of your accessories this yearWatch out for: Apple iPhone (expected launch: June 2007); Nokia N93i (expected launch:Apr-Jun 2007); Nokia N76 (expected launch: Apr-Jun 2007); Motorola RIZR Z6 (expected launch: Apr-Jun 2007)
Hewlett-Packard teamed up with Microsoft and launched the first in this range of do-it-all PCs. And they are getting more popular by the day. Add to this the announcement of products like the Apple iTV and one is left wondering whether the age of conventional TV sets is up. This year will see a veritable glut of products in this category with Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo and HP getting hyperactive.
What’s best, though, is the fact that not all of these are desktop solutions and some are even targeted at the travelling professional. Ubiquity is what technology thrives on and as more devices get ready to handle varied types of media, Media centre PCs will find a place in most homes.
Watch out for: Dell Home Media Suite (expected launch: Jan-Mar 2007); portable media centre PCs aka media centre laptops from various manufacturers (through 2007)
Like cell phones, memory cards are getting smaller (seen a MicroSD card lately?) while capacities are getting larger by the day. There was a time when 128MB was good enough. But soon, this train of thought was thrown off the rails when larger capacities just kept coming at two-month intervals. The latest is 8GB.
Hitachi, Sony, Panasonic and Lexar are the leaders in this field and no sooner has one announced an increase in capacity, than others follow suit. What this has ensured is that solid-state devices (the ones that have a built-in hard drive) are not the obvious choice. Flash memory offers more flexibility and is cheaper to replace. With almost every device now accepting a flash memory card in some form or the other, there is little chance that this process will stop. Some manufacturers are in fact even claiming a 20GB card by the end of 2007.
But for 2007, the biggest ones would be the 4GB and 8GB launches from Sony, Toshiba, Lexar and Panasonic. Don’t miss Transcend and Kingston, for these manufacturers won’t be too far behind.
Watch out for: 4GB-plus memory cards (expected launch: all through 2007) from Toshiba, Sony, Lexar and Panasonic. 4GB cards in Feb 2007.
It’s old news when someone tells you that an 8-megapixel camera has been launched. But the change this time is that this is for consumer cameras and not the professional SLR models. Last year saw the launch of plenty of 6 and 7 megapixel(mp) models, but this will be the year of the 8 and 10. Samsung already has a couple lined up, as do Sony and Canon. Now we know why large capacity memory cards are being launched. What’s better is that some of these would even be fitted into cell phones. Especially the ones from Samsung and Sony. So if you are shooting on a 3 mp model, it’s time to upgrade.
And it’s not just for the capacity… they are getting slimmer, packing in more optical zoom and even Wi-Fi.
Watch out for: Samsung S1050 (10mp, expected launch: Apr-Jun 2007); Kodak EASYSHARE V1003 (10mp, expected launch: Jul-Sep 2007); Kodak EASYSHARE V803 (8mp, expected launch: Jul-Sep2007); Casio Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V7 (7.2mp, expected launch: Apr-Jun 2007; world’s slimmest with optical zoom).
The Sony PSP didn’t do too well. Microsoft’s Zune didn’t exactly turn out to be the iPod-killer many touted it to be. So is there anything that will kill the iPod? Not that it needs killing, but there are many who want to see it dead. And that’s the audio iPod. Remember there’s the video iPod too.Coming in 2007 is the iPhone and this is the product that is perhaps most likely to compete with the iPod (of all kinds). Then there are the expected launches from Creative, Cowon and Sony’s PSP2. The PSP2 is rumoured to include a video chat service via an integrated camera in addition to allowing users to stream live video to the PlayStation 3 via Wi-Fi before linking up with the HUB PlayStation service. But that’s where it’s all headed and until others release their proposed specifications, it will be tough to compare.
Cowon, who won critical and popular acclaim for the A2, is said to be working on its next releases, the A3 and Q5. While the A3 will build on the A2 to include a DMB receiver and a new processor, the Q5 is the one to watch out for with a 5-inch touchscreen, GPS support, DMB, WinCE 5.0 and an external HSDPA module. And all this with portable media centre laptops being worked upon!
Watch out for: Cowon A3 (expected launch: Apr-Jun 2007); Cowon Q5 (expected launch: Jun-Dec 2007); Sony PSP2 (unconfirmed name but expected launch: Jun-Dec 2007)
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First Published: Wed, Feb 07 2007. 01 18 AM IST
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