Gadgets of the month: smartphones streak ahead as we await the new iPhone

30 Aug 2013

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We take a look back at some of the biggest gadget news this month, with smartphones overtaking feature phones on a global scale and games console-makers vying for our attention with new announcements. We also look ahead at what’s to come from the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Apple’s upcoming iPhone event.

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

This month…

Smartphones are taking over

August 2013 marked a tipping point for smartphones, as sales overtook feature phones for the first time, according to figures from Gartner. We also learned from IDC that Android’s global market share has almost reached 80pc following a decline in take-up of Apple’s iOS.

But whether we’re using Android smartphones or Nokia feature phones, half of us are apparently suffering from ‘nomophobia’, which is the fear of being without a phone or cellular coverage. The horror!

Gaming news

This month was big news for gaming, with announcements coming from all three of the big players: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

First we had the unboxing of the Xbox One by the Microsoft Game Network’s director of programming Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson. The revealing video let fans know what they can expect in the box when they get their very own Xbox One, which includes goodies such as a 4K HDMI cable, a 1080p high-definition Kinect sensor and, in some packages, a free digital copy of FIFA 14.

The anticipation will last longer for some, though, as Microsoft later announced that the Xbox One’s release has been delayed in eight European countries (but not Ireland). When the official release date will fall, exactly, is not yet known, but new rumours have tipped 8 November as a possibility.

This would be earlier than the announced release date for the PlayStation 4, which arrives on 29 November. But first, we’ll have a new Nintendo 2DS coming 12 October, giving users the choice of a lower-cost hand-held console to play 3DS games in classic 2D. PlayStation has also attempted to make gaming more affordable with both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita dropping to €199.

Coming soon…

Getting ready for Galaxy Gear at IFA

The IFA consumer electronics show comes to Berlin once again next week and Siliconrepublic.com will be reporting from the event. There will likely be plenty to surprise us but what we’re really looking forward to seeing is a Galaxy Gear wristwatch from Samsung.

Wearable tech has often been cited as the next big thing for consumers and tech analyst IDC recently lowered its sales forecast for tablet computers in 2013 as it believes wearable devices and phablets will have such a strong impact on this market.

The Galaxy Gear could be a key contender. We’re expecting a smart watch running Android 4.2 that can make calls, access the internet and sync with social media accounts. The device will officially be unveiled on 4 September, at a special press event ahead of IFA, and leaked specs point to an integrated camera, NFC capabilities, Bluetooth 4.0 and an accelerometer housed behind a 320 x 320 OLED display measuring 2.5 inches. All of which could be powered by a 1.5GHz Samsung Exynos 4212 dual-core  processor and Mali-400 MP4 GPU.

What’s in store for Apple’s iPhone?

Another device we’re all keen to lay eyes on next month is a new iPhone from Apple. Or, maybe, new iPhones. Apple has reportedly asked suppliers to ship two different models in September, adding further weight to rumours that a lower-cost iPhone will accompany the unveiling of a new flagship device.

The so-called ‘iPhone 5C’ will probably come in an array of colours, much like the current iPod touch, whereas the high-end ‘iPhone 5S’ may introduce a third colour option to the traditional black and white. Reports this month claimed a champagne-gold iPhone could be part of the upcoming announcement in order to gain favour with the Chinese market.

It’s thought that the planned 10 September event will deal with new iPhone models only and we’ll be waiting a few more months for a thinner and lighter full-sized iPad and an iPad mini with a Retina display.

Main gadgets image via Shutterstock

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

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com