I had the opportunity recently to check out the Nintendo Wii, and within a very short amount of play time, it has made its way onto my gift list this holiday season. Coincidentally, there is another handheld device in the news that has the potential to become a consumer favorite, as well. Take a look at this story: "Space-age remote control coming in 2007."
According to the story, "Early next year, at least one undisclosed consumer electronics company will release the Loop, a ring-shaped remote control that lets you navigate by pointing at icons on the TV screen, rather than by scrolling and clicking through listings. So instead of trolling through seven pages of offerings on Comcast to get to The Terminal on channel 555, you point the remote at the 'Movies' icon and then click on the thumbnail of the movie poster showing Tom Hanks in an overcoat. The device translates hand motions—via sensors that track the physical forces behind a user's hand motions in the air—into cursor movements on the screen."
I used to have a universal remote that emitted a blue light automatically when you touched it. I loved that remote, mostly because it looked cool, but also because I was familiar with all the buttons. At the beginning of 2006, I switched cable providers, and I still haven't figured out all of the things my new remote control can do. This actually would be the perfect time to invest in the Loop - that is, before I become too comfortable with my current remote. With the Loop, it's all in the flick of a wrist.... And then maybe next year I can upgrade to a voice-controlled remote - and the year after that, a mind-controlled remote! Sure, you can go ahead and laugh now, but that advanced technology isn't too far off from becoming a reality.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.