Today at CES 2014, Samsung announced that it has teamed up with more than 11 of the world’s leading mobile content and service providers to offer its Galaxy TabPRO and NotePRO users with the pre-paid, long-term subscription offers from best-selling news, social media and cloud storage providers.
Here is the current list (which is dependant on your location):
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – dads are difficult to buy for. But if they love their gadgets, then help is at hand. Here are a few ideas that you still have time to order in time for Father’s Day on June 17 2012.
If he’s decided to join the rest of us in the 21st century and swapped his paperbacks for an ereader, give Dad back a taste of the past with a Run for Cover soft padded cover for his electronic device – he might not want the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland version, but Frankenstein, Dracula or the Wizard of Oz might float his boat. The cases only fit the Kindle Keyboard and the Kobo Keyboard models. The covers costs £14.95 from www.red5.co.uk.
If your dad is more of a film fan than a bookworm, he’ll love these Mimobots – USB sticks that come in the shape of superheroes including Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Optimus Prime and Batman. So let the superheroes save the day’s work – the flash drives have a 4GB capacity, have DC comic content pre-installed such as wallpapers, desktop icons, and original trailers, and are compatible with both Windows and Mac. They cost £24.95 each from www.red5.co.uk.
We’re not convinced this is A Good Thing, but the Beacon for iOS will turn Dad’s Apple or Android smartphone or tablet into a Universal Remote Control. The Beacon gives fingertip control to his whole entertainment system including TV, DVD, Sky Box and Hi-Fi System via its infra-red signals. We can’t be held responsible if he turns into TV dictator though.
The Beacon for iOS costs £44.99 and is available from Apple, Beacon for Android is available from HMV. Check out our brief look at it here.
If Dad loves his gadgets but is notoriously clumsy, give them the protection they deserve with Griffin’s Survivor range of cases for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The cases should protect the devices from clumsy dad, the kids and even the weather – they protect against sand, rain, shock and vibration. The Survivor for iPad is £54.99 from Tesco, for iPhone 4 is £34.99 from Carphone Warehouse and the iPod touch is £29.99 from Amazon.co.uk
If Dad is also your taxi driver, treat him to the AirCurve Window Mount for cars without AUX-in stereos. The AirCurve works like an acoustic megaphone for iPhone 4/4S, and can amplify its built-in speakers by as much as 25 decibels. The mount sticks to glass or the dashboard and also allows users to hold conversations via handsfree speakerphone mode while driving, or hear GPS instructions over their stereo. And it’s wire and battery-free. The AirCurve Window Mount, costs £24.99 and is available from Apple. Check out our review here.
If Dad needs a stylus for his device, but also needs to write on ‘real’ paper the dual-purpose Griffin Stylus + Pen is the perfect solution. The capacitive tip is ideal for busy dads who are constantly tapping at their touchscreen – to use it as a pen, just remove the cap for smooth ballpoint-on-paper action. The Stylus + Pen, costs £29.99 from Tesco.
Finally, if your Dad is more the outdoors type, perhaps he’d rather have a Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-tool (£49.95) or a Pocket Fishing Road (£19.95), which can be carried round in a pocket and extends to 104cm when needed. Both available from www.red5.co.uk.
Looking for stocking fillers, or struggling for inspiration for the office Secret Santa? Here’s a few ideas that shouldn’t leave you out of pocket…
Joystick for iPad
More gaming fun can be had on an iPad with this clever little add-on, which attaches with suction cups for easy setup and removal. The coiled spring provides force feedback that automatically returns it to the centre position and the joystick can be stored in the included carrying pouch.
Santa Speaker Blanket Have a laugh on Christmas morning with this Santa Speaker Blanket – from Sound Asleep, it features hidden speakers in the hood, which can be connected to iPods, TVs, radios and so on – the sound simply plays through the item without uncomfortable headphones or messy wires. No batteries required; powered from the connected device.
Doodle iPhone Case For anyone arty, they’ll enjoy the opportunity to personalise their own iPhone cover with the Doodle Case. Don’t like the design or fancy a change? Just wipe it off and create a new design.
