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16 April 2024

The new year promises some irresistible gadgets

By Carolyn Proud

Happy new year, tech heads. Pessimists say the credit crunch may put the brakes on technology in 2009, but a quick scout around the web shows that gadget-lovers may have loads to look forward to.

Mobile phone addicts should not read further, as the best innovations may revolutionise the way we use our phones.

UAE telephony giant etisalat recently let slip that it was poised to release technology that allows shoppers to use their mobiles to scan barcodes and download product information from the web.

So at the supermarket, you could simply wave your phone over a tomato and track its origin to the farm it came from.

Seriously, though, who wants to spend more time in the supermarket?

Other developments are more exciting. Now everyone can be a spook with Samsung's Innov8 product that allows users to take a picture of a building and download an exact location of its whereabouts using GPS sat nav.

This is terrific if you're lost in the back streets of Santiago. It could, however, add a new dimension to forwarding those spur-of-the-moment holiday snaps.

Google has announced plans to launch its own Android-powered mobiles this year, to compete head-on with mobile software platforms including Apple's OS X operating system on the iPhone.

It will include a host of free features that OS X users currently pay for. In response, iPhone is rumoured to be releasing an iPhone Nano, made from new materials created by nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology – which uses nanoparticles to create new materials – is where all the big future action is. As sites such as www.tuvie.com show, Nokia's nanotechnology concept phone, Morph, is a stretchable phone that can be transformed into different shapes, such as a bracelet.

Other concept products include a lavender phone resembling a perfume bottle, which dispenses your favourite scent.

A Brix mobile phone has an extendable screen to allow to you watch movies while travelling. There's also a great little number to start a party with, that transforms into a jukebox.

Products in the pipeline for those not into phones include futuristic coffee machines, toothpaste dispensers with motion sensors, a gym concept car that gives you a workout en route and a calorie-burning chair. Those with lower expectations can take heart that cheaper laptops and higher-definition television screens are on their way.