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Electronic gadgets are combining diverse technologies and crossing the boundaries of work and play. Anna Ryland reports.

Convergence is the name of the game

surrounded by gadgets which morph into increasingly amazing and bizarre forms. The annual Gadget Show Live held at Birmingham’s NEC, and expected to attract some 120,000 visitors, is a clear reflection of this trend. Among some 270 exhibitors displaying their latest CE products, gaming equipment and software, fitness and sport gear and a vast selection of geeky gizmos, I tried to focus on the offers which could find their place in the independent retailers’ stores. What drives consumer electronic developments in to the realms which were considered unthinkable only a decade ago? Almost limitless connectivity and the desire to share every possible type of experience with friends and family stimulates the growth of modern mobile devices, said Cliff Jones of Trusted Reviews chairing the conference during the show that explored the trends in this market.


“Convergence is the name of the game in the gadget world,” he argued using the examples of three types of hot gadgets that are fast gaining consumer following. There were tablets, which are fast

odern consumer works and plays

reaching the two-devices-per-household penetration, mobile phone/tablet hybrids such as the new Samsung Galaxy S Note, and smart watches, such as these recently launched by Motorola and Sony. Sony’s smart watch, connected to Bluetooth (and running Android 2.1) can answer calls and keep the owner updated on developments on social networks, as well as be used as media player to stream music.

In addition to Samsung S Note, Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, and a selection of speakers incorporating the vacuum tube technology, the smart ‘gadget’ offer from the manufacturer included Samsung’s ES8000 LED dual- core Smart TV. It features Smart Interaction, which gives the users intuitive control of the product via speech or gestures. They can also access a wide world of content, apps and web browsing through the Smart Hub. The manufacturer has also future-proofed it as it can be connected to its Smart Evolution Kit to improve picture and performance as well as deliver the latest features as they come onto the market. It incorporates three Samsung’s ‘signature’

12 The Independent Electrical Retailer May 2012

apps including the Family Story which allows sharing photographs within a close community of friends and family – some of which may live abroad. Another Samsung app is Fitness which can be attached to other fitness devices such as scales (sold as an accessory), and gives a split screen appearance – allowing for ‘a trainer’ or a mirror. The Kids software allows for smart interactions including hand gestures and voice control, and even a sticker book to award children for various achievements.

On the Philips stand, next to the iconic Fidelio Docks and the Android Dock, there was a complete line up of the latest Philips coffee machines. Undoubtedly, the top of the range Philips Saeco, Xelesis, that allows personalization of coffee preferences by six different users selected through finger print recognition, was well at home at the Gadget Show. Meanwhile Sony’s gadget story focused on its Personal 3D Viewer, the PSVita and its Tablet S. Sony Personal 3D Viewer is a unique proposition on the market that offers an immersive visual and audio experience for the gamers. It was demonstrated to the general public for the

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