Can’t guaranteed the children a white Christmas this year? Not to worry, grab a Snowimal and keep the kids entertained creating their very own miniature snowmen. Made from malleable putty, the Snowimal comes with a range of accessories to make lots of different snowpeople.
Actually – these blow our budget, but they’re so cute we wanted to include them somewhere. At only three inches high, these are the funkiest portable plug-in speakers around, which plug in to any Ipod, MP3 player, mobile phone, computer or computer game console. They come with a USB charging cable, connection cord and a key chain loop. Choose from characters include the yellow Smiley, Sumo and Ninja.
Now it is so easy to take great digital images, and to manipulate them as we want, one of the simplest ways to create truly personalised gifts and cards for the festive season is to use an online photo service. And there are so many to choose from. Here’s a selection of new services, along with a few older favourites:
Note that last order dates for the services vary depending on products and delivery options, but tend to be around December 12-16. Please check before ordering!
Nero Kwik Media Software
Nero has added a new photo service to its free Kwik Media software. This lets you design and print your own customised calendars, cards and photo books – show off your holiday snaps, print a ‘boast book’ for grandma or send a family calendar to an aunt who lives abroad.
Great for showing off your holiday snaps, creating a gift for the grandparents or sending a family calendar to Mum for her birthday.
With Nero Kwik Media, the user can complete a high-quality, ready-to-order photo book, calendar or greeting card in minutes. Photos can be tagged and filtered using facial recognition so they can found quickly. Also the pre-configured background themes and layouts can be edited and changed to make your project completely personal to you.
The free Nero Kwik Media software lets you manage, sync and share photos, videos and music across PCs, Android smartphones and tablets. There are also tools to edit and enhance photos, create slide shows, burn your content to DVD and Blu-ray, and post photos and videos to social networks.
Photo products typically ship within five to 10 business days.
A favourite of many of my mum friends is Snapfish. As well as offering bargain prices for photo printing – especially if you have a big batch to get printed, Snapfish also offers a number of personalised gifts.
A customised calendar or mini photobook, for example, each come in at less than £15. Or how about getting your own image on the stamps you use to send your Christmas cards? They cost from £7.80 for a sheet of 10 x 1st class stamps.
You can capture your special moments in a personalised photobook – choose books of up to 150 pages – plenty of room for all your family and friends from over the years to be included in a memory book for a partner or best friend. Soft cover book prices start from a stocking filler price of £2.99.
I have just used Snapfish to create a magic mug (the pictures appear as you fill it with a hot drink) for my husband from my little boy. You can squeeze up to 15 pictures onto a mug – a great gift to keep at work. Plus a calendar for Nanny, filled with pictures of her grandchildren – a whole year of lovely images for £14.99.
My favourite pics tend to go up on Facebook, so rather than go back and trawl through the hundreds of images I’ve taken this year, it would actually be easier to take them off my Facebook page.
The people at Blurb have obviously had the same thought because they have just launched a new bookmaking flow that lets Facebook users turn their album photos into professional-quality books.
The Blurb photo book flow for Facebook lets you use your Facebook photo albums, along with their captions and comments into quality photobooks. The resulting 7×7 inch square format books, start at £7.
To create a book, sign into your Facebook account on the Blurb website. Once the albums are selected they will then autoflow into a Blurb book and a personalised cover will be automatically chosen. Photo comments and captions associated with a picture are also captured. You can buy or edit your book using Blurb’s online bookmaking tool, Bookify.
The images are automatically optimised to high print quality and there is an option to share and sell your book from the Blurb.com bookstore, as well as to create an ebook for iPad.
Jessops has long been a favourite with photographers and it also offers an online service with a wide range of photo gifts.
One of our favourites are the Skins, which can be personalised with your own image for iPhones, iPads and PCs.
If you’re on a budget there are mugs, jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, gift wrap and cards, snow globes, stationery sets, cushions, key rings and lots more, whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or something a bit more substantial. Keen chefs could even be unwrapping their own personalised apron on Christmas morning.
