The week in gadgets: Sharp smartphone, LG curved monitor and sweet EV

25 Aug 2014

The Renovo Coupe

A look at gadget happenings, as Sharp releases the Aquos Crystal smartphone, LG shows off its new 21:9 curved TV, and Renovo launches a sweet new classically styled electric sports car.

Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphone

Sharp’s new smartphone is a pretty sleek 5-inch device aimed at consumers looking for a reasonably powerful phone at a moderate price. Dubbed the Aquos Crystal, the smartphone has been showcased to the US market prior to its launch on the Sprint network.

Starting at US$239, the phone features an edge-to-edge 720p display. The folks over at Engadget got their hands on the device and described it as looking like ‘something taken straight out of a science fiction movie set’.

The Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphone

In terms of specs, the Aquos Crystal reveals hardware that doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of the HTC One M8 or the iPhone 5S, with 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and a 1.2GHz processor, all run on Android Kit Kat 4.4.2.

No news yet on whether the Sharp Aquos Crystal will be released in Ireland.

LG Curved UltraWide Monitor

At the IFA 2014 in Berlin last week, LG showed off what it’s claiming is the world’s first 34-inch monitor to incorporate a curved IPS screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Catering particularly to photographers and filmmakers, this high-tech monitor features a quad HD display with a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440p for greater clarity and accuracy in editing.

It also supports two Thunderbolt cables for high-speed data transfers that will cater for multiple devices to be connected to form a superpower system, and it’s compatible on both PC and Mac.

LG’s flagship IPS 21:9 Curved Ultrawide Monitor

Renovo Coupe

When it comes to electric sports cars, it’s hard to look past Tesla’s position as the granddaddy of the electric vehicle (EV) business, but now an American company is trying to bring a new edge to the classic design of the 1960s, according to Engadget.

Simply known as the Coupe, Renovo has given the sweet-looking Shelby CSX9000 a 21st-century ecofriendly makeover. While the car might appeal more to those in the upper echelon of pay grades, drivers will receive all the joy of a fast-acceleration car without the gas-guzzling engine.

The electric engine has the equivalent of 500hp and is able to reach 100km/h in a blistering 3.4 seconds.

As someone who has driven an EV, there’s nothing quite like the ‘insta-torque’ of an electrically powered car.

Despite this, it’s still not going to beat the muscle cars it is trying to emulate with a top speed of somewhere around 200km/h.

As mentioned earlier, the price is not cheap … at all. With limited production set for next year, each one will set you back US$529,000 (€400,000).

Roku internet TVs

Roku, the media streaming company most popularly known for its range of streaming boxes and sticks, is doing away with requiring other branded TVs to connect to and is now gearing up for the release of its own-branded internet-connected TVs.

According to Bloomberg, the company has teamed up with the Chinese manufacturers Hisense and TCL to produce its range of TVs that will allow users to essentially recreate the exact same experience of a Roku streaming device built into its hardware.

The 55-inch TCL Roku TV

The company already provides access to more than 1,700 channels and services, including Netflix and YouTube, and is now looking at tackling the somewhat slow-moving smart TV market that has until now been prohibitively expensive for many people.

As for the pricing, the Hisense 32-inch TV is at the lower end of the scale at US$230 (€173), while the TCL 55-inch model is going for US$650 (€489).

Oxygen-producing artificial leaf

No, these aren’t the artificial leaves that make up the backdrops to less-than-reputable restaurants.

These are the first example of a man-made leaf that performs all the functions of a regular leaf, particularly its absorption of carbon dioxide and exhaling of oxygen.

According to CNet, Royal College of Arts graduate Julian Melchiorri created the leaves. He took the chloroplasts, the core compound in oxygen production, and placed it in a body made of a silk protein.

The most obvious use of this material is future space travel, should humans one day colonise other planets, or even travel in interstellar space ships.

By keeping a plant full of these leaves, there will be no need to carry quantities of plants on board, thereby saving time, storage and, most importantly, water consumption.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic