Gadgets of the month: Google muscles in on the living room, Moto X to be revealed 1 August

29 Jul 2013

Image via joingate/Shutterstock

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

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This month

Chromecast is immediately popular with consumers

The biggest gadgets news of July came from Google just this week. The company unveiled a new 4G-capable Nexus 7 with a richer display and the latest mobile OS from Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean – as was expected following a number of leaks prior to the event.

However, Google did have a surprise up its sleeve, bringing us the game-changing Chromecast, a two-inch dongle that bridges the gap between web video and the television set.

At the unveiling, Google announced a limited deal with Netflix for three months’ free subscription (normally about US$24) with each purchase of a US$35 Chromecast, but the promotion ended in just a day due to overwhelming demand for the device, Google told the Los Angeles Times.

Chromecast was revealed on Wednesday, 24 July and and had both sold out of the device by Thursday morning, while the estimated delivery time from Google Play reached three to four weeks.

And this might not be all that’s to come from Google in terms of home entertainment. Reports from The Wall Street Journal Digits blog claim that another home entertainment device from the company was demoed privately for a select few during the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year. This device is said to have been a set-top box powered by Android that featured a video camera, a motion sensor and Google’s Hangouts video conferencing service built-in. It’s reported that, like the Chromecast and other set-top boxes from rivals, the device could stream media from the web and other online services.

Anticipation builds for new Apple products

While Google surprised us all with its home entertainment gizmo this month, Apple continued its attempts to keep future developments under wraps. But some keen-eyed tech enthusiasts spotted that the tech giant had been on a world tour of ‘iWatch’ patents, first discovered in Japan and then Mexico, Taiwan, Russia, Turkey, Colombia and Chile. The tech giant was also reported to be on the hunt for smartwatch design talent.

Meanwhile, the world waits for a new iPhone, expected to be revealed around September. Speculated features include a slow motion camera and a location-aware battery, as well as possible larger display sizes for both the iPhone and the iPad.

In more tragic news, Apple launched an investigation into two incidents related to iPhones in China, one in which a woman was electrocuted by her charging smartphone and another where a man was left in a coma from an electric shock. It is suspected that counterfeit chargers are responsible.

New phones and tablet rumours from Nokia

Another big name in tech making headlines this month was Nokia. No sooner had we landed our hands on the recently announced flagship, the Lumia 925, when the Finnish phone-maker unveiled the Lumia 1020 and its stunning 41MP sensor.

The Lumia 1020 will be available exclusively from O2 in Ireland from September while the new Lumia 625 – Nokia’s largest-screen smartphone yet – will also hit operators in Q3.

Meanwhile, rumours of a Nokia tablet – which had been dormant for some time now –sprang up once more when a photo of an alleged display for such a device appeared online. The photo, which was posted to Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, is said to be from a factory floor in China and shows a 6-inch display, fit for either a tablet or phablet, with a thin bezel and room for a front-facing camera.

Image via Weibo

Image via Weibo

Coming soon

Moto X confirmed for 1 August launch

As well as updating its tablet devices and attempting to disrupt how we watch TV, Google also spent July building up hype for the new Moto X smartphone from Motorola Mobility. This is the first smartphone from Motorola to have Google’s input from start to finish and the company has been heavily promoting its customisable features and its ‘assembled in America’ tagline.

Earlier in the month, leaked documents pointed to an August launch, while leaked images suggest that customisation will allow users to pick from a wide variety of colours. Later, invites to a Moto X press event in New York City on 1 August confirmed that we’ll see this handset next month.

The device is thought to have enhanced voice control features, a 4.5-inch AMOLED display, 10.5MP rear camera, and a 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, an Adreno 320 GPU and, of course, Android 4.3 at its heart.

Main gadgets image via Shutterstock

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

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic