Friday, 15 May 2015
Sunday, 26 April 2015
The Apple Watch officially went on sale Friday but if you've been trying to get your hands on one you'll probably have realised by now that it's not that simple. In fact, it almost seems like Apple doesn't want you to buy one. So read on to find out why it's currently so difficult to get your mitts on an Apple Watch.
Back at the beginning of March, Apple told the world that the Apple Watch would be hitting the shops on April 24, today, with prices starting at £299 and getting towards a mind blowing £14000 ($18000 USD). And while that's technically the case, with the Watch popping up in six designer boutiques spread over London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Berlin, it's a lot more difficult getting hold of Apple's latest gadget if you live somewhere slightly less salubrious.
Before you start furiously knocking on the doors of Apple Stores up and down the country, begging for the must-have wearable, it's worth considering the fact the Apple Watch is unlike anything else Apple has previously sold. It's not just a piece of tech, it's no longer about what the Watch can do, but this time Apple is hinging its success on the Watch being fashionable, selling on its looks and desirability. The Apple Watch is a whole new ballgame for the company, and as it’s something more personal, it needs to take a different approach - and of course, Apple doesn’t know what the demand is going to be like, so taking a limited approach makes more sense.
Just look at the people Cupertino brought in when designing the Apple Watch, with ex-Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and ex-Nike designer Ben Shaffer lured to Apple, and the company has been since driving interest in the Watch by making sure it's seen on the wrists of the influential and famous, including fashion designer Karl Largerfeld, Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams. Make no mistake, Apple really wants people to lust after its Watch, and part of that means making it trickier to get hold of one.
And let's face it, if you spend money on a fashion accessory, the last thing you want to see is everybody in the room wearing the same thing. You want to stand out, you want to feel special, and that means Apple needs to carefully control how many Watches are out there - at least for starters.
So while you can buy the Apple Watch if you ring up and make a reservation at one of the top six fashion boutiques, it'll certainly be a while before you can hand over cash and take one away from a regular Apple Store, or even other designer shops like Selfridges. The limited approach is certainly more likely to appeal to fashionistas, and it's a world away from seeing thousands of people queue round the block for regular Apple gadgets - there's nothing cool about desperately queuing up, right?Of course, there are other ways you can get hold of an Apple Watch - and rather than battering down the doors of Apple Stores, Cupertino would much prefer you to pre-order its wearable. The first batch of Watches reportedly sold out in hours, but it's only a matter of time before you can get your hands on a Watch from the next batch. This is actually a far more pragmatic approach from Apple, with batches making it a lot easier to judge demand.
And with people buying the Watch either online or in specific fashion boutiques, it means there will be more time to make sure you get the right fit if you do go and try one on - something that's more important than ever, particularly if you're splashing out for the mega-pricey Apple Watch Edition.
The limited approach certainly helps to make the Watch feel more special if you do get your hands on one, but can you imagine pre-ordering and waiting, or heading to a dedicated boutique, or is it simply a step too far?
Monday, 20 April 2015
Apple Watch won’t hit Apple Stores until June
This may be the time of real Apple Watch fever, but it sounds like you won’t actually be able to buy one in-store until June.
A leaked memo, courtesy of 9to5Mac, from the head of Apple’s retail team, Angela Ahrendts, more-or-less confirms we’re not going to see stacks of Apple Watches in Apple Stores until June. “We are only taking orders online right now,” she says after giving all the Apple Store employees a well-deserved pat on the back for the retail soft launch last week.
Here’s the real stinger, though: “we expect this to continue through the month of May. It has not been an easy decision.” No deliveries 'til June, then.
The primary reason is pretty obvious. Apple just doesn’t have enough stock to spread across its stores worldwide without that spread looking comically thin. Making a product in a totally new area is a little trickier than just banging out another phone, it seems.
The earliest Apple Watch orders online are expected to ship on 24 April. However, that date has also been quietly wiped off the Watch’s order page. Put one in your virtual shopping basket now and you’ll see an expected dispatch date of June.
Apple’s known for being a bit conservative about its estimates at times, but it does look as though Apple Watches are going to now be incredibly hard to get hold of until June.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Asus Vivowatch, LG G4, Huawei P8, Microsoft Band, Swimmo fitness band: Gadget Digest
Added: about 15 hours ago
From fitness bands capable of tracking your swimming progress, to a smartwatch that lasts all week and longer, it's been a great week for gadget lovers. And now we're reaching the weekend it's time to glance back at the biggest and best stories from the past few days. So read on as we take a look in our Gadget Digest.
We've seen all sorts of wearables and fitness bands over the past couple of years, and now there's a smartwatch designed specifically for the swimming pool. Capable of tracking laps and swimming cadence, Swimmo could be the ideal wearable for fitness freaks, but could you imagine ditching the Apple Watch in favour of one?
If you're after a more conventional fitness band, there's always the Microsoft Band, which is finally touching down in the UK. You can order the Band now, and it costs a reasonable £169.99.
Asus hit the headlines this week, with its new VivoWatch. We already loved the look of the Asus ZenWatch, but the VivoWatch could be one of the best all-rounders yet, packing in a 10-day battery life that would put it in a direct head-to-head with the Pebble Time.
While it may not fall into the traditional wristband category when you think of 'wearables', the Panasonic HX-A1 wearable camera also popped up this week, and it looks more than capable of giving GoPro a run for its money.
Throw in a wearable for dogs, capable of tracking the fitness for your canine friend, and it's dfficult to ask for anything more!
There's been plenty going on in the past few days when it comes to smartwatches too, not least with leaks of the leather-clad LG G4. Whether the use of leather will be enough to make people want to go for the G4 over the gorgeous Samsung Galaxy S6 remains to be seen, but top marks to LG for trying something a little different - we’ll be finding out a bit more about LG’s flagship closer to its official launch.
We saw some smart additions on the software side of things this week too, and the next time you lose your phone, you'll now be able to Google it. With the ability to type 'find my phone' into Google, and have a web app launch to track down the Android blower logged into your Google account could be a life saver, and you can also make it ring in case it's simply lost somewhere down the back of your sofa.
Huawei made the news on Wednesday with its new P8 and P8 Max flagships, and the metal-clad wonders look ideal if you're a fan of big screens. There's a 5.2-inch panel on the P8, and the P8 Max gets a monster 6.8-inch display - a tad too big for most people, we'd imagine. Stay tuned for our full review of the P8.
And in other news...
It's also been a good week for more unconventional gadgets, such as the new Dyson Hot + Cool AM09 - a heater which, as the name cunningly hints, is capable of blowing both hot and cold air. We loved the Cirrus7 Nimbini micro PC, and the Xbox One has also received a promotional price cut - will you be jumping in?
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Saturday, 11 April 2015
The Easter bank holiday may have made this a short week, but that doesn't mean we've been short on gadgets. There have been loads of great gadgets to feast your eyes on - especially with Gadget Show Live taking place, and we've also seen a couple of titans of the gadget world finally go on sale. So read on as we catch up with all the week's biggest and best news stories, in your Gadget Digest.
A good week for Apple
After months of sitting back and waiting, you can now finally pre-order an Apple Watch, and you could be wearing the year's most desirable bit of tech before the end of the month. Apple is expecting stock shortages though, so if you want one make sure you put your name down as soon as possible.
That wasn't the only news from Apple this week, as it looks like the Retina screen on the latest iMac could be about to get a whole lot better. According to LG, the next-gen iMac could pack in an almost barely believeable 8K screen, up from the already razor sharp 5K iMac that’s out now. We can only imagine how good photos and movies would look at that resolution, although it'll be a while before there are any apps or services that truly take advantage.
The latest phones and phablets
We fell in love with the searingly sharp, bright and colourful Quad HD screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but it seems that Samsung isn't content to rest on its laurels, and its replacement - the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 looks set to pack in the sharpest screen we've ever seen. A phablet with a 4K display certainly sounds interesting!
Speaking of phones with pin-sharp screens, the Quad HD-toting LG G3 has a successor is on the way, and the LG G4 looks like it'll also cram in an impressive camera. LG certainly wants us to think so anyway, and its official teaser video shows off a snapper with a fast F1.8 lens.
Gadget Show Live
This week also saw Gadget Show Live kick off, and the show will still be underway at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham over the weekend. We saw some brilliant gadgets there at the beginning of the week, and there are also shows taking place all weekend. Throw in some ridiculous vehicles and what more could you ask for if you're looking to be entertained this weekend?
