The week in gadgets

27 Jun 2011

Summertime is supposed to be quiet – not so on the gadget front! There are indications that Apple is preparing to launch its new MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt; new technology at Best Buy will force thieves to return stolen devices; and Stephen Elop reveals Nokia’s first Windows phone.

Apple MacBook Air refresh looms

Rumours of Apple’s impending refresh of MacBook Air super slim notebooks to be reinvigorated with Intel Sandy Bridge processors, a Thunderbolt port and a Gold Master build of OS X Lion are gaining pace.

It is understood that US consumer electronics giant Best Buy has put a hold on online MacBook Air orders, fuelling speculation that a refresh is looming.

Mac OS X is due for release on the Mac App Store in July.

Freeze! We’ve got your photo and your location

In another Best Buy-related story, it seems innovative Irish technology will be deployed by the Geek Squad at Best Buy stores across America to help combat the loss and theft of mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Using a clever technology developed by Cork company Yougetitback, thieves who attempt to use a stolen smartphone or laptop, for example, will suddenly find the device has taken their picture, logged their location and sent it back to Best Buy, also urging them to return the product to its rightful owner.

Key features include Remote and Automatic Locking, SIM Change Locking, SMS Locking (use any mobile phone to text your lock code to the missing device), Device Scream, Location Mapping, Theft Deterrent and Recovery Encouragement.

According to Paul Prendergast, head of sales and co-founder of Yougetitback, the addition to Geek Squad Black Tie Protection provides customers with greater security for important data coupled with a sophisticated, market-proven device recovery program.

“Locked & Found provides consumers with an experience that reflects the value customers place on their mobile products. The benefits of this program include increased data security coupled with a greater likelihood of recovery of lost or stolen devices.”

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to arrive in August

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will launch on 4 August in the UK, with a spokesperson saying the Honeycomb tablet will launch in Ireland later this summer.

The tablet will run on Android 3.1, the next update to Google’s tablet OS.

It will be equipped with a 1GHz dual core processor with a NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, will offer a 10.1-inch WXGA TFT LCD screen and will be just 8.6mm thick.

It will offer 1080p HD video capabilities and will support Flash playback.

Samsung will also launch the Galaxy Tab 8.9, a mid-sized tablet between the original 7-inch device and the larger 10-inch device, later this year in the UK.

Nokia unwittingly reveals first Windows Phone – codenamed ‘Sea Ray’

Despite urging people not to film his presentation, video nonetheless surfaced on the internet of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop showing off a new smartphone that will be the fruits of the first collaboration between the Finnish firm and Microsoft.

In the video, Elop can barely contain his excitement and he unveils on screen a pillow-shaped, ultra-thin Nokia device running Windows Phone 7 Mango that is code named ‘Sea Ray.’

In a video that first appeared on Engadget, Elop says: “We want you to understand that innovation lives on at Nokia and how well as a company we are executing.”

The side of the all-black device has a similar button arrangement to the N9 MeeGo phone that was unveiled this past week, and on the back it sports a Carl Zeiss camera.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years