Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 12, Tuesday March 18, 2008


Techie talk

gadgets are personal again!

In “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise manipulates virtual documents and zooms through images with a flurry of hand gestures and motions. The movie is set in 2054. But should we be surprised to come by technology that mimic that experience, enabling people to interact with monitors and computers using a wave of their hand or a shift in their body position in the near future?

We should not and quite rightly so. Fictitious inventions of Asimov or Jafar Iqbal and the characters are already taking shape, tumbling out from the pages of the book to our real life. And no doubt, innovations would keep on fascinating us for the days to come. But as we embrace all these new technologies, there is a silent but dominant revolution taking place in the world of electronics- the inanimate components are getting animated and personal day by day.

We are at a point where the technology industry is all about looks and appeal. Consumers are demanding sleek electronics, instead of beige, boring boxes hosting hardware. And keeping in with the trend, companies are getting smarter about creating fashionable accessories. They aren't treating consumer electronics as mere gadgets for the tech savvy, they are meant to be fashion accessories which one can show off like a piece of jewellery.

It is then no wonder that making all these attractive sleek beauties even more personal is gaining on. A must buy for today's young generation, MP3 players have come a long way from what the scene was just a few years ago. They now come with many handy features, including video, audio playback, photo viewer, FM, voice recording, watch, external storage...so and so forth. Adding to these is an array of designs, accessories and colours available to go with one's clothing and lifestyle. And not to forget the most amazing feature that Apple's iPod offers the option to engrave one's own name on the player.

Apple was probably the first consumer electronics company to offer engraving on its music players. Sure, there's nothing special about it per se, but the fact that one can customize one's device with his/her name or a greeting on it is definitely unique. And needless to say, this feature contributed to the mammoth success of iPod.

The most prominent and so far, the most illustrious member of the techno tribe is the mobile phone. The ubiquitous cell phone was only meant to ease communication and make people more accessible. However, in today's times, communication is just one of the many purposes that a cell phone is being used for.

The modern cell phone acts as an entertainment device by combining features such as mobile television, gaming, radio, and support for audio and video content, into a single device. The easy availability of mobile content has also brought a fresh lease of life into the portable music player market.

But all these cannot satisfy the users until and unless they have put their personalised touch to their own handsets. This craving for personalization can be easily met, with the availability of various and wide options in the market and that too in different ways. The downloading of ring tones in cell phones is one of the most common and popular method of personalization of handsets and with them of course the users can also add mobile themes, download screensavers, logos in the process to add their personal touch. Then there is the option to set unique welcome tunes for individual callers. One can even change the skeleton of the mobile set to match their preferred colours upholding one's taste and fashion.

Chosen by the US magazine Mobile PC as the 'greatest gadget' of all time, Apple Powerbook 100 of 1991 has surely paved the way for laptop to become the most personal electronics of the twenty-first century. Today's laptops, also popularly known as notebook is just the miniature version of the future that awaits us.

Weighing less than 2 kg, a cutting edge laptop incorporates all the modern ways of communication including Bluetooth, WiFi and LAN. But the most advantageous feature of a laptop is its mobility. Stored in a laptop, wherever we go, we carry our own world virtually allowing us to access any personal data anytime, anywhere.

And there's a whole lot of ways to customize a laptop. Well, it may not be very flexible in case of laptops but you can always have it custom made fitting all the cloned parts together according to your need. Or you can change the appearance by simply changing the lid colour. Sony VAIO has this amazing range of lid colours that make them even more appealing. You can also attach some accessories to put a signature touch to your laptop.

While talking about gadgets, it'd be quite a blunder if we have PDAs or more commonly known as palm tops left out. A rather sophisticated gadget, palm tops have become more versatile over the years.

Newer PDAs have both touch screens and audio capabilities, enabling them to be used as smartphones, web browsers or portable music players. Recently introduced by GrameenPhone, BlackBerry® smartphones enable users to access the proven BlackBerry® wireless services with support for email, phone, internet, instant messaging, organizer and that too in the most personalized way.

As with all great gadgets, it is also possible to install additional software on PDAs which allows users to customize it to their liking. An example of this would be the display theme for the PDA. Again, almost all PDAs allow adding some form of hardware. The most common is a memory slot. There are also mini keyboards that can be connected to most mainstream PDAs for quicker text input.

Besides the lifestyle gadgets, household and kitchen gadgets are also making their moves to impress today's women. In this fast-paced time, where they juggle with the myriad demands of personal and professional lives, gadgets are a big relief for them. They can blow dry their hair and at the same time cook a quick meal in the micro. That is why, it won't be an exaggeration to say, gadgets are the most personal companion of modern women and lot of thoughts are being poured in to make them even more.

It's evident that customizing gadgets doesn't take a lot of resources, and if anything, it's a great way to entice users. After all, this is where we are headed. In the near future, nobody's going to want a standard, default version of a latest gadget. We are going to want devices that are customized to us. If there's an option, no one is going to want a unit that looks exactly similar to that of others. After all, where's the fun in that, right?

By Shakhawat Imam Rajeeb
Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Model: Salman, Tisha, Sadia, Fahim, Tonmoy

“Soul Music"- a feature on Sound of Music school, issued on Star Lifestyle, Vol 7, Issue 28 erroneously omitted the names of faculty members Imran Ahmed (Pianist) and Tareq (Guitarist). We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to the persons concerned.



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