Andrea Smith Women in CE Award

Women in CE 2015 Legacy Awards

Those of you who know me know I began my career as a newswriter and producer at ABC News in the early 80’s and started covering the world of technology sometime in 1994. At that time there very few women in tech, not journalists and certainly not the decision-makers at the tech companies I was interviewing.

Back then, mentoring and “leaning in” was not a trend. There were no women to turn to to ask advice, to help with connections or to propel you forward. This was a journey I made myself, digging in each and every day and trying to prove to people I could do the job.

There were times I was the only woman on a panel of tech journalists, and certainly the only one in the ladies room at tech conferences. That’s why the Women in CE organization is so important to me.

Founded by the amazing Carol Campbell; it lets me give back. There’s not always time for talking with people and sharing my experiences in journalism and what led me on my career path but the Women in CE conference every June spearheaded by Carol is the one event I always make time for.

Women in CE is focused on empowering women, building networks and supporting career opportunities across the breadth of the consumer electronics industry. There are tools and resources for members to interact, exchange ideas, educate, and empower each other.

I have been on panels about mentoring, conducted social media makeovers for women looking to get ahead, and chatted with women who had simple questions or needed a sounding board. My favorite piece of advice that I’ve shared over the years came from my husband, not another women who was helping in my career. He taught me to “proceed until apprehended.” In other words, stop asking for permission to do something and just do it. It’s the best piece of advice I ever got and he reminds me of that mantra to this day.

This year I was both honored and privileged to receive a Women in CE Legacy Award at an event at CES 2015. To be recognized by my peers – a group of women – is an accomplishment I am deeply proud of.

As I said at the event, I’m happy to wait in line for the ladies room at CES. It’s simply another way of sharing the space with a group of smart, talented, professional women.
Eternal thanks to Carol Campbell for all she does for so many people.

Below is a video overview of the event in Las Vegas.

Amazon Kindle HD Kids

Best Holiday Tech Gifts for Children: WABC TV VIDEO

Still trying to figure out what your child would like as a gift for the holidays? I took my best ideas to WABC TV to show David Novarro the latest in STEM toys for girls and the best tech gifts for children on your list during the holidays. Watch the video here and read about all the items below.

Leap TV $149
Leap TV is a made-for-kids video gaming system that provides hours of fun, while ensuring the kids get up and off the couch to play.
It has motion sense technology and a Kinect-like camera to put the kids in the game so they’ll be jumping, hopping and laughing their way through the levels. Three ways to use the controller; body motion, pointer play and classic control.
There are over 100 education games that automatically adjust to your child’s age and ability. Also games like LeapFrog sports and Kart Racing.

Kindle Fire HD6 Kids edition $149
The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition is a real tablet with a quad core processor, front and rear cameras and an HD display. It comes in 6-inch and 7-inch sizes and includes a colorful, kid-proof case to protect against accidental drops and impact.
Parents will love that it comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited; a library of 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games-at no additional cost.
Parental controls let you set limits on content and screen time for each child. It can be taken out of kids’ mode and used as a regular tablet with a password. And because we all know accidents happen, Amazon offers a two-year warranty; “If they break it, we’ll replace it. No questions asked.”

Sphero Ollie $99
Ollie is a super-fun racing robot you control you control with an iOS app. It pairs instantly to any Bluetooth LE-enabled device. It will run one hour on a single battery charge, and it’s tough; built to withstand drops and falls. Its polycarbonate shell protects it from high speed collisions.

Roominate $29.99
Roominate is a toy that helps young girls build just about anything they can imagine. It’s a hands-on toy developed by female engineers designed to get girls interested in engineering and technology. They can build walls and floors – this set is for a studio, perfect for a NYC apt.
Using the modular building pieces they can create beds, tables, lamps and they can even wire up a motor to make items like elevators and fans.
There are a wide range of kits that can be used together.

Selfie case with built-in remote shutter $40
We all know kids love to take selfies but who has arms long enough to get everyone in the picture? The Selfie iPhone case has a built-in shutter for your phone’s camera so you never lose it. Just slide it out when you need it, connect via Bluetooth and snap away.
Works with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.


7 Top Tech Gifts for the Holidays

There’s still time to shop for the holidays. If you’re looking for some great last-minute tech gifts, look no further than these seven gadgets I showed on WABC TV this week:
You can see the full video here.

iPhone 6 $199 w/contract
The best phone of the year – touch ID for security.
4.7-inch brilliant Retina HD display, a great camera and easy-to-use features like time lapse videos.
iOS 8 which brings Apple Pay, the company’s convenient platform for mobile payments.

