by Lori Cunningham (@wellconnctdmom)
No recap of any conference would be complete without a “best of tech” review. And I would have to say that there was at least twice the amount of technology companies at BlogHer this year than last. I was thrilled. I would like to cover every technology or gadget I saw, but for the sake of avoiding gadget overload (for you, not me), I’ve tried to condense it.
OK, Kazanna.com was not actually at BlogHer physically, but they were there in spirit as they sponsored me to attend BlogHer12. In fact, they gave me 100 delicious Dylan candy bars wrapped with my business card, to hand out to attendees (who got one???) at the offsite parties I attended. Cool! I was an instant hit! (OK, perhaps the candy bars were!) Nonetheless, Kazanna.com is a funtastic brand new online community for kids where they can personalize their own online abode, create and share fun digital projects, play games, and video chat with other friends and family members…all within a safe controlled environment. Who does the controlling? You do! Parents approve all friend requests first.
I would LOVE to say I saw the new upcoming Windows Slate tablet at BlogHer, but I didn’t (it’s not out yet). However, I did see a a tablet running Windows 8 and I have to tell you, it was stunning. All the features I love in my Windows Radar Phone* were on this tablet but more of them and they were bigger. The display of information was helpful with alerts and beautiful with the use of colors and pictures to show the information behind the tiles. Seeing Windows 8 working on a tablet makes me all the much more anxious to use the Windows Slate when it arrives.
Samsung 8000 Series TV – with Gesture & Voice Control
The new 8000 Samsung Series TV now offer gesture and voice control. You can use your voice to open your favorite app or turn the TV on or off. You can also use gestures to play games like Angry Birds! I tried it, it’s a lot of fun. The newer Samsung TV’s collaborate beautifully too with the new Samsung Galaxy S III phone.
Samsung Galaxy S III
Now this is a slick little camera…uh, I mean phone. It has a lot of cool features in it. Perhaps you’ve seen the classic Olympics commercial where the torch bearers are carrying the lighted torch on their Galaxy S III phone and pass the torch to the next runner by bumping their phone with theirs. It’s a great commercial because it very accurately describes how easy it is to share pictures with each other. The only catch is the other person has to have a Samsung Galaxy S III too. But I can see the value in this especially in sharing pictures between members of your own family if you all have the S III. Slick.
MyTouch 4G for T-Mobile
My husband and I have had a MyTouch 4G for about 3 years now. It’s a great phone and has served us well as our first smartphone. Now, the newer version of the MyTouch 4G is out. It looks similarly but is faster and has Android 2.3, which allows for more features. It’s a great phone with a much larger battery life than its predecessor. It also comes in a slide out keyboard version called the MyTouch Q. The MyTouch Q is a little heavier and the battery doesn’t last as long, but it is so nice to be able to type sentences without having to constantly delete and retype.
I’ve already written about this great new and upcoming product. Family Guardian is an all encompassing security product for your phone that helps keeps viruses at bay and alerts parents of their teens activity on the phone. Parents can utilize as much or as little surveillance as needed on their tweens’/teens’ texts, phone calls made, websites visited, and more. See our post, Family Guardian – Monitoring Your Teens Phone to learn more.
Logitech HD Skype Camera for the TV
Now this is something I was excited about seeing. There are several TV Skype cameras on the market, but this one has HD, great zooming capabilities, and the ability to answer a SKYPE call without having to turn on the TV. I tested it at my home after BlogHer and called my daughter. The Logitech TV Cam HD Skype Camera rang…the same tone as an old-fashioned telephone. My daughter used the remote to answer it. She could hear me but couldn’t see me until she turned on the TV and changed the source. I on the other hand could hear and see her. Finally, a great solution to keep up with the kids when I’m on the road. Love it.
XBOX 360 Kinect 2-Way TV
Now I have to say, this is pretty cool. XBOX 360 Kinect is coming out with two new games geared towards children in which they describe as 2-Way TV. In the new Sesame Street game, kids will see themselves in the Sesame Street show and they will be able to play with different props or engage in games as if they are in the show themselves. It’s pretty cool and so cute. Here’s a picture of Heidi from Coast2CoastMom.com and I playing “in” the game. Kinect is also working on a National Geographic Kids video game for 2-Way TV which will be geared towards older kids. Can’t wait to play some more!
Just Dance Disney Party
I first saw a beta version of Just Dance Disney Party at the E3 Gaming Convention earlier this year in Los Angeles, where I scoped out the Best Upcoming Family Games for 2012. It a fun game with great Disney music from Disney movie classics like Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, to fun songs from the Disney Channel shows kids love.
Hasbro’s Monopoly & LIFE Zapped
Now these games intrigued me. I have played Monopoly and XBOX 360, and let me tell you, it goes so much faster than the actual board game. It’s a dream. However, my kids are now just getting to the point where they would be interested in playing games like Hasbro’s Monopoly and LIFE. To have them go straight to the console or PC version of these fun games would rob them of fun family time around a board game. Yet, being a techie, I appreciate having somewhat of a modern version too. Hasbro’s new Zapped versions combine the graphical display and added fun features of game play on the iPad with a traditional game board. You really get the best of both worlds with a fun board we can all gather around and the interactivity of playing the game alongside with an iPad. Can’t wait to try it.
Now this is something different for sure. A set of Sifteo Cubes incorporates 3 cubes. You can expand up to 6 cubes in total. The cubes work in conjunction with each other. You arrange the cubes in different places dependent upon the game you’re playing. As you can see in the bigger picture below, the purple animal is looking for eggs, but a big gopher is coming his way. Moving and rotating the cubes will bring up different path scenarios to escape the gopher. The cubes interact with each other differently dependent upon which two sides you bring together. Very ingenious. There are all sorts of different games available to play which will capture the interest of both kids and adults.
Nike+ SportsWatch GPS
The Nike+ SportWatch GPS from TomTom is coming out soon and will work in conjunction with the shoe-based Nike+Sensor which gives a more accurate picture of a person’s pace and distance when running. It becomes your running partner as it gives you challenges, reminds you to run, and connects to the Nikeplus.com website to track your progress.
Arm & Hammer SpinBrush
I underestimated this little fun product. Sure, it’s cute, with the ability to personalize your toothbrush, but I never knew the impact it would have with my own daughter. I received one free at the BlogHer expo and gave it to her later that night, as my family traveled with me to BlogHer this year. She took to it right away and personalized the SpinBrush with her name and fun stickers. That night, I didn’t have to remind her to brush. My daughter HATES brushing her teeth and will avoid it entirely if I’m not on her. Now, when I ask her to brush her teeth, she does it right away…AND she brushes for a much longer time than she used to. Thank you, SpinBrush!
Zamzee Exercise Monitor
Now, if you’ve been reading WellConnectedMom for awhile, you know that one of my VERY favorite gadgets is my Striiv pedometer. I wear it every day and love the challenges it gives me to exercise more. But the Striiv is a little pricey at $99 and despite my kids’ pleas, I’m not getting one for them. The Zamzee helps solve this problem. The Zamzee is similar in that it’s a type of pedometer that you wear and it measures all of your activity, however, it is designed just for kids. Kids wear it all they then upload the data from the PC to track their activities. Kids can earn rewards like fun gadgets, products, and even gift cards. A five minute walk can earn 20 Pointz. 1,000 Pointz collected equates to $5, so kids can motivate themselves to move dependent upon their goal. Fun.
Tria Laser Hair Removal
Now this was pretty cool. Now you can conduct your own laser hair removal in the privacy of your own home. No more costly appointments. This is the first and only laser hair removal available for consumers. Tria also has a Skin Perfecting Blue Light that treats blemishes without needing a topical medication. Sign me up! Actually, they did sign me up and I will be reviewing the Tria Laser Hair Removal over the next 6 months. Expect a giveaway to score one for yourself on WellConnectedMom.com around the Holidays.
Britely.com Flipbooks for the Web
I highlighted the beauty of Britely.com‘s flip books in my first article entitled After Hours Fun at BlogHer’12. Be sure to see the article, it highlighted pictures from six different events at BlogHer in a well organized fashion. Flipbooks are mini slide shows you can embed into your website or show from the web, either publicly or privately. You can easily import pictures from your PC, Facebook albums, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, or the Web. Then you add some words on each slide (if you want), and you’re done. East, fast, and simple.
Well, like I said, I could go on and on about all the technology and gadgets I saw during BlogHer, but I’ll stop here. Which of these products sparked interest for you? Let me know and perhaps I can arrange a giveaway for it on the site.
* Microsoft sent me the Windows Radar phone to use just in time for BlogHer …I have been having a fun time exploring it’s features.Tweet