Saturday, 11 May 2013
Friday, 10 May 2013
Smartphone? What’s a smartphone now? Meet the brand new Nokia Asha 501, a “dumbphone” running an all new version of Nokia’s low-power, low price Asha operating system. It’s designed to do just about everything that a smartphone can do, but for a fraction of the price. Read on to find out all about it.
At a glance, the Nokia Asha 501’s specs don’t impress: a three-inch touchscreen with a low-res 320×240 screen and 4GB of storage, plus Wi-Fi for jumping online at high speed. But it’s what the Nokia Asha 501 can do with just that that impresses: there are apps for Facebook, Twitter and more, games, even Nokia’s HERE mapping for directions, and WhatsApp is believed to be working on its own chat app for the new platform/
The Asha OS on the 501 has had a big revamp too, with Nokia using the expertise from feature-phone software developer Smarterphone, which it bought last year. The bright, clear homescreens are clearly reminiscent of today’s smartphones, putting contacts and apps at the fore.
One big difference: few of today’s smartphones cost $99 (£63) unlocked and none boast a battery life of up to 48 days. It’s a bold move on Nokia’s part, but one it needs to make as app-packed Android phones get cheaper and cheaper. The Nokia Asha 501 goes on sale in June in red, green, cyan, yellow, white and black hues
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
US service personnel will soon be using many different mobile gadgets
Samsung phones running a secure version of Android have been approved for use by the US Department of Defense.
The approval is the start of a process that will see many different types of mobile devices used by US soldiers.
Approval for other Android devices as well as Apple phones and tablets is expected in late May.
Before now, ailing phone maker Blackberry was the only firm whose products were approved for use by US service personnel.
The approval of Samsung phones was the first step of a strategy that would let soldiers use many different types of devices, both smartphones and tablets, during their tours of duty, said DoD spokesman Lt Col Damien Pickart.
The approval would not necessarily result in orders for gadgets, he said, but meant different groups within the DoD could now buy the devices most appropriate to their needs.
The US DoD has about 600,000 smartphone users, said Col Pickart, about 470,000 of whom were using Blackberry handsets. The remainder was split between people using both Google Android and Apple phones in a series of trials to assess whether the devices could be used securely.
According to one report on Federal News Radio, the approval of other handset makers is part of a US DoD plan to more than double the number of secure mobile devices used by its armed forces by 2014. Alongside this will be built a secure system to manage all these devices and their associated app stores. Commercial bids to provide this are currently being assessed.
Blackberry handsets dominate within the US military because, before now, it was the only make to meet the Department's stringent security demands.
Samsung phones were among the first to win approval because of work done on a hardened version of the Android operating system called Knox that also met those security requirements. Gadgets that run Apple's iOS 6 operating system as well as other Android phones are currently undergoing testing by the Defense Information Systems Agency and are expected to be approved by the end of the month.
At the same time Samsung won approval, Blackberry 10 smartphones and Playbook tablets were also ruled safe to use on military networks.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
No longer the preserve of sci-fi, 3D printers are getting cheaper and cheaper and they’ve already found their way into various parts of the world – toy making giant Hasbro uses them to print off toy parts during the concept stages and they’re even used in the medical world too. The possibilities are endless and life-changing: take at a look at how 3D printers will change your life.
From prosthetics to spare-bone parts and even artificial organs, 3D printers can print out life-changing replacements that can be fine-tuned right to the smallest measurement to ensure that patients get exactly what they need. We’ve seen a human skull replaced with 3D-printed materials, to exoskeletons fine tuned for children and even a 3D-printed jaw replacement: the medical world is a lot brighter thanks to 3D printing.
Need a new chair? Just print one. Prices for printing larger models are coming down and you can specify exactly what you want from your printed fittings no matter what it is. Whether it’s a simple coffee table, a bar stool or even an ergonomically designed chair just for you, you can be sure that 3D-printed furniture is going to be keeping IKEA execs up at night soon – unless they figure it out first.
Francis Bitonti along with Michael Schmidt and Shapeways made waves in the fashion world with a 3D printed dress draped on Dita Von Teese, and we can expect even more items of clothing to be on the way in the future. New Balance has begun to use 3D printing to make highly customised shoes for professional athletes and a variety of fashion designers have begun to use them to make other shoes such as high heels and even fabrics. What’s great is that they’re recyclable too and they require less labour, meaning it’s a much greener way to create clothing too.
Large scale 3D printers, like re:3D’s upcoming Gigabot, will be able to help out developing countries and communities for little cost, and can even use recycled plastic to print. Household items such as bowls, plates or even larger appliances like toilets can be printed for little cost and can help out third-world countries that struggle with basic needs.
Even the big toy makers use 3D printers at some point during the design process, and you can make your own playthings at home too. Being able to print your own toys is not only a viable business but it’s also massively creative. Imagine turning your child’s drawings into a 3D model that they can actually play with – they’ll think it’s just like magic.
Roll your own gadget accessories
Stop paying through the nose for a case every time you upgrade to a new phone, and start making your own. Nokia now provides 3D printing information so you can craft your own Nokia Lumia 820 cases, and that’s just the beginning: very soon, it’ll be a piece of cake to mock up your own Galaxy S4 or iPhone case with whatever images you want, and just hit Print to realise your creation.
Monday, 6 May 2013
US bookseller Barnes & Nobles is being very generous this week. After slashing the cost of its entry-level e-reader to just £29, it’s now adding Google’s all important Play app store to its Nook HD and HD+ Android tablets. Has B&N just turned the Nook into the best value Android tablet yet?We’ve always loved the beautiful hardware, low price tag and absolutely stunning displays on the Nook HD and HD+, but as we originally said in our reviews of the pair, they were crippled by the absence of Google’s key Android services and the Play store and its 700,000 apps. Instead, you had to make do with their own Nook store, which had less on its virtual shelves than a communist supermarket – sure, it had Netflix, but there no Google Maps or Grand Theft Auto.A new software update changes that: Barnes & Noble is rolling out Google Play to both tablets right now, as well as Gmail, Google Maps and all of Google’s other essential standard Android apps. That doesn’t just give them a one up over Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD line, which also lack all of Google Play’s apps: with their pin-sharp HD screens they might just have overtaken the £159 Google Nexus 7 as our favourite budget tablet. Rest assured we’ll be going back to the pair and checking them out again to see if it changes their G-rating.The update’s an admission of failure on Barnes & Noble’s part, perhaps, but it’s one that benefits all of us. The update is rolling out today, and if you fancy getting in on the action, you can pick up a seven-inch Nook HD for just £129 for a limited time, and the Nook HD+ for £179. www.tell-me-first.com
Sunday, 5 May 2013
Well hello there. Just days after the BlackBerry Q10 hit stores, bringing the buttons back with a vengeance, a follow up phone has leaked out online, promising a rock solid keyboard and BlackBerry 10 with a low price tag. Is this the phone that will keep BlackBerry alive?
CrackBerry spotted the BlackBerry R10 on Instagram. User tamarabatal appears to have snagged a dummy unit of the next-gen phone early. Based on the bright colours (Red, and a white model in the background), plastic materials and BlackBerry Curve style isolated keyboard, we’d say this will be a touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phone with a much cheaper pricetag – the premium Q10 costs more than £30 per month on a two year contract, or an eye-watering £579.95 SIM-free.
That’s a smart move on BlackBerry’s part, as though flagship phones are where there’s most money to be made, right now the company needs to get BlackBerry 10 into the hands of as many punters as possible, so that developers will get on board with the friendly but app-lacking new software. A cheap and cheery phone like the BlackBerry R10 might be just what the doctor ordered.
There’s no official launch date for this phone just yet, or a list of specs (though we’re guessing it skips the HD screen and 4G connection) but the tipster says it’ll ship “Q3” – sometime between July and September. Reckon you’ll be waiting for one? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Friday rolls around so quickly, doesn’t it? If you’re wondering where the working week’s gone, and didn’t get a chance to read up on all the tech news as it came in, then put your mind at rest: we’ve got all the biggest stories from the last days rounded up for you in one place, right here in your Gadget Digest.Microsoft’s IllumiRoom Xbox tech exploredAfter months of radio silence, Microsoft finally started talking about its incredible IllumiRoom wall projector tech for gaming again, dropping more than a few hints that it could be headed to the Xbox 720 as a Kinect-style accessory, and publishing a research paper which spills all the beans on how it works. Check out our feature on it for what we know so far.Bargain huntIt’s been an incredible week for sudden price drops in top gadgets. Barnes & Noble has been serving up random acts of kindness all week, slashing the price of its entry-level e-reader to just £29, and administering similar price cuts to its Android tablets too – as well as giving them access to the Google Play store. Asda meanwhile dropped the price of the Nintendo Wii U by another £50, meaning you can now pick up the next-gen machine for less than £150. Here’s hoping this sort of shock treatment can help the faltering system.What’s next, making calls from your iPad?The boundaries between phones and tablets – and frankly, phablets and tablets – are rapidly blurring. Hot on the heels of Asus’ Fonepad, Samsung released the Galaxy Tab 3, a regular looking seven-inch Android slate – that makes phone calls like a regular blower. Would you be seen holding one of these to your head?Instagram expands
We’ve got good news all around for fans of the photo sharing social network. The company – now owned by Facebook – just last night pushed out Photos Of You, a new tagging option and profile page section which finally lets you tag your mates in pictures, not just locations. Got an app-lacking Windows Phone and feel like you’re missing out on all the fun? Fret no more: as we told you yesterday, a new unofficial but fully featured Instagram app is heading your way very soon.Games games gamesIt’s been a hectic week on the games front too. We got a new, in-depth look at Grand Theft Auto V courtesy of three new trailers, and got a first play of racer Grid 2 as well. If that wasn’t enough though, Activision only went and announced the next Call of Duty – and it’s not Modern Warfare 4
Thursday, 2 May 2013
The Monday Bank Holiday is fast approaching us and if you’re hankering for a weekend project to tackle, we’ve got five things that will be perfect for the short break – no sticky back plastic or empty washing up liquid bottles required!