Until December 6 2011, Jessops is offering 50% off its photo calendars – use the code XMASCAL.
Trawling through a huge box of old family photos recently, I came across piles of Bonusprint envelopes filled with badly-dressed people with questionable hairstyles – and yes, many of them were me. It’s hardly surprising, as BonusPrint has been around 1979.
However, there’s’ nothing old-fashioned about the service it now offers online. BonusPrint has all kinds of personalisd photo gifts for you to choose from, from Photo Cards and Photo Books to prints, calendars and diaries.
As my small boy has come home from school several times with some other child’s Ben 10 lunchbox, being able to personalise a child’s lunchbox is absolutely inspirational – and at £9.99 it’s pretty much on a par with the prices charged for your average character themed box.
For someone who loves their kitchen, or who has just moved into a new home – how about a personalised glass chopping board or glass placemats?
Finally, Photobox is another favourite in our household. On our first wedding anniversary, I was struggling to come up with a clever paper-based gift until I logged on to Photobox and found their beautiful collage photo posters – I grouped together some favourite photos of our time together for a truly unique gift.
As well as the usual posters, calendars and photo books, Photobox has also introduced Christmas photo baubles this year – great as gifts for grandparents, or for a baby’s first Christmas, or even as a lasting reminder of a loved one who has passed away.
Also new this year at Photobox are the personalised photo snow globes.
Head to www.photobox.co.uk, where new customers can get 30 per cent off their first order using the FIRST30 code.
Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes our old, much-beloved friend, the coffee table book. Whilst I’ll happily trade most paperbacks for a Kindle version in a heart beat (I read all of John Schwartzwelder’s amazing Frank Burley detective series on e-screens and loved the experience) coffee table books are still very much a thing of paper beauty, although I’m sure lots of iPad apps will be heading my way soon, all trying to convince me the exact opposite. But what’s a great coffee table book for the gadget lover?
Unventions, a new coffee table book from Cléon Daniel (who as you will have guess from his wonderful name is from Dorset) seems to fit the bill exactly. Subtitled “alternative uses for everyday objects”, Unventions is a clever use of lampoon, spoof and satire when looking at modern technology. If like me you spend hours of each day on gadget blogs, it’s a welcome respite from the Sisyphean pursuit of the latest and greatest. And almost every invention has an equal and opposite unvention.
Possibly the best thing ever conceived on a train from Cheltenham to London Paddington, Unventions features page after page of charming low-tech sketches re-examining a number of everyday objects with what can only be described as a quirky eye. Like any good observational comic, Daniel has the ability to view the mundane and reimagine it from fresh and exciting angles. Images of checkerboards as places to store penguins, first drafts of cats eyes with candles or the sandwich mark (useful for marking your place in a sandwich to pick up where you left off) are all fun creations. If they manage to crack the smallest of smiles then I’d recommend getting a hold of the book.
Unventions is launched on Friday 11 November and if you are the sort of person that loiters around the Gower Street Waterstones with all the bright young things of the University of London, you’ll be pleased to know Cléon Daniel will be there in the flesh signing copies.
Fancy contributing towards Cliff Richard’s 71st birthday present, or coughing up 200 quid towards a beach holiday for Julia Roberts? No, me neither.
These are some of the gift pages set up at shareagift.com. And while no one has felt the need to dig deep for these multimillionaires, the site does have a very useful purpose.
When I got married, we thought we’d got the wedding gift list sorted. Like lots of couples, we actually had most of the things we needed so we didn’t really need lots of little things.
What we really wanted were the bigger things that we couldn’t really afford ourselves, so I suggested that everyone just buy us John Lewis vouchers – however, as I should well know by now, families never listen (and we had the added complication of family members from outside the UK who had never heard of John Lewis), and we ended up with a load of vouchers from all kinds of shops. If only Justine Angelli had been around all those years ago, she would have had that lot sorted in an instant.
Justine is the brains behind shareagift.com, which is a combination of gift list and social networking site.
The idea is that all contributions to a gift are pooled into a central resource until the fund is reached. It means that you can put in as little or as much as you can afford, and friends and family from around the world can all take part.
