Gadgets for Teens
Eli Blumenthal and Chaim Gartenberg are high school juniors. They started TeenTechBlog three years ago and the blog now averages approximately 60,000 visits per month. The blog has allowed them to work with leading technology vendors, learn about new products and share their passion for technology with others.
1. The popular belief is that teens are highly aware of the newest gadgets on the market. So what made you start this blog?
We started TeenTechBlog as a way to help guide teens to make better decisions when purchasing new technology such as a new computer or cell phone, as well as to help them make better use of their existing products (such as making a computer run faster). Although many teenagers understand technology and adapt to new features and products very quickly, they frequently do not know the implications of new products and the benefits associated with them when they are released. Sometimes, we're helpful by enabling our readers to understand the terminology associated with the news announcements. Our intention is to make sure that our readers don't purchase, as an example, a new computer only to find out that a newer one for the same price will be available two days later.
2. Through your blog, how do you help the teens who are unaware of the latest and newest gadgets?
First, we limit our topics to those things that interest other teenagers.We focus on new products like cell phones, iPods and mp3 players, video games and computers instead of how the manufacturers of these products are doing as a business. We also look for technologies that would make their lives better, more fun or easier. We write about what is noteworthy about the products and why the product may be important to them. Lastly, we try to explain the value of new features in a way that teenagers can best understand them.
3. What are the current must-have gadgets for teens?
The current must have gadgets for teens are a laptop with webcam, iPod and a cell phone with keyboard. We also are seeing more teens getting more "smartphones" like BlackBerrys, iPhones and Droids. These phones are more than just cell phones, because they include a music player, great text message capabilities and email functions, higher quality cameras, better connection to the web, and, of course, thousands of applications ranging from games to connecting to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to internet radio and everything in between.
4. How do you do your research to find about the newest gadgets on the market?
We learn about products through emails from companies. Readers sometimes share something they found interesting online. On many occasions, it's from seeing news on new products on other websites. Announcements from a manufacturer are yet another source.
5. Please tell our readers how you perform the tech reviews. What is the process you use?
It is actually a very simple process. We use the products as we imagine any other teenager would use them and we see how well they perform at their respective tasks. For a computer review, as an example, we test how fast the computer runs and whether it turns on and opens programs quickly. We'll test whether the keyboard is easy to type on to take notes and IM friends.We'll go to YouTube to see if the screen is "good" for watching videos, and play a couple of video games to see how it performs with more intensive tasks. With laptops, we'll test the battery life to see if it will make it through a school day.
Cell phone testing is different. We look to see if the design is appealing, if the keyboard is good for texting, if the web browser loads web sites properly, and how well the phone performs in other tasks like using apps, playing music and movies, and taking pictures. Of course, we also test phone call quality.
6. Which tech gadgets would you name as ‘educationally valuable'?
Laptops (for obvious reasons such as taking notes in school or writing papers), smartphones (for writing down homework assignments or even writing papers while commuting on a bus), and tablet computers are among our favorites. We think the tablets have a lot of potential because of their simple design which could help eliminate the need to carry a laptop for notes, as well as the eBook functions demonstrated on products like Apple's iPad. We see the limitations in textbooks as it relates to their cost and ability to remain current and interesting. We really like the idea of an eBook or interactive learning in place of say, a traditional chemistry textbook. Given that it is all digital, the authors and publishers have a great opportunity to make education stimulating by including videos and 3D diagrams.
7. What are the most anticipated tech gadgets to be released this year?
There are a lot of really cool gadgets drawing a lot of buzz for this year. Products like a rumored new iPhone, 4G phones such as Sprint's HTC Evo 4G which may make our phones even more like pocket computers, with faster internet speeds and features like video chatting; Microsoft's next version of their cell phone software called Windows Phone 7; new ways to play video games such as Sony's new PlayStation Move controller and software to play games in 3D, Microsoft's new controller for the Xbox 360 called Project Natal which forgoes the physical controller entirely for a system of cameras designed to let the players use their bodies to play games, and Nintendo's new portable game system, tentatively called the 3DS which is said to take the popular Nintendo DS and add 3D screens that don't require glasses to view them.
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