Gadget week: New launches, from IFA, Berlin, to Apple, San Francisco
From an ‘iPhone killer’ to the latest Android Wear smartwatches, several exciting launches dominated this year’s IFA, in Berlin.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that concluded in January 2015, tends to kick off the year with big launches and the latest innovations. This year, however, it was the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) — held in Germany from September 4 to 9 — that best reflected the gadget trends that are catching on. We pick some of the hottest gadgets that debuted at the leading tech trade show.
This device was quite a hit at the show for its sleek design, and ability to blend the past and the present. Digital at heart, the camera shoots in black and white, colour and vintage modes at 10MP. There's also a photo booth mode, allowing users to take six photos within 10 seconds. A built-in photo printer instantly processes images.
Huawei Mate S
Experts are already calling this phone an 'iPhone killer'. But what seems to have impressed most is that even though the Mate S has several gimmicks, including Apple's force touch feature, it gets its basics rights — terrific low-light camera performance, an attractive metallic design and even call quality options.
Samsung showed off its Gear S2, which won fans for being relatively functional and fashionable. Also unveiled were the gorgeous Moto 360 (second generation), the classic-looking Huawei Watch and the easy-on-the-wallet Asus ZenWatch 2. However, what caught everyone's attention was the LG Watch Urbane Luxe, with Google's new iOS app that brings Android Wear compatibility to the iPhone for the first time.
Alcatel OneTouch Xess
One of the more talked-about tablet launches at IFA, the Xess has a unique design that incorporates a built-in stand, stylus and handle. That apart, users get a 17.3inch interactive touchscreen, two powerful 3-watt speakers powered by JBL and Harman, and hands-free gesture controls.
The company launched a barrage of devices at the tech fair, but it was the Z35 monitor that had most experts impressed. Said to be available from December, the gaming beast is 35inches with a 2000R curve. That's not all. It comes with two built-in 9-watt speakers and uses Nvidia's G-Sync technology.
ASUS VivoStick PC
This device, powered by Windows, made quite an impression. The dongle-sized gizmo turns any modern TV into a computer, and comes with 2 GB RAM, the latest Intel Cherry Trail chip, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4 and 32 GB storage.
Ricoh Theta S
The device lets users record up to 25-minutes of full high-definition spherical videos or 360-degree spherical photos in a single shot. These images can then be shared on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, or even sent to Google Maps and Google Street View.
Ultra-HD Blu-ray player
Samsung's big announcement came in the form of the UBD-K8500, which the company says is "the word's first ultra-high-definition Blu-ray player". The device won't be available till next year but promises four times the resolution and 64 times higher colour expression compared to standard Blu-ray.
Sony Xperia Z5
The Japanese tech giant announced the latest addition to its much-lauded Xperia series with the Z5 family of smartphones. The standard, compact and premium models all come with a 23MP camera and a 0.03 second autofocus, apart from the usual impressive basic specs. But what puts the premium model in a completely different league is its 4K display, which Sony claims is the world's first.
ZTE Axon Elite
Fingerprint sensors are quite common in premium smartphones. This device provides added security by incorporating a higher degree of dependence on biometrics. Apart from a fingerprint sensor, it comes with voice recognition. Once trained, the phone only unlocks when the owner utters a catchphrase. There's eye-scanning as well: the camera records the arrangement of blood vessels on the owner's eyeballs, making it a secure method for unlocking the device.
ALSO UNVEILED: Life-hack gadgets that you need to check out:
Digitsole: It is a smart insole that pairs with any phone and nearly any footwear, and can be heated to programmable temperatures.
Neato Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum: Using a laser to navigate its way around your home, it automatically moves from one room to another, cleaning floors in a linear pattern.
Bosch NoFrost Refrigerator: The latest series comes with built-in cameras so you can see if you're out of potatoes or milk while you are at the supermarket by just logging in to the related app.
MixStik: The Bluetooth LED apparatus (shown in pic) sits in a glass and connects to your smartphone displaying (with multi-coloured lights) how much of an ingredient you should pour to make a perfect Mojito or Long Island Iced Tea. It comes with 100 drink recipes, and the option to add more.
Smarter Kettle 2.0: It is intelligent enough to track your schedule and even account for local traffic, and adjust its programmed brew time in anticipation of your arrival.
(The writer tweets as @randomcards )
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