Retro Gadgets Go High-Tech - TheStreet

By Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet



) -- Tired of reading about the new

iPhone 4

or hearing about companies trying to


the computer? We hear you.

It can make one long for an old, faithful gadget. With that in mind, we hunted down a few old technologies that have received a high-tech makeover. Hopefully these 10 gadgets will satisfy your nostalgia for the past.

USB Typewriter:

Jack Zylkin, a member of the online craft marketplace


, recently began to advertise an exciting "new" invention: the USB typewriter. For $75, Zylkin will mail you a do-it-yourself kit that turns your typewriter into a "USB-ready keyboard." Essentially, you install sensors beneath each of the keys that connect to a digital screen. This screen is hooked up to a USB cable that can connect to your computer or even your iPad so that you can save or print what you type.

New applications bring old technology to your iPhone.



joked, this gadget will make it even harder to type on an iPad, but then again, efficiency isn't the point. This gadget allows users to enjoy the feel of typewriting while preserving the benefits of saving documents on a computer. If you're intimidated by the prospect of assembling this yourself, Zylkin will sell you a pre-assembled model for $300-$500.

Crosley Record Player with CD Recorder:

During the past few years, records have become popular again. So it shouldn't be too surprising that some companies are looking for ways to modernize record players. Crosley now makes several standalone turntables that look like beautiful wooden antiques fit for the Smithsonian. However, this turntable comes with a tape player, radio and, best of all, a CD player that can record the album. The device sells for $314 on


(AMZN) - Get Report


Moleskine Case for the Kindle:

Moleskine is known for making notebooks (ones that you actually write in, not laptops), but they recently came out with a nice cover for the Kindle, which comes with a writing pad on the inside. This way, you can read your books digitally but take notes the old fashion way.

The cover costs $40 on Amazon, but keep in mind that Amazon just slashed the price of the Kindle by $70, so if you buy the Kindle and the case now, it's kind of like you're getting the accessory for free.

Moving Picture Frames:

Usually when someone says you should digitize your photos, they mean you should upload them onto the Internet, but one company has something else in mind. FrameWizard has come out with a new gadget called the digital picture frame, which lets you store up to 2 gigabytes of photos in an actual picture frame. Each picture will be displayed for a certain amount of time before switching to the next, like a screen saver, except that this one can sit on your mantel.

FrameWizard has also introduced software that lets you put the image in motion. So if you have a picture of your house in the snow, you can see the snow falling in the picture frame. It's really a stunning tool for landscapes. An

8-inch digital frame

plus software lists for $199.

Polaroid Digital Camera:

Nothing says vintage photography like


, but in recent years, the company has struggled financially. Now Polaroid is trying to remake itself as a more digital-friendly company to remain relevant. One result of this is the

Polaroid PoGo

, a digital camera that has a built-in printer so you can take a digital picture and enjoy Polaroid's famous trick of printing your photo instantly.

Rotary Cell Phones:

Rotary phones have become obsolete, but that doesn't mean you can't feel nostalgic for them. SparkFun Electronics sells a special rotary phone that has been "modified" so you can insert a SIM card and use it like a cell phone. The gadget costs about $300. So if you're really interested in getting the feel of a rotary phone, but don't want to spend too much, there are several applications that you can download for $1-$2 that will display the rotary wheel when you want to dial a number from your smartphone.

Visit MainStreet to see the full list.

-- Written by Seth Fiegerman of MainStreet in New York.


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