Every year, there will always be that one product. A device/contraption/random thing so awesome, it brings out the child in all of us, making us impulsively want it for no apparent reason. Last year we saw products such as the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 as well as the tiny magnetic balls called Nanodots.
So, what random awesome thing that blew our minds this year? While there are no drones to speak of this time round, 2013’s random things were awesome in their own way. From a dongle to Lego to something made of 2% magic, here are our picks for Random Awesome Thing of 2013!
Article continues after the jump.
Lucas: MyTeksi App
Unlike my esteemed colleagues and most of KL, I don’t drive. That being said, the car which I actually ordered has not even been assembled yet after months of waiting and green-eyed envy on the road (I’m looking at you KIA). My main mode of transport in this city where trains and buses are not exactly the most reliable is the Taxi.
Now, KL is not exactly famous for having a fleet of amazing, helpful taxis, or do they have cabs that litter the streets, making waiting for one a non issue so for me, a Taxi Booking App is probably one of the most used on my phone.
Before MyTeksi, there was the traditional “Call and I may or may not call you back” booking method which was sketchy at best. On a rainy Friday, you could go through your entire phonebook of cab numbers and still not get through to anyone. With MyTeksi, you can use your GPS location to tell the cab driver exactly where you are, search landmarks using the Foursquare API if its not in the database and even see who is driving your car and send the details to a friend if you fear for your safety.
Granted MyTeksi made its debut last year, but this year with improvements to the app, a proactive team to increase the amount of MyTeksi drivers out there, dare I say MyTeksi has surpassed the Singapore Comfort Delgro booking system as being possibly the best Taxi Booking system I’ve used thus far. Heck, I even used it to book trips to FMFA 2013 at Sepang!
Get MyTeksi for both Android and iOS on their respective app stores.
Huei: Kinetic Sand
This is probably one of those times I dislike being in Malaysia, a place where we are missing out on most of the cool stuffs we see everyday. My most random awesome thing of 2013 is this Kinetic Sand that is made out of 98% sand and 2% “magic”. It looks like your typical sand you see on the beach except that it is able to bond to each other, allowing you to easily mold it to any shape you want and when you want to, just crush it and it will look like regular good old sand. The best part? The “magic” ingredient that holds these sand together is non-toxic, synthetic polymer that is anti-microbial and adheres to Australian safety standards.
As a parent with an active toddler, the Kinetic Sand is the perfect tool in enhancing your children’s sensory development.
Nobody quite saw this one coming from Valve. A whole new gaming platform centred on the popular Steam service. To be fair, the introduction of Big Picture should have tipped us off that something was up.
This attempt at bridging the gap between console and PC gamers is a great idea at getting the best possible experience for both sides. Consoles have the ease of setup that many casuals prefer, while using PC hardware gives users customizability that many tech geeks love. Not to mention it allows for both keyboard and mouse or game controller inputs. This is possibly the most exciting thing to come out of the gaming industry in decades. Although it would be nice if the beta test included the rest of the world.
Chapree: Lego Cuusoo Delorean Time Machine from Back To The Future
While the current level of technology is still not advanced enough for flying cars and hoverboards to be mainstream anytime soon as depicted in Back To The Future II although 2015 is just two years away (get yourselves together, scientists!), you can still at least own the movie’s Delorean time machine.
Not just any version, mind you – this one is by Lego! Similar to the previously released Minecraft set, the model received the approval for production from Lego review board after the pitch by Masashi Togami of Team BTTF on Lego Cuusoo’s website received enough votes from users and massive attention from medias throughout the world.
As Back To The Future is one of my favourite movie series of all time, I just went ballistic when Lego announced the Delorean time machine model even though I’m not a Lego collector. That being said, I’m also already looking forward to the next Lego Cuusoo model which will be out next month: the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover.
Pang: Google Chromecast
The surprise announcement at Google’s Chrome and Android event in July, the Google Chromecast arguably stole the limelight away from the other two announcements at the event: the new Nexus 7 tablet as well as Android 4.3. Essentially, the Chromecast is a nifty little device that connects to a HDTV via HDMI and allows users to stream content from any Android or iOS device, as well as from any Chrome browser running on Windows, Mac or Chrome OS.
What separates the Chromecast from other media streaming dongles is in its streaming mechanism itself: when a user “casts” a video from YouTube, for example, to the Chromecast from their smartphone, the Chromecast streams the video from the cloud instead of the smartphone itself, freeing up the device to be used for other purposes.
In addition, while the Chromecast does not yet support playback for locally stored media, there are ways to go around that. A little-known fact about the Chrome browser is the fact that it can actually play any locally stored videos on the browser itself. That in itself negates the need to splash out on a Smart TV, or even in a third-party media set top box, which usually costs slightly more than the Chromecast…
…which leads me to my final point. The Chromecast costs $35 – about RM120. As I mentioned before, the stunningly competitive price point of the Chromecast makes it cheap enough to be an impulse purchase for many a tech geek. Compare that with the RM399 Apple TV (which only supports Apple products) and it becomes clear why the Google Chromecast is my pick of the Random Awesome Thing of 2013.
What were your picks for the most awesome random thing of 2013? Share us your thoughts in the comments section below!