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Pepcom Holiday Tech Showcase 2014

Pepcom Holiday SpectacularAt CES and holidays I am always excited to head to Pepcom events to check out the new technology related products out. On the night of the World Series I braved the traffic to head to San Francisco for the Pepcom Holiday Spectacular. Because the holiday season is so busy I have not had a chance to review any of the products but here are some of the interesting ones in the family technology area.

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Pepcom Holiday Spectacular! Exhibitors:

24/7
24/7 is a medical grade sleep and activity tracking application, their new new features include giving users more insight into their sleep than ever before.

 

 

ArcSoft
ArcSoft will be showing Simplicam powered by Closeli, a home monitoring solution with facial detection. They also had information on Perfect365 – which uses Face Detection technology to scan a photo and automatically map a person’s eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and hairline. Then photos are treated with touch-ups, using nearly 20 tweaking tools that whiten teeth, brighten eyes, remove blemishes and other editing. They can also choose from dozens of pre-set makeup templates.

 

 

Belkin
Belkin International showcased a great selection of holiday tech products from its three brands, Belkin, Linksys and WeMo.  I was especially interested in their WeMo family of products that offers home automation, such as in a remote controlled Crock Pot!

Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo  Belkin

 

I also learned about their Linksys Dual Band WiFi router and how I could possibly swap that out for the default router my home WiFi provider gave us to help power up our wireless reception (and maybe also using a WiFi extender to help rooms far away from the router).

 

Belkin Linksys

 

Belkin also had some gift guide suggestions:

 

GIFTS UNDER $50
Metallic Lightning Cables
$24.99 – $29.99
Vent Mount $24.99
Phone Accessories
$24.99 – $34.99

 

GIFTS UNDER $300
Thunderbolt™ 2 Express Dock HD
with Cable $299.99
Linksys WRT1900AC $249.99
Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router $299.99

 

GIFTS UNDER $150
Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo® $129.99
QODE™ Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air $149.99
WeMo® LED Lighting Starter Set $99.99
Mr. Coffee® 10-Cup Smart Optimal Brew™ Coffeemaker with WeMo® $149.99
Linksys Dual Band Wireless AC Range Extender RE6500 $99.99

 

 

Chamberlain Group – MyQ Garage
Chamberlain Group showed MyQ Garage, the connected home device for controlling home entry. “A smart home with MyQ ensures people never forget to close the garage door and can open, close and monitor it from anywhere in the world from a smartphone. MyQ is integrated with Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, multiple home devices through the WinkApp, and other popular connected home apps.”

 

 

Channel Master
Channel Master debuted new features and services for the DVR+ platform, as well as a new ultra-low-cost outdoor television antenna. They were also the most popular table because they had the World Series on! Channel Masters new features for its subscription-free DVR+ include YouTube access and an enhanced DVR feature to record only new episodes of a series. The company also added the new low-cost STEALTHtenna to its metro/suburban-centric Everyday Series antenna line along with a consumer-friendly Antenna Selection Guide.  Coming in November, the YouTube streaming feature will appear in the DVR+ program guide.

 

 

 

Cobra
Cobra Electronics showcased “the addition to the company’s Drive HD Dash Cams series, Cobra CDR 825, utilizing a 2.7 inch screen, the largest in the dash cam family, along with the ultra-compact Cobra JumPack, a pocket-sized, portable charger for mobile devices and vehicle jump-starter.” Cobra also displayed some Walkie Talkies that I know my boys would have loved to try.

 

 

Creative Labs
Creative Labs has home, mobile, and gaming audio products. I was especially interested to hear about their E5 product that can be used an microphone to capture audio for me when I do video. Here is more information from their press release:

Their Professional-Grade Sound Blaster® E5  is a “24-bit/192kHz 120dB High Resolution USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier for Smartphones, Tablets, PCs & Macs:

 

  • Digital High-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to PC/Mac as a powerful external Sound Blaster
  • Digital USB Host connectivity to select iOS/Android models for direct high quality, lossless audio streaming*
  • Built-in rechargeable 3200mAh lithium polymer battery provides users up to 8 hours^ of playtime while on the go
  • Features wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for one-touch Bluetooth pairing and control
  • Supports HD audio codecs such as aptX® Low Latency and AAC for a wireless connection as good as a wired connection
  • Connects to entertainment devices such as televisions and game consoles via the optical input jack
  • Features a line-in option for analog connectivity to other various audio sources
  • Dual headphone jacks allow for simultaneous audio listening