For lots of us, the Moto 360 was one of the most stylish wearables yet, but it wasn't perfect. There was the 'flat tyre' look at the bottom of the round screen for starters, and there's definitely scope for improvement. That's where the second-gen Moto 360 comes in, and it looks like it could get a fully round display. Throw in an even sleeker design, and it could well be the wearable to take the fight to Apple.
If you prefer your wearables to be a little more subtle, how about the Jawbone Up3? The sporty wristband is finally set to hit the shops, although it's currently only shipping to the US - UK fans will be able to get one "later this year". It should be good for fitness fans though, with its bioimpendance sensor claimed to be more accurate than a more traditional optical heart rate monitor.
And in other news
We absolutely loved the Bolt - a tiny electric skateboard that’ll get you from A to B in no time at all, and you'll also be able to film all the aerial action using one of two new DJI Phantom 3 drones. It also looks like electric cars are finally starting to deliver too, with the Tesla Model S 70D promising to get you all the way from London to Leeds on a single charge.
What's your favourite gadget of the week though?
Monday, 30 March 2015
Imagine all your favorite chefs and recipes with a few simple clicks, from simple how to instructions, great food ideas to some of the best factual cooking programs from all over the world.
So if you are baking bakes with Mitch Turner or chilling out with Jamie Oliver in Italy the Simply good food TV app will have it all for you
At the moment it is available for the ipad and android tablet , we are currently developing the iphone, android phone versions .
Please check back for updates
apple ipad available at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/simply-good-food-tv/id944874041?mt=8
Android app avilale at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.peter.sgftv
Sunday, 29 March 2015
We've been particularly excited about the Apple Watch this week, with Cupertino's wearable hitting the shops in April, but there’s been loads of other great stories during the past week as well. So make a brew, sit back and join us as we catch up on all the biggest gadgets of the past seven days.
All go in the smartphone world
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is arguably the best smartphone we've ever seen, but it's still not perfect. The lack of microSD could be enough to put some people off, although it looks like a solution could be on the way in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, which could boast removeable storage. Is that enough to make you wait?
If you do decide to hang on though, it's Samsung's future phones that could really shake things up, with rumours of a folding blower on the way. We're certainly excited - it could be the latter-day reinvention of the much-loved flip phone!
The Samsung Galaxy S6 also made the news for offering the ability uninstall bloatwear, and that'll certainly appeal to lots of owners. Ditching the apps you don't use will result in a faster, smoother OS, and you'll also have more storage space to play with - sounds good to us.
Not to be outdone by Samsung, HTC hit the headlines with the shiny new HTC One E9, which showed off a snazzy design in leaked snaps. The One M9 Plus is set to be unveiled next month, too.
Apple was once again in the headlines this week with its iPhone 7, and this time we could see a camera that features a DSLR-like zoom lens. The iPhone 6's camera is already pretty good, but we certainly wouldn't turn our noses up at an optical zoom, and it can only make an already impressive smartphone even better.
The best wearables
With the Apple Watch set to touch down next month, developers have been working on apps and ways to take full advantage of Apple's wearable, and there's a Philips Hue Apple Watch app on the way. So get ready for lightbulbs can can be controlled by tapping your wrist!
We're used to seeing smartwatches come with hefty prices, but that's not the way it needs to be. Hannspree showed exactly that this week, with a smartwatch that comes in at just £30, yet still promises to deliver notifications and more straight from your smartphone.
We were also happy to see Google Glass pop up again, with the chief of Google - Eric Schmidt - pointing out that the innovative headwear will make a return at some point in the future. With battery and other tech getting better every day, you can bet it'll be more stylish and more capable the next time around, too.
A good week for tele addicts
Apple TV has had a tough time of it recently, with other cheaper devices like Google's Chromecast enjoying the limelight. Not one to sit back and give up, Apple is set to unleash a new Apple TV in June, and you can expect to see it offer third-party apps and Siri integration. Siri, find us something good to watch!
If it's cheap you want though, TV and movies on demand won't get much more affordable than the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which is set hit the UK costing just £7 for new Amazon Prime customers. If you've already got Amazon Prime, it'll cost you £19 - still a decent saving on the usual £35 price tag.
There's also the Google Nexus Player, which is set to go head-to-head with the Apple TV, and you can now get your hands on one for £80.
Sunday, 15 March 2015
This week started off with a bang, with Apple unleashing a brand new MacBook and the Apple Watch, and since then we've seen loads of fantastic gadgets. Now we're heading into the weekend, it's time to sit back and catch up on all the stories you may have missed, and make sure you're up to date with all the most exciting news.
