The week in gadgets: Amazon targets gamers, Chromecast goes global, Huawei’s dual-OS

18 Mar 2014

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Leaked image of an Amazon-branded games controller

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A look at gadget happenings, as Amazon’s rumoured streaming device and controller sparks the interest of gamers, Google’s Chromecast readies itself for a global release, Huawei confirms a dual-OS smartphone, and HTC leaks highlight two cameras at the rear.

Amazon’s compact streaming device to support gaming

It seems that Amazon’s rumoured TV-connected media-streaming device will be less like the Apple TV and more like Google’s Chromecast or the Roku Streaming Stick, if most recent reports are to be believed.

TechCrunch’s sources claim the new product will be another HDMI dongle for the market but with additional support for streaming full PC games, which could set it apart from the aforementioned competition.

It is believed the device will stream content from Amazon Instant Video and other video sources, such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as the e-commerce giant’s vast MP3 audio stores, while games will reportedly be streamed from Amazon at 30fps.

Video-game streaming could also explain the recently leaked images of an Amazon-branded Bluetooth controller. This device comes with the typical gamer controls – shoulder buttons, triggers, analogue sticks, a D-pad and A, B, X, Y buttons – plus media playback buttons, suggesting compatibility with the media-streaming device.

The controller also features Android-esque keys for menu navigations, suggesting Amazon will continue in its forked Android operating system tradition, plus a LED array to indicate battery level and Bluetooth connectivity, and a central button to access Amazon’s GameCircle.

While Amazon’s streaming device is said to still be in testing, the controller is also rumoured to be compatible with the brand’s Kindle Fire tablet range.

Chromecast set to go global this month

Speaking of Google’s Chromecast, rumour has it international rollout is coming soon. An update to the device’s Android app that included support for more than 50 languages along with its bug fixes first aroused suspicion, and since then a retail spokesperson speaking to TechRadar confirmed the device will hit the UK very soon. The source also strongly suggested a stg£30 price tag, reflecting favourably on the US$35 original.

Sundar Pichai, Google SVP and head of Android, previously suggested that further rollout of the two-inch media-streaming device would come by the end of March, so it appears that everything is right on track. We only hope that Ireland is included in these upcoming plans.

HTC’s latest doubles up on rear cameras

HTC’s 2014 flagship smartphone – to be unveiled on 25 March – is suspected to come fitted with two cameras at its rear. According to a brochure from Australian mobile operator Telstra seen by GSMArena.com, this Duo Camera feature will allow users to adjust focus points in images and create bokeh effects – just what the hip smartphone photographer wants.

Duo Camera is also said to enable 3D effects, which GSMArena.com has taken to mean more than just 3D photos and videos.

Adjustable focus is already featured on the latest flagship models from Samsung, Sony and LG so, with this, HTC keeps apace with its Android competition – the unique selling point being that this phone won’t need to take multiple shots with one camera, but instead one shot with dual shooters.

Huawei confirms dual-OS smartphone as Asus backs out

Huawei’s rumoured dual-operating system smartphone is official, as confirmed by the company’s chief marketing officer Shao Yang.

Yang broke the news to Trusted Reviews, revealing the company’s commitment to a multi-OS strategy. Not only did the executive confirm plans for a smartphone marrying Android and Windows Phone on a single device, he also stated it will be released in the US in Q2 of this year.

“If it is Windows only, maybe people will not find it as easy a decision to buy the phone. If they have the Android and Windows together, you can change it as you wish and it is much easier for people to choose Windows Phone,” he said.

Asus, on the other hand, has decided to drop its plans to release a dual-OS tablet this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Transformer Book Duet TD300 first revealed at at CES in January has been indefinitely postponed due to pressure from Google and Microsoft, the article suggests.

Asus will also stop selling two dual-OS all-in-one PCs released last year due to Microsoft’s lack of support for dual-OS products, making Huawei’s move in the mobile market all the more surprising.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com