Compatible with:      

- iOS devices using Lightning connector (iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, iPad Air, iPad Mini)

- Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, Note 2, Note 3; Google Nexus 5, Nexus 7; Sony Xperia Z Ultra; Xiaomi Redmi, Redmi Note, Mi 3; LG G2)

**Actual battery life will vary with usage scenarios, settings and environmental conditions

 

The new flagship product is an extension of Sound Blaster’s E-Series line of compact portable USB audio solutions.  Launched in May 2014, the Sound Blaster E-Series includes the Sound Blaster E1 and Sound Blaster E3.”

 

 

ecoATM
ecoATM showed their “automated e-waste recycling kiosk that accepts cell phones, tablets and MP3 players from consumers in exchange for instant cash.” Listed below is an image they shared on what you could buy for holiday gifts from what you get back from trading in specific devices. I have not tried the service but I think trading in old devices are a great way to earn money to buy new devices instead of them sitting in a cabinet collecting dust! ecoATM, the nationwide network of 1,510 automated recycling kiosks, give’s users instant cash for their phones, tablets and MP3 players.

 

ecoATM

 

 

 

Fitbug
Fitbug Orb is a fitness, sleep and activity tracker.  They unveiled Kiqplan, a library of interactive coaching programs that use activity data from almost ANY activity tracker, smartphone or watch to build actionable 12 week plans around specific wellness goals.

 

 

Fujitsu
Fujitsu showcased their ScanSnap product lineup, including the new mobile and completely wireless scanner, the ScanSnap iX100. Included in the ScanSnap family line is the ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner.

 

 

Kensington
Kensington has USB Hubs, Adapters, USB Chargers and Universal Soft Sleeves as well as new iPad Air™ 2 Keyboard Cases. Their PresentAir Pro Bluetooth® 4.0 LE Presenter “offers three different function modes to support different types of activity presenting, controlling media, or editing and offers one of the slimmest presenter designs on the market. The free downloadable companion app, PresenterWorks, allows users to set buttons to the functions of their choice for greater flexibility and efficiency.”

 

 

Kingston
Kingston Technology showcased holiday gifts ideas including the MobileLite G2 wireless media reader, SD and Micro SD cards and a HyperX Cloud gaming headset that offers extended hours of game play.

 

 

KODAK PIXPRO
KODAK PIXPRO featured cameras and wireless devices including the new SP360 Action Cam, an HD action cam designed to capture 360-degrees of video without the need for multiple cameras.

 

 

Lenovo
Lenovo had a few tables filled with their newest devices.

 

Lenovo at Pepcom

 

 

Some of the devices I spent time looking at where the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro, B40 All in One, Y50 Touch mobile gaming and multimedia notebook. But the one I drooled over was the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro because it has powerful features but is thin, light and so fancy!

 

Lenovo Yoga 3

 

 

LifeTrak
LifeTrak showcased their line of wearables, including the new LifeTrak BRITE R450, that features light exposure monitoring, smartphone notifications, advanced sleep monitoring and fitness tracking, is waterproof and requires no recharging. The battery used for the device is a watch battery!

 

LifeTrak

 

Logitech
Logitech will be showcasing its latest in gaming, music, tablet, Harmony and PC accessories.

 

 

muvee
The new iOS app TWINE “makes short split-screen videos. Capture opposite or parallel moments in time and TWINE automatically stitches them together“.

 

 

Otterbox
OtterBox will be showcasing protective cases for the recently released iPhone 6, GALAXY Note 4 and more.

 

 

Parallels
Parallels Access app (for iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones plus Kindle Fire) “lets you access everything on your PC or Mac just like it was made for your touch-based device (a way to run Windows on your Mac without rebooting).

 

 

Plantronics
Plantronics will be showcasing its new line of consumer, stereo and Bluetooth products including the new BackBeat PRO – wireless, active noise canceling stereo headphones with mic.

 

 

Plantronics Backbeat Pro

 

 

RadioShack
RadioShack has the latest in sound, toys, power and smart tech for gifting or for upgrading your own tech this holiday season.  I went to the press event to celebrate the interactive remodel of San Francisco Bay Area (and other locations) Radio Shack stores.  I was really impressed with the selection of tech in the new design. Especially their DIY section that had so many DIY tech projects that my boys could keep busy for a long time!

