It is that time of the year again… The Gadget Show Live for 2014 is on at the NEC, and you can visit it from today (though it is closed now) to the 13th of April. The show brings you the latest and greatest in technology, featuring the latest innovations, inventions, Kickstarter projects as well as gives you a chance to check out the best from the usual suspects such as Sony, Microsoft, Canon, Olympus, etc.
So, what takes you first of all when you enter the show? Microsoft’s massive stand, which covers everything from tablets, XBOX, Windows to the ever popular Nokia Lumia series, and of course, the massive laptop range that features them on it.
I had a good chat with a lot of their guys and ladies, and some of it was amusing, while other left me wanting just a bit more.
The first lad I bumped into was very happy to show me the new Windows 8.1 features, but soon realized that the updates were not quite there yet. Anyway, he was able to talk me through most of what is to come, which wasn’t bad. When I asked him what his favourite part of ‘his stand’ (Microsoft) was, he wasn’t able to help me at all. Seemingly he had been too busy in his little corner.
I moved on to the Xbox area, where they demoed how you could control your Xbox using a Windows phone/tablet, and you could be watching a movie on one and then take it with you on a portable device. This caused a lot of fun (ahem) as the account was not the same on both devices, which meant that the movie just wouldn’t run. It did take about three of their ‘I am techy and I know it’ people to figure out, but we got there in the end. I did walk away with a bag of pop corn, and let me tell you that Thai Sweet Chilli is not a good flavour!
Either way, I am not sure how to rate them. They were keen, but not very helpful. I asked the helpful girl if the controlling of Xbox using a phone was like using a Chromecast, and she had no idea what that was. It is a great stand with a lot of great tech, but can’t say I walked away with much!
Yes, you have the usual suspects. The great tablets, the expensive tablets, and the best of this year, the cheap tablets!
Two of the companies that stood out for me were Datawind (http://ubislate.co.uk/) with their £29.99 starting price of an Android tablet, and an Android tablet that gives you a year of free internet in the price. The other one was Adspec, which give you a fairly decent specced tablet for a show price of £69.99. Comparable to the Galaxy Tab 3 7inch version, this was impressive. The guys who own it are stood there, so do say hello to them if you get the chance.
British Inventors Project & Future Tech Project
This was probably my favourite area. You can see a special flood guard that fits any doors (www.hydroguard.co), a special kind of cardboard that is both light and sturdy enough to carry weight, an interesting kind of smart phone controlled bed, and many other cool items. Being an engineer means that these projects look mighty exciting to me, and I will not be shy about it! Definitely go and have a taste of all that is brilliant there!
Speakers and sound
Oh, but yes. The Gadget Show Live is a great place to be if you enjoy your sound and speakers. From Bowers and Wilkins to the types of Pioneer, everyone had something to show.
What stood out for me was probably Musaic, something that has only launched a few days ago, and they are pitching themselves on Kickstarter at the moment. They promise to give you a Sonos like experience, with a very open app that lets you bring in all your music sources into one, and play in multi rooms, or otherwise.What impresses even more is that they can tap into home automation solutions such as the Lightwave Megaman, and turn your lights on or off from the speaker themselves. Do look them up at the following link:
Quite predictably, there were plenty of fitness companies featuring their products. Interestingly, they were placed in one section of the show, facing each other, so it was almost as if a direct competition was on. You get to see Fitbit, Shine, Garmin, and some new ones such as iFit and the like. Whether you like it or not, fitness devices and bands are here to stay, and ready to freak you out or coax you into getting fitter.
The interesting one – Mipow Playbulb
Smart bulbs eh… what is so special about them any more! Well this one features a speaker! Mood lighting and listen to music!
Exciting, but not gathering enough attention – Leap Motion
This may all be changed by the time you get there, but I found Leap Motion to be attracting a lot less attention than I thought it would be. Doing things with a wave of your hand is awesome.
So, there you have it, a very brief summary of what to expect at this year’s Gadget Show Live. Visit the following link to find out more: