PC Advisor took some time out of its busy schedule to head down to the Ideal Home Show at London’s Earls Court. We met up with Suzi Perry who is part of the Home of the Future section and the show’s ‘queen of gadgets’.
In our chat with Suzi we talked about her favourite devices, worst gadget, and what she’s excited about this year in the technology industry. Somehow we managed to talk about cat toilets, camera apps, tuberculosis and Steve Jobs, so read on to find out her thoughts and feelings.
PC Advisor (PCA): How many connected digital devices do you have on you right now?
PCA: What’s the one gadget you wouldn’t be without?
SP: My iPad because it’s the greatest convergence gadget ever I think. PCA: Even though you can’t make calls? SP: I don’t think we make that many calls. I don’t anymore. Data is king isn’t it really; sadly the spoken voice is diminishing somewhat. Soon we won’t be able to speak at all it will just be our fingers tapping away.
PCA: We can probably guess but Android or iOS?
SP: iOS and I try and run two phones. PCA: Do you have an Android phone? SP: Yeah I have, I’ve got an HTC. I just don’t like the operating system as much as iOS. PCA: What’s your opinion on Windows Phone? SP: I’ve got the Nokia Lumia 800, which is a beautiful phone. It’s gorgeous, it really is, and I am getting to grips with it but still the one I would pick up would be iOS.
PCA: What was your first computer?
SP: A Compaq Presario something or other, I can’t remember the numbers. PCA: Was that Windows? SP: Yeah, absolutely. PCA: What version? SP: It was really early days so it would have been in about 1996, you can tell me what version of Windows that was. PCA: Windows 95 probably. SP: Could have been, my memory is not that great. I just remember being amazed by it because it was my first laptop. I was terribly excited.
PCA: What’s your favourite app?
SP: Still loving Instagram. I like camera apps and I love photography so Hipstamatic, Instagram they’re great for taking quick photos, changing them, making them look cool and then sharing them with your mates, really simple.
PCA: What gadget or device can’t you travel without, excluding the iPad?
SP: A good SLR because I think when you’re travelling, when you’re on holiday, when you’re on trips, it’s the only time personally I get to actually think about taking good pictures rather than just snaps for Twitter or social networks. It’s the only time I get to properly test gadgets, so yeah a camera is my must have.
PCA: What are you most excited about in the tech industry this year?
SP: I am really excited about skinny OLED tellies getting to consumer affordability. I loved it when they came out a few years ago, I felt like I could just put my hand in and reach and take something out. Just wonderful, wonderful picture imagery but obviously they were so expensive no-one could afford them and so small. So I’m waiting for them to get really big because that’s my way of relaxing, watching TV, watching Nordic Noir that I’ve videoed, videoed that sounds so old fashioned, that I’ve downloaded.
4G, can’t wait, get on with it you know. Move on already 3G, so over that. The Lytro, the camera where you can re-focus after you’ve taken the picture. Love the idea of that, sort of a sideways swing in photography. I think it would be really good for smartphones. I wonder whether it might be in the new iPhone later on this year.
PC Advisor talks to Suzi Perry, the Ideal Home Show’s ‘queen of gadgets’.
PCA: What’s your option on 3D?
SP: I’ve never got totally absorbed in the whole 3D thing. I’ve now sort of accepted it’s good to have a 3D ready TV. PCA: On occasion it’s nice to have it available. SP: Yeah, and it does suit some movies and it seems to me that it suits a lot of animated films. Some sport maybe but I’d rather go and see the sport in 3D, it’s kind of weird isn’t it? I don’t know whether it’s just me being slow on the uptake. I used to think 3D was like tuberculosis, it came round like every 20 years. But it seems like it’s here to stay now and it seems as though it’s been well embraced and people like it. There’s 3D everything. I think we’re a bit over 3D now.
PCA: What kit can’t you wait to get your hands on?
SP: I might be really boring and say home stuff because I’m doing my house up this year and I can get quite excited about fridges and induction hobs and things like that. PCA: Like internet connected fridges? SP: Not sure about the internet connected fridge, it’s a little bit ahead of what I need but I certainly like the fact it can be all different temperatures and I love all that.
PCA: What's the worst gadget you’ve seen or reviewed?
SP: What about the Amstrad emailer? I once reviewed a pair of flip flops that had a reservoir in them for liquid so you could take a drink out and walk on it all day and then pick up your shoe, unscrew it and drink out of it. PCA: Like a weird Camelbak? SP: Yes, like what have you walked on in the day that you’re drinking. That’s one that I don’t think they’re ever going to sell. A cat toilet, train a cat to go to the toilet on your toilet, really strange.