All things AppleThe week started off with some particularly exciting Apple gadgets, not least the brand new 12-inch Apple MacBook. Thinner, lighter and more desirable than the Air, and with a Pro-rivaling Retina display, could this be one of the best MacBooks yet? You'll have to ignore the almost complete lack of ports if you do want one, and it's definitely not the most powerful laptop out there, but we still can't help but want one...
The same goes for the Apple Watch, which was finally given a price and launch date - you'll be able to get your hands on one on April 24. We're not convinced it'll be the ultimate wearable, but it's definitely one to add to the wish-list.
If like us, the claims on battery life for the Watch aren't enough to impress you, this handy strap that doubles as a charger could be the ideal solution, but you'll need deep pockets - it's £166.
It's not all good news for Apple fans this week, and the company also hit the headlines when designer Jony Ive spoke out about battery life, pointing out that whatever your complaints, you simply dom't need a bigger battery in your iPhone. With the thought that larger batteries would compromise the beauty and design, it looks like future iPhones will also place aesthetics ahead of function.
All the latest smartphone newsIt's also been a great week for smartphone fans, with loads of blowers hitting the headlines. We saw the first brand new Vaio smartphone for starters, although it didn't quite manage to meet our high expectations.
The LG G4 Note phablet also popped up this week, going head to head with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and we saw leaks of the LG G4 smartphone too. Could this be the best smartphone to land during 2015?
Not if HTC has anything to do with it, and hot on the heels of the HTC One M9, we saw news of the HTC One E9, which could manage to cram in a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, an octa-core processor and a 20-megapixel camera. We already love the One M9, but this has all the potential to beat anything on the market, especially if it comes with the same great build quality.
There was some sad news too though, with the Google Nexus 5 finally bowing out. It was an impressive handset, and with the Nexus 6 going upmarket, it could be the last truly affordable Nexus smartphone we get to see.
We can't blame Google for wanting a piece of the high-end action though, and Samsung is also bringing out the big guns with the new Galaxy S6 Active, which could add waterproofing and shock resistance to the mix.
And in other news...Fancy a cheaper MacBook rival? The Chromebook Pixel could well be up your street, coming in at £799 and impressive build quality. Other innovative gadgets this week included the Dyson V6 Fluffy and V6 Absolute, and we loved the Podo - a gadget that promises to banish selfie sticks to the cupboard, never to be used again!
Monday, 2 February 2015
With CES now well behind us, we've started to see more and more gadgets being announced or leaked, and it's been a brilliant few days for tech lovers. From augmented reality gaming and Microsoft’s brand new Windows 10, to leaked high-end smartphones like the HTC One M9, there's plenty to catch up on as we head into the weekend. It’s all here for you in your Gadget Digest.
High-end smartphones leaked
Out of all the latest gadgets, high-end smartphones always leave us drooling in anticipation, and it looks like HTC and Samsung could be the next to unleash a couple of blinders. The Samsung Galaxy S6 popped up on our radar yesterday, and although there weren't any pics on offer, the thought of a 5.1-inch QHD smartphone packing a 64-bit octa-core processor and a 20-megapixel snapper into an aluminium chassis certainly left us wanting more.
Samsung will have a tough fight on its hands if it's going to beat HTC's next flagship though, with the HTC One M9 also hitting the headlines. The high-end blower may look near identical to the older HTC One (M8), including a slick metal body and BoomSound speakers, but this time it's claimed to cram in a bleeding-edge Snapdragon 810 chip and an even sharper screen.
Fans of the OnePlus One also got the chance to get their hands on one of last year's best handsets without needing an invite, at least for a couple of hours. Sadly it's back to invite only again now (plus £229 of your money), so you may well end up playing the waiting game if you want one.
Not content to let LG and Motorola enjoy the limelight when it comes to round smartwatches, Samsung has also been working on its own round Apple Watch beater, and it may also be one of Samsung’s first smartwatches to use wireless charging tech as well.
Speaking of Apple's upcoming wearable, the Apple Watch also hit the news today, with a claimed battery life of just 2.5 hours under heavy use, and not a lot longer simply having the watch face turned on constantly. That's desperately disappointing for one of the year's most anticipated gadgets, but evidently the price to pay for power-packed components and a small battery. Fingers crossed it holds up better under mixed use.