Amazon Kindle Voyage $199
This is the best e-reader I’ve used. Light and thin, comfortable to hold, crystal-clear image quality.
There are no distractions like on a tablet; no email, no facebook, no interruptions.
Sharp, clear text – easy to read on the 6-inch e-ink display.
New features:
Take notes on passages or quotes to share with book group
At-a-glance lets you see how long until end of chapter
Share books and content across household
Built-in adaptive front light

Microsoft Xbox One $349
If you’ve been waiting to get Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console, now’s the time. There’s great deals on bundles and special edition consoles. I’m showing the Assasin’s Creed bundle which is selling for $349. You get 2 games, wireless controller, chat headset and a 500 GB hard driv. There’s also access to your TV and music all in one place so you use your voice to control the action. Switch between apps, answer a Skype call, record gameplay, watch Netflix.
500 GB hard drive

Plantronics BackBeat Pro $249
Wireless noise canceling Bluetooth headset that’s so comfortable to wear
Smart sensors know when it’s on your head. When you take it off to answer a call or talk to someone, it automatically pauses the music. Put the cans back on and the music starts
Can connect to 3 devices at once so switch between music and calls, one-button for ANC.
Controls are built into ear cup; tap to pause, play, accept call.
Bluetooth 4.0 so range extends to over 300 feet.

Tory Burch Fitbit $195
This is one wearable that definitely does not look like an activity tracker. Fitbit teamed up with designer Tory Burch to create a wearable women actually will want to wear.
Stainless steel bracelet and pendant come in rose gold and silver in addition to gold.
Use it to track steps, distance and calories burned.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard $80
With the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard, it doesn’t matter if you’re on your tablet or your smartphone, the Universal Mobile Keyboard was designed to work with iPad, iPhone, Android devices and Windows tablets. Pair the keyboard with up to three devices with different operating systems and easily switch between them with a simple flick of the OS (operating system) switch.
The rechargeable battery provides up to 6 months of usage on a single charge.

Cobra JumPack Charger $129
Don’t leave home without this small device that’s powerful enough to jump start a car’s dead battery – a few times over. The JumPack has safety features like a strobe light in case of emergency, and a 7,500 mAh battery with 2.1 Amp USB output so you can power up a dead cell phone with a USB cable.

Airplane mom

This Mom Melted the Hearts of Fellow Travelers

There are two things sure to bring a frown to the face of an airline traveler; notice of a flight delay and a passenger with a baby heading towards your row. So, when a woman carrying a small baby in a pouch on her chest made her way into the row ahead of mine on a flight last week, the other passengers near me and I all looked at each other with that look; “Oh no,” we said with our eyes, “a baby!”

The lesson she taught me made me realize that I don’t have to wait to be asked to help, I should offer help and assistance if I can. In fact, we could all be a little more considerate and thoughtful of people traveling with young kids, especially during the busy holiday travel season. Read my whole story on the Huffington Post.

Ashton Kutcher Designed a Tablet That Turns a Wall into an Instant Home Theater

New Android tablets seem to be about as prevalent as KitKat bars at Halloween, but Lenovo’s YOGA Tablet 2 Pro distinguishes itself with some very innovative, new features. It has a built-in Pico projector, a cylinder shaped bottom that makes it comfortable to hold, and a first-of-its-kind, built-in subwoofer delivering rich, immersive sound.


Lenovo introduced the new tablet along with 8 and 10-inch Android and Windows tablets, and the Yoga 3 Pro ultra slim convertible PC at an event in London last week that I was lucky enough to attend. More on the YOGA 3 Pro below.

The YOGA Tablet 2 Pro was developed with Ashton Kutcher, who you may recall joined Lenovo as a product engineer last year. Apparently he had a lot to do with the design of this tablet. For starters, Lenovo told me Kutcher was the one who came up with the idea for the subwoofer. He met with a team of designers and engineers in Beijing and put out the challenge. The engineers were eventually able to get the subwoofer small enough so that it not only fit, it sounds amazing.

The enhanced audio system with 8 watts of sound isn’t the only innovation; this 13-inch tablet has a built-in Pico projector. You may wonder, as I did, why do I need a projector on my tablet? Lenovo’s Jeff Meredith, vice president, Mobile Business Group, told me their research shows 88% of users are consuming large amounts of digital content on their tablets at home. And more than half of them watch TV on their tablet. Of course, it helps that home is where there’s Wi-Fi so watching digital media doesn’t burn through precious data.

The YOGA Tablet 2 Pro with its 13-inch QHD 2560×1440 display is designed to be a media tablet. You can project movies, videos, games and photos to a wall or even your ceiling. Add in the immersive sound from the front-facing speakers and rear subwoofer and you can see why projecting movies from your tablet onto a wall for a 50-in theater experience will soon become a thing.

Those of you familiar with the YOGA design know it offers modes of use to enhance your experience. If you’re reading an e-book, you might prefer the Hold mode which affords a better reading angle. Tilt and Stand mode use the built-in kickstand for easy browsing. There’s now a new Hang mode so you can hang it wherever you like.

