Gadgets of the month

31 May 2012

The Sony Xperia Go smartphones

We take a look back at some of the biggest gadget news this month and look ahead at what’s to come.

Vodafone Ireland Gadgets of the Month is made possible by Vodafone Ireland


This month…

Google’s Chromebox and Chromebook

Google has been busy working away on hardware products (such as a 7-inch tablet) but the freshest fruits of its labour came to light this month – one sooner than even Google expected. The Samsung Chromebox – a desktop computer, minus the peripherals – was unveiled by one lucky customer who managed to buy the product online before it was even meant to be on the market.

Since then, the product has seen its official release, along with the new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook, a laptop running on Google’s Chrome OS. The pared-down browser-based operating system runs super fast, but with the majority of functionality requiring an internet connection, the device may see limited take-up.

Battle of the smartphones

With surveys showing that people value their gadgets more than their health, I’d wager that top of that list are our beloved smartphones. Smartphone users were given plenty to salivate over this month with the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III finally hitting stores this week and Nokia’s special-edition Lumia 900 paying tribute to The Dark Knight Rises. Sure, the ‘Batphone’ might be more style than substance, but we still love it!

While the Galaxy S III is receiving rave reviews all round, a delay in shipping the pebble blue model might dampen some excited spirits. And, with Apple apparently working on a 4-inch display iPhone, and Facebook rumoured to be working on a device of its own, we think the battle of the smartphones is far from over yet.

Custom sports news for your mobile device

As we are approaching a summer filled with sport, it would be handy if we could keep up with all the latest news on the go. Which is why Mobiles Republic has launched Sports Republic, a sports news app for the iPad, iPhone and Android.

Working similarly to the previous News Republic app, Sports Republic delivers more than 1,000 complete articles direct to your phone every day, coming from more than 70 trusted news outlets and sports blogs. Users can customise their feeds with filters for topics of interest (a sport, event or even a sportsperson’s name) and set custom alerts so they never miss important breaking news.

Stories can easily be shared through the usual social channels and the unique TagNav feature lets you explore a word cloud of related topics, articles, YouTube links and Wikipedia entries to discover more news that interests you.


Coming soon…

Sony’s new durable, water-resistant smartphone

Sometimes when the words ‘durable’ and ‘rugged’ are used in relation to a device, they mean bulky and unattractive. Not so much with the new Xperia Go from Sony: a stylish, scratch-resistant and water-resistant smartphone.

The 3.5-inch mineral glass display has been given and IP67 rating, the highest level of dust and water resistance ever achieved by a smartphone. The phone is protected from dust and the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m for up to 30 minutes, and the display can still track your finger even when wet.

This hardy packaging houses all the standard functionality you’d expect from a smartphone, powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and running on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), with the potential to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Xperia Go will be available in black, white and yellow and is expected to reach Ireland in the third quarter of 2012.

Apple TV: the rumour mill spins on

OK, so the constant back and forth over Apple’s rumoured television set in development may be making some people dizzy, but rumours around such a yearned-for device simply can’t be ignored. A JP Morgan analyst reckons Apple won’t be in a position to launch such a product until 2014, but then it was reported that Foxconn’s chief executive confirmed the manufacturing company is making preparations for what he called an iTV – though Foxconn representatives have denied this statement.

When asked about Apple’s plans for television at a recent digital conference, CEO Tim Cook was tight-lipped but did say it was “an area of intense interest”, primarily because of development of the Apple TV set-top box. All we can say is, watch this space, as you may well learn more at the upcoming WWDC, Apple’s developer conference, from 11-15 June.

Vodafone Ireland Gadgets of the Month is made possible by Vodafone Ireland


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.