Microsoft unleashes some awesome concepts
It was Microsoft's jaw-dropping HoloLens that really caught our eye this week though, with the augmented reality wearable promising to shake up gaming and other industries. We particularly loved the demo showing off Minecraft, and instead of playing the game in your own little world, HoloLens makes it possible to drop blocks on your living room furniture and interact with the world around you. It looks brilliant, and we really can't wait for Microsoft to bring its vision closer to reality.
No doubt the HoloLens will be pricey when it finally does land though, and if you're looking for a cheaper wearable to help keep you warm, the Smart Scarf looks ideal. It's another concept from Microsoft, and biometric sensors help to make it warmer (or indeed cooler) to help keep you at the perfect temperature. Throw in vibrations to alert you of notifications, and it won't matter when your Apple Watch's battery dies a death after a couple of hours either!
In other Microsoft news, the Redmond giant also unleashed a closer look at Windows 10, and it promises to make it a lot easier to switch between Windows phones, PCs, the Xbox One and tablets. It also ushers in a new era for cross-platform gaming, which sounds good to us!
And in other news...
With so many exciting announcements this week, narrowing down our gadget digest to just a few different stories has been incredibly difficult! With that in mind, it's also well worth checking out the 12-inch MacBook Air, the Mission Impossible book that can destroy itself, and HP's HTC-alike Android tablet. Throw in the drone-hunting drone (that's right, a drone that hunts its own!) and an entire PC crammed into a mouse and it really has been a fab week for gadget lovers. Which one’s your favourite though?
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Amazon’s Kindle business has been a roaring success, and its Kindle Fire tablets have been well received likewise. But its smartphone attempt has not quite had the same spark. The e-tailer reported a huge $430m (£273m) loss in quarterly earnings today, and much of that was down to a $170m (£105m) writedown on the Fire Phone, which was met with poor sales in the US (It’s only just gone on sale in the UK). We were similarly unimpressed, pointing out in our recent review that the Kindle Fire fails to offer anything particularly compelling compared to other Google certified Android phones. Yet. It’s not too late for Amazon to turn it around: here’s how we’d do it if we were Jeff Bezos.
Add Google Play
There’s no getting around it: Amazon isn’t improving Android by removing all of Google’s software from the underlying open-source software, just limiting it. While the Amazon AppStore is fairly well stocked with must play games and useful services, it’s the omission of Google’s own apps on the Fire Phone that smarts the most. Amazon’s email app is clunky and underpowered compared to the peerless Gmail Android client, and there’s a big Google Maps shaped hole in Fire OS too. All of these problems would be negated for punters if they could just have access to the Google Play store too. After all, if Amazon is so confident its software is better, what’s it got to be scared of?
Cut the price
Amazon like to tout its phone as affordable, but the truth is the Amazon Fire Phone is not a great deal, even if you’re tempted by the year’s subscription to Amazon Prime thrown in. At £28 per month on a two year contract, or £399 upfront on Pay As You Go, the Fire Phone is far more expensive than the stunning new Motorola Moto G, which comes with a huge five-inch HD screen and costs just £144 unlocked for use on any network. While Amazon’s phone may sport a slightly faster processor, the truth is you’d be hard pressed to detect much difference in performance between the pair. Which brings us to the next point...
Design does matter
If you are going to charge £400 in a world where the Motorola Moto G exists, you’d better make sure your phone looks the part. Sadly, the Amazon Fire Phone does not. While the company just about got away with the plain black plastic vibe on the Fire tablet line up (after all, a tablet is still a luxury device, and all about the screen), customers clearly aren’t giving the Fire Phone a similar pass. As we said in our review, the thick, smeary, glossy Fire Phone looks like an encased iPhone prototype an employee accidentally left in a bar somewhere. Compared to the iPhone 6, HTC One (M8) or the full metal jacketed Samsung Galaxy Alpha, well, it just doesn’t - and these rivals are only marginally more expensive.
Enter the specs war
If Amazon isn’t going to up its design game, it should at least consider entering the smartphone specs arms race. The 720p resolution screen of the Fire Phone looks paltry in comparison to the astonishing 2K, beyond HD panel on the LG G3 Android phone. The 13 megapixel camera meanwhile can’t compete with the latest sensors from Apple, Sony and Nokia (now Microsoft). Future Fire Phones need to at least keep up with the big boys if the company’s going to charge much the same price as Samsung, Sony et al.