 

Here is information about the Radio Shack store redesign:

  • Innovative products from startups and inventors, such as mobile device-controlled robot ball Sphero, educational magnetic circuit boards from littleBits and Lively’s activity sensors that create a smart home for older adults to log daily routines
  • An interactive speaker wall where customers can shop and compare different speakers using music installed on in-store tablets
  • Experiential displays that enable shoppers to find and compare products, including headphone demo stations where they can listen to leading brands like SOL REPUBLIC, Skullcandy and Beats by Dr. Dre; in-demand devices from Apple, Samsung and HTC; a remote control (RC) toy exploration center; and a GoPro camera display demonstrating the capabilities of several models of GoPro cameras
  • Technology that makes shopping interesting and playful, like touchscreens and apps that help shoppers understand the benefits of products
  • Full mobility offerings from top mobile carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon with flexible financing plans available all under one roof
  • Helpful, informative RadioShack staff who can answer shoppers’ questions about hundreds of products and services and direct customers to the items that meet their specific needs.

 

 

ResMed
S+ by ResMed: a non-contact sleep system that monitors, analyzes and provides personalized feedback to help improve your sleep from the first night.

 

 

Ring
Ring Video Doorbell “lets you answer the door from anywhere using your smartphone. It features an HD camera with night vision, providing a clear view from your front door, day and night.”

 

 

simplehuman
simplehuman builds smart home-tech that is “simple, functional, and built to last“. I tested the sensor trashcan they had on display and it really was able to tell the different between me waving my hand to open the trashcan versus just walking by. The other brand sensor trashcan I tried kept opening up when I would just walk by it.. Next time I will try simplehuman!

 

Simple Human

 

 

Speck
As a leader in slim protective cases for mobile devices, Speck will be showing its latest bulk-free cases in smashing good looks. Their candy shell smartphone cases have been great protection in the past when I dropped my phones (just a few times…).

 

Speck

 

 

TiVo
TiVo showcased the TiVo Roamio OTA, the over-the-air DVR and TiVo Mega.

 

 

Totspot
Totspot is a mobile shopping app for moms to buy and sell gently used kids’ clothes.  I think this is a great tool for families to control clothing budgets for their kids – who grow out of clothes so quickly. And also to find great clothes for their kids!  “Totspot solves the age-old challenge every parent faces when outfitting their growing soccer stars and fashionistas – kids grow, clothes don’t. The free app has an intuitive interface designed to be simple and fast, and supports easy mom-to-mom mobile retailing, giving families a simple way to cash in their kids’ closets and keep little ones toddler-trendy and fashion-forward. Totspot (http://www.totspot.me) is currently available as a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android.

 

Totspot

 

Totspot

 

 

TripIt
TripIt booth is a trip planner keeps travel plans in one spot with features such as custom itineraries, sharing features, travel alerts, alternative flight info,  flight refunds and a travel dashboard.

 

 

Velvetwire
Velvetwire showcased the Powerslayer Blu – an Bluetooth-connected charger with built-in software that “reduces energy waste and promotes battery health”.

 

Velvetwire

 

 

ZAGG
ZAGG Inc highlighted their newest accessories for protecting and enhancing handheld electronics.

InvisibleSHIELD GLASS and HDX: Features HD clarity and 3X greater shatter protection for even industry-leading smartphone glass.

  • GoLite power series: A family of portable batteries will charge any device that utilizes a USB, including smartphones and tablets.
  • iFrogz InTone earbuds: Feature a smooth surface which rests comfortably on the ear while their 14mm driver delivers vibrant sound.”

 

 

Disclosure: This is coverage of a tech press event.

 

 

 

 

Best Time For Holiday Shopping Deals

Holiday ShoppingWhile many are getting ready to shop Black Friday, the numbers show that the best time for holiday shopping deals are spread out from early November to New Years sales in January.

 

 

Forbes discussed the best shopping days by sharing the information from the Adobe annual online shopping forecast.  While the post stated that Thanksgiving Day has some of the best pricing, Forbes shared that  “Adobe also predicts that the largest single-day drop in prices, 5% on average, will happen on the Monday before Thanksgiving, thanks to retailers trying to get an even earlier jump on sales.”  If retailers are trying to get an earlier jump on sales, maybe shopping early is a great way to get a jump on holiday shopping!

