Central Floridians live in a highly wired community that loves the latest in high-tech toys. And there is no better time than the holidays to give -- or receive -- the newest smartphones, computers or games.
Orlando "is home to thousands of high-tech companies, and that helps lead the way in our tech savviness," said Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo Interaction Group, an Orlando app-development agency. "We are using our gadgets to do more than play games or search the Internet. They are becoming our personal life solutions."
Here is what Sentinel research has found to be the projected best sellers in Central Florida and across the U.S., most of which can be found at major retailers:
Apple's thinnest and latest smartphone is expected to sell more than 46.5 million units this holiday season, with some reports suggesting delivery could take some time. The starting price of the 16GB model is $199 with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
Galaxy S III
Samsung Electronic's flagship Android-powered smartphone in the Galaxy line made history earlier this year when it unseated the iPhone 4S as the most-sold smartphone in the world. The starting price of the 16GB model is $199 with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint; $279 with T-Mobile.
The third-generation tablet remains the standard for consumers shifting from laptops, but it's also the costliest of these devices. The 16GB version starts at $499 with Wi-Fi only and $629 with added 4G LTE compatibility. The 32GB model is $599, or $729 with 4G LTE.
The newest device from Apple is the company's first 7-inch tablet. Though it doesn't feature the super-sharp Retina displays of its latest devices, it's been generating lots of buzz from consumers wanting a smaller tablet with access to thousands of apps in the App Store. The starting price of the 16GB model with Wi-Fi only is $329, or $459 with 4G LTE. Monthly data plans from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint vary in price.
Windows 8 computers
Microsoft's wildly different Windows 8 operating system has spawned a number of equally curious computers. They sport detachable screens; displays that flip, bend, or twist; touch-sensitive screens; and other features that break from traditional laptops. They include the Microsoft-branded Surface tablet, the Toshiba Satellite with sliding screen, the Dell XPS 12 with a swivel screen, Sony Vaio's touch screens and the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga's 360-degree screen. Prices vary from $499 to $1,199.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Amazon's latest update to the Kindle Fire tablet features an 8.9-inch screen and HD video and connects to AT&T's 4G LTE network. It runs on a heavily modified Android platform; sports two speakers (unlike the iPad) with Dolby sound; and has access to Amazon's vast collection of movies, albums, and e-books for users who purchase a $79 yearly Amazon Prime membership. The starting price for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with Wi-Fi only is $299 for the 16GB model, $369 for the 32GB version. The tablets with 4G LTE compatibility are $499 for the 32GB version, $599 for the 64GB model.
The newest version of the tiny Wi-Fi-enabled cameras that shoot cinematic point-of-view footage makes it one of the best sports cameras in the market. The 5-megapixel White Edition is $199; the 11 MP Silver Edition, $299; the 12 MP Black Edition is $399.
Analysts expect Microsoft's new installment of the decade-old Halo franchise will top $300 million in global sales this holiday season. The first-person shooter, designed and built by a new video-game developer, introduces a new faction of enemies called the Prometheans. Halo 4 for Xbox 360 is $59.99.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Activision's ninth installment in the Call of Duty franchise is expected to be another hot seller in the video-game market. The better-fleshed-out Zombies Mode is sure to draw fans of the undead. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is $59.99 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC.
Fuhu Nabi 2
For kids, the quirky-sounding tablet from Fuhu, a Los Angeles startup, is one of the best Android-powered tablets in the market. Nabi, which means "butterfly" in Korean, has a rubberized bumper for added protection from slips and falls. It can access more than 500 approved apps, as well as those from Amazon's Appstore. The 8GB tablet with Wi-Fi is $199.
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