Stop focusing on selling
Amazon treats its Fire devices much like digital kiosks, and another chance to hawk you all its wares. You can’t really begrudge it that after all, since the company runs on wafer thin margins at the best of times, but it’s telling that the best ideas Amazon has introduced to tablets and smartphones are the ones that aren’t trying to get you to buy batteries or a few more chances to lose at Candy Crush Saga. Its Mayday helpline, manned by real assistants who can draw on your screen and change settings for you, is a godsend for technophobes, while its multiple cameras on the front face let you peek and pan around the screen without even touching it - an idea with lots of potential still to be realised. More focus on the user convenience, and less on the impulse buys will surely help make the next Fire Phone more of an impulse buy itself.
Sunday, 2 November 2014
1st place - Ice Cooler, Ice Lantern, Ice Dessert, Waxitaxi, Magic Snow & Easy Shovel
2nd place - Ice Cooler, Ice Lantern, Waxitaxi
3rd Place - Ice Cooler
5 runner up prizes of a Waxitaxi gift set or an Easy Shovel.
Most Votes will win a ice cooler.
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Here we go, we've made it to another weekend and that means it's time for your weekly wrap-up of the week's hottest tech! Leading up to this Halloween, we've seen all sorts of gizmo goodies, ranging from the world's thinnest phone, to three brand new Fitbit trackers and even a Microsoft wearable too. Amazon's debuted an even smaller Fire TV, and we've spotted what looks like a real life Transformer! Mad, right? Luckily for you, we've chopped it all down into bite-sized chunks.Meet the world's slimmest phone!We've seen some supremely slim phones before, but nothing comes close to how thin the Oppo R5 is. Measuring up at just 4.85mm, Oppo's latest blower is even smaller than Elife's tiny 5.15mm-thick Elife S5.1, and it'll easily put your iPhone 6 to shame too. It's pretty quick too, as Oppo has managed to cram in an octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13-Megapixel camera, all under a 5.2-inch full HD display. Sadly, you don't get a microSD slot, and you have to use a micro USB adapter to use your headphones, but we'll take those small trade-offs for something extremely thin. Fitness mad!It looks like we're going fitness mad according to the recent drop of brand new wearables. Fitbit has not one, not two, but three brand new bands to help track your fitness, ranging from the basic Charge for logging your steps, to the Charge HR for logging your heart rate, or the high-end Surge, which packs in built-in GPS, a larger display and can show off your phone's notifications.
Microsoft's also joining the party with its own Microsoft Band, its ticket to the world of wearable fitness tech. The $199 (£125) band has plenty of sensors to track your fitness, ranging from heart rate, steps taken, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and even your sleep quality. All that data is then beamed over to Microsoft's brand new Health service, which has companion apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, meaning you'll always have a way to check out your stats. Its full colour touch display looks great too, and if you're touting a Windows Phone blower, you'll be able to bark commands at your wrist for use with Cortana. Pretty handy, right? Thumb-sized Amazon Fire TVWe've only just had the Amazon Fire TV touch down in the UK, but already the e-tailer has made one that's even smaller. The thumb-sized Fire TV Stick plugs right into your telly's HDMI port, and can beam down your favourite TV shows and games, but it's not the only one out there. We took a look at some of the other tip-top stick-sized streamers to see what Amazon's going up against. Fancy a real life Transformer?While the Transformers films get more and more far fetched with each sequel, they still have a few cool ideas. Morphing robots? Brilliant, right? Well, two Japanese inventors think so too, as they've been hard at work on making a real life transforming 'bot, and the latest prototype is the biggest yet! They're still hard at work, and by 2020, they aim to have a full-sized Transformer walking the streets. Want one?
Friday, 12 September 2014
Frosty feet whilst commuting and cold toes on the slopes may be a thing of the past thanks to the invention of Digitsole. By now you’ll be familiar with your wrists being decked in the latest technology with smartwatches and the launch of the Apple Watch this week. But it’s your feet that are the centre of attention with this product.
Digitsole is a connected insole that you can control straight from your smartphone which allows you to choose the temperature of your shoes. It doesn’t just keep your feet warm: once you’ve entered your height and weight it will also measure how many steps you’ve taken and how many calories you’ve burned.
It looks like any other shoe insole you might have used before, but this one has been created specially by the Digitsole engineers. They’ve created an insole made from lightweight materials Neotech and Poron to control vibrations, spread heat equally and better absorb shock.
To start using the Digitsole you need to charge it via a USB port, load the app and connect it to your smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0. It can be used in almost any shoe and you can adjust the temperature and keep an eye on your health at any time. All you need to do is get your hands on a pair, download the dedicated app and off you trot.
Fancy taking Digitsole for a stroll? The invention is up on Kickstarter right now: you can currently get the ‘super early bird’ price of $99 (£60.90) but the standard retail price will be $149 (£91.90), estimated to arrive in January 2015. If you’re after it as a Christmas present you can pay an extra £18.50 for it to arrive in time and give the gift of toastie feet.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Sunday, 17 August 2014
This week has seen some brilliantly cool gadgets, including the latest all-metal Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone. Throw in a couple of phablets, a smart motorcycle helmet and a Pi-powered camera, and there’s lots to catch up on. So read on for our weekly roundup, where we’re looking at the biggest and best stories of the week!
Samsung smartphones have always walked the walk when it comes to features, but they’ve generally lagged behind the very best when it comes to premium materials. Not so the Galaxy Alpha, which is the first Galaxy blower to feature a full metal jacket. It’s great to see a Samsung device finally take on the HTC One (M8) and Apple iPhone 5s in the style stakes!
We also spotted some incredibly cool ways to jazz up your Android smartphone this week, with the InkCase Plus promising to change the way you read notifications and e-books on the move forever. The compact case packs in an e-ink screen, letting you access a whole world of content without even having to unlock your phone!
If the Galaxy Alpha doesn’t do it for you, and you’re on a much more extreme budget, then Nokia may have the perfect handset for you. The new Nokia 130 crams video and music playback capabilities into a handset costing just £15 – could this be the ideal second phone for festivals or holidays?
High-end and low-end Phablets
In other Samsung news, the Galaxy Note 4 popped up on an Indonesian website this week, leaking out the specs we’ve been dying to know more about. How does a Quad HD screen and the latest Snapdragon processor grab you, for starters? It could turn Samsung into the king of phablets once again!
With gadgets like the Nvidia Shield promising to stream games to the big screen from your PC, traditional consoles like the PlayStation 4 have a tough fight on their hands. Which is why Sony announced at Gamescom earlier this week that its own micro console – the PlayStation TV – will be on the way in November and packs in the ability to beam down games from PlayStation Now, along with streaming PS4 games via Remote Play – all for around £85. Not bad, eh?
That wasn’t the only gaming device to make an appearance this week though, with the Alienware Alpha also popping up. The Alpha was originally set to debut under Valve’s delayed Steam Machines initiative, but Alienware has decided to launch sooner, packing in some serious PC gaming punch into a tiny console, but you’ll be able to get your hands on one a lot sooner!
And in other news…
There have also been loads of fun gadgets popping up over the internet in the past few days, with the SnapPiCam a fantastic example. Wondering what to do with your Raspberry Pi? SnapPiCam helps you to turn it into a 5-megapixel camera! We were also particularly impressed with the Skully smart helmet, which crams in a heads-up display and rear-view camera to potentially save you from accidents. All the better for not needing its more protective qualities!
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
Sunday, 10 August 2014
Millions of us have been using USB memory sticks and peripherals for years, but your trusty flash drives and accessories have recently hit the headlines with potentially huge security flaws. The idea that hackers take over your computer with the help of some hidden code in your thumb drive’s firmware is terrifying, so read on to find out all you need to know and find out if you’re at risk.
What’s it all about?
USB memory sticks have become one of the default storage formats for taking files on the go over the past decade, but an invisible security flaw has recently been discovered that could let hackers gain full control of your computer. It’s not just storage devices either; plugging in any USB accessory could lead to hackers issuing their own commands to do what they want with your computer. The code is capable of handling anything from installing malware to redirecting the web pages you open, and the fact it’s virtually untraceable is even more alarming.
How was it discovered then?
The tech gurus at Security Research Labs (SR Labs) discovered the security flaw when reverse engineering firmware on USB devices, with the company explaining: “Once reprogrammed, benign devices can turn malicious in many ways.”
Where is the malicious code hidden?
