Gear We Like
Travel tech news: October 24, 2012
Smaller iPads from Apple and cameras from GoPro, a wheelchair that could be a boon for less mobile travellers, and a completely unnecessary suitcase.
All in this edition of Travel Tech News for October 24, 2010.
GoPro releases new range of cameras, action freaks rejoice
GoPro, the rugged camera manufacturer so beloved of action sports fans, unleashed a new range last week. Frankly, it looks fantastic.
The Hero3 will come in three different flavours when it ships next month, with retail pricing ranging from $199 to $399. The high end "Black" edition has remarkable specifications for such a small device, including high definition video at up to 4K, simultaneous video and still image capture, and a 30fps burst mode. It also comes with a waterproof remote that works from up to 200m away – an optional extra for the other models.
The camera also has inbuilt wifi, allowing it to create an ad-hoc network and stream video to – and be controlled by – a smartphone. Oh, and it’s also smaller and lighter than the previous Hero2 range. Of course.
If taking video and photos on the go is your thing, there’s pretty much nothing not to like about the new model. We’re impressed.
Wheelchair prototype could be a boon for less mobile travellers
Of the many issues that travellers in wheelchairs face, stairs and uneven ground are two significant challenges – especially in parts of the world where accessibility requirements are of little concern. Researchers in Japan have unveiled a prototype of a robotic wheelchair with wheels that can act like legs, climbing up stairs and over ditches, rolling over inclines and turning on the spot.
All the while the chair will keep the seat level, reducing the chance of a fall.
While still a long way from being a commercial reality, it is inventions like this that could make a dramatic difference for those who don’t want to let a disability stop them from seeing the world.
Too lazy to drag your own suitcase? There’s an app for that.
In a move guaranteed to raise both the ire of the TSA and the likelihood of having your luggage stolen, the new Hop suitcase will follow you around like a lost puppy at the airport. Using a smartphone app and Bluetooth signals, the suitcase will (slowly and unsteadily) track your movements and tag along behind.
Never mind the small size, slow pace, additional weight, theft risk, battery life and chance of toppling over … who doesn’t need one of these in their life, we ask?
Well, most of us, really.
It’s a cool prototype, but does seem rather like a solution looking for a problem as far as we’re concerned…
New iPad mini announced – but it’s going to cost you
The worst-kept secret in tech is a secret no more – Apple yesterday announced a smaller, 7.9" version of the world’s favourite tablet. There’s a lot to like about the new device as far as travellers are concerned – size, build and display quality, for starters – but the pricing probably takes it out of the ‘impulse buy’ category.
Starting at $329 for the 16Gb wifi version and climbing all the way to an eye-watering $649 for 64Gb and LTE, the iPad mini costs 30-60% more than the competition.
With an equivalent Kindle Fire HD costing $199, and Google Nexus 7 priced at $249, it will be very interesting to see whether the market is prepared to pay a premium for the iPad. In the past it has – but the 7" tablet market is already crowded with quality products. Only time will tell.
Are you thinking about buying an iPad mini, or are other 7" tablet options more appealing?