Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400


Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet on sale December 4, costs £400

Nokia’s first tablet will go on sale next week. The Finnish phone firm has announced its Lumia 2520 slate PC will hit shop shelves on Wednesday, December 4. It’ll cost £399.99, and will be exclusive to John Lewis at first.

We knew the tablet was coming sometime before Christmas, but this is the first we’ve heard of an exact date.

The 10.1-inch slate is equipped for 4G, and has a 6.7-megapixel snapper on the back. Given how impressive Nokia’s smartphone cameras are, we’re intrigued to see how its tablet’s snapper performs.

It also has a 2-megapixel front-facer.

Inside is a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM. Nokia claims its 800mAh battery will give it 11 hours of life before needing a recharge.

Windows RT 8.1 comes as standard, letting you edit Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents, as well as use Outlook. Nokia’s Camera and Video Director software also let you get creative with your stills and footage respectively.

The Lumia 2520 comes in a glossy case that’s white or red, or a matte case that’s black or cyan.

Nokia’s Lumia 1520 also goes on sale next week, on Friday December 6. The 6-inch smartie is the biggest Nokia has ever made, and also the largest ever Windows Phone handset.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

64% of smartphone shoppers will buy more from their mobiles this Christmas, predicts IMRG

Summer must be over: the predictions about ‘A Mobile Christmas’ are starting to arrive. First out of the paddock is IMRG-eDigitalResearch, suggesting that more than half (64%) of smartphone shoppers who are planning to shop from their devices this Christmas are claiming that they will make more mobile purchases this year compared to 2012.

eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 44% of smartphone owners have said that they will consider doing some of their Christmas shopping online, with over half of these (64%) planning to purchase more gifts and Christmas items from their device than they did during the festive period in 2012. The survey of 2,000 online consumers also found that almost all respondents (96%) will shop online this Christmas, with 48% purchasing at least half of their Christmas shopping on the internet.

The results highlight the need for retailers to ensure that all their touch points – no matter how many they operate – are accessible to everyone in order to maximise Christmas sales.

The survey also found that a quarter (25%) of consumers feel that their online shopping experience is ‘significantly better’ or ‘slightly better’ at Christmas time thanks to special deals and a bigger range of products on offer. Just 7% feel that it gets worse.

In comparison, almost half (42%) feel that their in-store experience deteriorates during the festive period with busy stores, queues and a limited number of staff to deal with requests some of the main reasons that people feel high street shopping at Christmas is worse than any other time of the year.

The quarterly eCSI study has been tracking people’s Christmas shopping habits since 2008 and has found that consumers are increasingly turning to the internet and their online devices for better deals and more choice as household budgets continue to be squeezed.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, says: “Back in 2010 just 35% of smartphone owners said that they would even consider doing Christmas shopping from their devices. This Christmas, retailers are likely to see more festive purchases through mobile sites and apps than ever before. As a result, retailers and brands need to ensure that they are ready for the usual Christmas shopping spree and provide a seamless shopping experience no matter what channel a consumer uses. The customer experience has to be right from the offset – from a simple, yet inviting homepage right through to fulfilling orders on time as promised and ensuring that gifts arrive in time for the big day”.

Andy Mulcahy, Editor at IMRG, adds: “It is little wonder that such a high percentage of people (64%) say they are planning to do more shopping through their phones this Christmas; we’ve seen sales through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) grow rapidly over the past few years, accounting for 23% of online sales in Q2 of 2013 with site visits at 34%. To put in perspective the rate at which confidence in the channel has grown, three years ago at the start of 2010, sales through mobile devices stood at just 0.4% of online sales.”

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Samsung's Google Glass rival revealed!


Samsung's Google Glass rival revealed!

A new patent seems to suggest that Korean firm Samsung is following Google into the smart glasses space. Google Glass competitor, complete with translucent frames, side controls and what appears to be a camera on the front, so you can record with little more than a wink.

Earphones will allow users to listen to music, but unlike Google’s offering – which can operate independently of other tech – these specs pair with your smartphone in the same way that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch does. There’s even some kind of connective plug on the back, which looks a bit old-fashioned to us.

Of course, this is just a patent and the final product – should it ever make it to market – will no doubt end up looking a lot different to these simple line drawings.

Are you excited about the concept of wearable tech, or do you think it’s a revolution that will fall flat on its face? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Sporty smartwatch packs GPS skills and heart rate tracking!


Adidas miCoach Smart Run: Sporty smartwatch packs GPS skills and heart rate tracking!

Nike just revealed its brand new FuelBand SE yesterday, and now it’s time for rival sports company Adidas to get in on the wearable tech action: meet the Adidas miCoach Smart Run, a smartwatch that packs in GPS skills and pulse-based heart rate tracking to help boost your running game. Who needs a FuelBand now?

Adidas’ new miCoach smartwatch is aimed directly at joggers, thanks to the inclusion of built-in GPS tracking to chart your runs and provide real-time coaching, plus you can keep on top of your heart rate thanks to optical technology. There’s also an accelerometer crammed into the watch to count your every step, while the GPS measures your speed so you know exactly how fast you’re running, how many steps you ran and the actual route you took. Handy.

You’ll also be able to load up your favourite tunes on the watch too, and push them via Bluetooth to a pair of wireless headphones, while you’ll also be able to receive training suggestions from your very own digital coach, who’ll tell you speed up or slow down. There’s also visual guidance for specific workouts on the watch’s 1.45-inch screen too, to help make sure you don’t pull a muscle and do each exercise correctly. That comes in the form of workouts and training plans listed on Adidas’ miCoach website, which the Smart Run watch can sync to over Wi-Fi, checking off different workouts when you’ve finished them.

If you were hoping for the miCoach to hook up to your smartphone or tablet, you won’t be in luck: the watch is a standalone gizmo to help with your heart rate-based interval training, meaning you won’t be reading your notifications, emails or text messages on the touchscreen display. And with the watch going on sale next month for $399 (£249.59), it might be a hard sell for those who want their smartwatch to do everything and anything, like with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear – and Nike’s new FuelBand offering is much cheaper at £129. Still, Adidas is offering a competitive package for runners who want to maximise their training, and with the addition of a heart rate monitor built right into the watch, it could be the next best thing since dedicated running shoes were invented, round about the same time as sliced bread and the wheel.

Are you interested in Adidas’ new miCoach Smart Run watch or are you more keen on Nike’s brand new offering? Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Friday, 11 October 2013

New Androids phones galore, iPads incoming, brand new Chromebooks and more


New Androids phones galore, iPads incoming, brand new Chromebooks and more: Gadget Digest

Here we are again: it’s the end of the week and that means it’s time for your round-up of the top stories from the world of tech. We’ve spotted a leak of HTC’s next big phone, Samsung’s unleashed the world’s first bendy blower and Sony’s Xperia Z1 gets downsized. There are also yet more Android gaming gizmos on the way, the iPad 5 event is coming up and there’s a brand new duo of Chromebooks touching down too. We’ve got everything you need, right here in your gadget digest.

Android flagship phone fiesta: HTC, Samsung and Sony

What a week for Android phone fans! We’ve spotted a peek at the hotly rumoured HTC One Max, and it looks like it’s a super-sized Galaxy Note rival that’s set to come packing fingerprint sensing skills, just like the iPhone 5s. The phone looks like a definite reply to Apple’s latest flagship phone and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, but will it be able to best either of them? Not to be outdone, Samsung meanwhile has trotted out its brand new Galaxy Round, the world’s first phone that comes packing a curved display.

We were impressed by Sony’s current flagship Xperia Z1, and it’s now it’s had the mini-me treatment, just like Samsung’s and HTC’s flagship phones before it. Meet the Xperia Z1 f, a downsized version of Sony’s current top blower, but unlike the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Sony’s smaller version comes packing the same speedy specs as its bigger brother, only in a smaller, more pocket-friendly version: there’s the same quad-core processor and 20.7-megapixel camera on board. It’s currently heading to Japan in December, and while there’s no international launch planned just yet, we hope to be seeing it soon.

Brand new iPads are on the way

We’ve just had the brand new iPhones, and now we’re getting some new iPads too: according to a report by AllThingsD, Apple will be hosting a major event on 22 October, and we expect to see the iPad 5 and a new iPad mini there too! We’ve already spotted a leak of the iPad 5, and there’s been plenty of buzz around a next-gen iPad mini with a Retina display, so in less than two weeks, we’ll be treated to plenty more Apple gizmos. Are you looking forward to them?

Get your Android gaming on!

Have you been itching to play with Mad Catz’s Ouya rival, Project Mojo? You won’t have long to wait, as the super-speedy Android gaming console has now got a date and price: you can get your hands on the Tegra 4-powered Mojo on 10 December – but it will cost an eye-watering £219.99. Phew.

Fancy your Android gaming on the go instead? Archos has got a brand new version of its GamePad on the way, and it’s out this month! The Archos GamePad 2 delivers the same physical controls as its predecessor, but it boasts better specs, an improved screen and a slick new redesign. Will you be grabbing one?

Even more Google Chromebooks are on the way!

Google’s Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks are making a lot of headway thanks to their low prices and lightweight and powerful software, and now there’s a new duo on the way to help make Chromebooks a real force to be reckoned with. HP’s brand new Chromebook 11 offers a stylish little laptop, complete with a low £229 price tag and can even be juiced up by the same charger as your phone.

Acer’s also got a tiny titan on the way, the C720 Chromebook, that features the same 11-inch form factor, but this one’s armed with one of Intel’s low-power chips to give it an impressive battery life of eight and half hours – making it absolutely perfect for your 9-5 away from a plug socket. Windows 8.1, eat your heart out.



Monday, 7 October 2013

LG G Flex incoming - but what's the point in a bendy phone?


LG G Flex incoming - but what's the point in a bendy phone?

We’ve heard that LG has been working on flexible screen tech for some time now, and now the South Korean company says it’s ready to start production of its first bendy phone, which is set to be called the G Flex, beating Samsung to the punch in the process. LG’s brand new blower is nearly here, but what’s the point in a phone that bends anyway? Smartphones with 3D screens never took off, but this isn’t just another tech gimmick: here are a few reasons why flexible gizmos will be the next big thing.

Imagine a phone that starts small but can fold out to be even bigger

Remember the days of folding out a map to figure out where you’re going? That unravelling motion could soon make a come back with bendy displays, letting your pocket-sized phone fold out to a super-slate. It’s still early doors with the tech at the moment, but in the future you could see phones that fold out like a clamshell, without the ugly visible hinge in the middle. Take the Kyocera Echo, for instance, a dual-screened, folding Android phone that lets you use both screens as one: imagine that with a seamless, singular, flexible screen instead. Bendy screens just open up even more possibilities – your next newspaper could rock a folding E Ink display, for instance. Of course, we’ll need to invent flexible batteries and processors too – but this is the direction we’re heading.

It’s perfect for smartwatches

Small curved displays make for the perfect tech to sling around your wrist. We’ve even seen concept examples from the likes of Samsung in the past, but rumours are now circulating that Apple will be using similar screens for its smartwatch. With flexible displays steadily making improvements, and smartwatches currently all the rage, you could see the next-gen Galaxy Gear or Sony Smart Watch packing in a curved display to give your more screen space and a comfier fit.

Never smash your screen again

In addition to being bendy, flexible displays are also a lot more durable – potentially even unbreakable – meaning you can say goodbye to smashed screens. They can roll, they can fold, and they can survive a lot more than your traditional, brittle glass touchscreen too. That means you won’t have to deal with yet another scratched-up display, or fork out a premium to get it replaced.

Fit it anywhere

Phones are getting bigger and bigger these days, and that means that you might not be able to fit your phone in your pocket – and sooner rather than later if you’re into skinny jeans. That could change thanks to flexible screen tech: in time, you’ll be able to bend the whole phone and stuff it into your pocket better than a whole, rigid six-inch phone. As it’s flexible, it’ll contour to the shape of your leg too, so it’ll be a perfect fit into your pocket each and every time. And one day, when bendy screens mature even more, you’ll be able to just fold up your phone into a size that could even fit into your smallest jean pocket – yes, the one that no one seems to know is for.



Saturday, 5 October 2013

Meet Dell's next-gen Windows 8.1 Venue tablets!



Meet Dell's next-gen Windows 8.1 Venue tablets!

Watch out Apple: the next generation of Windows 8 tablets mean business. Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s own Surface 2 reveal, American computer giant Dell is storming ahead with a duo of new tablets that pack in some impressive specs. Meet the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Dell Venue 11 Pro, two new tablets that aim to keep you productive on the go!

Dell’s new Venue tablets bring full-fat Windows 8.1 to you in a small, thin package, and they both give Microsoft’s latest tablets and Apple’s iPad a run for their money in the specs and looks department. Both tablets are very slim despite the beefy internal guts, and Dell is also providing a range of accessories to help you with your productivity when you’re on the move.

First up is the smaller of the two tablets, the Dell Venue 8 Pro, and like its name suggests, it’s an 8-inch tablet that comes with a HD IPS display and an Intel Atom quad-core processor under the hood. Dell has also armed it with a range of connectivity options, including mobile internet, Wi-Fi and micro USB. It measures up at just 8.9mm, and has a battery life rated for up to 10 hours. We got a quick play with it, and found it to be a very sturdy slate, completely free of any flex. Dell is also bundling Office 2013 Home & Student with the device and there’s also an optional Dell Active Stylus available.

The larger of the duo, the Dell Venue 11 Pro, features a 10.9-inch full HD IPS display, and is powered by Intel’s latest processors. You can configure your Venue 11 with either an Intel Atom quad-core Bay Trail processor, up to a fourth Generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processors or even an Intel vPro processor. The Venue 11 Pro also comes with full size USB ports, making it easy for you to plug in USB sticks and keyboards, while there’s also a user replaceable battery on the back which you can access by peeling back the rear cover. You’ll also be able to arm the 11 Pro with up to 8GB of RAM and a massive 256GB of storage, plus there’s also Wi-Di (wireless display) tech embedded and NFC too.

To go along with the tablets, Dell is also unleashing a range of accessories, including cases, an active stylus, a dock (which comes with a second video output to let you hook up an additional two monitors!) and two new keyboards that look like they can go toe-to-toe with Microsoft’s new Surface Touch Cover. First up is the simply named Dell Mobile Keyboard which comes with an additional battery to provide you with up to 18 hours of wireless freedom, and it also has a trackpad beneath its full sized chiclet keys. When folded up, it’s almost like you’ve got yourself an Ultrabook. The Dell Slim Keyboard is much more similar to Microsoft’s offerings, and gives you added protection and a stylus holder as well as a full sized keyboard with keys that have 0.2mm of travel, meaning you’ll feel some feedback as you type.

If you’re interested in picking up either of Dell’s new tablets, the Venue 8 Pro can be yours from 19 November, although the price is yet to be announced, while the beefier Venue 11 Pro will be available from 7 November for £349 – both from Dell’s website.

Do you fancy either of Dell’s new tablets, are you gunning for Microsoft’s Surface or are you happy with your iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Saturday, 14 September 2013

The iPhone 5S-Class


The iPhone 5S-Class


The Mercedes S-Class has been the flagship of the German automaker’s sedan lineup since the early 70’s. It’s a car that provides the finest technology that the company has to offer with powerful engines, safety advancements and creature comforts often making their first appearance in any mass-produced vehicle.

The Mercedes S-Class was the first passenger car to introduce airbags to Europe. It popularized anti-lock braking, electronic stability systems and impact crumple zones. It continues to promote new technology with things like infrared night vision and self-driving systems. As the top-end car in Mercedes’ lineup it has the margins and luxury audience to be an ambassador for the brand and for the new technology that wouldn’t be available in low-end models or to other manufacturers for some time.

The iPhone 5S is Apple’s Mercedes S-Class. It features technologies that spell out the future of both Apple and other companies like Samsung that take many of their cues from the iPhone.

iPhones have always been ambassadors for technologies that then made their way out to the general market. Not necessarily always firsts, but executing well and proving their desirability. And, with their ubiquity, making them must-have watermarks for other manufacturers. Retina-quality screens, capacitive touch, no physical keyboards, a great camera — the list of technology or technical concepts that have ‘trickled down’ from the iPhone to the rest of the market goes on.