Make your very own £25 media centre!
Ever wanted to make your own media centre but didn’t want to put a massive dent in your wallet? Well, look no further than our guide to making your own media centre for a mere £25. All you need is the cheap-as-chips Raspberry Pi and you can start to beam down top notch online video right to your big screen as well as pull in media from your own computer library. It’s quick to set-up too, so you can spend that extra day making the most of your brand new media centre.
Build your very own Steam Box!
If you’ve got a little bit more cash to spare, and gaming is on top of your agenda, making your very own Steam Box could be the killer project for you to tackle this bank holiday. Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to sit back, relax on your couch and take advantage of all the cheap Steam deals available right for you to download straight to your shiny game box.
Add voice control to your car!
Sure, Volkswagen’s brand new iBeetle’s got iPhone and Siri integration packed in right from when it rolls out of the factory, but you can add voice control to your very own car today – all for a whole lot less than what a brand new motor would set you back.
Five super Siri tricks!
Pressed for time this weekend? Got an iPhone? Make the most of Siri with these quick hacks to make Apple’s digital assistant do exactly what you want it to do, right from within iOS, no jailbreaking necessary.
Make your TV a Smart TV!
Wishing your TV could keep up with some of the more expensive sets out there packed to the brim with internet features? We’re here to help. Our guide to add super smart powers to your TV will get your telly beaming content right down from the cloud so you can start enjoying YouTube right from the couch – without plonking down a ton of cash. You’ve probably got all the equipment you need already, you just don’t realise it. You’re welcome!
Any other hacks you’re planning on trying out this long weekend? Let us know what they are in the comments below!
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
The Apple iPhone 6, the iPhone 5S. Whatever Apple plans to call it, you can bet a next-gen model is coming, and we’re starting to hear whispers of what we can expect to find inside it. According to a new report, it’s packing camera tech to take on the likes of HTC and Nokia, including a 12-megapixel camera with added low-light super powers. Fancy that in your next iOS blower?
A source at Wonderful Saigon Electrics, the Vietnamese branch of a Japanese company that supplies cameras for the iPhone, has revealed to the leak gurus at Tinhte.vn that the next-gen iPhone will come packing an improved camera, upping the eight-megapixel sensor inside the iPhone 5 to a whopping 12-megapixels.
If the source is right, you can expect a few other added imaging features too, such as improvement in low-light performance and HDR video recording, a feature that’s making its way to some of the higher end Android phones and greatly improves performance in shots of extreme brights and blacks.
The Vietnamese site has been bang on the money before: it posted a hands-on video of Apple’s new Earpods before they came out, and correctly predicted that the iPhone 5 would have an 8-megapixel camera too. Of course, it’s worth taking the rumour with a pinch of salt until Apple unveils the next iPhone, but we’ll keep you updated on all the news along the way.
Are you wanting an improved camera in your next iPhone or do you think its current camera is good enough? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
While it’s not a fully-fledged own brand Apple iCar, Volkswagen’s come up with the next best thing, teaming up with Apple to create the iBeetle: a VW bug that’s had the full Apple treatment and syncs seamlessly with your iPhone!
The German car maker’s new Beetle pairs up with your iPhone and is the first VW car to boast an iPhone docking station right on the dashboard, which the auto-maker says was made in partnership with the tech giant.
There’s also an app – the curiously named Volkswagen Car Net The Beetle – that lets you sync either wirelessly or through the docking station and gives you access to Spotify and a whole host of car data such as a G-Meter, oil and temperature gauges and fuel economy info on the go. There are also social media features and even a camera option – most of which we wouldn’t recommend you use while driving!
The iBeetle rocks 18-inch alloys and sports the iBeetle signature on the door sills and chrome badges on the front. The Beetle and your blower join forces when the iBeetle goes on sale early next year, with advanced sales starting in October: it’ll come in both coupe and convertible variants in colours to match your iPhone 5.
Of course, there’s every chance there’ll be a new iPhone on sale by the time this car rolls out – let’s just hope it’ll fit in with this iBeetle too. Fancy Volkswagen’s team effort with Apple, or would you rather have a Jony Ive-designed iCar?
Time flies, doesn’t it? The BlackBerry Z10 is now a couple of months old, and its successor, the keyboard-toting Q10, is just around the corner. While it hasn’t set the world on fire like the bosses at BlackBerry might have hoped, BlackBerry 10 is still an impressive new operating system, rammed full of brand new killer functions that leave the iPhone looking stale. With Sir Jony Ive now in charge of the look and feel of iOS, here’s our take on five things that Apple could learn from the latest BlackBerry update.
Camera: Time Shift
The 8-megapixel camera onboard the BlackBerry Z10 might not beat out some of the megapixel heavy smartphone sensors on the market, but it comes with a few nifty tricks of its own. Time Shift is one of those: it lets you do nifty on-the-fly photo editing when something doesn’t quite go to plan during a photo. Say for instance your mate blinks right when you press the shutter, you can tap on his face and turn the clock back a few frames just on that portion of the photo so he doesn’t look like the odd one out. Brilliant, right?
Many business folk still swear by their BlackBerry phones during their nine to five, and even lug around a separate phone just for a spot of Angry Birds – but there’s no need for that now. BlackBerry 10 comes with a toggle so you can switch from work to play meaning you won’t be harassed with tons of work-related e-mails when it’s time for you to put your feet up and relax.
BlackBerry says BB10 is built to keep you moving, and that translates to the UI too. The whole OS is made to seamlessly keep you swiping through it, meaning there’s no back button or home button double tapping to deal with. Swipe from the side to access the BlackBerry Hub which keeps all your messages, emails, texts, FaceBook notifications, tweets and more, all in one place that you can easily access from any app. Notification Center hasn’t got anything on this.
BBM – Screen Sharing
The BBM chat app is a killer feature for BlackBerry owners, but cross-platform services like WhatsApp and FaceBook Messenger are giving it a serious run for its money. So BlackBerry upped its game for the latest version of BBM on BlackBerry 10, bringing a whole host of brand new features to the table, including video chat and screen share, the latter of which lets you share photos, websites or even business documents right in real time without leaving the conversation. iMessage? What’s that now?
A better keyboard
BlackBerry owners swear by the physical keyboard located on their phone of choice, but the Z10 swaps the tactile keys in favour of a touchscreen keyboard far superior to the long-in-the-tooth iOS QWERTY. BlackBerry 10 will try to guess what word you’re spelling out as you type, and will display a few choices directly above keys for the next letter. All you have to do is flick the key upward and the word will appear in whatever you’re writing. It’s intelligent too – it gets better the more you use it. Who needs Swype?
Friday, 19 April 2013
Another week is drawing to a close: if you’re still working full pelt though and haven’t had a chance to keep up with all the top stories this week, don’t worry. We’ve got a round-up of all the stories that matter for you right here in your weekly Gadget Digest.
Phablets phablets phablets
It’s been a busy seven days in the world of giant phones-slash-slates. We’ve heard whispers about a new look, all-metal Samsung Galaxy Note 3, as well as rumours that Nokia is planning to crash the party with a Windows Phone 8 powered phablet of its own. We doubt either will be able to undercut Archos’ latest effort though: a 5.3-inch Android phone with an epic battery which costs just £200 unlocked.
High tech timepieces
While the noise about Apple and Samsung’s reportedly planned smartwatches has subsided, this week marked the entrant of another player into space: Microsoft. The software giant is said to be prepping its own timepiece with live alerts and information. Can’t wait for the gadget unicorns to come out of the wood? Maybe you can settle for TomTom’s brand new Runner watch instead, a durable smartwatch for runners that actually looks good, and is out this summer.
Low price touchscreen laptops on the way
If you’re after a low-price laptop, a Google-powered Chromebook is a serious option worth considering, but it may have company soon. Intel’s boss predicted this week that with the arrival of its new chip, prices for Windows 8 touchscreen machines would tumble to as low as $200. That sounds like a much better price for a Microsoft Surface, if you ask us.
Twitter Music debuts
Now we know what Twitter was doing with that music.twitter.com web address last week – getting ready to launch Twitter Music! The site is now live, complete with companion iPhone app, and aims to make discovering music from artists you love and might love much easier. We’ve got all the details on it here in our guide
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Yes, the Phonepad. Not to be confused with the Asus Fonepad, relative unknown EICUS has got a brand new gizmo for you Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 owners that will transform your phone into a whopping 10.1-inch tablet with the help of a clever dock. Who needs an iPad?
Merging the two worlds of phones and tablets, the Phonepad lets you control your S2 or S3 as if it’s a tablet by simply docking it. Pop it in and voilà, your phone’s screen is mirrored on the larger 10-inch display turning into a makeshift tablet/netbook.
There’s no need for any extra data plans as you can use your phone’s data connection to get your internet fix, all on a larger screen. The display can be swivelled around so you can share what’s on screen with friends, or you can angle it so you can get your gaming on with the bundled PlayStation-style controller.
When your phone is docked in the Phonepad, it can also charge it up if you’re running low on juice and the Phonepad itself can run for eight-hours. The Phonepad comes in two different flavours, one for the Galaxy S2 and one for the Galaxy S3, but both are priced at £149.99 and will hit shops in July.
Reckon this is a must-have accessory for your Galaxy phone, or are you holding out for a real tablet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Thursday, 11 April 2013
The Galaxy Mega is only slightly smaller than Google's 7in Nexus tablet
Samsung has unveiled the biggest smartphone to date - the Galaxy Mega, which features a 6.3in (16cm) screen.
The firm suggested its size made it ideal for watching videos or running two apps alongside each other.
Samsung helped popularise the so-called "phablet" category - in which phones approach tablet dimensions - with its original 5.3in Galaxy Note in 2011.
That proved more popular than many expected, but one analyst suggested the latest device might be a step too far.
Samsung is marketing the Android-powered handset as having a high-definition screen - however, a spokesman was unable to confirm whether it supported 720p or the "full HD" 1080p resolution.
Another South Korean firm, Pantech, currently lays claim to offering the biggest "full HD" smartphone with its 5.9in Vega No 6 which was announced in January.
China's Huawei had previously boasted having the biggest largest-screened 720p smartphone with its 6.1in Ascend Mate.
Samsung also makes the Galaxy Note 8.0. Some versions of this 8in-screened device feature an HSPA+ radio allowing them to make calls, but the machine is being promoted as a tablet with phone functionality rather than the other way round.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Anyone for a trip down memory lane? Sporting hued-plastic cues from Apple’s iconic and classic iMac G3, one designer has mocked up what he thinks the rumoured new budget iPhone with a bigger screen could look like, and with some good reasons behind the design decisions too. Would you be interested in this colourful design?
We’ve seen lots of reports in recent months that Apple could be about to drop a budget-conscious iPhone sometime soon, and this concept gives us a visual based on those rumours. Designed by Nickolay Lamm on behalf of MyVoucherCodes, the budget concept fuses the look of the colourful new iPod touch models with the translucent plastic of Apple’s classic old iMacs – a style which would reduce manufacturing costs and offer a slick looking design at the same time.
In a bid to drop costs it would certainly make sense for Apple to go back to a plastic construction similar to the second and third generation iPhone, but freshened up with modern touches such as a Lightning connector and faster internals. Apple’s iPod touch range now comes in a kaleidoscopic range of hues, and it would make sense for the budget iPhone to have a few colour choices to follow suit – just like when the iPod mini first went on sale in 2004.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Drop your phone often? Apple’s got a new bit of tech for you, that could see your next iPhone make like a cat and shift its centre of balance to save itself as it falls. Say goodbye to cracked screens and hello to a feline-esque phone!
AppleInsider’s spotted the recent patent application filing, which describes a tiny gizmo in the phone that can detect when an iPhone or iPad is falling, and then – incredibly – shift over its centre of balance so that it doesn’t land on any of its most fragile parts, like a corner of the screen.
Instead of it landing, say, flat out on its beautiful Retina Display, your next iPhone will shift itself mid-air and land on a stronger part that doesn’t have so many essential components, such as a strong edge or a reinforced backside.
