Tech Check

Gizmos, Apple And Star Wars Top CB-TC!

Apple Ipod Nano

This week's Tech Check during "Closing Bell" offers a nice cross-section of gizmo headlines and a look at the news that's likely to come from Apple next Wednesday.

Get ready for a re-designed iPod, the first major changes of the device in two years. Lots of rumors about a full touch-screen, no buttons, bigger memory, the Mac OS on board, and maybe even wi-fi downloads. There's always the wildcard of a Beatles announcement for iTunes and Andy Hargreaves from Pacific Crest Securities is expecting new casual games for the device as well. He maintains his $175 target on shares, by the way.

Next up: tech analyst Rob Enderle was in the bureau the other day and he showed me his new mobile device. It comes from HTC: pretty slick, he says, and does everything good that Apple's iPhone does badly. Trouble is, the thing is a brick, weighs a lot and costs $900. The 5-inch display is hot, the full, real keyboard is cool; it features a 3 megapixel camera, up to 12 gigs of storage, full 3G connectivity and it's completely unlocked meaning it'll work on any network. Unlike iPhone. Oh wait, paging George Hotz! It's a neat little device. Just not little enough for my taste.

Then there's the new system from Plantronics called Calisto. Have you seen this? It's targeted to the 37 million home-based professionals and the 12.4 million telecommuters who find themselves fumbling between cell, landline and VOIP phone calls. Calisto Pro Series is a compact landline handset with an integrated, multi-function Bluetooth headset. Not only can users talk hands-free and multi-task away, they can switch seamlessly between landline, mobile phone and VoIP calls at the touch of a button.

Sounds neat but the press materials take a leap into TMI, or Too Much Information, declaring: "And here’s one that’s sure to shock: 23% of home pros surveyed say they’ve 'done their business' while doing business on the phone. No doubt, that task would be a lot easier with the Calisto Pro." Uh, yeah.

And finally, we've done our fair share of Star Wars coverage since this is the 30th Anniversary of the first "Star Wars" release. NASA is taking its celebration out of this world, announcing that Luke's original LightSabre will be headed to space, aboard a Space Shuttle Discovery flight coming up in October. Chewbacca delivered the device to the Oakland International Airport on Wednesday, where NASA officials will fly it to its next destination before heading out on its mission. Would've been better if NASA invited Lucas himself to take a flight aboard the Shuttle. Maybe next time.

May the force be with you this Labor Day Weekend! Have a great holiday.

Questions?  Comments?