The week in gadgets: a universal keyboard, Apple’s fall from the top, and a battery-saving update

12 Nov 2012

A look at gadget happenings, including a portable universal keyboard for tablets and smartphones, Chrome’s battery-saving browser update, and the iPhone’s fall from the top of the global smartphone market.

Elecom’s universal keyboard

Spotted on Broadsheet last week, Japanese electronics manufacturer Elecom’s pocket keyboard can connect to most tablets and smartphones using Bluetooth 3.0. The retractable keyboard is powered by two AAA batteries and switches on automatically when sliding the lid off the compact body.

Opening it up reveals a full-size ergonomic QWERTY keyboard with keys measuring 17.5mm square. When not in use, the keyboard folds in to a protective carry case to keep dust and debris away.

The keyboard, available in black and white, is released in Japan this month, while consumers in Europe can keep an eye out for it in Elecom’s European online store.

Elecom keyboard

Elecom keyboard

Elecom keyboard

Apple losing out to Samsung in smartphone market

Global smartphone shipments were up 39pc year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012 and the Android platform now accounts for 74pc of the global market, according to a report from Strategy Analytics. While the Google-made OS is said to be peaking in North America, other regions are approaching record market share levels, with Apple’s iOS forever playing second fiddle.

By far, Apple’s biggest Android-selling competitor is Samsung, which saw sales of its flagship smartphone topple the iPhone 4S to become the world’s most popular smartphone in Q3.

In the five months since its release, the Galaxy S III has sold 30m units worldwide – equating to one unit sold every 0.45 seconds.

Samsung Galaxy S III infographic

In China, Apple dropped out of the country’s list of top 5 smartphones in Q3 while Samsung maintained its position as China’s leading smartphone manufacturer with 14pc of the market. Chinese manufacturer Lenovo is a close second at 13pc – a position once held by the iPhone in the first quarter of this year, dropping to fifth place in Q2 and now out of the top 5 completely.

This is due to a surge in popularity of local manufacturers, with Yulong – makers of Coolpad smartphones, which sell for less than US$100 – appearing in the top 5 for the first time in third place. Fellow Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei rounded out the top 5, each taking about 10pc of the market share.

Chrome update saves battery power

The latest Chrome Stable release enables GPU-accelerated video decoding for Chrome on Windows, which means these users can now watch more online video while consuming less power.

Since dedicated graphics chips draw less power than the CPU, GPU-accelerated video decoding can increase a device’s battery life. In Google’s tests, battery power lasted 25pc longer using the latest version of Chrome.

This update will automatically roll out to users of Chrome for Windows.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic