Today, Future Shop hosted a lunch and vendor show at the Sheraton in downtown Toronto to highlight some of the new gadgets hitting the shelves later this year for back-to-school time! The latest in consumer technology was made available to check out for various media and other Future Shop employees. Believe me, if you love gadgets, you are going to enjoy what will be entering the market in a few months.
I did not have too much time to play with the toys on display, but I managed to snag some quick face-time with some of the representatives and will be doing deeper dives into various pieces of electronics – hopefully in the next few weeks. In the mean time, I wanted to draw your attention to a few of the things that I saw.
When one of the reps held aloft an iPad claiming that he could replicate a home theater experience in his hand, I was skeptical. I actually chuckled to myself and went back to eating my soup. I almost spat out what was in my mouth when he started playing a racing game: the sound quality and volume were actually kind of ridiculous. While the unit is not as loud as most home theatres, the Belkin Thunderstorm did a pretty damned good job filling a very large conference room with rich sound.
I was hoping to get my hands on one at the Belkin’s booth, but no one was manning it at the time. Stay tuned for more on this cool piece of tech.
Have you ever heard of Griffin Technology? I hadn’t until I spoke to Elyssia Sego, Sales and Marketing assistant for that outfit. She showed me a wide number of cases for tablets (mostly iOS devices) as well as some peripherals to go along with your iOS devices. The Survivor cases are quite rugged, offering your iPad and iPad Mini some pretty solid protection. In terms of the other goodies, who wouldn’t want a longer Lightning Cable to charge your newest iOS toy? I know I would. Griffin also makes car chargers and headphones.
As of now, Griffin doesn’t focus too much on Android devices (which is too bad, because they make great cases). However, we’re hoping to check out some of their products in the near future.
So many vendors. So little time.
D-Link, one of the two most common brands for home networking, had a booth in the corner full of neat stuff. Pete Marino, a representative from D-Link, showed me some of their PowerLine networking devices. These devices take advantage of the internal power wires in your home to set up a robust and fast connection between your router and anywhere there is an outlet. One of the products that he demonstrated had three ethernet ports, effectively making the unit a switch. They even have wireless extenders that are also part of the same line.
Their new AC routers are also pretty incredible, utilizing dual-band wireless technology to deliver really fast connections. I know that my consoles are wired to a GigE switch, but my hand-held devices are not. In a world where streaming videos and maintaining a strong connection is a good idea, D-Links routers look like they can really provide quality with the quantity of in-home bandwidth that e-hungry consumers require.
Bruce Bowen, from Lexar, showed off some of their new memory technology. While seemingly unimpressive, a fair amount of work goes into creating USB memory keys with new speeds and features. One of the latest has much faster read speeds than any previous technology. I’m definitely interested in seeing how these stack up against current flash memory standards.
One thing to note is that it looks like there is less of a focus on Compact Flash – but they still make some blazing fast cartridges (1000X!), which is valuable for those people who need quality and speed (especially photographers).
I spoke to more vendors than just these. Folks like AMD, Creative Labs, Asus, Acer, Linksys, Wacom and Samsung were also gracious enough to spare a few minutes of their time. Judging by what I have seen, it looks like there are a lot of great things coming up in the near future. Anticipation will be your best friend as you keep scanning your Future Shop flyers every week.