Although dropping it will likely still damage the phone, its mid air shift will help save some of its more expensive parts, so if it does need emergency treatment in the Genius Bar still, fixing it up would cost a whole lot less.
As ever with patent applications, it’s never certain that the company behind the idea will ever actually use it in a finished product. But given just how many people are living with a cracked screen – and the many anecdotal reports of Apple exchanging cracked iPhones for fresh ones, it’d certainly be a moneysaver for the California company.
Would you be interested in an iPhone that can save itself, or would you rather keep it locked up its own safety case? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Monday, 25 March 2013
Apple and Samsung aren’t alone in their plans to take over the timepiece on your wrist: a new report published this week confirms that Google too is working on an Android-powered watch computer. Ready for a watch app invasion?
The Financial Times reports that the search giant is working on a smartwatch in its own labs, and that the product is separate to anything Samsung is working on – earlier this week, a Samsung mobile boss confirmed the company’s own plans.
Intriguingly, the report says the Google smartwatch is being developed in the Android division, so it may have little or nothing to do with Google Glass, made by the company’s secretive X Lab. It may also mean the company is planning to bring it to market a whole lot sooner. Fancy a Google Nexus watch anyone? (Pictured above is Motorola’s 2011 Android watch, the Motoactv).
While details are thin on the ground, it’s hard to see the Google smartwatch as anything other than a direct competitor to Apple’s own “iWatch”, word of which has leaked repeatedly in recent weeks. Android’s already ahead of the smartphone field when it comes to things like unobtrusive notifications and the sheer number of apps, and the operating system’s open-source nature could make it the ultimate hacker toy too.
Would you buy a Google smartwatch? Is Google smart to even be trying this? Tell us what you think in the comments below
Sunday, 24 March 2013
It looks like the Galaxy train isn’t stopping with the Samsung Galaxy S4, as the South Korean manufacturer is set to update its Galaxy Tab range with a full HD successor to the Galaxy Tab 2. Nexus what now?
According to Sammobile’s sources, Samsung is going all out with a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, and is expected to unveil it in Berlin during the IFA trade show in September along with the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung is aiming its next-gen premium tablet squarely at the likes of Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z and the Apple iPad, and will reportedly bring a super sharp full HD display into the mix, making the iPad mini look grainy and out of date by comparison.
Last year’s Samsung-built Nexus 10 also packed in a super-high res display, and it looks like the company means to continue the trend with its next-gen tablet which will be toting either a 10.1” or a surprisingly large 11.6” screen.
You need plenty of horsepower to run that many pixels at once, and if Sammobile’s sources prove accurate, the Galaxy Tab 3 won’t disappoint: the slate will come packing Sammy’s speedy Exynos 5 processor, which is also set to power the Galaxy Note 3. If the Nexus 10 is anything to go by, you can expect Samsung’s next tablet to take on the best that Apple and Asus have to offer.
Are you looking forward to Samsung’s premium tablet killer, or are you happy with your current tablet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
It’s been another epic week for tech fans, with brand new gadgets to play with, and one monster new flagship phone. We wouldn’t blame you if you struggled to stay on top of it all. Luckily, our Gadget Digest roundup is here to help: read on for everything you missed.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrives
The rumours were swirling for months, but at long last, it’s finally here: the Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung unleashed the new Android super phone at a press event in New York last night, and it didn’t disappoint: it’s specced out to the max, and comes running some clever new software too, with a universal translator on board, as well as a feature that pauses videos for you when you look away from the screen. That’s not all either: the South Korean tech titan also served up a bunch of insane accessories, from a game pad to a wireless weighing scale.
Next-gen PCs galore
It’s been a big week for desktop computing too. Xi3, the company behind the tiny Piston gaming rig that’s been dubbed the first unofficial Steam Box, thanks to Valve’s involvement in its creation, put the device up for pre-order – though at $1,000, it might not have Sony and Microsoft too worried for their own consoles. Dell meanwhile unleashed its own bizarre desktop all in one PC, which doubles up as a gigantic, foot and a half long Windows tablet. Speaking of Windows, Apple did Mac users a solid and updated OS X to allow for Windows 8 installs – is the MacBook Air now the best Ultrabook?
Up close with the HTC One
It’s not just the Samsung Galaxy S4 we got to grips with this week: we also posted our full review of its new rival, the HTC One. Can the Taiwanese company’s all-metal Android monster phone and its UltraPixel give Samsung and Apple a run for their money? Check out our verdict to find out.
