Brands keep pushing the limit on audio and video as we start to record more and more of our lives. Nokia’s new Lumia Icon has some impressive features, like four microphones to boost sound quality along with full 1080p HD, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and unpixelated zoom. Now we’ll see if this phone can make a dent in the market share for Apple and Samsung.
If you’re choosing a last minute Christmas gift for your gadget enthusiast (or a present for yourself) then you could well be weighing up the options. Whatever kind of gadget they’re into from consoles to tablets here’s the rundown of our favorite gadget gifts of the year, but you better get your order in quickly!
There are tons of tablets on the market, but how do you choose the right one for you? This year it’s all about the mini tablet. Our favorite of the moment is the iPad Mini. It gives you access to all the apps available on iTunes for a fraction of the price of a full size iPad. It has the same feel previous incarnation, with the same smooth interface. What’s more it’s more practical as its smaller, but still big enough to run apps, watch videos and listen to music. It’s definitely on our list!
When it comes to smartphones there’s just too much choice available at the minute. After a lot of road testing we’ve finally picked the Nexus 4 as one of our favorites. The new smartphone from Google packs a serious punch with all the features you’d expect from a top of the range smartphone and more. Even better it comes with all Google’s apps preloaded, so it’s ready to go when you are! Add to that the amazing photo sphere camera (capable of taking 360° panoramic shots) and you’re on to a winner! Especially when you consider that it also offers wireless charging. The Nexus 4 is an insight into the future of smartphones.
If the person you’re shopping for is into gaming (or even is they’re not) the new Wii U console would be a sure fire hit this Christmas. The innovative tab game-pad is an entirely new way to play and adds a whole new dimension to the gaming experience. Coupled with HD graphics we think the Nintendo Wii U is the console to have this festive season! Plus you can get it in either the standard edition, or premium that offers 32gb of memory.
So, those are our top tips for gadget gifts this Christmas. Whichever one you choose it’s sure to be their favorite Christmas gift. Now you just need to figure out which you’re buying for them, and which you want yourself. For even more gadget gift ideas have a browse at Misco.
Thefts of smartphones and other high tech mobile devices have become one of the greatest fears of consumers in major metropolitan areas. While sometimes fears like this are the result of media sensationalism, the numbers that keep coming out to support this trend are staggering.
In New York City alone, between January 1st and September 23rd of this year, the NYPD have received reports of 11,447 thefts of just iDevices. That’s a healthy 40 percent jump in cases from that same time the previous year, and also barely takes into account the time of the new iPhone 5’s release. In New York, and other large cities, this has led to a plastering of ads in subway stations, street corners, and televisions that urge citizens to be more aware of their surroundings and their usage of their devices to try to trim down on theft. This has also been coupled with sting operations to catch people selling stolen devices in bulk, as well as a greater police presence in areas like subway stations where theft is most common.
For their part, Apple has long touted a free “Find My Phone” app, that can not only locate a stolen phone using GPS features, but also lock the device remotely with a password. Android users also have a range of security apps available such as Cerebus, which can take photos of your device’s current location, perform system wipes and locks, locate your phone remotely, and even take an automatic photo if someone enters your password wrong. Even though some of the more clever burglars are becoming aware of these apps and finding ways around them, it is still somewhat reassuring to know that the manufacturers themselves are also aware of this issue and are at least attempting to take all the steps they can to help out, much like the police seem to be doing
However, given the jump in thefts even with such measures in place, there are those who feel that it’s time for phone carriers to step up and do their part.
Specifically, the movement is gaining steam in Canada where an outbreak of violent crimes relating to stolen smart devices has the country in an uproar. The government is insisting that phone companies create a stolen smartphone and tablet registry, before they must force them to do so. The idea of a registry would be to prevent the resale of stolen devices by providing an official record of them. A similar action is also being called for by some in America where the crimes are equally rampant.
While it may not represent a perfect solution to the problem, it instead encourages a measure of corporate responsibility. Why hasn’t this been done yet? The biggest reason is cost, as phone companies are apparently shuddering at the financial implications of such a movement, although exact figures haven’t been provided. Canada’s government is asking for the major carriers to provide that information to them in an effort to get the ball rolling on the initiative once and for all. There is also loose talk that a national registry would hurt the providers in the lucrative second hand markets they encourage, though this is not the official statement.
