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Gadget Preview for the Holidays

September 27, 2012

Pepcom’s annual Holiday Spectacular is usually a great way to get a look at some of the upcoming devices, computers, gadgets, consumer electronics and software for the holidays.

The tech preview, which took place last Thursday at New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion, seemed even larger than usual. That could be a good sign for the economy as the tech industry appears to be bouncing back finally from its post-recession doldrums.

On display were a number of computers and tablets tied to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8, which is slated to be released next month. Lenovo showed off some of its upcoming computers running Windows 8, like the IdeaPad U510.

HP was also on hand with some Windows 8 gear, like the HP Spectre with its ultra-thin glass display. Software vendors are also preparing for Win 8, including Parallels, a company that specializes in running Windows on Apple hardware. It showed off the iPad running Windows 8 with Microsoft’s new tile-like interface.

Hardware vendors of various kinds exhibited their newest products. Fujitsu showed off its latest ScanSnap scanners, which can be used to scan in your clients’ tax returns and invoices. Epson displayed its latest Expression compact printers, along with some neat gadgets, like a pair of eyeglasses that projects a movie screen before your eyes. The Android-powered Epson Moverio BT-100 is able to project both 2D and 3D content, like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy that I watched (briefly). The picture size adjusts the further away you are from the wall of the room in which you’re standing.

Logitech showed off its mobile boomboxes, headphones and, most handy for those of us (like me) who are always tipping over our coffee mugs, a washable keyboard. Also of interest was Logitech’s TV Cam HD, which brings Skype video calling to an HD TV.

Samsung had probably the biggest presence at Pepcom’s mini trade show, exhibiting some of its latest TVs, tablets and phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note, which combines a pen interface with a touch display to give Apple some competition (besides in the patent courts).

One of the more unusual devices at the show was a thermostat called the Nest from Nest Labs. Billed as the "Learning Thermostat," it learns to adjust the temperatures in a home or office automatically based on the user's preferences and turns itself down when the user is away to save on energy costs. In these days of high energy costs, it could end up paying for itself.

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