The week in gadgets: iPhone Gamepad, Nvidia Shield and a toilet tablet accessory

24 Jun 2013

Nvidia Shield

A look at gadget happenings, as Nvidia’s Shield gets a new price, Logitech is rumoured to have iPhone gamepads ready for iOS 7, scientists at Harvard have managed to print a battery, HTC and Huawei have new smartphones to show off, and CTA Digital bring us another toilet-based iPad accessory.

Nvidia Shield price drops ahead of release

Originally expected to retail for US$350, the price of the Nvidia Shield has been knocked back to US$300 ahead of the release of the Android-based portable games console on 27 June.

First unveiled as a concept device at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January, Shield has graduated into a full-formed product featuring a console-class controller attached to a high-definition 5-inch display for gaming on the go.

As an Nvidia product, it comes with the chip-makers best-in-class Tegra 4 mobile processor. As well as Android games, Shield will also be able stream PC games via Wi-Fi and allow users to watch movies and listen to music.

Nvidia Shield is initially available only in the US and Canada, but those excited by the prospect of laying their hands on one this side of the water can sign up to be notified of any oncoming international expansion.

iPhone Gamepad

Sticking with mobile gaming, Kotaku published this image of an alleged iPhone 5 Gamepad made by Logitech last week. The forthcoming iPhone accessory is said to be scheduled for release this year, likely coinciding with the release of iOS 7 in autumn, as the new operating system apparently caters for third-party controllers.

iPhone Gamepad by Logitech (via Kotaku)

Apple, Kotaku reports, will not be making its own version of the game-controller accessory, but other iPhone accessory-makers are expected to follow suit.

Powerful 3D-printed lithium-ion battery

Reported on Nature, a team from Harvard University have created a powerful microbattery using a 3D printer.

The 3D printer was custom built to use materials loaded with lithium-metal-oxide particles and the resulting printed battery measures less than 1mm on each side, weighs less than 100mcg and can fit on the head of a pin.

It’s one of the smallest lithium-ion batteries ever made and the first battery ever to be created using a 3D printer.

Despite its diminutive size, the rechargeable battery stores 2.7mW per square centimetre, making it as powerful, gram-for-gram, as larger batteries used in laptops and electric cars.

The tiny, printable power source could be used to power minuscule medical devices or even miniature robots. Jennifer Lewis, the materials scientist that led the team, hopes to eventually be able to print complete electronic devices from scratch.

New smartphones from HTC and Huawei

We had two new smartphone announcements this week, the first coming from Huawei with a new flagship for the Ascend P series.

The Huawei Ascend P6 is the world’s slimmest smartphone at 6.18mm thick, weighing in at about 120g. Inside this slim, brushed metallic package is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2,000mAh battery and a 4.7-inch HD (720p) LCD screen.

Huawei Ascend P6

The devices runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean overlaid with Huawei’s own Emotion UI. Focus is on the phone’s camera features, with an 8MP f2.0 rear-facing BSI camera capable of 1080p full-HD video recording and an unusual 5MP packing the front-facing camera – clearly one for the selfie-enthusiast.

The Ascend P6 also features MagicTouch, which mean the touchscreen is responsive even if you’re wearing gloves, and battery performance is said to be improved by more than 30pc compared to equivalent-sized smartphones

Available in black, white and pink with matching colour cases, the Huawei Ascend P6 will be hitting Western Europe from July through Vodafone, Telefónica (O2) and Carphone Warehouse.

Following that we have the upgraded HTC Butterfly S with features first introduced on the flagship HTC One, such as HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Zoe and HTC BoomSound.

BoomSound offers bigger sound from dual front-facing stereo speakers, two dedicated amplifiers and Beats Audio integration. The new Butterfly S also has a HTC UltraPixel camera to capture more light than its rivals and offering advanced editing capabilities with HTC Zoe.

HTC Butterfly S

Behind the 5-inch full-HD Super LCD 3 display, you have a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and a 3,200mAh battery – HTC’s longest-lasting battery to date. The device runs on Android Jelly Bean combined with HTC Sense 5

The new HTC Butterfly S is earmarked for global availability but will hit the Asia Pacific region first in July.

LG and Qualcomm prepare for next G-series

LG’s next G-series of smartphones will come equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor.

This will enable faster LTE speeds, quicker and smoother web browsing, more powerful graphics and an improved multimedia experience. Overall, the Snapdragon 800 offers up to 75pc better performance than Qualcomm’s current top-of-the-range mobile processor, the Snapdragon S4 Pro.

The upgraded performance is made possible by Krait 400 CPUs in quad configuration and a new Adreno 330 GPU – which offers twice better performance over the current Adreno 320 GPU.

With the Snapdragon 800, LG’s next G-series devices would be capable of capturing and playing video in Ultra-HD (four-times the definition of 1080p HD) and feature screen resolutions up to 2,560 x 2,048.

iPad accessory for bathroom browsing

We simply couldn’t let you continue your week without making you aware of this dual-purpose toilet-roll holder and iPad stand, available for about US$40.

iPad toilet stand by CTA Digital

Compatible with second to fourth-generation iPads, the chrome Digital Pedestal Stand features a bendable gooseneck stand for your tablet plus an ‘optional’ toilet-roll holder.

Unsurprisingly, this iPad accessory comes from CTA Digital – the same company that brought us the iPotty.

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.