TECH NOUS Raising the Bar

Technology is wonderful thing. First it creates problem – then it solves it. Broadband is classic example. First we had the telephone, and then along came the internet which took the telephone away – because it seems every man, woman and child was dialling up cyberspace while grandma or grandad was attempting to phone through. Xtra’s television ad in which mother interrupts an online game sums it up brilliantly.
Being recent convert to broadband, I wonder how we survived without it.
But that’s progress. Services and devices come along which suddenly make life whole lot easier and we wonder why we got so excited about their predecessors.
Digital cameras, for example, are constantly raising the bar in terms of operability and performance. If you purchased one two years ago, it’s now bordering on obsolescence.
I like Panasonic’s latest LUMIX cameras, which not only come with up to 12x optical zoom (model DMC-FZ5), but also optical image stabiliser technology, which all but eliminates the problem of hand-shake when taking photos. Panasonic let me put one to the test and the results were impressive – you don’t need to cart that tripod around any more.
Mobile phones also continue to amaze me, not just by their increasingly compact dimensions, but by the level of functionality manufacturers manage to build in.
For example, the latest Motorola (at the time of writing) is the extremely slim V3 RAZR (perhaps that stands for razor-thin). This quad-band roaming GSM phone lets you take pictures on the built-in VGA camera, speak hands-free, surf the net, and play MP3 ring tones or Java games. And its nickel-plated copper alloy keypad is delight. It’s good to see Motorola raising the benchmark for change.
And then, surprise, surprise, along comes the new PiN 300 Pocket PC from Navman – the only Pocket PC on the local market with in-built street-level navigation software and integrated GPS receiver. As well as personal organiser, the device offers turn-by-turn voice guidance and street-level mapping of all cities, towns and rural areas in New Zealand and comes with windscreen mount, cigarette lighter power connection, USB cable, pouch and AC adapter.
One special feature allows users to save frequently used addresses under ‘favourites’ and integrate their contacts in Pocket Outlook to navigate straight to nominated addresses. I’m already thinking of the fuel savings from no longer having to drive around in circles to find particular addresses.
Of course, all the mobile handset devices are helping to turn the sales force automation market upside down. This is where new technology is set to have major impact. eBreathe is new player in this market – software that lets sales and merchandising staff access up-to-the-minute live data and information while on the road, and therefore make better-informed decisions on the spot. eBreathe is being launched in conjunction with new brand of handset on the New Zealand market.
Perhaps one of the most interesting new devices to hit the market lately, nudging up the benchmark for mobile entertainment, is the Toshiba Qosmio.
This four-in-one portable with the strange sounding name is wifi and Bluetooth-enabled notebook; high quality stereo audio system with CD playback and recording; device for watching and recording DVDs; and it’s television, with quick-start function.
You’ll find one at your local Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming store with prices starting around $4999 (but look what you’re getting for your money).
That’s the beauty of all these hot new devices, you are getting so much more technology and functionality for your money. And the minute you turn around, the bar gets raised once again.

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to
Email: [email protected]

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