Chrome OS gets super charged
Google too has been hitting the headlines this week. Just days after we reviewed the beautiful Chromebook Pixel laptop, Android boss Andy Rubin stepped down. The search giant revealed that his job would be taken over by the company’s Chrome and Chrome OS boss – which got us wondering. Is Google’s lightweight laptop software about to get an influx of Android apps? Now that really should have Microsoft scared.
The week is almost over, but the tech news just keeps on coming. New phones, new TVs, even whole new categories of gadgets – and we wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t been able to keep up with it all. Read on for all the biggest headlines of the week in one place: it’s your Gadget Digest.
Tick tock: Android smartwatches are coming
It’s not just Apple that’s working on an iWatch. This week, two of the tech titans also revealed that they were working on smartwatches, which will pair with your smartphone and serve you up all your important notifications for you at a glance. Samsung’s mobile boss went on the record to confirm its plans, while a report from a source revealed Google’s own Android-powered timepiece intentions. Will anybody crack the Dick Tracy smartwatch?
Next-gen gaming tech
Good and bads news from the bleeding edge of gaming tech this week. On the one hand, it’s looking more and more likely that Microsoft’s next Xbox will not let you play used games. On the other, the incredible Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles are starting to get some real traction, with Valve throwing its weight behind it and adding support in Team Fortress 2 – check out our guide on the next-gen goggles to find out more.
Fitness bands cometh
It’s the new trend in gadgetry: wearable fitness tech. This week, Jawbone finally brought its Up wrist band to the UK, but it’s got a lot of competition. We took a look at all the smart, slick pedometer wrist straps on sale right now to find out which one is for you.
Something for the weekend…
Here’s a slightly different project for you to try this weekend: make your own super-cheap HD media streamer. With just a Raspberry Pi and a few pieces of free software, you can give your old TV brand new smart TV skills, streaming music and video from your computer to your living room, and even pulling down on-demand movies and TV from the web. Have a go, and let us know how you get on.
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
While we love Windows Phone, there’s no doubt that even two and a half years after launch, it’s still missing important apps, from Instagram to Google Maps. There’s some good news for Microsofties today though: at long last, BBC iPlayer is coming to the platform. Sort of.
Writing on the BBC’s blog, business development boss Cyrus Saihan has announced that the Beeb is teaming up with Microsoft to bring BBC iPlayer video streaming to Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 at long last. There’s no timeframe for a release just yet, but Saihan says to look out for updates in the “coming months”.
There’s one catch – BBC iPlayer on Windows Phone won’t be a full app. Instead, you’ll be able to download a Live Tile shortcut to your homescreen, which will then let you jump to the mobile website and catch up on Eastenders – which you haven’t been able to do on Windows Phone until now. That’s not a dealbreaker, but it does likely rule out updates and features that you’ll find on the BBC iPlayer iPhone app, like show downloads to watch on the go.
Still, in the battle for third place behind Android and iPhone between BlackBerry and Microsoft right now, every little helps. Will you be tuning into the Beeb on your Nokia Lumia? Sound off in the comments below.
You can’t buy Google Glass yet – the augmented reality spectacles aren’t on general sale. However, that didn’t stop a resourceful eBay member from trying to hawk a pair on the popular auction site, and the listing attracted so much interest that the value rocketed to a staggering $15,900 – about £10,450.
According to Techradar, that’s 10 times more than the developer edition of Google Glass will cost when the product is eventually released this year.
Sadly, the person who bid that amazing amount won’t be getting their hands on Google Glass anytime soon, for two key reasons. First, eBay has cancelled the auction. Second, the seller doesn’t actually have a pair of Google Glass specs yet – they are due to attend the forthcoming Project Glass launch event and were essentially “selling” the pair they would obtain at that point.
You’re not allowed to sell things on eBay which you don’t currently own, hence the closure of the auction. Boo!
Would you be willing to pay over 10 grand for a pair of glasses which make you look like you’re in an episode of Star Trek? If so, we’d love to hear from you, so post a comment.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Samsung may be holding back its Galaxy S4 announcement until a later date, but the Korean firm did have something to show at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Galaxy Note 8 is gunning for the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini, and slots neatly in between the “phablet” Note 2 and the full-scale Note 10.1 in the company’s tech portfolio.
It’s just 8mm thick and weighs only 338g, making it the ideal travelling companion. There’s a quad core processor inside to keep things nippy, and the inclusion of a SIM card slot means the device is truly mobile. You can even make calls on it, although holding something that size to your ear in public won’t do your street cred any favours.
