The week in gadgets: Haswell PCs, a tablet, laptop and desktop in one and tech for dogs

10 Jun 2013

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Whistle, a fitness-tracker for dogs

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A look at gadget happenings, as Computex brings us new computers from Sony and Acer featuring Intel’s new Haswell processors, plus a revolutionary all-in-one tablet, laptop and desktop from Asus. We also have new smartphones from Vodafone and Sony, Samsung’s latest tablets, leaked information on new devices coming from HTC, Nokia and BlackBerry, and a fitness tracker for man’s best friend.

Future of the PC unveiled at Computex

The annual Computex computer expo took place in Taipei last week and, with it, came a wealth of announcements for the PC market, from processors to hybrids to desktops.

As well as Intel teasing a new smartphone processor codenamed Merrifield, we had new devices from Sony and Acer that will feature the chip-maker’s forthcoming fourth-generation Haswell architecture, the follow-up to Ivy Bridge that’s expected to raise the bar for power consumption and battery life.

Acer’s new Haswell PC devices include two new ultrabooks, the Aspire S3-392 and the Aspire S7-392. The former sports a 13.3-inch 1080p display that opens out to a flat 180 degrees, and features Nvidia GeForce GT735M graphics and a 1TB hard drive in an aluminium-encased package that weighs 1.65kg and is less than an inch thick.

Acer Aspire S3-392

Acer Aspire S3-392

The Aspire S7-392 is a touchscreen ultrabook that, thanks to Haswell, claims to have 33pc better battery life than its predecessor. It also houses 8GB of RAM, a choice 128GB or 256GB SSD, and can be configured with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display to rival Apple’s Retina display.

Acer also announced an 8-inch Iconia W3 tablet at Computex, the first tablet of its size running Windows 8. This will run on Intel’s current-generation Atom processor and features a 1,280 x 800 display, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 2MP front and rear cameras and an optional Bluetooth keyboard dock.

Acer Iconia W3

Acer Iconia W3

Intel’s fourth-generation Core i-series Haswell processsors will also appear in new ultrabooks from Sony. The Vaio Duo 13 is a new 13.3-inch hybrid featuring Windows 8 and the same Surf Slider design employed by the Vaio Duo 11.

Sony Vaio Duo 13

Sony Vaio Duo 13

The Duo 13 also comes with a digitiser stylus, 8MP rear camera, a full backlit keypard and full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 LED Triluminos Display for mobile. The device makes use of always-on technology to ensure it’s always up to date, but the battery still claims up to 16 hours of life, which is more than any other ultrabook currently promises.

Sony claims its new Vaio Pro range has the world’s lightest 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch touchscreen ultrabooks. Built using durable uni-direction carbon fibre, which is lighter and stronger than aluminium, these Windows 8 laptops each feature full-HD Triluminos Display for mobile, NFC connectivity, and a backlit keyboard.

Sony Vaio Pro 13

Sony Vaio Pro 13

The Pro 13 offers eight hours of battery life while the Pro 11 offers 11, but there’s also an optional sheet battery to extend battery performance to up to 18 hours on the Pro 13 and up to 25 on the Pro 11.

These new computers from Sony will be available in Europe later this month.

Another interesting reveal from Computex came from Asus, who unveiled the Transfomer Book Trio: an innovative device combining a tablet, laptop and desktop. The tablet format runs on Android and comes with an 11.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display, 2GHz Intel Atom processor and 64GB storage.

Asus Transformer Book Trio

Asus Transformer Book Trio

Attach the slate to the keyboard and the hybrid laptop can run both Android and Windows as the keyboard contains its own battery, 750GB hard drive, Core i7 processor and Windows 8 operating system. The keyboard can also be connected to a wireless monitor and used as a Windows 8 desktop PC. What’s more, while the system is being used as a desktop, the Android tablet can be used independently by another.

HTC One Mini and Nokia EOS leaks, BlackBerry A10 rumours

The HTC One Mini was recently certified by the Bluetooth SIG (special interest group), proving its existence and hinting that a launch is near. Following leaks on an Estonian website last week, the lower-spec version of the flagship HTC One is expected to feature a 4.3-inch 720p display, 4MP UltraPixel camera, dual-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.

HTC One Mini leaked image (pictured with HTC One)

Leaked HTC One Mini (left) picture next to HTC One (via http://forte.delfi.ee/)

The site also predicted an August release date and a price of around €400.

Also leaked this week were alleged images of the Nokia EOS. Images posted by GSM Arena and ViziLeaks show a squared-off smartphone with a prominent rear camera, sparking rumours that this new Nokia device will follow on where the 41MP 808 Pureview left off.

Leaked image of Nokia EOS

Leaked imge of Nokia EOS (via GSMArena.com)

Leaked Nokia EOS image

Leaked Nokia EOS image (via ViziLeaks)

Meanwhile, the BlackBerry A10 – the company-formerly-known-as-RIM’s next flagship touchscreen device – has all but been officially confirmed to be arriving in November this year. Improving on the Z10 , the A10 is said to be a 5-inch device with more processing power and RAM than its predecessor.

New smart devices from Sony, Samsung and Vodafone

The Vodafone Smart 3 is a new affordable smartphone exclusively from Vodafone Ireland. The 4-inch device features a responsive WVGA capacitive touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM and 5MP camera with LED flash. It runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and can be personalised with graphic sheets. And Vodafone Pay As You Go customers that pick up the Smart 3 before 31 July (priced at €99) will get the added bonus of one month’s free usage.

Sony will have a new smartphone hitting the Irish market in August in both single and dual-SIM versions. The Xperia M and Xperia Mdual follows the same design language as the flagship Xperia Z and will be available in black, white, purple and yellow.

Sony Xperia M

Sony Xperia M

The Xperia M models both come with a 4-inch FWVGA touchscreen display, NFC, 1GHz Qualxomm dual-core processor, Android Jelly Bean and a 5MP fast-capture camera with auto-focus, HDR and a dedicated shutter button.

Sony Xperia M

Sony Xperia M

Some other mobile devices announced last week were the new Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch and 10-inch models. The two new tablets will run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, arriving later this year. The 8-inch features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, 1.5GB RAM and a WXGA TFT display with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 (189ppi).

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1

The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 model’s specifications are much the same, but putting the same screen resolution on a 10.1-inch display gives you a lower ppi of 149, while RAM drops to 1GB and the rear camera is also less powerful at 3MP.

Doggy fitness goes high-tech

A new US start-up wants to take dog-walking into the 21st century with Whistle, a wearable tracking device for dogs.

The metal disc with a three-axis accelerometer fits to the collar of any dog over 7lbs and costs US$99.95. The waterproof sensor will track the dog’s movements, whether walking, playing or resting, and its owner can view this information using a free iPhone app (an Android version is coming soon).

 

Whistle provides users with insights based on their dog’s breed, weight and age and can send reports to their vet. While it may seem superfluous, a device tracking trends in your pet’s activities over time could help to detect any health problems early and, with more dogs in the US than kids, there’s most definitely a market looking to keep them fit.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com