PCA: What task or function do you wish your phone/tablet could do that it can’t?
SP: That’s a good question, one which I don’t really have an answer to. PCA: It could be something ludicrous. SP: Well I wouldn’t mind the voice recognition being better. Obviously Siri was introduced in the last iPhone but it’s still quite American based and I think there’s definitely a future for it. I would like to just grab it and just shout at it and then throw it down and it would do what I wanted it to do instead of saying there’s no business in the UK. PCA: What about something like washing up? Or drive your car? SP: No, I love driving cars. I would like it to clean my house. We’re never going to have a gadget that cleans your whole house, you can’t beat a cleaner can you?
PCA: Apple says we’re in a post-PC era. Do you think tablets will replace PCs or laptops?
SP: I think, as we stand at the moment, that’s some way off. I think that’s an Apple line. I think people love the tablet market but I still think people still embrace the laptops and PCs and quite like to have that safe home computer, you know, that’s not in a bag and could get bashed about. So I think we’re some way off that.
PCA: Have you got a new iPad?
SP: I might have (laughs). PCA: I’ll take that as a yes, which model? SP: I’m getting it on Tuesday. I’m getting the all singing all dancing, there’s no point, 64GB full-on [4G].
PCA: What gadget do you wish you’d invented?
SP: That one? [new iPad] No, let me go back and be more serious. I wish I’d invented either the radio or the television because they are the two Gods of gadget creation as far as I’m concerned, or the electric kettle which was launched here at the ideal home show in 1930.
PC Advisor talks to Suzi Perry, the Ideal Home Show’s ‘queen of gadgets’.
PCA: Which up-and-coming company should we look out for this year?
SP: Can I say an inventor? There’s a really fantastic British inventor. We’re all about Britain here at the ideal home show so I’d like to champion Tom Lawton who has made Bubblescope, a young British inventor and he’s invented an optical device basically that you put on your phone and will take 360 [degree] pictures and it’s £50 and it’s brilliant. He’s got the app, Bubblepix, that goes with it and it’s wonderful, I’d look out for him, he’s a good guy.
I think HTC are starting to go down that path. They’re selling loads of products but also they’re doing these big launches with big superstars turning up like Lady GaGa. They’ve got the whole Dr.Dre Beats going on. I think they’re really with the times and they seem to be bringing out models every five minutes so they’re hard to keep up with but I think they’re marketing is definitely going the right way. Down with the kids, as they say.
PCA: What would you most like to see in the ‘Home of the Future’?
SP: I think we’re getting there really. We’ve got some good stuff in this year. I’d like things to be more affordable so we’ve got the transport pod which is fantastic if you’re really shattered to crawl in and have your sound kind of resonate through the water bed and drift off. That’s a really great way of relaxing, it’s like a technical cocoon I suppose but it’s $19,000 so it’s a lot of money. You know all the things I want are always really expensive. As we know, they come down and down in price and when they get to consumer level then boom. I’d like a house that cleans itself, entirely.
PCA: what type of technology do you think is most responsible for getting girls excited about computer tech?
SP: I’ll tell you what I think the first truly uni-sex gadget was. The iPod, because it was simple, it was easy to use, it looked beautiful and it worked and everybody wanted to have one. It’s now become a brand, you know like you’d Hoover for a vacuum cleaner. ‘The iPod mp3’. You don’t really hear about other mp3s anymore, it’s always all about the iPod. I think when that came out, that was the one that everyone had.
You just saw everyone with the little white earphones which weren’t really very good but it showed that you had an iPod and that for me was the point where it swung. Weirdly it showed that girls wanted what boys wanted as well. Then manufacturers went on this big whole condescending pink patterned thing for girls which was just awful and now they seem to be coming away from it again. We just want beautiful technology that works; just the same as you’d [males] want.
PCA: No-one could have escaped noticing that Apple is in the ascendency for computers and gadgets that 'just work'. Why do you think Apple has got the end-to-end customer experience right, while most the rest of the tech industry is still in the Windows dark ages of 'sometimes works' or 'have you tried switching it off and back on again'?
SP: I would put it down to Steve Jobs. I don’t want to sit here and I don’t want you to think that I’m Apple-tastic but the man was completely visionary and it did just work but it was also beautiful. They were the first people that made gadgets look very, very beautiful and affordable. Yeah, they’re still expensive but I think they did that and then with that came the whole American ‘razamataz’ which I’m not sure that we massively buy into in this country.
I think we’re all a bit like scared of clapping and whooping and hollering, you seen them in the states and they go insane but it definitely transcends and they’re the ones that have got people queuing around the block it’s brilliant marketing. That’s what it comes down ultimately, vision and marketing.