The star of the show – and what will set the Note 8 apart from its aforementioned rivals – is the iconic S Pen. Already a hit on the smaller Note models, this stylus allows you to doodle on the tablet’s 1280×800 resolution screen, making it perfect for shopping lists and general note-taking.
The only potential sticking point is the price – given that you can make phone calls on this thing, its likely to cost more than a standard Note 2, which retails for about £500 when purchased without a contract. Considering the Nexus 7 costs less than half that figure, the Note 8 could find itself in a tough position, but we’ll wait for final pricing before we cast any dismal predictions.
Is the Note 8 the mid-size tablet you’ve been waiting for all these months? Leave a comment to tell us what you think.
The Mobile World Congress event is currently running at full force, but not all of the world’s big smartphone makers are showing off their wares in sunny Spain. Samsung is instead choosing to announce its highly anticipated Galaxy S4 device at its own shindig in New York city.
In a rather cheeky move, the Korean company has been handing out invitations for Samsung Unpacked 2013 at this year’s MWC – a tactic no doubt designed to steal some thunder away from rivals like Sony, Nokia and LG. The magical date to enter into your calenders is 14th March.
Little is known about the Galaxy S3 review here successor at present, but we’ve heard rumours that it will possess an unbreakable screen with full HD resolution.
The grapevine also suggests that the handset will be powered by a quad core 2GHz Samsung Exynos 5450 processor, which will make it one of the most powerful mobile devices on the face of the planet. Wireless charging and a cavernous 2,600mAh battery are also rumoured to be making the cut.
Given the incredible popularity of Samsung’s previous Galaxy S blowers, we’d imagine that plenty of people will be waiting expectantly to see what March 14th will bring. Are you holding off upgrading your mobile device until you see what the S4 is capable of? Then let us know by posting a comment.
Monday, 25 February 2013
The 2013 Mobile World Congress is currently taking place in Barcelona and as usual, we’ve been gifted a generous helping of exciting new devices to look forward to this year.
All the usual challengers are present, with the likes of LG, ZTE, Asus and Nokia fighting for your attention – although cheeky Samsung is holding its own event on March 14th to announce the Galaxy S4, and has even tried to derail some of its opponents by handing out physical invitations during MWC 2013.
Scurrilous tactics aside, here are the best phones we’ve seen so far.
Nokia Lumia 720
Arguably the biggest announcement from Nokia during MWC 2013, the Lumia 720 slots into the company’s product line just below the 820, and removes the LTE connectivity seen in that particular model. Everything else is pretty impressive, particularly the 6.7 megapixel camera with a f1.9 Carl Zeiss lens. Removeable covers will appeal to fashion-conscious types – you can even obtain a cover which supports wireless charging.
LG Optimus G Pro
After making the popular Nexus 4 handset for Google, LG is on a roll – as this new phone clearly demonstrates. The Optimus G Pro has a gargantuan 5.5-inch 1080p screen, which might cause a bit of hand-strain but will be amazing for on-the-go movie viewing and gaming. Under the bonnet it features brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 technology, which contains a quad core chip running at a cool 1.7Ghz – that’s pretty damn fast in mobile terms. A 13-megapixel snapper and 32GB of storage round things off, making this a fearsome piece of consumer electronics. 2013 should be another bumper year for LG.
Nokia Lumia 520
Nokia is deadly serious about winning the low-cost smartphone sector, and has already impressed with the Lumia 620. The Lumia 520 is a similar proposition and has a 4-inch screen, a five-megapixel camera, dual core processor, 8GB of storage and comes in a range of appealing colours. While it’s not likely to trouble the quad core monsters at the other end of the spectrum, for an estimated price of £120, it should attract buyers on a budget.
This dinky little blower clearly isn’t taking aim at the big boys, but the fact that it’s the first mobile phone to come with Mozilla’s Firefox mobile OS installed makes it a noteworthy challenger. Aimed at developing markets – which means it could end up here as a budget option – the ZTE Open is worth keeping an eye on, if only to see if the Firefox OS can really take on the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Asus Padfone Infinity
The idea of a tablet which also contains a phone isn’t new – Asus has been banging on about the concept for quite some time now – but the latest in the Padfone line is something of a head-turner. For starters, it’s using the Snapdragon 600 chipset which means that quad core power is in play. Secondly, both the phone and tablet are rocking pin-sharp HD screens, which means zero compromise, regardless of which configuration you’re using. With a retail price of around £800 it’s not a cheap purchase, but where else can you get a cutting edge phone and tablet for that kind money?