Personal Tech

Get your gadget fix here. We've got news and reviews for smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and more.
  • Two ways to track via GPS

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 4:38 pm

    The Spot Satellite Messenger, by Globalstar, is a handheld personal GPS tracker that can provide friends and family members with alerts and updates on the owner's location. When activated, the Spot can provide messages (via e-mail or text message to mobile phones) to contacts that provide the GPS coordinates for the device.
  • Revisiting iPod mounting issues

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 3:27 pm

    A colleague called this morning to pick my brain about his mother's 2G iPod nano. The gist of that pick was that this particular generation of iPod nano refused to mount on her Mac--every other generation of iPod thrown at the machine worked perfectly well. And that nano mounted on the colleague's computer as it should. He reinstalled iTunes on his monther's computer with no positive results. What to do? My suggestions went like this:
  • Is my touchscreen better than yours?

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 2:52 pm

    Today is a great day for touchscreen smartphone users, at least for some. Ever since last year, if you wanted a top-notch smartphone with a great touchscreen, your best option would have been an iPhone from Apple. Now, it's all about to change, as the T-Mobile G1 will go on sale next Wednesday for US$179 (about $20 less that the cheapest iPhone) with a more generous price-plan that AT&T's for the iPhone.
  • Why do pundits want to be Steve Jobs so badly?

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 12:24 pm

    I know that pundits are paid to tell companies they don't work for what to do; but when it comes to Apple, it seems to get personal.
  • The Android fine print: kill switch and other tidbits

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 10:30 am

    An uproar erupted when iPhone users discovered a so-called remote kill switch on their phones -- will it spur the same reaction in users of the G1, the first Android phone?
  • Review

    The G1 is no iPhone, but Android has promise

    Posted October 16, 2008 - 9:47 am

    Most G1 reviewers will probably agree that, in a nutshell, the software is nice but the hardware underwhelms.
  • Review

    Hands on with PlayStation Portable 3000

    Posted October 15, 2008 - 3:49 pm

    Sony's new re-brushed and buffed-up PlayStation Portable 3000 handheld video game system should finally be dangling from plastic retail hooks or resting in neat little rectangle stacks on shelves as you read this, but should existing PSP owners think about upgrading?
  • Review

    Nokia's Comes With Music service

    Posted October 15, 2008 - 3:23 pm

    Nokia's new all-you-can-download music subscription service packaged with its mobile phones is a compelling offering that could pose some serious competition to Apple's iTunes store.
  • Apple and Blu-ray - painful, slow, needed?

    Posted October 15, 2008 - 11:58 am

    Apple has no immediate plans to deploy Blu-ray in its Macs, citing the cost of licensing as cause.
  • Sharp has first TVs with built-in Blu-ray Disc recorders

    Posted October 15, 2008 - 11:38 am

    Sharp will start selling next month in Japan the first LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions with built-in Blu-ray Disc recorders, it said Wednesday. The sets should be on sale in the U.S. before the end of this year and launch in Europe in 2009.
  • How to buy a printer

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 9:20 pm

    No matter how digital our lives become, printers remain essential in any office and convenient at home for schoolwork, maps, fliers, and photos. PC World tests and reviews three types of printers--inkjets, color lasers, and snapshot models--on an ongoing basis. We also regularly test multifunction printers, both inkjet and laser. No matter which kind of printer you're looking for, here's the information you need to make a well-informed purchase.
  • How to buy a cell phone

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 9:14 pm

    Few tools of modern technology have become as prevalent as the cell phone, which allows you to be in touch (almost) all the time, (almost) anywhere. And you can do more than just talk--modern phones let you send and receive e-mail and text messages, and even surf the Web. Sifting through the sea of service plans and handsets can be difficult, but we'll walk you through what you need to know to get the phone and service plan that are right for you.
  • Review

    Just push play: MP3 player roundup

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 8:59 pm

    They're small, they're shiny and they're wired for sound. The market is choc-a-bloc with these gadgets that divvy up as photo-albums, radios, and mini-movie and music players. With so many choices, one is bound to strike the right chord with you. We compare 12 of the latest to help you decide.
  • Apple's sort-of cheap laptop event: I told you so

