Gadgets to watch in 2007
Malachy Browne and Tom Rowe review some of the Innovations 2007 Awards honourees : Blutooth Watch, MusicMarker, iCarplay
Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Watch MBW-100
Some folks thought the advent of the mobile phone would render wrist watches a superfluous accessory. Why wear a wrist watch when time is as conveniently kept by one's mobile phone?
Sony Ericsson has reversed the theory that wrist watches are now an inconvenience by integrating the century-old timepiece with mobile omnipresence. The Bluetooth Watch essentially communicates with one's mobile phone through Bluetooth wireless technology, allowing users to control their mobile phone remotely.
Incoming calls are notified to the Bluetooth Watch face where a caller's identification or number is discreetly displayed by a small LED. Should the call come at an inopportune time, it can be muted or rejected with the push of a button.
A phone's music playlist can be controlled by touching the crown of the watch and a battery indicator in the LED display lets you know how low the battery is. The watch may be set to vibrate as it drifts out of Bluetooth signal range: this means that if your phone is left behind, as often happens, Bluetooth Watch will gently nudge you into action.
Naturally, the Bluetooth Watch only works with Bluetooth-enabled phones. Best be sure that the phone's Bluetooth is reliable as there have been reports that some Bluetooth stacks last for a short while before dropping out.
MusicMarker is a cute gadget that identifies those songs you hear when you are out and about. This sopisticated gadget is compact (38x37mm), sturdy enough to hang on your key fob, and reasonably priced at €14.90. The device allows you to record a 10-second snippet of a song as you hear it. Simply plug the MusicMarker into your computer and the music sample is sent to an online service that identifies the song and artist, and even tells you where you can buy it. For those who like to be the first to know that tune.
Monster ICar Play
The Monster iCarPlay Wireless Plus 200 is an iPod accessory that allows an iPod to be charged and simultaneously played through your car radio. Music is sent from the iCarPlay to the radio via an FM transmitter, meaning you can play your iPod without actually connecting it to the car stereo. It has an automatic scanning feature that allows you to search the airwaves for the clearest signal. The gadget is powered through a connection to the lighter socket, has a one-metre cord and an easy-to-read LED display. When available in Ireland, it will be more expensive than other similar products, but the quality and ease of use may well be worth the price.