Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from a touchscreen BlackBerry to the newest Bentley laptop.
Inspecting gadgets
By Patrick Elligett
Mon 24 Nov 2008 04:00 AM

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from a touchscreen BlackBerry to the newest Bentley laptop.

BlackBerry Storm

A touch of bad weather has been predicted for later this year, when the BlackBerry Storm settles in on shelves around the world. Wireless communications company, Research in Motion, has announced that the product will be made available across the world by the end of 2008, however at the time of writing there was still no word on when the product will become available in the MENA region.

As with most of the BlackBerry range of organisers, the storm appears to be a solid all-round performer. It includes the usual range of BlackBerry applications, along with a video and still camera, media players and GPS functionality. The touch screen phone includes a "clickable" interface, which basically means the screen will depress when touched. The creators claim the screen is "like a keyboard" and makes for easy typing.

The Storm will join the growing list of wannabees that have attempted to emulate Apple's popular new phone/organiser. BlackBerry products are a slight exception to this category however, having already established a solid customer-base by targeting businesses with their range of PDA products, which have proven popular with companies and IT executives for some years now.

The Storm does however remain slightly ahead of the iPhone in terms of talk time, with the latest BlackBerry claming close to five and a half hours.The Storm still finds itself well behind the iPhone on the storage front, coming with 1 Gbyte provided, but room to further upgrade memory capacity.

Although hardly groundbreaking, the typically wide range of available applications means the Storm may yet gather momentum in the Middle East. Carapelli Impulse NPX-9000

With Jointech also throwing its hat into the ring in the emerging market of small and ultra-cheap notebook computers, the $129 Carapelli Impulse NPX-9000 is in danger of losing some ground to its other competitors.

The NPX-9000 does have some advantages over the $99 Jointech machine - most notably more RAM. However other than this, both ‘pocket laptops' are on a fairly level playing field.

If you are looking for something to run the latest memory hungry design, photography and business programs then this is most definitely not the laptop for you, but it could definitely come in handy for browsing documents during a long commute, or providing easy access to files when out and about at meetings.

There are many advantages to having a miniscule laptop, but only if you have good vision - the 7 inch screen is definitely not a friendly product for the short sighted.

And if having a laptop that you find hard to locate in your briefcase doesn't appeal to you, or you would like to run a program that could prove the slightest bit demanding, then you should stick with a traditional laptop, at least until the technology improves further.

But if miniscule computers are your thing then Carapelli's latest edition is right up there with the Asus Eee PC and Jointech's JL7100. Bentley Ego Notebook

You can call us cynical, but anyone who is willing to spend almost $20,000 on a middle of the road laptop needs a new hobby.

If you have this much spare change just burning a hole in your pocket, you could buy a decent new laptop with better specifications and still have enough left over for a down payment on an actual Bentley vehicle.

The statement running through a sane mind right now would probably go something like this: For $20,000 US the Ego must have some pretty amazing features! Wrong. Many new laptop computers that are less than one-tenth the price of this embodiment of opulence and bear far superior internal qualities.

In fact the best internal features that we could find were the inclusion of Vista Ultimate, a 64-bit processor, direct access keys and a 160 Gbyte hard drive - hardly jaw-dropping stuff.

For IT executives looking for a functional piece of office equipment, it would probably be a better investment of their time to look for something with a larger memory capacity.

In terms of appearance, your colleagues might make the mistake of thinking you are carrying a toaster back and forth around the office, were it not for the leather casing and white gold trimmings. In fact this latest luxury laptop is nothing new from a design perspective and looks eerily similar to Apple's clamshell iBook of the 1990s.

Weighing up the pros and cons of this computer logically before making a purchase would result in zero sales, however this piece of pure laptop luxury is obviously and unashamedly aimed at the laptop market's most hedonistic buyers, and is by no means intended to appeal to logic. Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive

Portable hard drives are an essential tool for the busy IT manager who is constantly transferring data from their laptop to their home PC and to any number of work computers.

Iomega's eGo series is the latest addition to the growing range of external drives and the creators have not ignored the growing demand for style that is present in many aspects of the office IT product market.

The device itself is available in multiple storage sizes, from 160 Gbytes to a hefty 500 Gbytes.

Depending on the model, Iomega's newest storage product is also available with FireWire, FireWire 400 and USB connectivity as well.

Some of the colours choices on offer might be more appealing to 12 year old school students than IT industry professionals.

The usual red, silver, black, blue and white are present, but for someone looking to add a more liberal splash of colour to their office life, there is the option to purchase the eGo in flamingo pink or even a camo colour scheme if you plan to work on faulty servers or upgrade IT equipment during jungle combat. HTC Touch Viva

Not surprisingly, a regiment of imitators have emerged in the touch-screen phone market following the iPhone's success and very few have offered anything different or even comparative to Apple's pride and joy.

The HTC Touch Viva on the other hand, aims to offer the market something slightly fresher.

While it does not match the iPhone in terms of storage, the Viva offers many of the same features at a cheaper price.

The phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 professional and has 128 Mbytes of RAM, helping it to operate as a reliable organiser and web browser.

By far the most impressive feature of this touch-screen gadget is the incredible 480 minutes of talk time that the company claims to have squeezed into the 110 gram device.

This dwarfs the talk time of most of the power-hungry touch screen competitors, including the aforementioned iPhone.

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