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Pogies announced, naming the best tech ideas of 2012

Posting in Science

David Pogue, the tech columnist for the New York Times, has named the winners of this year's Pogies -- the best ideas ideas in tech.

We already wrote about one, the Cycloramic, which was so cool, we put it in its own story, but read on find out what all the other winners are. And let us know, are there any great new tech ideas that Pogue missed?

1. Smart stay

With people often worrying about the battery life of their phones, Samsung's Galaxy S III phone came up with one more way to reduce power waste: When the camera is front-facing (i.e. turned to take a shot of you), it searches for your eyes. When you're not looking at the camera, the screen dims, and when it detects your gaze, it brightens again.

2. Power nap

When you put a laptop to sleep, it stops doing everything. Apple had the ingenious idea to have it run some tasks in the background such as updating email, backing up your files online and syncing online data such as calendar appointments. It works on new Macbooks with OS X Mountain Lion.

3. Slipstream

When you're browsing the Web on an Amazon's Kindle HD and you call up a popular site, the page appears to load pretty much immediately. But it's actually a trick. The device has actually served you a recent screenshot of the site's home page while in the background the Kindle HD is calling up each individual photo, graphic and all the text that makes up that page. Once it has all those components, it will serve you the full page.

How does it do this? Amazon's servers frequently take screenshots of popular Web sites.

4. Cycloramic

We wrote about this here, because it is so cool you need to see it on its own.

5. Electronic leashes

Ever lose your phone or your keys or both?  The Cirago iAlert and Cobra Tag keychain fobs will make sure you're never far from your iPhone or Android. Once you stray more than 30 feet, both devices beep to alert you. But Pogue writes, "In practice, these fobs are cheaply built and, if the Amazon reviews are to be believed, not always reliable. But remember — on the night of the Pogies, it’s the idea that counts."

6. Bluetooth 4.0

Pogue credits the newest version of Bluetooth for powering up only when it needs to exchange data, thereby saving you battery life.

7. Driving mode

Motorola headsets and driving docks now automaticlly detect when you're driving -- plus automatically boost the ring tone volume, turn on GPS, announce the names of callers and send out an auto-response saying, "I'm driving -- call you later" to incoming text messages.

8. Do not disturb

This idea, originally a Motorola idea that was incorporated into the latest Apple iOs allows you to tell your phone when you don't want it to disturb you at all -- with a ring, vibration or lighting up. You can also make exceptions for specific people. And, like a light timer, you can set it to automatically kick in during your using sleeping hours.

And never worry that this mode will keep you from receiving urgent calls -- a function called "Repeated Calls" will allow anyone through if they call more than once in three minutes, an indication it's regarding something urgent.

9. Full induction stoves

Ah, one of the few Pogies awarded to a non-smartphone tech development: These new induction stoves will detect the size and shape of the special ferromagnetic cookware you place on top of it, no matter where it is, and just heat up the shiny, solid surface beneath them. (Traditional induction stoves would have circles drawn on them to let you know where to place the pan.) These have none - and work like magic.

10. Kid's corner

The new Windows phone has a "Kid's Corner" function that allows you to open a few pre-selected apps with a left swipe from the lock screen. Perfect for quieting the child who keeps begging you for your phone.

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via: The New York Times

photo: iPhone settings screenshot

— By on December 29, 2012, 8:41 AM PST

Laura Shin

Features Editor

Laura Shin has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a contributor at Forbes. Previously, she worked at Newsweek, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LearnVest. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure