Be the first to show off the new Copenhagen Wheel, Socialmatic or Sony Handycam.
One of the greatest joys for those with a passion for gadgets is to pre-order a soon-to-be-released gizmo. Knowing you'll be one of the first to own that product has a special status. Being the first to show off your latest find is an absolute thrill.
If you have the desire to be first on your block with some very interesting gadgets, here are a few worth getting out your credit card and placing an online order.
$799 preorder, to ship in summer
This gadget will make your cycling chums jealous by turning almost any bicycle into an energy-smart hybrid. You simply replace the rear wheel of your bike with the Copenhagen Wheel and it will automatically supply a hill-flattening, distance-boosting power assist to your ride.
With technology developed at MIT and tested in Copenhagen, this wheel actually learns how you pedal, then captures and stores your energy (as you brake or go downhill) so your bicycle can automatically provide you with an extra boost when you need it most. Inside the wheel's distinctive red casing is a motor capable of a 20-mph top speed, rechargeable 48-volt lithium battery and Bluetooth connectivity so the wheel can communicate with your Android or iOS smartphone. The free smartphone app lets you lock your wheel, customize the level of power assist you'll get from the gadget and can track your riding stats to share with friends.
Does the name Polaroid ring a bell? Decades before the digital camera, Polaroid was the only way to get "instant" photos. You'd point, click and about 30 seconds later you had your picture. This fall, Polaroid will introduce its Socialmatic camera. A 2-inch by 3-inch photo will instantly shoot out of the camera, just like the old days, using ZINK Zero Ink technology.
However, this gadget is also about photo sharing and will have built-in apps to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The Socialmatic has a 14-megapixel front camera and a 2-megapixel rear camera, GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth built-in and a 4.5-inch LCD touchscreen powered by Android.
How about the world's first handheld Ultra HD video camera? Ultra HD is also known as 4K TV, the new technology that goes beyond HDTV to offer 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution at 30 frames per second. Sony's Handycam FDR-AX100 is small enough to be operated with one hand and features a 12x optical zoom lens. Expect this camera to also have WiFi and NFC connectivity and image stabilization. The camera is built to share your MP4 videos on the web, though not in Ultra HD resolution.
Phil Pikelny is vice president of Dispatch Digital and chief marketing officer of The Dispatch Printing Company.