Bob Noyce, Deseret Morning News
With the whirlwind of innovations in consumer technology, it can be hard to keep up. For instance, do you know what distinguishes Microsoft Corp.'s latest music player and Inc.'s new electronic book reader from their competitors? Or what the new robot cleaner cleans? Take this quiz to see how well you've kept up with recent developments. Then turn to page E5 for the answers.

1. Microsoft introduced a new version of its Zune music player in 2006. Name a key Zune feature that Microsoft has promoted in its battle against Apple Inc.'s rival iPod.

A. WiMax connectivity

B. Wi-Fi connectivity

C. Wiki connectivity

D. Why should I care about connectivity?

2. Five years ago, almost 90 percent of all digital photo prints were produced on home printers. In 2007, what percentage of digital prints were made at home?

A. 72 percent

B. 50 percent

C. 38 percent

D. 24 percent

3. unveiled a new electronic book reader in November: a $399 digital screen with a keyboard and the ability to buy best-selling books for $10. What is the name of Amazon's new device?

A. Reader

B. Kindle

C. eInk

D. iRead

4. In 2006, only 20 percent of all digital cameras had a resolution of seven megapixels or above. Last year, about what percentage of all digital cameras sold in the United States boasted resolutions over seven megapixels?

A. 30 percent

B. 40 percent

C. 50 percent

D. 70 percent

5. In 2006, there were about 161 billion gigabytes of digital information stored online, on personal computers and on corporate servers. How much do experts expect to be stored in 2010?

A. 250 billion

B. 362 billion

C. 988 billion

D. 1.212 trillion

6. Which of the following electronics retailers won't be around to battle Wal-Mart and Costco with razor-thin margins this year?

A. Best Buy

B. CompUSA

C. Circuit City

D. Tweeter

7. Where do local merchants think they're most likely to find the consumers they're targeting with their online ads?

A. local newspaper sites

B. local television sites

C. Yellow Pages sites

D. Internet-company sites

8. IRobot added a new line to its robot vacuum cleaners and swimming-pool cleaners last year. What does it clean?

A. toilets

B. cat pans

C. home gutters

D. bath tubs

9. Flash drives that hold up to 32 gigabytes of data in a tiny space and plug into a computer USB port to upload or download files are showing up in all sorts of unlikely devices. Which of these is now being sold as a flash-memory device?

A. Swarovski heart pendant

B. Swiss Army knife

C. plastic sushi

D. ballpoint pen

E. all of the above

10. Which of the following companies agreed with the Justice Department to pay $21 million in fines for promoting illegal gambling in the United States?

A. Microsoft

B. Harrah's




1. B. Wi-Fi is the wireless networking technology that is used in homes and at hot spots like coffee shops, and it allows Zune users to download a tune directly from a computer without plugging in a cable. Most iPods can't do that.

The iPod brand still dominates the world of music players. It had about a 60 percent share of the market for most of last year, based on unit sales, compared with around 10 percent for Zune, according to estimates by market-research firm NPD Group Inc.

2. C. Consumers increasingly are relying on retailers to print their photos. Most of the time, that means bringing the camera's memory card to a kiosk or mini-lab at a store, but a growing number of photographers upload their pictures to retailers' Web sites and then pick up the prints when they go to the store. People are increasingly reluctant to print their pictures themselves because of the cost of ink and specialty paper and the sometimes disappointing results of home printing.

3. B. Although the Kindle isn't the first electronic book device, the Amazon sponsorship brings vastly more content than earlier readers — 88,000 books and numerous periodicals available for purchase. And the Kindle offers wireless downloading, unlike Sony Corp.'s $299 electronic Reader, which requires users to download content through a PC.

It's too soon to say, though, whether the Kindle's advantages will help spark a market that has been close to invisible, especially in the glare of the popularity of portable digital music players.

EInk is the technology used by the Kindle and the Reader to display text while avoiding the flicker of LCD screens. IRead is a Facebook application that lets users list and review the books they have read.

4. D, according to NPD Group. And better picture quality isn't costing consumers more, as the price of the most popular cameras remains in a range of about $200 to $300. The steady improvement in resolution allows images to be tightly cropped and still blown up into clear pictures for calendars or photo collections. But this may be a trend that has run its course: Photography experts say further advances in resolution won't make much difference in photo quality.

5. C. Thanks to the proliferation of user-generated content such as YouTube videos and online photos, stored digital information is growing 60 percent a year, according to market-research company IDC.

6. B. CompUSA Inc., currently operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is being liquidated after its acquisition by Gordon Brothers Group PLC. But 16 of its stores have since been acquired by Systemax Inc. and will continue to use the CompUSA name in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

CompUSA had struggled to find a profitable niche competing with larger firms with greater economies of scale. Best Buy Co. remains the No. 1 specialty electronics retailer, with rising sales of flat-screen TVs and other popular electronics. Circuit City Stores Inc. is No. 2, but it has been losing money as it revamps stores and tries to improve customer service.

7. D. Last year, for the first time, local advertisers spent more on sites like or than on local newspapers' sites. Internet companies got 44 percent of the $8.5 billion local advertisers spent online, newspaper companies got 33 percent, Yellow Pages sites got 10 percent and local-television sites got 9.3 percent, according to media research firm Borrell Associates. This year, local online advertising is expected to rise 48 percent to $12.6 billion, led by growth in car, job and real-estate ads.

8. C. The Looj reduces the number of times a homeowner must climb a ladder to scoop leaves out of gutters. The robot was designed by iRobot Corp. to be small and light enough to be carried up a ladder and propel itself along the gutter.

9. E. Flash drives also have been decorated with Star Wars figures or scented like fruit. Sales of flash drives rose 66 percent last year to 232 million units, according to Web-Feet Research Inc.

10. A. Microsoft recently agreed to pay a total of $21 million without admitting or denying guilt for allegedly receiving money from online gambling companies for advertising on its Web sites. Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. agreed to smaller fines at the same time.

U.S. regulators maintain Internet gambling is illegal, but they can't go after offshore operators. Instead, they have cracked down on mainstream U.S. financial firms to stop them from handling payments and have gone after popular advertising-driven Web sites, such as Microsoft's and, to stop them from promoting gaming sites.