 

Another big trend is mobile shopping so retailers are offering more deals online. I shopped during Black Fridays for the last few years and realized that while there were some key deals, many items were either sold out or out of stock by the time I tried to get them.  Looking back at the even the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales items that were sold out, some discounts were similar what I found later in December and even January.  At the store there were also limited stock for the best pricing and other items were regular price. My lesson learned was instead of only waiting for specific “sale” days I would start looking for deals early in the season.  For the in store shopping, I like to talk to the staff to see when the sales start and also see if they have shopper programs that offer early access to sales. For example, some stores offer sale information over their email newsletters.

 

Marketwatch looked at holiday shopping information from Savings.com and found that the best shopping days for specific categories of items range from Thanksgiving weekend to throughout December. Last year I needed to buy a TV for our family and found that New Years Day sales in January not only had the best pricing but were also less crowded. I assumed New Years Day sales were good because it was after the holidays and the stores wanted to move inventory out to clear space for new items. This year we need to upgrade our gaming console so while I will be monitoring sales throughout the holiday season, I may just give our kids a “rain check” and shop the New Years sales. The biggest tip is that unplugging with family and friends is the best gift of all, so why stress yourself out shopping when sales are spread out across the season?  What good is saving money if it means increasing stress?

 

Maybe the best strategy is keep an eye out for sales starting in November and start shopping early. Then put down phones, shut off computers and enjoy Thanksgiving and holiday events. What is your holiday shopping strategy?

 

UPDATE: On Facebook I shared the post and had some great discussion points. I wanted to add that if you *enjoy* shopping and it does not cause you stress or cause you to leave social occasions early (or not go all) – then go for it! Even shopping online is a great way to have a lower stress shopping experience.  For those that enjoy shopping at stores, holidays are a fun time to shop because of the sales. I say just stick to budget and make sure you are also find time to relax and enjoy time with family & friends!

 

 

 

AT&T Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals

The AT&T gift guide includes handsets, emerging devices, U-verse, Smart Controls and Accessories. The holidays are a great time to make gifts not only fun but practical (like upgrading to a smartphone for you or a loved one). Some of the handsets listed on their holiday guide are Nokia Lumia Smartphones, Sony Xperia TL, HTC smartphones and the LG Optimus G.  Some of the accessories listed on their gift guide are iFrogz Boost Plus Near Field Audio Speaker, iGrill Thermometer, Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, and the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Speaker (red is a nice holiday color!). I will update this post with more of their accessory and stocking stuffer recommendations.

 

 

CURRENT DEALS (from the press update):

  • $100 Off any Tablet (including iPad!):  Customers will receive $100 off any tablet purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com or at selected agents or retailers with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
  • Windows 8 smartphone + Tablet: For a limited time, AT&T customers will receive a $100 off the ASUS VivoTab, after purchasing any Windows smartphone and an additional $100 off any tablet, purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
  • Samsung BOGO: For a limited time, customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, including the Galaxy Express, will receive up to $100 off a second connected Samsung device. Details.
  • Exclusively at att.com, AT&T will be ringing in the value with a series of revolving online promotions kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 and continuing until the last chime on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26. Here are a few:


Black Friday Weekend: Nov. 24&25
HTC Vivid is just $.01
Rugby Smart is only $.99

 

Cyber Monday: Nov. 26 (begins 12:01 a.m. ET)

Some of AT&T’s most popular smartphones for just $.99 — the Pantech Renue, Motorola Atrix HD, HTC One X (gray only) Samsung Galaxy S II and the Nokia Lumia 900.

 

As with all deals, quantities are limited.

 

 Disclosure: This is a press update.

 

 

 

Sprint Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals

Sprint just updated me on their Cyber Monday promotion – but they also have a Sprint holiday cell phone deal page on their website that lists deals on phones, tablets, hot spot devices and accessories.

 

Listed below is the Cyber Monday press info Sprint sent my way:

 

“The ‘Unlimited Edition’ savings continue from Sprint. On Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, and continuing through Monday, Dec. 3, Sprint customers activating a new line of service can buy Samsung Galaxy S® II and Galaxy Nexus for FREE1 exclusively online or by calling call 1-800-Sprint1 with a two-year service agreement2.