Now, Apple has its own new model to trickle its technology down to: the iPhone 5C.

The iPhone 5C of today is essentially an iPhone 5 with a few upgraded components. But its desirability lies in a completely different arena than the iPhone 5S. We’ll talk more about that later. What it does offer, though, is a way for Apple to capitalize on the technology that it’s pioneered in the past and the manufacturing pipeline it already has in place to offer a lower-cost yet high-margin iPhone to the masses.

It seems likely at this point that this will be Apple’s strategy going forward. No longer will it pioneer technology only to see competitors take advantage of how cheap and ‘reasonable’ Apple made it seem. It is now Apple to funnel that tech into a device that is just good enough to appeal to millions of new customers, many of which will never need to drive a high-end luxury vehicle. To stretch the analogy a bit, the iPhone 5C is Apple’s ‘C-Class’, a Mercedes for the masses.

It’s a wallet, a game console, a wearable device

But the trickle-down benefits of the iPhone 5S don’t stop at making the mid-line iPhones a more attractive buy for the next model year. There is also a host of very interesting testing going on inside the new flagship.

The new iPhone features a fingerprint sensor which, from early reports by our own staff on the scene, seems quick and easy to use. As I remarked on our TC panel yesterday, including a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S seems like a brilliant way to make people familiar and comfortable with the concepts of fingerprint recognition in preparation for making it much more capable.

Back in June of 2012, Apple introduced Passbook and I noted that getting people to familiarize themselves with a wallet-like interface that held (second-party) money was a great way to build trust. Apple already holds a great deal of that by making the iTunes Store an easy place to buy media and apps. But Passbook was its first attempt to go ‘out of network’ in a big way. To set up your iPhone as a place to pay for all kinds of stuff.

The fingerprint sensor is ‘boiling the frog’ in a similar way. Yes, it’s starting out as a way to unlock your device and pay for things ‘in-network’ to Apple. But the ability to expand that once you’ve built familiarity with it cannot be understated.

And if you couple that with Passbook or another payments API, while keeping the fingerprint data cordoned off in an encrypted store of the A7 chip, you’ve got yourself a wallet. And, when the time comes, that system can be trickled down to the ‘iPhone 6C’ or what have you.


In addition to the fingerprint sensor, the iPhone 5S also has a custom-built A7 processor. It’s a 64-bit unit, which has raised a lot of eyebrows because current users of the iPhone won’t see a whole lot of benefit from moving to the new architecture just yet. But, if you think of it in terms of products outside the iPhone family it begins to make more sense.

In addition, Apple has stopped referring to the graphics processor in the iPhone 5S by its PowerVR designation. PowerVR is the company that has built the graphics component of Apple’s SoC since the first iPhone. But this year, Apple’s documentation refers not to the PowerVR name but to an ‘Apple A7 GPU’.

Obviously, alarm bells should be going off right away, as Apple’s chip efforts have been under the watch of Bob ‘special projects’ Mansfield.

From what we understand, this ‘A7 GPU’ is not a custom Apple-built part — but owning the name is very much in preparation for a move that way in the future. We’ll likely hear more about the GPU once the iPhone reviews start rolling in but a PowerVR Series6-based unit is one possibility.


Indeed, it makes a ton of sense for Apple to move all of its chip design in-house in order to get the best performance out of the radios, processors and other silicon.

The iPad, which is very gaming-friendly already, would benefit from increased memory and a 64-bit chip quite readily. But the real benefits will likely come when Apple begins using these 64-bit processors in products like the Apple TV.

If you think of the Apple TV as a game console in waiting, a custom GPU, 64-bit processor and a bunch of memory starts to make a lot of sense. For now, that’s not happening. But the iPhone 5S is setting the stage for devices to come. Apple is thinking forward with the A7, rather than just producing something that’s good enough for this generation, which is great to see.

And lastly we have the M7 — a dedicated motion processing chip. Essentially a bundle of sensors that can be operated independently of the iPhone’s main processor in order to save power. If you don’t immediately think of this chip as an ideal brain for a wearable device then you haven’t been paying attention.


The M7 and the new A7 processor both feel like Mansfield’s purview. And Mansfield and ex-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch are rumored to be working on something at Apple — something that may have required the hiring of Nike+ guy Jay Blahnik. And what did Apple happen to demonstrate to show off the M7? A Nike+ Move app, an activity monitor that essentially turns your iPhone 5S into a Fuelband.

Indeed, the iPhone 5S is already a wearable computer — or at least a testbed for one. The technology that could power your Apple wrist computer is shipping this month.

Trickle down

I don’t think that this cascading structure for iPhone technology is coincidental or short-lived. This is the new pattern for iPhone releases going forward. Apple will pioneer new technology in the flagship model, pushing various areas of its chip and fabrication business forward. It will then utilize the established supply and manufacturing resources for that product to craft less expensive and higher-margin models that can be marketed younger.

It’s already commoditized this technology for other makers for years, why not for itself?



Sunday, 8 September 2013

Siri, Meet JARVIS : Marvel To Launch iOS App Based On Iron Man's AI Assistant


On Sept. 10, Apple is expected to officially announce the so-called “iPhone 5S” and “iPhone 5C.” On the same day, Marvel is set to launch an iOS app that may very well set Siri’s heart aflutter.

The app in question is JARVIS, a voice-activated personal assistant app of sorts based on the A.I. of the same name from the “Iron Man” films. Indeed, JARVIS is a tie-in for the home media release of “Iron Man 3,” offering as it does a remote control function for the movie’s Blu-ray menus.


Check out the list below for the key features of JARVIS, as outlined by Marvel:

  • Like Tony Stark, users can engage JARVIS through voice-activated commands
  • Receive messages from JARVIS, download ringtones, post to Facebook and more
  • Check time, local weather as well as set alarms through the integrated Clock mode
  • Initiate media delivered in messages, including video, audio, image, ringtone or website
  • Install unique ringtones
  • Unlock 42 unique Iron Man suits (plus additional “Ghost” file)
  • When connected to the same network as the Blu-ray player, JARVIS will function as the Blu-ray remote control, or the user can simply “say what you see” and the app will do the rest.

Jarvis home screen  Jarvis Blu-Ray remote

Jarvis armor  Jarvis clock



Friday, 6 September 2013

Microsoft Lumia, Apple's big event, Android KitKat, Samsung Galaxy Gear and more:


Microsoft Lumia, Apple's big event, Android KitKat, Samsung Galaxy Gear and more: Gadget Digest

We’re here again at the end of the week, and that means it’s time for your gadget digest! And what a week it’s been, as we’ve been busy bees thanks to the massive IFA tech conference, and there’s been no shortage of top end phones and gadgets showing up from Berlin. Microsoft announced it had big plans for its phone division ahead, Google surprised all with its tasty new name for the next version of Android, Samsung showed off its hot new hardware, while Apple made its next big event official. We’ve got everything you need from this week in tech, and it’s all right here in your gadget digest.

Microsoft snaps up Nokia’s phone business

We’ve heard plenty of rumours that Microsoft has been wanting to make its own Windows Phone for months, but now it looks like its actually happening: the Redmond-based company is buying up Nokia’s devices and services divisions for a whopping $7.2 billion (£4.6bn), while the Finnish company will continue to focus on its technology, mapping and network infrastructure businesses. That means we could be seeing the Microsoft Lumia pretty soon – fancy one?

It’s a phone fiesta!

It wouldn’t be a week in tech without new phones, and we got our eyes on some all-new flagship devices over the past few days. Sony’s revealed its brand new top-of-the-range Xperia Z1 at this year’s IFA expo, which improves on the previous Xperia Z with a huge 20.7-megapixel camera and even faster internals.

Samsung also took to Berlin to announce its latest handset, and phablet fans were not disappointed. The next-gen Galaxy Note 3 is bigger and better than before, measuring up at a huge 5.7-inches, yet manages to be even slimmer and lighter. Along with improved S-Pen stylus features, Samsung’s attached a 13-megapixel camera on the back that’s even capable of shooting 4K video.

That’s not all Samsung had to show: after all the rumours and leaks, the South Korean company officially announced the Galaxy Gear, an Android-powered smartwatch that’ll keep you always connected to your Galaxy device. It’s got a 1.63-inch screen and even comes with 1.9-megapixel camera in the strap, along with plenty of apps to keep your phone in your pocket.

Taiwanese phone maker HTC also had a few new phones to shout out about, which included an all-new range of mid-range Desire devices. First up is the HTC Desire 601, a 4.5-inch Android phone that’s armed with 4G and comes with some of the software smarts of the HTC One. There’s also the HTC Desire 300, the new entry-level device, which packs in a 4.3-inch screen and a nippy dual-core 1GHz processor. HTC also fleshed out its flagship One and One Mini in a new colour: a bright vivid blue that’ll help you stand out of the crowd.

Android and iPhone massive updates officially on the way

Who would have though that Google would be naming its next Android version after a Nestle brand? That’s just what’s happened, as Google’s giving Android 4.4 the title of KitKat – named after Nestle’s famed four-finger treat. That’s not all, as there’s also a Willy Wonka-style competition that’s been woven into actual KitKat bars that could see you win a brand new Nexus 7 tablet or credit to spend in the Google Play store.

Apple, meanwhile, gone and officially made 10 September as the big day for its next event, where we expect to go eyes-on with the all-new iPhone and the rumoured goodies that are set to be on show alongside it. We’re looking forward to seeing what Apple’s got in store, and we know you are too!

IFA’s in full swing!

This year’s massive IFA tech show is currently underway in Berlin, and all sorts of top gadgets have been spilling out of the convention centre halls. Pioneer is rolling out the next-generation of satnavs, which do away with your dashboard mounted GPS unit and instead use augmented reality tech to overlay your driving directions right onto your windscreen.

Smartphone maker Alcatel meanwhile had a few new phones to show off, but what really caught our eye was its new six-inch phone that comes complete with a phone cover that doubles up as an e-reader. The cover accessory lets you read ebooks or newspapers on the go without draining any of the main phone’s battery life, which makes it ideal for the commuter who only has a few pockets spare.

We’re not sure if this is genius or just plain bizarre, but Philips has announced a brand new male grooming trimmer that comes complete with a laser to keep your beard in check right to the millimetre. The Beard Trimmer 9000 is the first laser-guided trimmer in the world, and helps you line up the perfect cut so you’ll be able to craft the ideal five o’clock shadow each and every time.

Amazon and Spotify up your entertainment options


Amazon’s Kindles are still going strong, and the online retailer’s aiming to continue its dominance with the brand new Kindle Paperwhite that has an even brighter screen and is even faster than before. The Kindle software has also been given a sprucing up, with upgrades including a new scrubbing mode to let you check other pages, as well as a new children’s mode.

If music’s more your thing than reading, then Spotify’s latest addition will definitely be up your street. There’s already plenty of different ways to stream your music through the house, thanks to likes of Sonos, Pure’s Jongo line and Apple’s AirPlay, but now Spotify’s getting in on the wireless action with Spotify Connect which lets you stream down music from the cloud straight to compatible networked speakers. As everything’s in the cloud, you’ll also be able to pick up where you left off on any of your Spotify devices, so you can come straight home off the train and hit play on your iPad to continue exactly where you left off. Think you’ll give this a spin?

Dead Rising 3 preview

If you’re wanting some undead action in your next-gen gaming, take a look at this preview for the third outing of Dead Rising, exclusively on Xbox One.



Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear: Gigantic Android smart watch revealed!


Samsung Galaxy Gear: Gigantic Android smart watch revealed!

This Wednesday is Samsung’s big day, when the company will be revealing its Galaxy Note successor and maybe even its next-gen smartwatch to the masses, but we’ve managed to spot a photo of the Galaxy Gear days before the wrist wear tech has even been formally announced. Are you ready for Samsung’s huge Android-powered smart watch?

VentureBeat has managed to nab a few spy shots of Samsung’s next big thing that will sit on your wrist and it looks like it has a focus on tracking your health, much like the Nike+ FuelBand but with added smarts and a larger screen.

Just how big? The watch display itself looks like it measures up at around three inches across – not much smaller than an iPhone 4S – and is expected to support voice commands via Samsung’s own S-Voice, and even snap pictures using the timepiece’s camera, a four-megapixel shooter that’s built into the strap. There’s also a tiny speaker included in the clasp, while watch itself has a few preloaded apps as well as a battery life that’s rated at more than ten hours. You’ll also find the Gear armed with Bluetooth to hook it up to Samsung’s range of smartphones and tablets, while it also has Wi-Fi for internet access, so you’ll be able to beam down your emails right to your wrist or share to your social networks while you check the time.

The smartwatch space is definitely heating up, with many indie watches grabbing crowdsourced funding from the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo such as the Pebble, and Sony has already announced its own SmartWatch 2 which is set to launch shortly. We’re also still waiting for Apple’s own answer to the wrist watch, while Google has been said to be joining the battle too. We’re excited to see Samsung’s new watch in action – are you too?

Do you think you fancy Samsung’s Galaxy Gear or are you sticking with your regular timepiece? Let us know what you think in the comments below and we’ll let you know as soon as it gets official.



Thursday, 22 August 2013

PS4 launch date revealed! Mark November 29 in your diary


PS4 launch date revealed! Mark November 29 in your diaryPS4 launch date revealed! Mark November 29 in your diary

The PS4 has a release date! You’ll be able to buy the console on 29 November – that’s two weeks after our American cousins get their hands on it.

Sony announced the release date at games industry conference Gamescom 2013 in Germany.

The next-gen console war is hotting up, with Microsoft announcing its launch line-up for the Xbox One. Both consoles will offer some of the same titles, including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, and Watchdogs.

If you pre-order an Xbox One before Christmas, you’ll get a free copy of FIFA 14, too. Though Microsoft’s console will be more expensive than Sony’s – £429 compared to £349. Critics point out that buying a PS4 and paying full price for a copy of FIFA 14 would still be cheaper than the Xbox deal.The Xbox One comes with a Kinect camera, which is thought to have bumped up the price.

You can pre-order both consoles now. Sony has warned that that won’t guarantee you a PS4, as it’s expecting shortages come launch day. You can always get yourself down to whichever shops open at midnight to pick up the console.

Are you looking forward to the PS4? Or is your money on the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Next-gen iPhone: Here's what we know already


Next-gen iPhone: Here's what we know already Next-gen iPhone: Here's what we know already

The next iPhone is hotly tipped to launch on September 10, but what can we expect to see? The rumour mill has gone into overdrive of late, with leak after leak showing off what purports to be Apple’s next handset in a variety of guises. There could even be more than one model about to launch. So strap yourself in, we’re about to run down what we’ll see from Apple’s next mobile.

A budget model

This is one of the most persistent rumours of recent months. Apple is said to be readying a cut-price version of its best-selling handset, to compete with the likes of the Google Nexus 4. The budget blower could be named the iPhone 5C. You might think this would be a bit of a departure for Apple, which usually makes high-end devices for monied customers, but the company has had a finger in the budget pie for a while now. Whenever it announces a new model of handset, it reduces the price of an older one, keeping a cheaper, lower-specced variant on sale. You can still buy the iPhone 4, for example. So would a dedicated lower-priced iPhone really be that unexpected?

Two models will launch

This isn’t to say Apple will abandon the high end altogether. Not so. Rumours say the Cupertino company will launch an iPhone 5S alongside the 5C. The 5S should be the standard upgrade, with slightly enhanced specs. But one feature could make it stand out from previous models – it could come in a gold colour option. Don’t worry, it won’t be too bling. It’ll be a subtle champagne gold, the rumours say. And it’s not the only new colour we might see…

More colours

The iPhone 5C should be available in a range of colours, with numerous leaks showing its casing in red, green, blue, and more. So far, Apple has only offered the iPhone in muted tones, but its iPod range comes in a selection of bright colours. Its new operating system iOS 7 also went to town on the colour, so we could well see a brighter selection of products from Apple.Double the storage

The iPhone 5S will come with a beefy 128GB of storage, according to one analyst. Think that’s unheard of? Well the iPad currently comes with that much space. And it would make up for the lack of an SD card slot. The iPhone 5 comes in a 64GB variant, and most of us would welcome double the storage. Just maybe not the price tag that’ll come with it.

Fingerprint scanner

A few leaks have hinted we’ll see a fingerprint scanner on the next iPhone. This would be more secure than a PIN code, meaning no one else can access your handset. The feature has been used on laptops for a few years now, but has so far failed to become standard on mobiles. But where Apple goes, the rest usually follow…

It’ll run iOS 7

A given, this one. Apple unveiled its colourful new operating system a couple of months ago, but so far only developers have been able to get their hands on it. It’s sure to launch alongside the new handset(s), and will be available for the iPad, too. There’s a host of new features, like 3D, new messaging options, smart multitasking, and AirDrop. You can even control your device by moving your head. Now that’s what we call handsfree.


Android on everything: the oddest gadgets armed with Google's OS


Android on everything: the oddest gadgets armed with Google's OS

Android is on practically everything. There’s no getting away from the world’s most popular mobile operating system, it’s on phones and tablets from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony and many more. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What about all the other gadgets and gizmos that run Google’s open source OS? If it’s got a processor and an electrical supply, the chances are someone’s hacked it on there – join us as we take a look at five of the weirdest and most wonderful devices that have been souped up with Android, proving Google’s OS is not just for phones.

The Android-powered microwave

Put your tablets and phones away, and carry around this microwave running all your favourite apps instead. Thanks to the fine folks at Touch Revolution, the company has kitted out a microwave with an Android brain, meaning you can whack on Spotify while you’re waiting for your pizza to reheat up, or set the timer to play your favourite song of choice when your food is ready to go. Perfect.

Exercise even smarter

You might have seen spinning bikes in the gym that have computers attached to them, but they’re not the smartest two wheelers in the gym, especially if you place one of them next to the Peloton exercise bike. This Android 4.1-powered static cycle hit its goal on Kickstarter last month, and packs in apps, games, the web and more on a personal training machine that’s armed with a 21.5-inch 1080p full HD screen. You’ll be able to get exercising with your favourite tunes, ride with friends over video chat, tune into live spinning classes, or even beam down Netflix while you ride. What more could you want?

The ultimate fridge for your recipes

Here’s the perfect companion to your Android microwave: Samsung’s T9000 Four-Door Android-powered fridge packs in Epicurious and Twitter skills, letting you grab recipes where your food is stored or catch up your own news feed while you look for the OJ. There’s also Evernote included on the fridge too, letting you jot down what groceries you need on your fridge, and pick them back up on your phone while you’re out – it’s the ultimate fridge for your smart-connected home, and we just wish it’d arrive sooner as there’s currently no release date in sight.

The smart espresso maker

While it’s only a concept, it’s one that we’d love to see turned into reality. Picture an espresso maker with a smartphone brain that can run all your favourite apps, and even scan QR codes from specially designed coffee capsules. Meet MetaTrend’s Appresso, a concept kitchen gizmo that tells you all about your chosen coffee brew, and will even play a specific tune based on the pod you’ve picked. Let’s see this one turned into reality!

The phone with two screens

We couldn’t leave an Android round-up without at least mentioning a phone, and it’s the Kyocera Echo that takes the oddest handset prize. It’s a dual screen device that lets you run two different full screen apps at the same time or use both as one large screen for all your phone or pseudo-tablet needs. An optimised mode lets each display complement the other: you could run full-screen email on one screen, with a keyboard on the other, for instance. We’ve not seen another device like it since it first came out in 2011, but here’s hoping we could see one soon.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Oculus Rift: Five reasons this VR headset will change gaming


Oculus Rift: Five reasons this VR headset will change gaming

Forget Google Glass, Oculus Rift is the only tech headwear gamers need to know about.

The Kickstarter sensation from start-up Oculus VR isn’t on sale yet, but it is in the hands – and on the faces – of intrepid developers already, who are hard at work wrangling its virtual reality potential to transport you to another world: here are five reasons it’s going to change gaming for good.

You can jump out of a plane. No, really.

Skydiving is an incredible thrill, but if you’re not one for heights, there’s an Oculus Rift game for you that will let you experience the adrenaline rush from the comfort of your own home. NDreams’ experimental demo called skyDIEving lets you jump out of a plane, splat against the ground and repeat it all over again – plus there’s multiplayer too. The demo is currently in its early stages of development, but it’s already shaping up to be something special.

Open world exploration takes on a new meaning

Imagine traversing the world of vast world of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on foot, with your head panning the camera, watching dragons breath fire across the landscape. Imagine no more, as it’s now possible thanks to the combination of the Oculus Rift headset and the Omni treadmill that successfully hit its Kickstarter goal last month. The 360 degree treadmill lets you walk through Tamriel, and explore its dungeons on foot, and even break a sweat when fleeing from trolls. The Omni works with other games too, including Valve’s hilarious Team Fortress 2 multiplayer fragfest, letting you duck and dive out of the way of enemy fire.

John Carmack of id Software has joined Oculus VR

Legendary programmer John Carmack, the brains behind Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake fame is one of the most renowned names in the gaming industry, and he’s just joined Oculus as the new chief technology officer. Having one of the pioneers of 3D gaming onboard at the company that’s leading the charge for VR headwear can only mean good things: imagine first person Doom, with no TV or PC screen between you and the monsters. Scary stuff.

How about a sociable social network?