Once the correct total is reached, gifts can be bought from the site’s affiliate partners, or transferred as cash to be used elsewhere.
Justine Angelli said: “In this economic era, people are tired of waste. Instead of giving a token gift a recipient may not like, Shareagift allows groups of people to easily pool their hard-earned cash and put it towards that one great gift a person really does want. It’s the most simple, fun and secure way for people to share the cost of any gift, of any kind, from anywhere in the world.”
One person has to organise the initial page, and then the site does the rest – it even sends out automatic reminders as the deadline approaches. Anyone who has tried to organise a large group of people into buying a gift, and has had to call or email them to remind them to pay by a certain date, or indeed has ended up forking out the money first and then having to get it back from the rest of the group, will be really glad to see a site like this put into action.
I’m a sesquipedalian. If you need to look that up don’t worry – it means I’m a prentious fool (more technically it means I’m given to using long words but they are pretty much one and the same). Whilst other kids had friends and sporting activities to busy themselves with, I spent countless hours nose deep in books and a good deal of that time was spent deciphering phrases my inchoate vocabulary had yet to acquire in large, unweildy dictionaries (this was in the old days when all the words in the world didn’t reside on a internet connected phone in my pocket). One of the best things about e-readers is the ability to quickly look up words without really leaving the text – really handy for complex academic works, but also useful when the occassional bon mots throws you in a novel.
Bringing some of the joy of the e-reading experience to the paper novel, the new Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is a much easier way to help you out if you are suddenly stumped by the meaning of etiology, bromide or abjure in a story without loosing track of where you are or detracting too much focus from the book in hand.
The tiny bookmark has been crammed full of 38,000 definitions from the Collins Gem English Dictionary 15th edition so you will never be lost for words again. As you’d hope, it’s really easy to use. When you come across a word you don’t know, simply press the power button to begin, type in your word on the keypad and press OK to find out what it means.
The Electronic Dictionary Bookmark comes in a choice of three colours (pink, white, and grey) and is thin enough to slip unobtrusively between most books.
The Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is available to buy for £19.95 at www.gizoo.co.uk or by calling 0800 376 4818.
It’s never a bad time to give a gift to a loved one (especially if that loved one is you) and our friends at Firebox.com sent us a few ideas that caught our eye.
Tip & Tilt Internet Radio
Knobs, buttons, switches and dials won’t impede the design of this cutely colourful radio. Move between radio stations by turning the radio from side to side, adjust the volume by tilting it back and forth and to mute the little blighter simply lay it on its front. Although a radio this novel will cost you, £89.99 to be exact.
Immortal Video Glasses
For any video game fanatics in your life – almost everybody with a teenage son or daughter – these amazing specs will hold you in eternal endearment. Armed with a built-in widescreen VGA video camera, the Immortal Video Glasses are able to store and shoot up to 3 hours of video-quality footage, meaning hands are free for whatever the game necessitates them to do. These surprisingly light, easy controlled video glasses come with 3 sets of interchangeable lenses for maximum visibility in all light conditions. They don’t come cheap though – £239.99 to make a teenager smile? Yeah it’s got to be worth it!
Gyro Flyer Apache R/C Helicopter
Boys will always be boys no matter how old they are, and when it come to ‘toys’, boys cannot fail to feel important and jubilant when flying a remote controlled helicopter. With a 3 channel control system, the Gyro Flyer Apache R/C Helicopter can be flown up to ten metres away, leaving its ‘pilot’ with complete control. Incorporating an auto-balance system, this sleek and inventive machine is ultra-stable, and with several LED lights flashing away under its tail, flyers of the Gyro Apache will feel extra regal and dignified when flying this classy remote controlled helicopter – a great little gift for just £29.99
£89.99 may be slightly on the ‘steep’ side for a pair of headphones, although with claims that they bring you ‘closer to the live, rock experience’, you may be willing to depart with a large chunk of well earned cash a try out Marshall’s new headphones. Possessing a super soft ear cushion, these fully collapsible headphones are great for travelling and are that comfy, you may even fall asleep in them.