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Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013

Every year new tech devices are released from tech giants and budding startups. From smart watches to bluetooth forks and window cleaning robots, here's a sneak peek of some of the latest geek gear that will be relesed this year.

By Rani Samtani | Jan 21, 2013

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  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Sony Waterproof MP3
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Kingston 512GB USB drive
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Intel Northcape
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Intel Northcape
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Oculus Rift
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Oculus Rift
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Xperia Z - Waterproof phone
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Sony SmartWatch
  • Tech Rumors and Releases: Gadgets to look out for in 2013
    Sony SmartWatch

Waterproof MP3 Players
While the technology has already been launched by Speedo and a few other companies, Sony’s latest one-piece music player is not only waterproof and wire-free but it looks super cool and has great sound quality for such a small device. Sony’s new Walkman Sports MP3 Player (NWZ-W270) has 4GB of memory and a battery life of 8 hours.

A cool feature added to its charging capabilities is that if the battery dies, charging the device for 3 minutes will give you up to 60 minutes of battery playback time. This device will be a must-have for fitness enthusiasts and gadget geeks alike. Its wire-free design means that you don’t have to worry about any dangling mess and makes it perfect for any sport, and of course, its waterproof abilities mean you can swim with it.

Definitely look out for more waterproof MP3 players this year. Sony’s new Sports MP3 player should hit Fortress and Broadway by mid-August.

1TB Flash Drives
You can never have too much storage space. Say goodbye to your bulky 1TB hard drive and look out for 1TB USB sticks. Kingston Technologies is the first to launch such a device. While it is slightly bigger than a regular USB, it’s significantly smaller than a hard drive making it much easier to carry in your pocket. The storage drive company has already released its 512 GB USB and will be releasing the 1TB drive in the coming months. Expect to see it on shelves in Hong Kong by late October. But don’t expect it to be reasonably priced. While no official price has been released for the 1TB USB drive, the current 512 GB USB drive retails at USD $1,337 (approx. HKD $9,400). So if you don’t have money to throw around, it’s probably more feasible to stick to hard drives for now.

Convertible Laptops/ Hybrid Tablet Computers
I still don’t know what to call these, but they are the latest rage in the laptop/tablet world right now and are considered to be the future of computers. With more people using tablets and mobile devices, there is a notion that the PC era is dying.

At the D8 Conference in 2010, Steve Jobs said: “When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on farms. PCs are going to be like trucks. They are still going to be around. However, only one out of X people will need them.” Hard to believe? Maybe. I can see this being true in the sense that tablets and mobile devices have more capabilities and are in some ways replacing our PC needs. So in 2013, when choosing to buy a new laptop or tablet – why not consider the hybrid-convertible?

In my article on Tech Rumors and Releases last year, I mentioned the Sony Vaio Duo 11 with a sliding feature to switch between tablet mode and PC mode. Expect to see more devices similar to this, an example was just released by Intel and is currently codenamed ‘North Cape’. This device features a completely detachable monitor that turns into a tablet when detached and back to a regular PC when re-attached to its keyboard. Intel launched the device to demonstrate the potential of its upcoming fourth generation core processors. While ‘North Cape’ may not be reaching shelves any time soon, other similar devices are expected from Sony, Lenovo, Asus and HP and will be available in Hong Kong by early-June.

Virtual Reality Gaming headsets
I have been waiting for VR gaming headsets for a long time. We’ve all seen them in the movies but we will soon be able to use them in our own homes. I’m not an avid gamer but like any techie, I like cool stuff. And THIS is cool stuff.

While it is still in its early phases and may not reach our homes till late 2013 or early 2014, it is something to look forward to and is a great opportunity for game developers to consider for future releases. Launched with the help of Kickstarter, Oculus Rift premiered earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Oculus Rift looks just like those virtual reality goggles you’ve seen in movies such as Back to The Future and Tron. The rift brings a high end virtual reality experience to the average gamer at home.

Note to software and game developers: You can purchase the development kit for the Oculus Rift from their website. It comes with a copy of Doom 3 (the first Oculus ready game) for you to experiement with and try out.

HAPIfork is a ‘smart’ fork designed to help you lose weight by tracking how fast you eat. Based on the principle that a healthy diet is not only about what you eat but also how you eat, HAPIforks creators cite a study from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 in which it was found that fast eaters ingested 67 more calories. While this supports the use of their product, I’m sure all of us will remember our parents asking us to eat slowly and to chew our food as a kid.

HAPIfork claims on their website that a series of research on eating habits has proven that eating too fast can lead to indigestion and weight control problems.

While the device looks like a regular fork, it contains sensors that measure the number of bites you take per minute and the intervals between each bite. When you start scarfing down your food, the HAPIfork will gently vibrate and an LED light will flash to indicate that you need to slow down. When you have finished your meal, the HAPIfork will transmit data via Bluetooth to your mobile device so you can monitor your eating habits over a period of time.

HAPILabs, the inventor of HAPIfork says they are currently working on a HAPIspoon which will also be released later this year. HAPIfork or similar devices are likely to be available in Hong Kong by October.

Window Cleaning Robots
For many of us that live in high rise buildings in Hong Kong with hard to clean windows, the Winbot 7 will be a great addition to the household. Similar in design and principle to robot vacuums, the Winbot cleans your window independently.

Fitted with powerful suction ability, all you have to do is switch on the device, place the Winbot on to the window or surface you would like to clean and press start. The devices sensors will then measure the size of the window and will program itself to clean the whole surface as quickly and carefully possible.

Winbot is set to be released at selected Broadway stores in mid-September.

Smart Watches
Sony’s SmartWatch was released last summer with the capability to connect to android phone devices, but expect this trend to carry on further, with other developers bringing more features and more cell phone brand connectivity.

For those of you that haven’t heard of the Smart Watch concept, this watch syncs with your mobile phone device via Bluetooth and alerts you when you are receiving a phone call, text message or email. The device allows you to view and read your messages and calendar appointments straight from your watch as well as use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to update your status or retweet Lady Gaga’s latest thoughts on life. 

With a Smart Watch, you can control your playlist and songs straight from your watch while your phone is in your pocket or bag. And of course, the device also tells the time on its beautiful multi-touch screen OLED display.

The SmartWatch is currently available in Hong Kong at Sony online and in selected Fortress and Broadway branches.

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