You could use the Oculus Rift for more than just gaming. Remember PlayStation Home, the wide open, massively multiplayer chat room that Sony developed for the PlayStation 3? Picture jumping into a similar virtual world with the Oculus Rift, and heading into a virtual cinema. You’ll be able to watch films in the cinema, interact with digital friends in the virtual area, and you might even be able to interact with the movies too – all without the annoying teenagers giggling away in the back seats. Who needs 3D glasses at the cinema, when you’ve got Oculus Rift?

Training for the real world 2.0

F1 drivers and airline pilots can practice their skills on simulators, but what if other professions could too? The sense of reality that the Oculus Rift provides could prove to be a boon for training people in some professions, as well as making it far cheaper to provide. The medical world could also see the Oculus Rift being used, as surgeons could potentially refine their skills on the virtual playing field, using their own heads to see what’s going in the operating theatre and on the table. And hey, if some of these simulators are fun for hobbyists to play too, even better. Train Driver for Oculus Rift, anyone?

Will you be joining the Oculus Rift revolution? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Play virtual reality Half-Life 2 on the Oculus Rift!


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear: Turbo charged Android smartwatch arrives next month!


Samsung Galaxy Gear: Turbo charged Android smartwatch arrives next month!

It looks like Samsung’s got a gadget packed September for us: as well as the heavily rumoured Galaxy Note 3 phablet, according to a new report, it’s set to reveal its own take on the smartwatch, an Android powered wrist computer that can even make calls.

Bloomberg reports today that Samsung will release its smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, next month, on the same day as the Galaxy Note 3 – expected to be 4 September, just before the start of the IFA trade show in Germany. The device will run Google’s Android operating system, browser the web, show email and even make calls.

The report claims that while the Samsung Galaxy Gear we’ll be seeing next month won’t pack a flexible screen, the South Korean tech giant remains hard at work on a version that will bend, perhaps to better fit your wrist.

Regardless, the Samsung Galaxy Gear will face stiff competition. Many indie start-ups are hard at work on their own smartwatches after successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaigns, while rival Sony has already announced its own SmartWatch 2, due out at the same time. Then of course there’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room, Apple, which is also believed to be hard at work on a timepiece that connects to your iPhone, and may even use Siri for voice control.

Which will you be rooting for? Do we even need smartwatches? Tell us where you stand in the comments below!


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Next-gen iPhone dated, new Androids aplenty, smart projectors and more


Next-gen iPhone dated, new Androids aplenty, smart projectors and more: Gadget Digest

Here we go! It’s another Friday, and that means it’s time for another dose of your weekly round-up of the best stories in tech. We’ve got phones galore, including some gossip on the next-gen iPhone as well as a pair of BlackBerry blowers and a retro-inspired Samsung phone. We’ve also spotted some ridiculous tech, from a watch with a huge camera, to plenty of projector tricks that’ll make your next presentation one to remember. All of the week’s hottest stories are right here in your Gadget Digest.

Phones, phones, phones!

Let’s kick things off with what could be the biggest day of the year for Apple. We’ve heard that the company will be hosting a special event on 10 September, and that’s set to be the next-gen iPhone’s big reveal. Expect to see the latest version of iOS in all its redesigned glory, plus we could even see a cheaper, low-cost model alongside the next flagship phone.

Canadian company BlackBerry is still hanging on, and it looks like the company’s jumping on the phablet bandwagon with an all-new BlackBerry 10 blower. Meet the leaked BlackBerry Z30, the biggest BlackBerry device we’ve ever seen, and it’s all-screen too meaning you won’t find a physical keyboard on this phone. If you’re a fan of QWERTY keys though, BlackBerry’s outed a brand new phone that has the looks of a classic BlackBerry, but there’s one slight problem: it has the same ancient software too.

Samsung’s also going all retro this week: say hello to the Samsung Hennessy, a dual screen Android phone that boasts flipping powers – just like your classic Motorola Razr. Fancy one of these?

A little on the odd side

We’ve seen the all-new Xbox One controller, and while it looks a lot like an updated Xbox 360 pad, it could have been a whole lot different. This week, Microsoft revealed that there could have even been smellovision packed into each controller, even going as far as testing out cartridges that belch out smells related to what’s happening on-screen. We think we’ll pass, and we’re glad Microsoft smelt sense too.

If you thought Nokia’s chunky Lumia 1020 came packing some insane camera smarts, wait until you get a load of this. Swiss company Hyetis is cramming a full 41-megapixel camera into a titanium-cased smartwatch called the Crossbow, and that’s not all it’s found space for: the watch also boasts GPS skills and biometric and temperature sensors. Could this be the James Bond watch of your dreams?

Projector-powered tech

Projectors are great for presentations, watching films and kicking back and playing games on, but what if they did more? Ubi Interactive just made your screen interactive, by combining Kinect smarts with your projector to turn any wall into a multitouch-enabled surface. Angry Birds on the office wall? Yes please!

If you’re after something a bit more portable, meet the tiny Epict EPP-100, a pico-projector that packs an Android brain and can fit right in your pocket, meaning you could have your own personal cinema wherever you are – plus all the Google apps you can handle.

Grand Theft Auto V multiplayer trailer revealed!

We also got a good look at the brand new online multiplayer trailer for next month’s Grand Theft Auto V, and it looks nothing less than jawdropping. We can’t wait to get stuck in to the massive gameworld and tear up Los Santos with friends, and we’re sure you can’t either. Watch the video below and start counting down the days to 17 September.