Considering the reliance people put in their smart devices, it’s uncomfortable for many users to think that the age old crime move of snatch and grab is more dangerous (and lucrative) than ever. While awareness movements prompt users to not display their devices in public places, understandably consumers feel like they should be able to use their phones and tablets somewhere besides the safety of their work or homes. It’s also a somewhat insulting idea that victims of theft are somehow “asking for it” even if there are incidents of displaying an item in high profile prior to its taking.
Whether or not it is the ultimate answer then, it seems like the only party not taking a greater leap in prevention are the phone companies, and a national registry of stolen gadgets would at least add another weapon to the fight. Otherwise, we may see more and more violent incidents of robbery, and of people misguidedly taking actions into their own hands to try and protect their prized possessions.
I remember foolishly thinking at the time of the iPad release that Apple had finally gone off the deep end in terms of design. I mean, as far as I could tell they were basically trying to push what appeared to me to be a big iPhone. Of course what I didn’t anticipate was its uses as a superior e-reader, gaming platform, business and education super tool, video player, practical laptop replacement, and…well let’s just say I didn’t give the iPad and the tablet market as a whole a fair chance at first.
Still, I believe that much like that awkward time period where people still carried their MP3 players, portable gaming devices, and their new smartphones before realizing the latter’s amazing all-in-one potential, that the tablet and current smartphone technologies are sill similar enough that one day another all-in-one device is bound to come along that provides the best of both worlds for a price none of us can reasonably afford.
I’m not alone in this way of thinking either. There is even a terrible, must be changed now word for these devices. Phablets (the only word in existence that is scientifically proven to make you roll your eyes upon hearing it). One popular example of a phablet (*roll*) is the Samsung Galaxy Note. While it’s hybrid design of both devices fits the bill, it’s bulky shape doesn’t really seem to fit easily anywhere else, and it ends up coming off as a bulbous smartphone, or an undersized, underpowered tablet, depending on if you’re a glass half empty or glass half full type.
Despite the lack of overtly successful phablets (*roll*) thus far, designers still aren’t giving up on the idea. One of particular note out there is Patrick Eriksson’s flexible OLED concept design.
The idea is so simple it could have been a popular cartoon in the 80’s created to sell toys. The device starts off in its native phone format, but thanks to an ingenious flippable hideaway screen, it can be transformed, if you will, into a tablet size device in an instant. There aren’t many further details about the device at this time, other than Patrick’s partnership with Sony on the model, who would be handling manufacturing and distribution duties should the concept see its way to completion. That’s something they are no doubt hoping for, as the company could use a big win in light of their financial troubles, and weak market share across many divisions
Sony has also released a similar device before in the Tablet P, but that model, along with the similar, Kyocera Echo, suffered from some serious design flaws that made them come off as gimmicky and unpractical. This new model, however, is the first of its kind I’ve ever seen that looks like it could compently complete the bridge that spans the current tech gap between smartphone and tablet. While time and public reaction will of course ultimately tell the tale, there is no doubt that from a strict concept standpoint, this new device does finally bring into the limelight the almost inevitable conclusion that tablets and smartphones will not always co-exist as separate, economically viable entities.
Only please, somebody needs to invent a better name for these devices. Phablets (*roll*) sounds like a fan group name for high school girls who were way into “The Beatles.”
Pictured: The original line of “Phablets”
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Tags: all-in-one, apple iphone, apple tablet, Concept Gadgets, Concept Phones, Cool Gadgets, design, Gadget Blogs, Gadget ideas, Gadget News, headlines, Hybrids, interesting, Kyocera Echo, New Gadgets, News, Patrick Eriksson, Phablet, Samsung Galaxy Note, smartphones, sony, Sony Tablet P, tablets, Technology, The Beatles
Is this a surprise?
We’ve seen a stunning reversal over the past five years. With the success of the iPhone and the Android platform, companies like Nokia have been left in the dust.