What’s New With Tech’s Trailblazers

Samsung: the Independent Smartwatch


Most of the smartwatches currently on the market must be synced to your smartphone in order to make or receive calls. The Samsung Gear S (no price available at press time), however, is available for standalone 3G service—in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity—so you can do more with the watch when you are away from your phone. And with a two-inch curved display, you also have a little more room to work with, especially if you plan to type out messages from your wrist.

Amazon:  A New Family of Tablets


Amazon is introducing several new Fire tablets including the Fire HD ($99 for the 6-inch version, $139 for the 7-inch version), Fire HDX 8.9 ($379) and Fire HD Kids Edition ($149 for the 6-inch version, $189 for the 7-inch version). While they all offer their own advantages, one new feature shared by the Fire HD and Fire HDX 8.9 is ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), which learns which movies and shows you like and then makes sure they are ready to be viewed without buffering. And the Fire HD Kids Edition comes in a Kid-Proof Case to protect against drops, spills and other kid-prone accidents.

Dyson: First Foray into Robotics


Dyson is known for its powerful and unique vacuums, but it has yet to offer an automated solution to compete with the likes of Roomba until now. The Dyson Eye 360 (no price available at press time) robot has a panoramic lens that helps it to observe and interpret its surroundings to map out and properly navigate the room. Of course, no Dyson vacuum would be complete without powerful suction. The company claims that the robot’s motor can spin at up to 78,000 rpm, which generates the highest suction of any of its competitors.

Apple: Sizing Up The Competition


Apple is following the trend of increasingly larger smartphone screens with the iPhone 6 ($199 to $399) and iPhone 6 Plus ($299 to $499). But even with larger screens (4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, respectively) the phones are still thinner, more powerful and pack a longer battery life. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch (expected early 2015) gives your iPhone a new companion. Unique to Apple’s smartwatch is the Digital Crown, which is similar to the wind-ups found on traditional watches. But this one lets you navigate the watch’s display by scrolling, zooming and more without having to obstruct the screen with your finger.

Philips:  A Light Treatment


The company known for its lighting technology is putting its expertise to use for a medical device to control mild to moderate cases of psoriasis vulgaris. The BlueControl is the first wearable blue LED light therapy device available to treat this incurable chronic skin disease. Patients simply strap the device onto the affected area and the 40 high-intensity blue LEDs help to slow down rapid cell division and reduce inflammation. Currently, the medical device can only be prescribed by doctors in the Netherlands, Germany and the U.K.


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