Unlike traditional viruses or malware, the malicious code hidden away on USB products isn’t easily visible. Instead of appearing as a regular file, it can be hidden away in the firmware on your USB stick, USB mouse or even your humble keyboard. For a quick refresher, firmware is software installed on a device itself, that controls what it does each time you hook it up to a computer. So when you plug in a USB memory stick, for instance, your computer knows what it is, and can open up the relevant folder. This means that malicious hackers changing the code in your USB drive’s firmware can have a truly massive impact.
Why is the malicious code invisible?
While your anti-virus software is happy to scan your computer and any of the storage devices you connect for malware, it won’t check out what’s going on with the firmware on any of your devices. SR Labs adds: “Malware scanners cannot access the firmware running on USB devices, and USB firewalls that block certain devices do not (yet) exist.”
Are you at risk?
Yes and no. While USB devices have been a traditionally safe medium, the fact malicious code can go so easily undetected means you could be using an infected accessory without even knowing it. Although you can’t easily scan for issues, there are steps you can take to help avoid problems.
What can you do if you’re worried about infection?
Stick to what you know! Firmware needs to be updated by an installer, so if you are offered updates for your devices, make sure they’re being offered from a trusted source. Don’t go using second-hand memory sticks or devices that you don’t know the history of, meaning it’s worth buying new accessories from shops you know and trust. You’ll be a lot safer if you know where an accessory has come from and who may have updated the firmware.
And if you do have issues? Throw your USB gadget away! SR Labs concludes: “Once infected, computers and their USB peripherals can never be trusted again.” Fingers crossed it wasn’t an expensive gaming mouse or high capacity stick!
Saturday, 26 July 2014
It’s been another great week in the world of gadgets, and now we’re close to the end it’s time to look back and check out our favourite stories. From gaming tablets to smartphones, smartwatches and wearables, there’s been absolutely loads going on throughout the week. So read on to catch up on all the news from the past few days.
Smartphones for football fans!Football fans and smartphones may not usually go hand-in-hand, but Huawei wants to change all that with its new P7 Arsenal Edition. Will this svelte-looking blower be enough to tempt Gunners fans in their droves, or will it turn out like Arsenal’s last season: full of promise but unable to deliver when it matters… Only time will tell!
It’s been a good week for lesser-known (over in the UK at least) manufacturers, with Xiaomi also hitting the headlines with its brand new Mi 4 flagship. Boasting a full metal construction, could this be the ideal alternative to the HTC One (M8) or Apple iPhone 5s?
Speaking of the HTC One (M8), HTC launched a couple of new version of its range-topping handset. Fancy some colour to go with the premium build and minimalist design? You’ll now be able to buy both a pink and red HTC One (M8)!
There’s no need to spend all your cash to get a decent smartphone though, which is where the new Nokia Lumia 530 comes in. Windows Phone, a Snapdragon processor and a bright, vibrant design for under £80, what’s not to like?
Tablets, gaming tablets and more!
There’s been plenty going on this week when it comes to tablets, too, with the Nvidia Shield gaming tablet finally being officially announced. We’d already seen leaks and rumours about the tablet, so it’s great to see it make an appearance, complete with its own wireless controller for the perfect gaming experience.
The KingSing tablet sits at the other end of the scale, offering Windows for just £60. This 8-inch Chinese wonder may not set the world alight with its spec, but it’s certainly worth a look if you want to grab hold of a Windows tablet without spending a small fortune.
Samsung is also eyeing up the budget tablet market, launching the Android-based Galaxy Tab Q. It’s currently available in China only, but there’s every chance it could make it to those shores in the not too distant future.
It’s been a great few months for Android Wear smartwatches, with Samsung, LG and Motorola all getting behind the platform and launching new products. HTC is now also looking to join the party, with its very own all-metal smartwatch. With a metal bracelet and facia, it looks every bit stylish enough to wear on a night out, something that’s not always guaranteed with smartwatches!
Another week, and yet more leaks about Apple’s smartwatch – could it be the worst kept secret ever? This time, there’s news that Apple could be working on two completely different designs for its wearable, partnering the likes of Swatch to come up with something that’s as stylish as it is functional.
And in other news…
That’s just the start though! How about a gaming vest offering full body feedback? Or the latest face-tracking 3D games on the Amazon Fire phone? Or even a retro Bluetooth NES controller? Whatever you’re doing for the weekend, sit back, have a drink and enjoy catching up on the week’s stories.