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The Buzz Report
The Gadget of the Week wears running shoes!The return of Steve trumps everything he wanted us to notice, your big screen is now a liability, and AT&T Wireless is such a tease they oughta' install a brass pole in their office.
Apple has a big unveil -- and the products were OK, too...If your TV is bigger than 50, you're a glutton...and AT&T Wireless has a message for many of us, and it's not good news. Welcome to the Buzz Report. I'm Brian Cooley in for Molly Wood -- who no longer uses a Mac and dumped her iPhone -- as she vacations in a savanna in Swaziland hoping to avoid the Apple hype this week -- if only it were that easy. First, the Gadget of the Week! The gadget of the week is ... Steve Jobs. Certainly the coolest thing on the stage this week at the Apple event was Him. In spite of a year of medical hell, he looked pretty much the same -- made easier by the fact he only has one set of clothes. He trotted out the "other" Gadgets of the week, including Nanos with a video camera -- you can almost hear them swallowing hard over at Flip. iTunes 9 with virtual LP's -- sounds like a once & out gimmick to me. iPod Touches with new capacities and prices -- but not cameras, annoyingly. And even more annoyingly, no Beatles music! Plus everyone's favorite corporate engraved tech gift, the Shuffle, now talks to you. No thanks, I get enough dumb silicon talking to me reviewing car navigation systems. But most importantly the leader of the most important company in consumer tech is back at the helm and whether you're a consumer or investor you feel a little better about Apple today. Welcome back, Steve. Now the news. Palm strapped on a pair and launched its new smartphone on the eve of the Apple event. But those cojones looked pretty shrivelly when the name was announced. The Pixi. It's like a thin, non-slider Palm Pre without Wi-Fi, aimed at teens and young adults on a lower budget. But that's the same generation that thinks of Wi-Fi like their parents did dialtone. And the samegeneration that popped out the womb all jaded and cool, so you give them a device called the PIXI!? Yeah, I know, Apple has all the cool "i" names wrapped up. Microsoft has "Zune", which sounds like the frontman for some edgy Romanian indie rock group. Android's cool because it conjures the whole robot thing. BlackBerry is hip because, well, ... anyway. Carrying a Pixi is a cool way to start a new school year or whole new school with a product that says, hey, meet me between classes and you can check out my Pixi and then beat my ass because I'm a dork!" That better be one damned strong device. As you sit back in front of your ginormous flat screen today, know that the EPA wants you to feel bad about it. They want Americans to think of 50" TV's the largest they can conscionably buy - - it's an energy consumption thing. To throw down a gauntlet, going forward, TV's that are bigger than 50" -- even much bigger -- will have to be as energy efficient as a 50" or no Energy Star label for you. And the standards only get tighter in the next 2 years. We rate energy consumption on TV's now and lemme' tell you, the big boys use a lot more juice. But as long as you bring it home in your Prius I guess you're still cool. And since Molly isn't here this week, it falls upon me to keep AT&T Wireless honest. A big job, yes, but made a easier this week by them sending out this memo: Dear S.F. and NY; Up Yours. -- AT&T You see they put out a schedule for upgrading 3G network that HSPA 7.2 technology. And, well, those two iPhone-loving, 3G-gobbling, AT&T glitchiness- hating cities aren't on it. Just a vague promise that other cities will get it next year. Next year's a long time. Enough to run out my contract. If you're in L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, or Charlotte, congrats -- you'll be hooked up by end of this year. Lemme' know what it's like to see a web page load. That's the Buzz Report, I'm B.C. Don't worry, Molly's back next week.