The most adventurous gadgets (2010 edition)

Plenty of firms make evolutionary products – they take something and make it slightly better. Most of the time, it’s dull. Revolutionary products, however, merge humans and technology in new, perturbing, and sometimes ridiculous ways. One need only look at the Tweetle – the twittering kettle.

Looxcie

We see a lot of gadgets, and below is my list of outstanding contributions to the furthering of human and technological relations:

Notion Ink Adam

The little known Indian developer Notion Ink captured my heart back in January. It was originally defined by its Pixel Qi display – an LCD screen that turns into an eInk-rival at the flip of a switch. After another year of development, it’s ready to hit our stores as a more powerful, more useful version of the iPad. With 3G, Skype (with video calling), a 10ish hour battery life, two cameras, powerful media playback and a eInk-like screen, this could be the tablet to end all other mobile devices. It could be the One. It could be everything the iPad wasn’t.

LiveView

LiveView – or future versions – have the potential to end the wristwatch. Mounted on your wrist, it provides you with wireless access to your smartphone’s functions. An awesome idea with a slightly flawed execution. Hopefully, there will be evolution to this revolution.

Looxcie

The Looxcie lets you record 30 seconds into the past. No, it’s not some kind of unrealistic Deja Vu time-viewer. It simply records all the time, and when you push a button it saves the previous 30 seconds. A bit heavy, slightly gawky and with just too small a memory and too short a battery life. Next year, maybe?

BlackPad

Another tablet that isn’t the iPad. The reason that the BlackPad makes the list is due to its innovative, ingrained smartphone integration. It uses the best features of your Blackberry and combines them with the form and power of a tablet. It’s a whole lot more interesting than Apple’s product, which just multiplied the size of the iPhone and subtracted its camera.

Nintendo 3DS

The first 3D handheld was announced. It may not be out yet, but it’ll hopefully send a stark message to everyone else in the 3D market: we want the third dimension without glasses. Hurry up.

Blackberry PlayBook: Don’t call it a BlackPad. Do call it an iPad contender.

Darlings of the corporate world, Research in Motion made their first foray into the tablet wars with the Blackberry PlayBook. Tech journalists the world over breathed a sigh of relief that the rumoured name “BlackPad” hadn’t been used. Even more surprising, after a slew of quite disappointing “me too” Android tablets (and the Blackberry Torch) was that it actually looks quite good.

Blackberry-Playbook

How so? Well for one thing it won’t be running a poorly modified phone or desktop OS like some of its more rushed rivals (you know who you are) and will instead be powered by Blackberry Tablet OS, which was developed by QNX, a bolt-on acquisition to the Research in Motion team. RIM were keen to mention the multimedia and gaming power this platform provided – amazing when you consider the no-nonsense attitude that drives their phone platform, although they were also keen to describe the PlayBook as “the first professional tablet.”

Fulltime iPad haters will find a lot to like. It handles Flash 10.1 so it will be interesting to see how its performance holds up for gaming and multimedia. Developers will also be able to create apps using Adobe Air.

At 7 inches it is smaller that the iPad, albeit with a pixel dense 1024 x 600 capacitive multitouch display. “Every device I own must have a camera! Does it have a camera?” you cry. Yes, yes it does – two in fact with a front facing 3 megapixel camera and a 5 mega pixel rear one, including video conferencing.

Other conspicuous iPad absentees such as multi-tasking, 1080p support or a built-in HDMI out are all present and correct in the PlayBook, courtesy of the Cortex A9 dual core 1GHz CPU, backed up with 1GB of RAM.

The PlayBook has a symbiotic relationship with its phone-based cousins so smooth synching of data is promised and apparently you can tether your phone’s data connection to the Playbook.

The only thing the PlayBook seems to lack is a firm launch date and any inkling of a price. I’ve played with most of the tablets on offer and I’m writing this on an iPad, but the Playbook (along with the Samsung Galaxy Tab) seems like a definite contender in the tablet wars.