Toying with my holiday gadgets

I was planning to publish this post yesterday but got caught up celebrating what we call Boxing Day in the UK – we don’t go boxing (though some people have been known to to do that in the quest for retail therapy) – it’s heritage goes back to gifting of a small box from the wealthy to their servants but I celebrated in the more traditional manner of a pint or two with friends.

[image: Amazon]

Today, I’m playing with my gadgets some more though I didn’t actually acquire any new gadgets as Christmas gifts, I have two in particular that have been consuming my time of late. The first is the Kindle Fire which arrived on the day it became available and I have been exploring it since. I know, it’s not a Windows powered device but that’s okay – it’s perfectly fine to own non Microsoft gear in our house and I always think it’s good to see what other companies are up to. With the Kindle Fire, I’m having something of love hate relationship so far – I love the price and size. The out of box experience is wonderful too as it comes pre-configured with my account details, making it a click of a button to buy more content – and with Amazon Prime it’s a great package of content and service. As I look out of my home office window each day and view the growing Amazon campus in South Lake Union, I can’t help thinking they have packaged up their services with a device very neatly. That’s not quite so for some of the applications though – the first few days of not being able to download Wired magazine left me very frustrated, especially having to login every time I wanted to use their app. I’m also baffled why I can’t have my subscription to The Economist on the device unless I pay an additional subscription – something you don’t have to do on the iPad or other Android devices. The Facebook application is also a little odd as it’s not really an application but a web page that is optimized for the Fire, albeit very nicely optimized. All that said, it’s a wonderful little device for two reasons – it has Netflix and that combined with a Clear 4G MiFi device make it a brilliant mobile movie service to keep my daughter happy. Two, the recent addition of the Feedly app has me scything through my Internet feeds at breakneck speed. It’s fast, elegant and has solid social integration. In summary, I’m very happy with my Fire and expect it to get better with time.


The second device that has been consuming my time is a Nokia Lumia 800. Much has been written about this phone and I have been sharing much of Nokia’s content here on this blog. It really is a beautiful piece of hardware and I feel bad keeping it housed in the svelte rubber casing that Nokia supplies. Every time a friend asks to see it I hurriedly rip the rubber casing off to ensure it’s enjoyed in all its glory. It has a reassuring heft to it and with the polycarbonate seamless body it feels premium. I insist on people checking out the precision drilled speaker on the base of the phone and mention how the screen is gently curved, supporting the swiping movements of the Metro UI. One of the hallmarks of Metro design is fast and fluid and the Lumia 800 lives up to that. Another thing that caught my eye on the Lumia is the Nokia Drive application which renders impressive wireframes of buildings

The Lumia 800 isn’t available in the US at the moment so like many, I’m waiting to hear what Nokia has to say at CES. In the meantime, if you see me wandering the street of Seattle, don’t hesitate to stop me and have a stroke. Of the Lumia.

In a little under 2 weeks I’ll be heading to out Las Vegas for CES where I’ll have many more gadgets to play with so expect a report from the desert in the second week of January!