The week in gadgets: smartwatches, Logitech’s PowerShell and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805

25 Nov 2013

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Samsung's range of Galaxy Gear smartwatches

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A look at gadget happenings, as Gartner predicts a quiet Christmas for smartwatches, Logitech introduces a mobile gaming device to transform iOS devices, and Qualcomm reveals its latest Snapdragon processor with support for 4K video.

Smartwatches fail to inspire Christmas wishes

Smartwatches will not be top of many Christmas wish lists this year, according to an analyst at Gartner. Annette Zimmermann claims that, although demand for these wearable gadgets is increasing, the most-wanted devices this season will be fitness bands and tablets.

Noting “lacklustre” sales of smartwatches to date, the principal research analyst said, “the products we have seen so far have been rather uninspiring in terms of design, available apps and features.”

In light of this, Gartner expects wearable devices to remain as companions to other mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets up to 2017.

“The convenience aspect of using a watch for interaction while leaving the larger-screen phone or tablet in the bag or pocket is something that users can relate to and probably recognise its value. However, there are still several significant barriers to mainstream adoption, including low interest and awareness among consumers, poor design, and price,” said Zimmermann.

Logitech’s PowerShell Controller + Battery

According to its own research, Logitech claims that 87pc of iPhone and iPod touch users play games on their device. To improve on this mobile gaming experience, the gadget-maker has introduced the Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery turns, which not only turns compatible devices into mobile gaming consoles, but also boosts their battery life to cope with additional gaming activity.

The PowerShell works with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch devices running iOS 7. Simply pop one into the PowerShell as you would a standard case and make use of the D-pad, shoulder triggers and face buttons familiar to console gamers, freeing up the full screen for gameplay.

Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery

The PowerShell is shaped so that users can still access power, volume, camera, speakers, headphone jack and charging on their mobile device. The added power comes from a 1,500mAh battery included in the case, which can be recharged along with the mobile device battery without removing it from the controller.

The PowerShell Controller is compatible with the iOS 7 game controller framework, which supports games such as Bastion, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, MetalStorm Aces, Galaxy On Fire 2 HD and Nitro, all available from the App Store.

The mobile gaming accessory is priced at €100 and pre-orders can be made now on Logitech.com, while the device will hit Apple Stores and other retailers in December.

Qualcomm’s 4K-ready mobile processor

Qualcomm – whose Snapdragon chips have been used in the flagship smartphones of top brands like Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG – last week announced a new Snapdragon processor capable of supporting 4K video on mobile devices.

The quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor clocks in at 2.5GHz and comes with an Adreno 420 graphics engine to process 4K or Ultra-HD video at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. Its memory bandwidth is also enough to handle 4K rendering at low power.

This advanced chip, which also features an integrated LTE modem and support for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi band, will start cropping up in devices in the first quarter of next year.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com