No better way to know what’s super-cool, gadgetry-wise, than to check in with the people who make it a point to know and live such things. Which is what we did. With no further ado, here’s what cable’s top gadget junkies either crave, or love.
Starting with flying things and personal drones. For Mike Hayashi, executive vice president of architecture, development and engineering for Time Warner Cable, and Comcast CTO Tony Werner, it’s this ($1,100) flying camera -- the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. “Watch out for my drone,” Werner cautioned (he was kidding. Pretty sure.)
With the camera-copter, you too can be a drone -- long before Amazon lifts off: http://bit.ly/19jlSsg
“It is going to change the world,” Hayashi added of the gizmo. And we believed him, after viewing the clip he sent: http://bit.ly/1dpLhDi
Hayashi, an audio engineer at his core, also admires the Klipsch La Scala II Three-Way Horn-Loaded Loudspeaker (http://amzn.to/18UOCYl) with 15-inch woofer and 2-inch composite cone. (Of course he does. )
Super hot in 2013-14 gadgetry: Action-cams that clip onto a helmet, surfboard, dog, you name it. GoPro (www.gopro.com) owns the category. (Werner’s list includes the “mutt mount,” for a dog’s eye view from their two German shepherds.)
Fancy watches are back. Sherita Caesar, vice president of national engineering and tech ops for Comcast, likes the Samsung S9100 phone watch (http://bit.ly/JHa6BG). “It’s big and has lots of flashing lights,” she noted.
Also big: Bicycle accouterment. Jay Rolls, CTO of Charter, is eyeing a road bike with electronic shifting (http://bit.ly/1fIoQf1) -- “it’s finally gone mainstream, but commands a $1,000 premium,” he said.
For Jud Cary, vice president and deputy general counsel at CableLabs, it’s a string of LED lights made specifically to spruce up a bicycle’s spokes: http://bit.ly/18BbGk0
And, of course, there’s television sets. Craig Cuttner, senior vice president of advanced technology for HBO and someone who closely monitors developments on the 4K / UltraHD scene, finally upgraded his “1980s HDTV” with a Samsung F8500 series plasma. “I love the look of the dark blacks of plasma -- and, take that, 4K, it’s 1080P. As the future will foretell, it’s all about brightness!”
Likewise for Sabrina Calhoun, vice presidnt of engineering for Bright House, who braved a big-box store last week to fall in love with Samsung’s curved OLED. “Wpw! It looks like a work of art,” she noted. Price tag: $9,000. (She’ll stick with her non-organic TV for now.)
Lifelong gadget guru Bill Sheppard, with Nuance Communications, recommends this the Aviator Laptop Stand, for chronic air travelers. (http://keynamics.com/laptop-stand.html)“It’s a cheap but really useful way to keep a laptop usable even when the jerk in front of you fully reclines.” (I’m in for that one.)
And as a guy on a mission to empower his two daughters to be excited by technology and programming, Sheppard also likes the Lego Mindstorms EV3 (Lego Mindstorms EV3), which he described as “a third generation robotics program with an amazing array of programmability, sensors, I/O, integration, etc. -- the ultimate geek toy and educational to boot!”
That’s the roundup for this year. From all of us to you -- may all of your 2014 gadgets be friendly and bright! Merry merry.