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Fall’s Hot Travel Technology: Galaxy Gear, iPhone 5s & More

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Labor Day has come and gone, but September isn’t just back to school time. It’s also the start of the fall product launch season when companies will be rushing out new technology (including some not new travel gear) to compete for your Christmas dollars. Now is the time to get a first look at what’s to come with Samsung’s new smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, the rumors for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, as well as new products from Kindle and Sony.

Galaxy Gear

Today marked the public debut of the Samsung Gear with, the Galaxy Gear, on stage at IFA, Europe’s biggest tech show. The smartwatch is capable of making and receiving phone calls using voice control, sending and receiving SMS texts and snapping “visual memos” with a its memographer, an outward facing camera. It’s not designed as a new standalone product, but instead it will work as a companion device for existing Samsung phones and tablets, including the just announced Galaxy Note III. With Gear, you can make a phone call without using your actual phone. To answer a phone call, you can just raise your hand to your ear to answer the call and talk. You can switch back and forth from watch to device. It is seamlessly connected to your smartphone–including syncing calendar, call log, texts and email.

galaxy gearBilled as the “technology of the next decade,” Gear is billed as a new world of augmented reality. The announcement suggested that apps would enable the camera to translate signs when you travel or get additional information about products you are considering purchasing in real-time. It will also have a gyroscope and accelerometer that means the phone can respond to movement and function as an activity tracker. There are currently over 50 dedicated apps (in its app store) built for the small screen, with more being developed every day.

A single battery charge will last longer than a day, 25 hours. The watch weighs 2.6 ounces and will come in 6 vibrant colors. Both the Note III and Gear will be on-sale worldwide in early October for $299.

iPhone 5s & 5C

iphone-5c-colors

Image credit: 9 to 5 Mac

Next week on September 10, Apple is expected to announce both the iPhone 5s and 5c. For the first time ever, it’s expected that Apple will split iPhone options. The 5c will be the budget option and come with a plastic back in a variety of bright colors. The 5S is expected to have the standard white and black options with the addition of a gold/champagne color as well. The 5s will mostly likely have an improved camera, a faster processor and of course the IOS 7 software upgrade. The most exciting feature could be the rumored fingerprint sensor, which could be used for simplified phone security and potentially a method of secure, mobile payments.

Kindle paperwhitePaperwhite 2.o

Amazon just leaked information about its second-generation Kindle Paperwhite on its own website. Early review indicate that it will have the highest contrast ever for the Kindle. The processor will also be 25 percent faster. Other expected Paperwhite 2.0 changes will be a new integration with Goodreads and a FreeTime parental controls.

Sony NEX-5T

Sony NEX-5TAt the end of August, Sony announced the new NEX-5T. The camera offers interchangeable lenses with large-sensor image quality and speedy Auto Focus. Most exciting it that it’s the first Sony interchangeable lens camera to feature NFC (Near Field Communication). What that means is the camera offers  one-touch Wi-Fi connectivity with compatible Android smartphones and tablet. Once the connection is set up, you can have  immediate image and video2 sharing between devices.  And that content can be shared via social media in real time. Starting in early September, the NEX-5T compact system camera will available for $700 in a kit with a compact, versatile 16-50mm motorized om lens (model SELP1650). The camera comes in silver, black and white.

With all this gear coming to the market, what are you going to buy now and what are you going to ask Santa for Christmas?

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By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com

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