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.