By Erin Hayes
It’s Friday and here at WhatsUp Gold that means it’s time for us to help you narrow down how you’ll spend this week’s paycheck. Let’s be frank folks: the time to buy gadgets for the sake of buying gadgets has past (at least for the time being) so here’s a short list of our number 1′s. Well, except for our No. 1 gadget: this thousand dollar piece of technology is probably best admired from a far for now . . .
Fujitsu’s Color e-Book FLEPia
After years of hype Fujitsu has finally released its color e-book, FLEPia. It’s XGA screen measures 8 inches and is capable of displaying an astounding 260,000 colors. The e-book _ or e-paper mobile terminal as the Japanese company prefers it to be called _ comes along with Bluetooth, WiFi and up to 4GB of storage via SD card. Oh, and it’s less than a half an inch thick! The Kindle’s newest rival promises 40 hours of continuous use and can be operated by its touchscreen or its spread of function buttons. Fujitsu also decided to throw in Windows CE 5.0 in its entirety though according to engadget.com that function may not be worth the hassle . . . or the price. The screen refresh times of e-ink is 1.8 seconds for a single wipe and the FLEPia – set to starting shipping April 20th in Japan – will sell for a hefty $1,010.
SwitchEasy’s ThumbTack Mic
This next gadget enjoyed its fair share of plugs this week and while we’re not always quick to jump on someone else’s bandwagon we’re making an exception for SwitchEasy’s ThumbTacks Micro-Microphone. SwitchEasy introduced their enormously cute and conveniently tiny third party mic compatible with the iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G and iPod Classic (120 GB) this week. The mini mic, designed to look like the classic push pin, features an integrated microphone and a 3.5mm jack that plugs directly into the iPod, allowing users to make audio recordings with the built-in application. They’re available now in black, white, or red for $13.
Mophie Juice Pack
And while we’re drinking the Apple Kool-Aide we should mention that Mophie’s just released its new Juice Pack for the iPod touch 2G. You may remember their Juice Pack for the iPod 3G was introduced to rave reviews in December. Well engadget.com reports Mophie took the safe route with the 2G model and chose not to steer too far from the successful path of the 3G version. According to the company the Pack provides up to 42 hours of additional audio playback time, or up to seven additional hours of video playback. The case/battery also features a pass-through headphone jack and a USB port so you can synch to iTunes without disrupting the charge. You can check out Morphie’s web site to order the Pack. Oh yeah, and it sells for $100.
On a simlar note: If you’re a true gadget guy looking for more bang for your battery-buying buck you should check out Links International’s iCharge Eco. This solar charger, released last fall, is compatible with a whole host of mobile devices. You can use it with PSP, Nintendo DS/DS Lite, the iPhone 3G, various iPod models, Japanese cell phones (Links International is Tokyo-based), Blackberry models and more. The iCharge delivers a current of DC5.0 to 5.5V at 600mA and comes with a lithium polymer battery. However, you will need to plan 15 hours in advance to charge the iCharge battery via solar energy. It takes 5 hours to charge via USB and 3 ½ hours via wall adapter. The iCharge eco is Japan-only and costs around $100.
If retro gadgets are your weakness you should probably pay attention to the TVDRS Tape. Only in its concept stage now, this super cool music player is deftly disguised to look like one of your old mixed tapes. This Cassette Tape Design allows you to revisit a simpler time: if you want to forward or rewind a song you need to do it manually by rotating the spools with your finger or a pencil. To play a song just slid the Play Button. The twist is it’s powered by your finger. Rotating the second spool of the tape charges the kinetic battery and an LED light indicates the power status: Green-full charge; Amber-medium charge; Red-almost dead. A USB key provides connectivity with almost every computer and will be available in 45, 60 and 90 minutes tape.