The New Year looks to usher in useful gadgets to make life easier and simpler than ever. Some of these items almost seem futuristic as modern-day technology promises to never disappoint or amaze.
1. Google Glass
Ready to look like you are wearing the future? Google Glass offers just that! This head piece, Google Glass is Android based with in-built apps. You can take pictures, check emails, answer texts and listen to music without carrying a heavy gadget in your hands. It is a little on the expensive side, but techies will love to spend their savings on this fabulous, futuristic invention. They are set to hit markets sometime in summer 2014.
Don’t like shuffling through a thick deck of credit cards? Like the idea of the simplicity of one card? Coin is for you. It’s the same size and shape of a standard credit card. But that is where the similarities end. With the push of a button, you can pull up all of your other credit cards’ information and swipe as normal.
In addition, it will send an alert to your phone if you lose it. Coin ships until this summer but it can be pre-ordered now.
Pre-Order Cost: $50, Once released, cost: $100
3. 3D Printers
Ready for 3-D printing? Yes, you can print anything from skateboards, jewelry, robohands, and nearly anything else you can think of, provided you have the right blueprint. There are already thousands of free, downloadable 3D designs online, or you can create and upload your own unique design.
This new technology isn’t minor stuff. It’s transforming healthcare, manufacturing, and fashion industries. This type of printing technology has existed for about three decades, but now it is actually affordable for everyday consumers.
4. Pebble Smartwatch
While there were some attempts at smartwatches in 2013, they fell a little flat. This year might be a different, and a whole lot better.
The Pebble Smartwatch is a unique invention with a lot of pre-installed apps. It has built in Bluetooth. It can also connect to all iOS and Android devices efficiently. It’s an invention attempting to comfort you in every way possible.
“Smartwatches, which connect to your smartphone, are going to create an entirely new category of computing in the coming year,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a former Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing.
5. Doxie One
Tired of being tied to your computer every time you need to scan paper? The Doxie One is the answer! It’s a scanner designed to scan all your paper, photos and receipts without the need for a computer. It’s small enough to be stored in a drawer. Set up is a snap: just plug it into a wall socket and you are ready to go. It automatically pulls your sheet through and makes a digital copy in seconds.
Scanned images are saved on an SD memory card, much like in a digital camera. When you’re ready to sync your scans to your Mac, PC, or iPad, just hook it up.
6. The IDAPT i4
The IDAPT i4 is a universal charger that charges up to four devices at once. This docking station comes with three receptacles that accept various charging tips ranging from mini USB, micro USB, and many others. This makes it fully customizable. It works with over 4,500 mobile devices.
With three charging points and an additional USB charging point, you can charge electronics without the problem of tangled cords or more than one outlet. Any additional tips needed can be purchased directly from IDAPT for around $10 to $20 each.
7. Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, Tablet Charger
The Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, Tablet Charger is a versatile laptop charger that delivers up to 100 watts of power to charge your laptop, and two separate USB devices – simultaneously. This powerhouse charger serves as a great backup charger for laptops, phones, or tablets. Its compact form makes it one of the most powerful small, light chargers of its kind.
It comes with interchangeable power tips compatible with top laptop brands, such as Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, Gateway and Asus. The two USB ports allow a 2.1 Amp ability to charge the latest tablets and smartphones.
8. Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE MHS291L Hotspot
The Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE MHS291L Hotspot allows you to take 4G with you wherever you go! If you travel much, this is a must. Several websites have listed this as one of the best mobile hotspot providers. WIth a 15-hour battery life, compact size and a reliable network to back it up, it doesn’t get much better than this. The battery life is the best on the market.
Cost: This price is contract based at $49.99 with a two-year contract or $229 with a month to month contract.
9. The Livescribe Echo Smartpen
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen records audio while you’re taking notes, and then plays them back later. This works great to replay your lectures or meetings with a simple tap. You can save and share your notes through a micro-USB cord to your computer, iPad or iPhone. This also allows you to recharge your pen.
The pen holds 400 or 800 hours of recorded audio, depending on the model chosen. It also includes an OLED display that makes it easy to navigate smartpen apps. Recordings can be shared as a Pencast PDF or audio file.
10. Fuse Car App
What if you car had an app that could tell you where it was, how much fuel it had and if it needed maintenance. That would be an app worth having, right?
Gone are the days of lost cars and being out of gas on the side of the roadway. Fuse, the car app, connects you to all the data you need for your car. A device is connected to your car’s diagnostics outlet and syncs with the app that will provide all the data you need. With this information, you can organize carpools easier, track your costs for a trip, or even keep an eye on a teen driver.
The app transmits the data into secure cloud storage so you can keep track of your car’s information.
Cost: Pre-order price: $159; After March 2014 release: $199
Will 2014 prove to be the best year yet for gadgets to simplify your life so you have more time and less worry? Only time will tell.