 

1Device pricing excludes taxes and surcharges and customers must purchase with a new line and two-year service agreement.

2Qualifying smartphone plans include: Simply Everything, Simply Everything Share, Everything Business, Everything Data, Everything Data Share, Business Advantage Messaging & Data, Business Share Plus with Pro Pack Plus.”

 

Sony Holiday Tech Deals and Gift Recommendations

There are some great Sony products on sale during Black Friday. The Sony blog published Editor’s picks that help point out some great holiday gifts or the opportunity to give a gift to yourself.  Some items may be limited quantities. I bought my Sony Vaio laptop over 2 years ago and it is still going strong! The Sony Handycam I bought a few years ago is also going strong – and is the camera my son used to launch his YouTube channel with skating videos.

 

 

 

 

EDITOR’S PICK (from the Sony Blog):

  • Save $50 on the VAIO E Series 11 Laptop (SVE11125CXW) now $399.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/SJijGd
  • Save $100 on the VAIO T Series 13 Ultrabook (SVT13122CXS)now $599.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/WlrxY4
  • Save $400 on a 50″ (diag.) LED EX645 Internet TV(KDL50EX645) now $899.99: http://bit.ly/SoJLX6
  • Save $200 on award-winning NEX5NK/B now $499.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/OILpmn
  • Save over $340 on NEXF3K bundle, includes 2 lenses, 8GB mem card, and case, only $649.99 (over $300 in savings, excl tax): http://bit.ly/Wh1i4W
  • Save  $100 + get a free case and free 8GB memory card with the purchase of the Sony Alpha NEX-5R with 18-55mm Lens $649.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/Sd7NGa
  • Save up to $200 on select HD Handycam camcorders plus get free case, starting at $179.99: http://bit.ly/R1h0Ew 

 

 

I also received a press update on Playstation Hardware recommendations. Here is the information I was sent:


o   The 3G Vita offers an unparalleled combination of rich gaming and social connectivity delivering something for gamers of all ages and interests. It is the highest definition handheld gaming experience possible, featuring a stunning 5-inch OLED touchscreen, front touchscreen, a rear touch pad, dual analog sticks, motion sensors, and front and rear cameras, result in game experiences not possible on any other handheld gaming device.

o   PS3 offers a complete entertainment home entertainment hub comprising a Blu-ray player, HDMI output and 1080p resolution, 3D gaming capabilities, and an integrated Wi-Fi connection. The 320GB built-in hard drive offers plenty of storage for games, videos, and other content downloaded from PlayStation Network, as well as personal digital content such as music and photos.

o   PS3 owners also have free and unlimited access to PSN, the online entertainment hub for all PlayStation platforms, which delivers on-demand content like games, movies and TV shows, sports and music straight into your living room—unmatched entertainment value for the entire family.

 

NEW Playstation Software

  • Wonderbook: Book of Spells($39.99; $79.99 for bundle pack)
    • Brings exclusive content in immersive new ways by putting you at the heart of the action, using augmented reality technology to transform the world around you by tilting, rotating, or simply turning the pages to bring stories to life like never before
    • Reveals original content from J.K. Rowling – you’ll will be able to read and practice 20 spells, just like the students at Hogwarts
  • LittleBigPlanet Karting ($59.99)
    • Get behind the steering wheel and get ready to race through fun-filled tracks, discover unlockables in 3D environments, and battle in karting arenas filled with pick-up items and weaponry
  • Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale($59.99; also available on Vita for $39.99)
    • Play as your favorite PlayStation characters with all their signature moves, including Kratos, Fat Princess, PaRappa, Colonel Radec, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Sackboy, Big Daddy, Heihachi Mishima, and Toro Inoue.
    • With Cross-Save and Cross-Play between PS3 and PS Vita you never have to stop playing
  • Sports Champions 2($59.99)
    • Features six events including five new games and an update to the popular Archery event from the first title. New games include Skiing, Tennis, Boxing, Golf, and Bowling
  • Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault($59.99)
    • Ratchet and Clank Return to the classic camera, weapons and third-person Ratchet gameplay, while adding a new base defense element.
    • Intense, strategic and “Ratchet-y” experience that combines classic Ratchet & Clank mechanics with MOBA-style head-to-head action

 

 

Vita Software

o   Local multiplayer via 2-4 players same screen, online gaming for up to 4 players, and more than 45 new story levels and games to play across 6 themes.

