Now that the Apple dust has settled, a host of other companies have taken the wraps off their new products. Let's rewind to see what new tech toys were introduced this week.
The world's cheapest tablet relaunches with $35 price tag intact
You might have heard about the world's cheapest tablet. It's Aakash, the slate the Indian government began selling last fall for the low, low (subsidized) price of $35.
While version 1 was impressive for its price point, it had some noticeable shortfalls: no speakers, a pressure-sensitive screen that was slow to respond and a cheap plastic cover, to name a few. Now India's trying for a more polished v2 to win over the naysayers from last time around.
Ahead of its announcement Tuesday, I was one of three reviewers in the States who played with the new slate. As was the case last time around, it's impressive for the price. There are still some kinks, but hopefully a software update will address them before shipping in October. Without raising the cost to consumers, the Aakash 2 now includes an improved multitouch capacitive screen (allowing for familiar finger gestures, such as swiping), an accelerometer, built-in speakers and the latest version of Android. Though the Aakash 2 will retail for $63 in India, the government will buy it for $41 a piece, and then sell it to students for $35. Consumers will have the option to buy 2 GB data plan for less than $2 a month.
We know the potential of the One Laptop Per Child program. In India, though, the focus is mobile. A commonly cited stat is that more Indians have cell phones than access to toilets. Now imagine if those phones were replaced with tablets; it could bring the world -- and all the information, videos and apps it has to offer -- to a billion people. And that's just in India. A higher-end version of this tablet is expected to sell in the U.S. early next year for $79.
Fitbit unleashes two new smart pedometers
Among the smart pedometers on the market, Fitbit has been my favorite for its low profile, minimalist design and gorgeous dashboard.
On Monday, the company debuted two new products replacing its popular Ultra tracker: Fitbit Zip and Fitbit One. The former, which sports a squarish shape in five fun colors and a small screen, is the company's entry-level pedometer. The water-resistant device logs steps taken, distance traveled by foot and calories burned. Features noticeably missing include a sleep monitor, ability to track stairs climbed and a rechargeable battery, but those limitations mean the Zip comes at a $40 discount over the flagship model.
Like the Ultra it's phasing out, the full-featured Fitbit One tracks steps, distance, stairs, calories burned and sleep quality. Giving the Lark sleep monitor a run for its money, One includes a silent alarm clock that gently vibrates to wake users up without disturbing their partners. In addition to syncing via a USB dongle, both Fitbits now integrate Bluetooth (finally!) so they can send data to select smartphones and tablets. The company is also refreshing its mobile app to include messaging capabilities and a leaderboard, though no specific date for the update was announced.
Fitbit Zip is available now for $59.95. Fitbit One, expected to be available mid-October, will retail for $99.95.
Tagg tracks fitness stats for Rover
Health trackers aren't just for humans.
Snaptracks, a Qualcomm subsidiary, announced on Tuesday an update to its GPS pet-tracking system. Tagg, which had kept an eye on Rover while you were at work, will now also monitor his daily activity.
The feature, which will be available as a free, over-the-air upgrade in October, categorizes activity into four groups: resting (lounging), light activity (rolling over), moderate activity (exploring) and high activity (chasing squirrels). These movements, based on intensity and duration, are then assigned points that are charted daily.
Pet parents can see vibrant activity graphs -- as well as their furry friends' whereabouts -- on a Web dashboard, which shows both daily and historical views. Like with humans, this tracker can't do all the work. Instead, the data will hopefully yield smarter lifestyle choices.
(FYI, vets say your canine friend should be getting 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. If Tagg shows otherwise, go for a stroll.)
The Tagg tracker is sold for $99.95.
Canon introduces smallest full-frame SLR
Following Nikon's announcement of its full-frame, 24.3-megapixel D600 last week, Canon on Monday unveiled the EOS 6D, the smallest and lightest full-frame SLR in the EOS lineup. Sandwiched betweenthe 7D and 5D Mark III, the 20.2-megapixel 6D includes built-in wireless and GPS functionality. The former allows photographers to connect their smartphones and tablets when within range; the latter logs longitude, latitude, elevation and universal time code, allowing shooters to see the route they took between shots.
The 6D, which weighs in at 770 grams for the body alone, has an expanded ISO range of 50 to 102400, making it extremely sensitive in low light conditions. Like the 5D Mark III, the new full-frame also has a high-dynamic range mode, except this one creates a final HDR composite without saving the individual files. The camera shoots HD video at 1080p at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second; 720p at 60 and 50 fps; and standard video at 30 and 25fps -- recording up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds continuously to an SD card.
The 6D, estimated to be available in December, will retail at $2,099 for the body alone; bundled with an EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM lens, it will be priced at $2,899.
Acme Made targets urban photographers with new bag collection
And for every new camera, there's a camera bag. Urban photographers, meet your new favorite pack.
San Francisco-based Acme Made's new Montgomery Street collection, announced Tuesday, is a gorgeous array of camera bags. The series features a smart collapsible compartment called FlexFold, which adds a layer of adaptability to how the bags can be used. When a bag isn't holding camera equipment, the system folds up, freeing up space in the main area.
The two smaller pieces, Case ($29.99) and Kit ($59.99), were designed with mirrorless cameras in mind. But I find they're also suitable for smaller lenses, filters and other shooting accessories, especially since these pouches are meant to be bags within bags (in other words, it helps keep your gear organized within your larger everyday pack).
Courier ($79.99) and Backpack ($99.99) feature a boxy shape and side entry to access photo gear. Cameras are held in a sub-compartment that also has a separate velcro-enforced opening for an additional lens. The Courier, a sling bag, can comfortably hold a smaller SLR, tablet and then some, with additional space in the main compartment and pockets for pens and other miscellany. The largest of the bunch, which mind you is still relatively compact, is my personal favorite. It's a snug fit for a full-frame camera with a larger lens, but it can also carry a 13-inch laptop.