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 2:45 pm

    Apple laptops got faster -- and they also made the Mac design world a little more coherent.
  • Gadgets that solve everyday problems

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 2:27 pm

    I love gadgets that solve everyday problems. As I look over my desk, I have what seems like dozens of devices that need charging. What to do? Use another gadget, of course. This week I talk about device-charging gadgets, a rear-view camera that I tried out with my RV, and a little MP3 player speaker that lets you play your tunes anywhere.
  • Chinese game developer readies Xbox Live Arcade game

    Posted October 14, 2008 - 2:02 pm

    The first Xbox Live Arcade game designed in China will be released this week, marking a milestone for an incubation center set up in China by Microsoft for local game developers. But Chinese gamers won't get to play it as the Xbox 360 isn't sold in China.
  • Palm's Treo Pro unlocked in bid to lower roaming costs

    Posted October 13, 2008 - 4:38 pm

    Two very different tales are circulating about Palm Inc. and its new Treo Pro smartphone these days. One story, from Palm and some analysts, is that the new Treo Pro's unlocked feature offers a cost-effective way for international business travelers to dramatically lower roaming costs. The other story, from another group of analysts, is that Palm had to unlock the phone because it could not find a carrier willing to sell it.
  • Review

    First look: iRiver Spinn multimedia player

    Posted October 13, 2008 - 4:18 pm

    The beautiful, fashion-conscious iRiver Spinn is the upscale lounge down the street from the Slacker G2's likable-but-slightly-sketchy dive bar. What the Slacker offers in happy-hour specials (free drinks music!), the Spinn more than matches in elegance, style, and sheer sexiness. But it also has quite a bit of substance lurking beneath all that style--if you can get past the bouncers (in this case, the sometimes unintuitive controls and the high cover charge).
  • Review

    WunderRadio for iPhone

    Posted October 13, 2008 - 4:01 pm

    The original iPhone and iPod touch were terrific devices for playing music you'd placed on them. With the advent of the App Store, they're now capable of playing music streamed from such online music services as Pandora,, and AOL. But what about terrestrial radio? Weather Underground's WunderRadio has you covered.
  • October's coolest gadgets

    Posted October 13, 2008 - 10:49 am

    October began, as it always does, with Japan's biggest electronics show: Ceatec. The show attracted a little over 196,000 visitors who got a chance to see the best of the Japanese electronics industry, including some exciting new prototypes of devices that are still some way from hitting the market.
  • Cheap Apple laptops coming! Maybe?

    Posted October 10, 2008 - 6:04 pm

    Woo-hoo! Pretty shiny notebook computers from Apple that are good and I can afford!
  • High-tech travel tips

    Posted October 10, 2008 - 3:57 pm

    Plenty of stories provide advice for elite mobile professionals. But what about you, the unproductive traveler? Maybe you're on vacation. Maybe you're trying to chill out before a day's worth of travel and business meetings. Point is, you need to pack a little smarter to entertain yourself, and that's what this week's column is all about. I have some great roadworthy games and a few ways to watch video--and, yeah, I'll even throw in some helpful, practical tips.
  • Review

    Product review: Nokia E71 3G smartphone

    Posted October 10, 2008 - 2:54 pm

    As Nokia's very first 3G phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, the US$500 E71 is an all-around improvement on its predecessor, the E61. It not only has a sleeker and more sophisticated curved design, but it packs a multitude of features ideal for both business and personal use.
  • Smartphone showdown: BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone

    Posted October 9, 2008 - 9:49 pm

    While Verizon (and Vodafone in Europe and elsewhere) is hoping that the BlackBerry Storm will be its own "iPhone killer," questions remain about whether the offering can match the popular Apple consumer device in several key areas. Here's a look at how the Storm stacks up against the iPhone in terms of call quality, data coverage, price and more.
  • Review

    Product review: Palm Treo Pro smartphone

    Posted October 9, 2008 - 2:50 pm

    Having enjoyed success with its sporty Centro models, Palm is taking some of the lessons it learned there back to its Treo business line: The Palm Treo Pro integrates certain Centro design elements with the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system and with the more robust features of contemporary BlackBerrys to produce a sleek smart phone built with the image-conscious corporate user in mind.
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