I love the Sony Rolly. It’s such a cute little, “Aibo meets mp3 player” kind of robot toy. When I first heard about it and saw videos demoing its functionality, it reminded me of the old Sony — the Sony that made really awesome gadgety stuff, whether or not it made sense as a mainstream product. They made tons of different electronic devices in strange form factors, and dominated the consumer electronics world. Unfortunately, that Sony has been replaced with “is it good for the shareholders?” Sony — a Sony that still makes some really lovely hardware, but has enough financial issues that they can no longer afford to make devices like the Clié (the absolute best line of Palm OS PDAs, closely followed by the Tapwave Zodiac) or the cute line of Aibos. When I saw the Rolly, I saw the old Sony taking a peek out from behind the stodgy, “bottom line is king”, new Sony. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of innovative (and expensive) products coming out of Sony, like that super-thin, OLED TV that they are selling now, their interesting take on digital SLRs, the Sony Reader, and their fun line of phones, several of which I’m enamored with. I just miss all the fun, “What am I going to do with this?” products they used to have.
Anyway, this rambling is just an introduction to a video I put together recently. I was surprised to see the Sony Rolly displayed at the Sony Style store in Woodfield, so I busted out my phone to take a video of it in action. Too bad I didn’t have the N95-3 with me; I could’ve Qik’ed it… Oh well! The original song it was bopping to was “Love Song” by Sara Bareille (IIRC), but I forgot that I turned off the audio recording. The audio probably wouldn’t have turned out so well anyway, since there was some other music blaring in another part of the store. Luckily I was able to find a good replacement song that still fits with the Rolly’s dance moves. Strangely it’s quite a different song from the original tune that played — “Discipline” by Nine Inch Nails. Thanks, Trent Reznor, for Creative Commons licensed songs! I converted the video from the original 3GP format and added the song as the backing track in iMovie, quite a painless process. I was all smiles while I was watching the Rolly dance in the Sony Style, and I was still all smiles when I watched it dance to NiN. Pretty funny contradiction between a cutesy, mp3-playing robot toy and an angsty (but dancey) NiN song. See it for yourself!
A few days ago I read about an alternative mini-keyboard for the Samsung Q1 available from the Brando online store. It’s nice because it’s only about $25, including shipping, compared to the official Samsung Q1 keyboard (that was bundled with newer Q1 purchases…Samsung should’ve retroactively sent these keyboards to previous Q1 purchasers ) that is $99 + shipping. The Samsung keyboard has a much shorter USB cable to make it fit into a carrying case with the Q1 a lot better, as well as a pointing stick. But are these features worth the $70-some price difference? Perhaps not.
At any rate, I went searching at my favorite tech warehouse, Tigerdirect, and found a similarly-sized keyboard by Solidtek. It’s a bit more expensive than the Brando keyboard at $27.99 + shipping (or in my case, $27.99 + tax, since there’s a local Tigerdirect store near me), and it has a silver and black color scheme, which may or may not appeal to you better than an all-black color scheme. But if you’re looking for an alternative to the Brando keyboard, I recommend checking it out.
Right now I’m at work, so I probably won’t be able to play around with this keyboard until I get home tonight. Keep your eyes peeled for a quick review later. My first impression is that this keyboard is really small and cute. Even if I don’t own the Q1 that I’m testing out, I’m sure I can find another use for this mini-keyboard, probably for the UMPC that I will eventually buy for myself.
I feel that even if someone were to use the Q1 plus this ultra-mini keyboard (and a mouse, if he/she just couldn’t live without it) as a sort of laptop replacement, I doubt that he/she would be able to find a similarly portable notebook computer for around $1100 or $1200. Those really small Vaio notebooks are definitely not that cheap, unless you find some really good deal on a used one, or something. And you don’t get the option to leave the keyboard behind if you want an even more portable device when you’re away from your desk.
Whenever I read someone’s complaint about how buying an external keyboard for a UMPC defeats the ultra-portability, I just have to shake my head in disbelief at that person’s ignorance (and get a little angry). *sigh*
Hey, Kids! For those of you who know me and are inclined to buy me b-day presents (b-day coming up in June), buy me this!