Latest Gadgets round up: John Lewis’ top tips, TomTom Yoda and a USB powerbank

Some awesome things make their way into the Latest Gadgets inbox. Here are just a few.

John Lewis invited us to take a look at their Christmas range, despite the blazing heat. There was even a fake snow machine battling valiantly to create atmosphere. Being one of the larger combined online and Bricks & Mortar retailers, John Lewis have a reasonable insight into the gadget market and have a lot of customers that self-identify as “early adopters”. Big trends identified were All in One desktops, personalized Netbooks and tablet PCs. No surprises there. They also pointed to 3D gaming as the driving force behind the purchase of 3D TVs before showing us a demonstration of some 3D gaming on the PS3, which has stealthily built up a massive installed base of PS3 owners, all capable of playing back 3D content. We were also shown a Samsung LED 9000, which has a touch screen remote, DLNA access and an app store, with acess to LoveFilm, YouTube and the BBC iPlayer. John Lewis also added to the unstoppable force that is the Apple rumour mill (based on industry rumblings) by speculating that the new iPod Touch may have a rear and front facing camera and incorpotate Apple’s FaceTime video calling protocol. Time will tell.

Remember the Darth Vader-voiced TomTom that we had a look at? Well TomTom have released one voiced by Yoda. I won’t repeat my “path to the dark side” remarks from earlier by they are still valid. Whilst we are remembering things, cast your mind back to the ezbox digital freeview set-top box. We liked it then and now we like it even more. They did a nifty little firmware update and now it can playback *.avi files via a USB – not bad for a £35 box.

WorldCard Mobile have released a complementary app called “Worldcard Contact”, which combines all of your contacts with images of business cards taken from the built-in iPhone camera. Worldcard Mobile, their other app, uses OCR and you can access this from inside of Worldcard Contacts, to save this card info with image and text. Not bad but surely it would have been better albeit less lucrative to just combine them into one app? Here’s a link.

One day solar panels will become commonplace, but until that day Conceptronic’s lightweight Universal USB Power Bank is the handy travel companion, which can be used to re-charge a range of devices (it comes with different heads). It charges via USB and can power a PSP, mobile phone, MP3/MP4 player, iPod or iPhone when you’ve been caught short. Available in two models, the 1500mAh (RRP: £43.90) and 2200mAh (RRP: £52.90) the larger of which can charge two devices at the same time.
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