Gadgets of the month: console wars, a smart wig, and Nokia’s Lumia 525

30 Nov 2013

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Sony and Microsoft beginning the console war for next generation of consoles with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at E3 2013 back in June (photo via Barone Firenze/Shutterstock)

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We take a look back at some of the biggest gadget news this month from Microsoft and Sony and look ahead at what’s to come from wearable tech and Nokia’s affordable smartphone range.

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

This month…

Xbox One touches down

Microsoft’s Xbox One was the first of the next-generation consoles to arrive in Europe this month and we were delighted to put this entertainment hub through its paces. More than 1m of the consoles were sold within 24 hours of its release on 22 November and gamers were soon hit with a dose of Xbox One fever.

The launch wasn’t without its hiccups, though. Microsoft acknowledged that a technical glitch affected the disc drive of a small number of consoles and, here in Ireland, retailer Xtra-vision attempted to make customers pay for an additional game before handing over pre-ordered consoles – a questionable policy that was reversed following public backlash.

PlayStation 4 enters the fray

Next on the console battleground was Sony’s PlayStation 4. Released on Friday across Europe, Sony’s UK and Ireland MD is confident of the same success seen in the US, where 1m units were sold in the first weekend of release. Anticipation among Irish gamers was high, with GameStop reporting more pre-orders in Ireland than any other country.

GameStop also warned that some pre-orders of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles may not be fulfilled until early next year. We here at Siliconrepublic.com managed to get our hands on one though, and the folks over at computer repairs website iFixit.com even tore one apart – for science.

Coming soon…

Sony to produce a SmartWig?

It looks like Sony is planning to take wearable tech to a whole new level with a ‘SmartWig’ patent describing a hairpiece filled with sensors. The patent application was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in May and details various models of a wig that can communicate wirelessly with other devices and provide tactile feedback.

Sony SmartWig patent application

Image from the SmartWig patent application

Three prototypes have been created: the Presentation Wig, which has a laser pointer and can take control of PowerPoint presentations; the Navigation Wig, which uses GPS and vibration to direct the user; and the Sensing Wig, which gathers information from inside the body such as temperature and blood pressure.

Sony has reportedly not decided if it will commercialise this technology, but, along with Google’s lie-detecting throat tattoo patent, it shows how manufacturers are really thinking outside the box when it comes to wearable technology.

Nokia’s Lumia 525

The humble, affordable Lumia 520 is Nokia’s top-selling Windows Phone device worldwide, and it now has a successor. The Lumia 525 was announced in Singapore this week to go on sale in this market from 14 December, priced at SGD$249 (€145). It will then be rolled out in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East – the key target markets for affordable devices.

Nokia Lumia 525

Nokia Lumia 525

The 525 features a replaceable rear cover available in yellow, blue, red, white and black, as well as a replaceable 1,430mAh battery. Like the 520 that came before it, the 525 features a 4-inch IPS display with a resolution of 800×480, 8GB storage (expandable up to 64GB via micro-SD) and a 5MP rear camera with no flash and capable of filming 720p HD video at 30fps.

What separates the 525 from its predecessor is double the RAM at 1GB, and a more-powerful 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It also runs the latest Nokia Lumia Black package for Windows Phone 8.

Main image by Barone Firenze via Shutterstock

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com