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CNN Today

'Technogadget Guy' Discusses Holiday Gift Ideas

Aired November 21, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Ready to go shopping?

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: I guess so. Ed Curran joins us now to give us the full story on...

CHEN: We want to know what the good stuff is, Ed.

ED CURRAN, "TECHNOGADGET GUY": What's that?

CHEN: We want to know what the good stuff is.

CURRAN: The good stuff? Oh, we've got all kinds of good stuff. Friday, the big shopping day, and you want to go out and get something high-tech in nature. This thing actually goes on sale on Friday. This is an e-book.

Now, a couple of months ago on the air we showed you e-books and we told you some new ones would be out around this time of year. This is from the people at Gemstar and RCA, and they brought out this e- book.

Imagine, you can have 20 books in here and you can even beef up the memory and have more. It has a built-in modem. I want to show you how thin this thing is. It has a built-in modem.

You can actually go online with your little e-book, download books into here. You can read the book. You go through the pages just by pressing here, see, and it goes from page to page. You can...

CHEN: Can I ask a question, Ed?

CURRAN: Yes.

CHEN: Is it as easy to read this? I mean, to me reading a black-and-white page just seems like it would be easier than looking at that.

CURRAN: You know what? This actually looks better than some paperback books I've seen. It is easy to read. I mean, they've done great things with the technology here. I mean, is that what you're asking?

CHEN: Yes. I mean, it's just from here it's hard to see how big the print is, but... CURRAN: Well, you know what? It does have a larger font size. You can go to a little bit larger font size if you do have trouble reading it. That's one of the nice things about it. It is a little bit adaptable.

But also, if you have a trouble with a word, let's say, you can go in here and you can tell it to look up a word. For instance, I'm going to turn to here and see there's the word "sabbatical." I just press the bottom. I'll actually give me the definition of sabbatical.

So when my daughter is reading books, we always tell her, you know, look up words you don't know, here you can look it up right on here. You can even highlight passages and go back and find them and things like that.

This sells for $300 and it launches on Friday. It is smaller. It's neater than the other e-books that were on the market.

ALLEN: And how are these e-books selling overall, Ed?

CURRAN: E-books, they've gotten off to a slow start, but they've been picking up and there's been interest picking up. But I think that part of that has been we wanted to see the size come down, we wanted to see them have longer battery life, we wanted to see better display technology. And I think that with this kind of model you do see advancements in all those areas. So, that's a very good thing.

CHEN: All right. What else do you got there, Ed?

CURRAN: Well, everybody wants to take their music with them, right? Did you hear about Internet music and all that stuff?

This is a music player, play your MP3s or other formats of music, from Iomega. It's called HipZip. Now, the difference is when you do store music on those little cards, those little memory cards, those memory cards are very expensive. This uses inexpensive little Zip disks from Iomega, and these little disks -- this one here holds 40 megabytes -- and it costs just a fraction of what a regular memory card might cost you.

Where you might spend close to $100 for a memory card that holds this, this might cost you $10.

CHEN: So once you record it on that, can you re-record on that?

CURRAN: Yes, you can. That's another nice thing about it. Just like the flash memory cards, you can re-record on it, have your music on here, take it with you. But you know, if you -- if you don't have a lot of money to throw around and you want to store a lot of music, this is a very inexpensive way to do it and bring your music with you. And this is HipZip, sells for $300 from Iomega.

Next up, if you also use your wireless phone a lot, here's a way that you can bring your wireless phone with you. This is the Samsung Uproar phone, and it has not only all the telephone features you'd expect; it also has an MP3 player built into the telephone. So all you do is put your earphones in your ears, you clip this little remote unit to your jacket. You're listening to -- to your music on here, and when you get a phone call, you just press one button and you're able to answer your phone while you're walking down the street.

(CROSSTALK)

... free. You can answer your phone and then you can go right back to listening to your music by pressing one button once again and listen to your music.

It's pretty neat. It's a -- it's a $400-item, though, a little bit pricey. But a neat item, out from Sprint-PCS and Samsung, it's the Uproar phone.

ALLEN: Take a breath, Ed. We know you have more. We're going to take a quick break and check in with the stock market, and then we'll talk to you again in a moment.

Let's go to Fred Katayama for the numbers.

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

CHEN: Thanks very much, Fred. Now, so, if you've gone and sold off all your shares of whatever it is, you've got a little cash to blow on some nice Christmas gifts...

ALLEN: And blow you will, according to these prices, but hey, that's the price of high-tech. We're back with Ed Curran, who has a handheld PC to talk about.

CURRAN: That's right. And you know, high-tech costs a lot, but look at how much you get back from it. I remember when I bought my first fax machine: It was $1,500. You'd never spend that today for a fax machine.

This is one of those great items out there for those people who like to use handhelds. You have all of the Palm-operating system units that are just wonderful. This one is from Compaq. It's the Pocket PC, the iPaq Pocket PC from Compaq, one of several different models that are out there on the market.

These are marvelous units that do more than the regular personal digital assistants, like Palm units, that are out there. These will surf the Internet for you. You can go wirelessly on the Internet and actually look at Web pages with full-color text and graphics and all that type of thing.

You can do your e-mail on here. You can read electronic books on these things. You can do all sorts of things that you would do on your PC, but it's on a little PC that goes in your pocket.

These are a little bit pricey. They go for $500 to $600. This particular one goes for about $500. But they're expandable as well. They have these jackets that slide off and can be replaced with other jackets that do different things, that change it into a different kind of machine: make it go wireless or make it into a modem you can you plug into a phone line. Very versatile and a very exciting technology, the Pocket PC, a way for people to go portable with their PC.

Now, if you don't want to go portable with your PC and you want a regular PC, well, this looks like a regular PC, but it's really far from it. This is from Gateway, and it's a Profile PC, the latest model of theirs, that just came out a couple of weeks ago. This is the entire PC, what you're looking at here. It's a flat screen, it's a keyboard, it's a very fast Pentium III PC, and under $2,000. It's a very exciting unit.

In fact, I'm going to take it and turn the whole thing just to show you. Right there, that's the whole PC, that thick.

CHEN: So there's no big box? There's no...

CURRAN: No! Nothing else, just this.

CHEN: No suitcase goes with this?

CURRAN: No. That's right, you think under the table I have a suitcase here filled with electronics. Everything's right in there, and it's a fast Pentium III PC, up to 866 megahertz, plus the flat- screen display. A really marvelous computer from the people at Gateway. And you know, computers are always a big item on lists at this time of year.

ALLEN: Now, I'm going to ask you, the gadget guru, if you have a must-have for the holidays.

CURRAN: Oh, my must-have for the holidays....

ALLEN: This must be it right in front of you.

(CROSSTALK)

CURRAN: I'm very simple in my wants and needs here for the holidays. You get me Sports Nut (ph). This is Norm Nutman (ph), I want to introduce you to him. He's a sports nut, and he asks you trivia questions. All you do...

CHEN: Hey, this is in my price range.

CURRAN: What's that?

CHEN: This is in my price range.

CURRAN: It is, $35. Watch, you just hit his tongue.

COMPUTER VOICE: Hello there, sports fan! All right, this is a trick question...

CURRAN: It's the next question.

COMPUTER VOICE: Who makes the best electronic fishing game?

CURRAN: Oh, we get the commercial here.

COMPUTER VOICE: Their competitors...

CURRAN: Their competitors...

COMPUTER VOICE: Or Radica.

CURRAN: Or Radica. Well, it's made by Radica, so I'm going to say Radica.

COMPUTER VOICE: Maybe you would rather talk about your feelings.

CURRAN: Oh, I said the wrong thing, huh?

Ask me -- ask a sports question, will you? He asks all kinds of sports questions. Now, the neat thing is that he's able to -- you're able to increase his memory by going to the Internet and downloading more questions. So it's not like you use up all the questions and then run out of questions. You can always update it.

Let's see if we can get a real sports question.

COMPUTER VOICE: Hello there, sports fans.

CURRAN: OK, Norm. What've you got?

COMPUTER VOICE: Who set the single-game record for most points in an NCAA basketball final ballgame?

ALLEN: Joie, do you want to take that one?

CHEN: I don't even know what that is.

COMPUTER VOICE: Bill Walton or Bill Bradley?

CURRAN: Bill Walton or Bill Bradley.

COMPUTER VOICE: Bill Walton.

CURRAN: What do you say?

COMPUTER VOICE: Or maybe you would rather talk about your feelings instead of sports.

CURRAN: Maybe you'd rather talk about your feelings instead of sports. We apparently picked the wrong thing.

CHEN: Yes, Ed. So listen, are we going to have any trouble finding any of these products you just showed us? I mean, if somebody really wants Norm?

CURRAN: You know what? I think -- I think Norm is out there in supply in your toy store. Take a look for him. He came out a couple of months ago. But we saw the prototype at a toy fair earlier this year, and I thought it was clever. What I especially liked about it was the fact that this as well as some other items on the market that are games are able to be updated from the Internet, so you don't run into the problem, where, you know, when you play, like, Trivial Pursuit and you had to get new cards because you kept knowing the answers of things. Here you can always update this and you always have new questions that you can download to this with an optional connection that they have for the Internet.

ALLEN: It's not like being stuck with a $1,500 fax machine that's obsolete years later, huh, Ed?

(LAUGHTER)

CURRAN: That's right. You're absolutely right.

ALLEN: Thanks, Ed Curran. We'll see you next week.

CURRAN: OK. Thank you.

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