The week in gadgets: Panasonic, Seagate, Samsung and GoldieBlox

18 Mar 2013

Panasonic Smart Viera ZT65 plasma HDTV

A look at gadget happenings, as Panasonic brings us a new range of HDTVs, GoldieBlox hopes to turn little girls into engineers, Seagate introduces a 4TB desktop hard drive, and a Samsung VP indicates that Galaxy S III owners will be getting some of the S4’s technology upgrades.

Panasonic’s latest HDTVs

Panasonic’s 2013 Smart VIera plasma HDTV range will reach stockists from April and leading the pack this year is the 65-inch ZT65 (€4,639), which features new technologies to enhance picture quality with higher contrast in bright environments.

The range also features customisable home screens where users can keep their favourite and most-used apps front and centre and create their own background image if they so wish. In the case of the VT65 (€4,161), the built-in camera uses facial recognition to identify each user and bring up their personalised home screen.

Panasonic has also introduced its Twin HD Tuner to selected models in the 2013 line-up, which lets users watch one programme while recording another, or watch something on the TV while someone else watches a simultaneous broadcast on a tablet. Other features include swipe and share, voice controls and Touch Pen input functionality for the Touch Pad Controller.

Panasonic Smart Viera X60 plasma HDTV

Panasonic Smart Viera X60 plasma HDTV

Bringing up the rear in the range is the X60 series priced at €619. Available in 42-inch and 50-inch models, these lower-cost sets are the only ones in the new range without 3D capability.

GoldieBlox construction toys for girls

GoldieBlox is a clever new educational toy targeting little girls and offering them something more than a crying doll or a glamorous Barbie. The GoldieBlox book, written and illustrated by GoldieBlox Inc co-founder Debbie Sterling, follows lead character Goldie as she builds machines and solves problems with the help of her animal friends, which include a Spanish dog called Nacho.


Along with the book comes figurines, a pegboard and the tools and materials for kids to create whatever Goldie builds in the book, all the while teaching them basic engineering concepts such as tension, force and friction. The toys are designed to appeal to girls aged six to nine (without overdoing it, Lego Friends-style) and will start shipping this April.

Hopefully, toys like this can encourage more girls to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Seagate celebrates 2bn milestone with 4TB HDD

Last week, to celebrate shipping a total of 2bn hard drives, Seagate unveiled their highest capacity desktop computing drive yet: the 4TB Desktop HDD. While it took 29 years to reach the 1bn milestone, the 2bn mark followed just four years later, indicative of our changing storage needs.

The new high-capacity drive is equipped with a SATA 6Gb/s interface and claims to deliver the highest average data rate on the market at 160MB/s, all the while saving 35pc in power consumption.

Galaxy S4 technology for the Samsung predecessor?

All eyes were on Samsung last week for the unveiling of the much anticipated Galaxy S4, a 5-inch smartphone with dual camera functionality, instant translation for text or voice, and eye tracking technology. Some of the features announced for the new flagship could also be coming to users of the Galaxy S III as Samsung’s vice-president of portfolio planning Nick DiCarlo told PCMag, “Anything that we can do that’s not dependent on hardware like infrared, we’ll definitely bring to all the flagship devices.”

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.