Over the year, I have had a chance to preview and review some awesome tech gadgets and apps for families. Some I found useful and others not so much. Here is a round up of my favorites of the year in no particular order.
DECK – This wireless Motorola speaker by Sol Republic is THE best entertainment tool for music loving families. It allows several owners of iPods, iPhones, Smartphones or any other mobile bluetooth-enabled device to wireless sync their music collection to it. When we tested out the DECK over the Christmas holiday, my husband, sister and I all competed to control what music was played on it. After syncing our device, DECK assigned us each a specific color that illuminated each time a song came on from that family member’s iPhod or smartphone. That is how you could tell whose music is playing. It was loud enough for me to hear it a floor below and it has an outdoor function so that it gets even louder if it were being used in the backyard, during a pool party, outdoor barbecue, at a picnic or other outside function. Whoever is the DJ can play their music from another floor of the deck once synced and it is within the bluetooth radius.
It could be ideal not just for parties, but for college kids just hanging out in a dorm or someone’s suite on the weekends and at other social hang outs. Absolutely love and recommend it. It’s small, light weight, comes with a portable bag to transport it and best of all can be used in the car during long road trips in lieu of the radio. Sweet!
WEVIDEO DESKTOP VIDEO PRODUCTION APP-This year was the year of the instant video for me. I first tried out WeVideo in February to produce my own Harlem Shuffle featuring my kids. Towards the end of the year, I returned to the app to quickly publish to background music some of the hundreds of photos I took during my awesome birthday adventures this year. With the click of a mouse button, I easily selected photos I uploaded on my computer and dragged them on to the story board, then uploaded music, and hit publish. I sent one to YouTube and another to my Vimeo accounts. The entire process took less than a half hour for each, including the time it took the third party sites to process the videos for publication.
KODAK PIXPRO– Kodak PixPro AZ251, an SLR- substitute camera. It’s pretty lightweight and has plenty of lens settings which absolves the need to buy multiple lenses as with a traditional SLR. This relatively portable camera is great for school events, kids sporting events and for professional or part time bloggers, it looks a bit fancier than the traditional square portable digital camera they may use at events. For me, and my bloggers, it’s always a plus when covering events alongside with traditional journalists to at least have equipment that looks professional and this camera does the trick. It’s easy to upload photos and share them or blog them. Love it. It makes a great gift too.
POWEROCKS MAGIC SUPER STICK – The PowerRocks magic stick was another useful tool I got to thoroughly enjoy this year. As noted in a review of it on my poli-tech blog, this latest version of the portable charging rod quickly powers a dying or dead mobile phone via the USB attachment. It took me under 4 hours to completely charge the device from the stick. Every blogger or anyone who is out for an extended period of time but may not have access to an outlet or a car charger should get one. It’s great for sporting events, camping trips, hiking and other outdoor excursions when you want to make sure you have a working smartphone, if not for emergency contact, at least to take photos. It would really suck to miss out on photographing that gorgeous sunset on the beach because your phone died.
ANIMOTO VIDEO APP– Animoto app is another video creation app. It is more limited in the number of images that can be selected but it still lets you upload music from your phone and share the video on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. It’s a great way to quickly share images from a family event with family across the country or ocean. And it takes minutes to do yet the quality is professional looking and those who don’t know may assume it took you hours to create. The FREE app comes with templates and themes you select and does all the magic for you. Check out Videos I created HERE and HERE and HERE!
ROYAL PORTABLE CHARGER- For bigger charging jobs, the Royal AP10000 Rechargeable 10000mAh Battery for iPhone iPod Android and Windows Smartphones is awesome because it provides up to 5 hours of battery chargE. This device is great for extended car trips or for the business flyer who has to wait an airport terminals where all the plugs are hogged up by hipsters and teens squatting near the outlets. It comes with a portable bag and is pretty lightweight as well. It’s also good for those who are traveling nurses, pharmaceutical reps, coffee house screenwriters etc who may find themselves waiting for someone to get up from the table near the plugs. With this thing, they’re good to go!
SOUNDHOUND APP- I love music. I listen to it in the car, at the gym, during travel and when I hear a tune on the radio or playing overhead or in the background to a commercial or TV show and want to have that song, the SoundHound app saves the day. Open the app & it uses fancy technology to identify the song played, it pulls it up with a link to download it to iTunes. The neat thing about it is that even without the music, if you are hanging with friends and someone cannot recall the name of a song in their head, they simply need to hum a few bars into the app and it will deliver the song to them too! Love it because as a social media fiend, I am constantly sharing tips, ideas, articles and even what I’m listening to at any given moment to my extended family of friends, follows and “fans” in social media.
Try out some of these cool tech tools and gadgets in the New Year! You’ll be glad you did! Good Luck and Happy New Year!
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt can be heard nightly at 8pm on DCRadio/WHUR 96.3HD4 on "Coming to America with Wayna and Friends. She is an editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the Digital Publiching Academy and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!