This week everyone's eyes turned to tech as Facebook purchased the photo sharing app Instagram for $1 billion and the Department of Justice sued Apple and other major publishers for allegedly fixing the prices of e-books. However, a bit more quietly, some interesting gadgets were arriving.
From a touchscreen watch that can help you find your phone even if it's on silent or buried in the couch, to the newest Nook that lets you read e-books in the dark, some truly practical new gadgets were announced. Click through to check out more of our top gadget picks this week.
Sony's new SmartWatch is just like its names says it is -- smart. The touchscreen, Bluetooth-enabled watch does nearly anything your smartphone can, and even some more. The SmartWatch syncs with any Android phone using a free app that can be downloaded from the Google Play store, and then the watch can be configured to get your emails, texts, Tweets, and even Facebook updates. Even better, if you can't seem to remember where you set your phone down, your SmartWatch can lead you right to it. Hopefully someday it will help us find the remote and the car keys, too. It is on sale now for $149.99. (Sony)
|Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 and 4.2|
Samsung's trying to go head-to-head with the iPod Touch again, this time with some newer, cheaper Galaxy Players. With 8GB of memory, a 2-megapixel camera, and a single-core 1GHz processor, these Players are nothing revolutionary, but they might be just what people who prefer Android devices over Apple products are looking for. The Galaxy Player 3.6 and 4.2 will run for $149.99 and $199.99, respectively, which is quite cheap considering there's no monthly data plan like there is with some phones. It will be valuable for pre-order starting May 4. (Samsung)
|Sprint LG Viper 4G LTE|
This week Sprint's newest LTE phone, the LG Viper 4G LTE, became available for pre-order for just $99 with a two-year contract and a $50 rebate. Even though the price is decent, you've got to be willing to make some sacrifices -- it's running an older version of Android (Gingerbread), only has 4G of memory, a 5-megapixel camera, and a battery that only has 5.3 hours of talk-time. On the upside the Viper has NFC (Near Field Communications) technology so you can pay with your phone, but only at supported retailers. It's standout feature? It supports Sprint's LTE network, though it's not up and running yet. Still, you might just want to wait for the HTC EVO 4G LTE. (Sprint)
|Toshiba Excite 13|
Bigger is always better, at least that seems to be what Toshiba is banking on with its newest line of Android tablets, the Toshiba Excite. The Excite 13 is Toshiba's biggest tablet yet, and it rocks a massive 13.3-inch display, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia, 1GB of RAM, and a 1600 x 900 resolution. The Excite 13 might be great for home and entertainment use, but it is far from practical for work since it's nearly the size of a small laptop. The price tag fits the entertainment niche too, at a whopping $649.99 for the 32GB version and $749.99 for 64GB. Both are available on June 10. (Toshiba)
|Nook Simple Touch With GlowLight|
In 2004, EInk screens were first introduced to address the biggest complaint with early e-readers, eye strain from looking at a back-lit screen. The technology makes the screen look like a page right out of a book, but the development brought with it the age-old problem of not being able to read in the dark. Barnes and Noble's new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight comes with an adjustable, glare-free light that makes the e-reader useable both indoors and outdoors. The newest Nook is currently available for pre-order for $139, and will ship in May. Check out our first look here. (Barnes and Noble)