The week in gadgets: G Flex, YotaPhone, reversible USB, and Xbox scam’s happy ending

9 Dec 2013

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LG G Flex launches in key Asian markets

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A look at gadget happenings, as LG’s G Flex hits new markets, a new dual-screen phone features an E Ink display, a disappointed eBay customer gets a free Xbox One, and we get ready for a USB revolution.

LG G Flex expected to hit Europe in 2014

Following its release in South Korea, LG has expanded the reach of its G Flex flexible smartphone to other markets in Asia. Pre-orders for the curved handset kicked off on 8 December in Singapore while the phone reaches Hong Kong on 13 December.

The South Korean company plans to reach more Asian markets by year end and mobile operator Orange has confirmed that the G Flex will be available in France come February 2014, prompting speculation that other European markets will see it around the same time.

The G Flex sports the world’s first curved smartphone battery as well as a curved 6-inch plastic OLED display. The rear cover features self-healing properties so that it can withstand bends and everyday scrapes and scratches.

The vertically curved smartphone is intended to fit both the user’s face and pocket more comfortably. Inside, it’s a high-spec device featuring Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, a 13MP rear camera, a 2.1MP front-facing camera, a 3,500mAh battery, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage and a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.

YotaPhone reveals smartphone with second E Ink screen

Another innovation in the smartphone market last week was the introduction of the YotaPhone, the first mobile phone developed by Russian company Yota.

This unique Android smartphone features a second always-on E Ink display in addition to its LCD. The idea is that the phone’s battery life can be extended by transferring web pages and other display information to the low-power second screen.

YotaPhone

YotaPhone with LCD (left) and E Ink displays

The YotaPhone is available now in Russia, Austria, France, Spain and Germany priced at €499, and plans are to reach 20 more countries by March next year.

The phone also features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 12MP rear camera.

Xbox One eBay scam victim gets free console from CeX

When Peter Clatworthy saw a picture of a limited-edition Xbox One Day One console for sale on eBay, he wilfully handed over stg£450 (plus postage) and excitedly waited for it to arrive. The only problem is his order was for just that: a picture of the console, which arrived on 2 December with ‘Thank you for your purchase’ written on the back.

An important lesson in caveat emptor, Clatworthy failed to note the product description which confirmed that what was for sale was a photo of the console and not the console itself.

A resident of Nottingham suburb Bilborough, Clatworthy’s story was picked up by the Nottingham Post and soon gained worldwide attention. One person who read the story was the assistant manager of electronics store CeX, who then decided to donate a console to the unlucky online shopper as an early Christmas gift.

eBay also came to Clatworthy’s assistance, banning the sneaky seller and arranging for a full refund.

Reversible USB on the way

Development of a next-generation reversible USB plug has finally begun, the USB Implementers Forum announced last week. The new Type-C connector is an addition to the USB 3.1 specification and its final specification should be complete by mid-2014.

The new USB connector will be smaller than micro-USB, allowing for thinner devices to be created. The fact that it can be used either side up will also improve ease of use. Current USB 3.0 is equipped for data transfer rates of up to 5Gb/s while USB 3.1 will double this to 10Gb/s.

The Type-C USB is intended to be a single, all-purpose port and Alex Peleg, vice-president of Intel’s Platform Engineering Group, said it “is the only connector one will need across all devices.”

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com