 

Disclosure: I am in a Sony Blogger program where I receive products to review. This is not a sponsored post, all of my words are my own.

 

Microsoft Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

With Windows 8 out, the holiday sales are an exciting time to invest in a new Windows 8 device. My shopping strategy recommendation is to first decide what you need and then look into the sales – which go on throughout the holiday season. For those that want to get started, Microsoft has a blog post that summarizes the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. It is important to note that many sales have limited quantities. But I also find that new sales happen so other opportunities will present themselves.

 

Some of the key sales from the blog post are:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from Dell: Dell’s Black Friday deals hereCyber Monday deals here.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from HP:  HP’s Black Friday deals here,  HP’s Cyber Monday deals here and at @HPdeals on Twitter.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from Lenovo: You’ll find Lenovo’s Black Friday deals hereCyber Monday deals here  and on Twitter at @lenovo , @lenovodeals.

Black Friday Deals from Toshiba: · Find great prices on Toshiba laptops here running Thursday 11/22 6pm PST and through Monday evening 11/26.

I found great Black Friday Deals from Sony at their website.

 

The Microsoft Website has the XBox bundle deals listed, including Xbox 360 4 GB Kinect Sports Dance Central Bundle.

 

HP Black Friday and Holiday Tech Deals

The press release just came out for HP Holiday offerings. The first step as I mention in my shopping strategy post is to decide what your families needs are, what devices have the features to fit those needs and then investigate what sales are available.  It is also important to understand that many sales are only “while supplies last”. Here are some of the sale and holiday recommendations from the HP press release:

 

 

BLACK FRIDAY:

 

–Save $150 on the Windowws 8 Touchscreen HP ENVY 20 TouchSmart All-in-One Desktop PC, now only $649.

–Save 40% on Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer. Only $89.99 after a $60 savings.

–Save 41% on Officejet 6700 e-All-in-One Printer. Only $99.99 after a $70 savings.

 

CYBER MONDAY:
Receive a free gift valued at $99 with an PC purchase at HPShopping.com (while supplies last).  Plus, great deals on PCs including:
–HP ENVY Ultrabook 4t @ $599.99 (Everyday Price is $729.99)
$130 Savings on PC
–HP Pavilion 23-b030z All-in-One Desktop PC @ $499 (Everyday PC price is $599)
$100 Savings on PC

 

Here are some of their recommendations for those that need the flexibility of a laptop:

  • “The HP ENVY x2 is an ultraportable and ultrathin hybrid PC weighing a sleek 3.1 pounds,(8) and offering the advantages of two devices in one. The HP ENVY x2 has a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard via a seamless magnetic latch, transitioning from a productive workspace to entertainment powerhouse. Starting at $849.99. A video tour of the inventive HP ENVY x2 is available at HP’s TheNextBench.com.
  • The HP ENVY SpectreXT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ features an all-metal design and 15.6-inch diagonal multitouch Radiance Full HD(9) display with IPS technology, making it the ideal mobile companion for those who seek sophistication and substance. The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook is HP’s first notebook with Intel® Thunderbolt technology(10) for blazing-fast transfer of music, movies and data to external devices. Starting at $1,399.99.
  • The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 delivers powerful performance in an eye-catching metal design that measures 23 mm thin and weighs 4.77 pounds.(8) The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 features a 14-inch multitouch HD(9) display, a booming subwoofer with Beats Audio and optional AMD graphics with 2 GB of graphics memory. Starting at $799.99.”

 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. This is a update from a press release I received.

 

Dell Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Tech Deals

Here is the holiday (press) information I received from Dell on the Black Friday Deals. As I said in my first post, there will be deals all throughout the holidays so the most important step for technology shopping is choosing what fits with your technology need then finding a deal on those items. It is also important to understand that many holiday deals are “while supplies last”.

Dell has a Black Friday  www.dell.com/blackfriday and CyberMonday www.dell.comn/cybermonday websites. One pick is the XPS 13 which will start at $799 on dell.com/blackfriday, starting at 12:00am CST 11/23, for limited time and quantity.  There will also be three-hour door busters at 12am EST on Friday, November 23 on systems such as XPS 13 will be offered for $799, Inspiron 14z laptop is available for $299.99, Inspiron 660s on sale for $249.99 and Inspire One 20 all-in-one for $399.  Dell also has the Dell’s Holiday Catalogue.

 

 

Black Friday details from Dell (per their email with press info):

Dell has a new line of Windows 8 devices and Dell’s premium XPS-branded devices: systems in an array of sizes:  XPS 12, XPS 13, XPS 14, XPS 15, including our newest, fabulous XPS One 27 All-in-One.

 

More budget friendly options for students and families can be found with Dell’s Inspiron products. Latest includes the Inspiron 14z and 15z Ultrabooks.

 

The line for gamers is the  Alienware M14x for  powerful gaming performance in a portable, 14-inch form factor, while the Alienware M17x, M18x or X51 mini gaming desktops are customizable entertainment centers.

Continue reading

 

Holiday Shopping Strategy: Black Friday, Cyber Monday – Take It Easy!

It is Thanksgiving day and while many are settling into a day of socializing and eating – there are also those that are preparing to shop for holiday deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

This time of the year I like to remind my readers that the holiday deals will be going on throughout the holiday season (and into New Years – where the deals are very good). Choose the holiday first, choose to socialize or just relax with family and friends. If you want to shop, realize that there are both deals at the stores and online. Here are TechMama’s Tips for shopping this holiday season:

 

Last year I tracked the pricing and realized that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only days to get deals – I found the best deals around New Years and beyond. For holiday gifts I wrote an “IOU” for a gaming entertainment center, which allowed me to wait until I found the right price without rushing to get it before the holiday.

 

  • FIRST FIGURE OUT WHAT TECH YOU NEED: In my book “My Parent Plan” I talk about using professional project planning techniques for making a plan for your family. One area I mention in this book is the process of defining your families needs. This is very important when it comes to technology shopping. So DON’T just buy the cheapest computer, TV, tablet or other tech devices – buy what you need and fits your workflow.  For example, If you are looking for a smartphone, don’t just buy one that all your friends have – buy one that has the features you need and that you find easy to use on the go. If you are buying a TV, realize that you will probably want to connect to the internet so consider getting a smart TV.  If you want to get your child a tablet and see one on sale – it is important to first decide what features you need in a tablet not only this year but moving forward. If they are young, then children’s tablets are a great fit for the parental controls and child friendly apps that are included. But my 9 year olds are beyond using a tablet as a toy, they need one that they can read eBooks, listen to audio books and do other things that standard tablets offer. If you see a computer on sale, check to make sure it has the features you not only need now – but one that you can use for a few years.  At the same time, don’t be enticed by what is the “coolest gadget” when really you just need a more functional device.

 

 

  • Inspire your kids to learn the meaning of giving by putting some of that holiday money into charities such as Red Cross. Or look towards the future and give the gift of investing in a college fund for your children (and tell family to do that as well). I found more ideas in a Mashable post about 12 Holiday Gifts that Give Back (such as Blanket America).

 

 

 

I will be posting with the same “holiday sale” image throughout the weekend (in tech shopping) with some of the press releases I received with holiday tech deals. So check back to this post for a summary after the weekend is over.

 

Are you Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping or socializing this Thanksgiving weekend?

 

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. It is just my personal advice to hopefully inspire people to choose a shopping strategy that allows them to enjoy the weekend as well!

 

 

 

Top Questions To Ask Mom Before Buying Tech

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and tech is top of mind for many moms. In the past I spent countless hours putting together  gift guides. But this year I decided to keep the momentum going with my well known use of Twitter microblogging at @TechMama. Starting today and this weekend I will be tweeting out articles about Mothers Day tech. So please follow me @TechMama to find out what gadgets are being recommended for moms. One of my favorite sites for this type of “cool tech for moms” is CoolMomTech.  Of course, I could not post without giving my own tips – but they may just be different then most. In fact, my tips will be the top questions to ask mom before buying her tech.

Anyone buying tech for their moms has to step back and think about what tech “infrastructure and requirements” their mom (or wife) has. How does that special mom use technology in her life? Just because an iPad2 is the hottest gadget being discussed for mother’s day – does not mean that it is the right gift for mom.

WHAT? Did I actually just say that the iPad2 may not be the right gift for mom? YES… I did…

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