The tablet, which will be available at the end of the month starting at $499 runs on the latest 4th gen Intel Atom processor, has an 8MP rear camera, and comes with 32 GB of storage, expandable up to 64 GB. Battery life is projected at 15 hours, with 5 hours of video playback time.

If you’re in the market for a new PC the slim, light YOGA 3 Pro has a watchband hinge design that lets the device open to completely flat. That new hinge allowed Lenovo designers to shave 17% from the previous version, and when open the PC is thinner than a pencil. Like its predecessors, there’s Laptop mode, Stand mode for video chatting, Tent mode for watching movies or presenting and Tablet mode.


On top of the thin and light design, the YOGA 3 Pro now has Harmony, Lenovo’s software that adapts to the device’s different modes. For example, if you’re reading an e-book Harmony will automatically adjust the brightness depending on the existing lighting in the room. When the device is in tent mode, Harmony will enable software and mode-specific controls that help you understand what’s available.

The 13-inch YOGA 3 Pro has a QHD 3200×1800 display and is running Intel’s newest Core M processor, which means smooth playback, great multi-tasking and long battery life. You can choose from Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver or Champagne Gold when they become available at the end of October.


Top Tech Picks From the IFA Electronics Show in Berlin

While the rest of the tech world is focused on the Apple news out of Cupertino, the IFA Tech show is well underway in Berlin, Germany. I spent the last week in Berlin walking the massive halls of the show and meeting with companies to get a hands-on look at the latest innovations.

IFA is a lot like the huge International CES that takes place in January in Las Vegas, except IFA features more European companies and is open to the public who can roam the expansive halls and get their own hands-on demos of the latest tech coming out for the holidays and beyond.

From connected kitchens and robotic vacuums to smart coffee makers, washers and dryers and convertible laptop/tablets, it was all about mobility and connectivity at IFA 14. There was so much to see and talk about but for now, here are the top five items that I’m waiting impatiently to get my hands on, as first published in the Huffington Post. 


Back To School: Must-Have Gadgets For Students

It seems like the northeast is the last area to head back to school. While some kids have already been hitting the books for a week or more, the NYC area is hitting the stores for last-minute supplies. Here’s my round-up of back to school tech gadgets for high school kids for WABC-TV: 

Or you can see all the products I talked about below.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 

  • The tablet that can replace your laptop – great for students who work with Microsoft Office programs


  • Portable and designed for productivity, multi-tasking


  • kickstand turns from tablet to laptop with keyboard cover


  • Starting at $799 for Core i3 processor

Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop

  • Split keyboard layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position, and a cushioned palm rest to provide wrist support.


  • Works with laptop or desktop, using the USB receiver.


  • It’s all in the angles. Reverse tilt design positions the keyboard at the correct angle to give you a straight, neutral wrist position. Additionally, the shape of the mouse is designed for maximum wrist comfort.


  • $129.95



  • no need for separate charger cables if you have this backpack with its own built-in battery


  • keeps you charged wherever you are


  • $199


Tylt Syncable-Duo Charge and Sync Cable

  • 2-in-1 cable solution with both microUSB and Lightning connectors


  • avail in different lengths and colors $24.99 Tangle-free flat design


  • charges AND syncs data to mobile devices

Samsung Galaxy Tab S – Android

  • It has a brilliant Super AMOLED display, better than iPad’s Retina display, making this the perfect tablet for watching Netflix videos or browsing images.


  • SideSync 3.0 lets you seamlessly connect your Galaxy S5 phone to your tablet so you can transfer data, cut and paste text and even send and receive voice calls directly from the tablet.


  • The Wi-Fi only 8.4-inch tablet starts at $399.99 and the 10.5-inch starts at $499.99.

Toshiba Encore 2 8″ tablet – Windows

  • thin and light, 5MP camera, microSD card


  • 1288 X 800 resolution


  • comes with one year one year subscription to Office 365


  • Starting at just $199.99


  • give consumers the optimal experience

iPad KEYBOARD CASE Custom Quest iPad keyboard case w/ retractable strap

  • holds your iPad safely and stylishly


  • a suede interior to nestle your tablet


  • flip-out rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard


  • When you want to travel light, toting only your iPad, a retractable handle pulls out from the edge of the case, letting you sling it on your shoulder in style.


  • $ 70 QVC

Jawbone Mini Jambox

  • the one speaker you need, great sound quality, doubles as a speaker phone


  • connect via Bluetooth or cable


  • turns your room into a party or movie theater


  • $169

Nokia Lumia Phone Windows

  • This 1020 has an amazing 41 MP camera, image stabilization, LED flash, Qualcomm dual core

T-Mobile iPhone 5C

  • Affordable phones for kids just starting out with a smartphone


  • T-Mobile Family Plan: unlimited everything for only $100


  • Four smartphone lines with unlimited talk, text, and data until 2016


  • Simple Global plan connects you in over 100 countries with no international data roaming fees. Texts are included.