In 1957, one of the most powerful figures of our time was born in a small Swiss town. Though the majority wouldn’t even recognise his name, his countless distinct silhouettes are among the biggest players in the marketing and information spheres. He’s worked with everyone in the music industry from The Beatles to Swedish House Mafia. He’s the only one whose talents are diverse enough to justify appearing in advertisements for everyone from American Airlines to American Apparel and 3M to Verizon without being dismissed as a corporate shill. Every day, hundreds of millions of iPhone users are greeted with his face as they go about their days. And yet, he still frequently appears in public without anyone batting an eyelid.
For he is Helvetica. He is the typeface of both the 20th and 21st centuries. He is the symbol of modernism, of efficiency, of approachability and of sophistication. You saw him on the way to work this morning. He’s behind you on the fire exit sign. In some places, he’s even on your government documents and public transportation signage. The omnipresent typographical embodiment of Swiss neutrality brought brands into the age of machinery in the 1960s and beyond, forever changing the way we think about marketing and advertising.
It’s been a busy week in consumer technology and the world in general but also for our podcast squadron, who didn’t really have a chance to meet up and talk tech. Chris and Xavier found half an hour on Sunday night, though, so here is a show where we sound totally unprepared and blast through the headlines like there’s no tomorrow. WARNING: The creepy voice of Chris lives on, dear listener.
The Nexus 4 may be getting slightly long in the tooth now as it approaches its first birthday, but it’s still pretty powerful and boasting the very latest version of Android with continued prompt updates from Google. Our own Neil Thomas loved it when he reviewed it earlier this year, and now the phone – which was already mindblowingly cheap at launch – has received a price cut on Google’s Play Store, presumably in preparation for the impending release of its successor. The 8GB model, previously £239, is now just £159, and the 16GB variant, formerly £279, is now just £199. While neither variant sports LTE connectivity, there is absolutely no question that the best mid-market Android phone you could buy is now the best cheap Android phone the world has ever seen. Providing you’re willing to accept that there’s a new one pretty much right around the corner (and let’s face it, if that’s beyond you then you should avoid technology at all costs) then, like me, you’ll be sorely tempted.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some money to find.
Earlier this week, I published my extensive review of Nokia’s Lumia 720. If you haven’t read and watched it already, I’d sincerely recommend that you check it out, but today I’m bringing a new option of consuming our written word to the table. Alex, the lovely robot found within iTunes on Mac OS X, has made an audio version of my post which sounds remarkably good for one of these text-to-speech things. The concept of audio reviews is something I’ve been considering for a while now, so if you think it’s worth us continuing (even if we have to replace Alex with a human or alternative robot voice) give us a shout in the comments or on Twitter.
Henry makes a triumphant return to the show after Chris and Xavier break the biggest story of the week, in that you can now subscribe to and rate us in iTunes and all other leading podcatchers! Do that now! Please! We beg you!
There’s also a bit of minor tech news to go through, such as Apple’s new iPod Touch, Googlified editions of all your favourite Android phones, diminuitive and rugged editions of your favourite Samsung Galaxy S4, white editions of your favourite LG Nexus 4 and how the Nokia EOS leaks are probably deliberate ones from Nokia. There’s also the small matter of Computex craziness from Asus, Acer, Dell and Sony to go through, before a regular culture section dissolves into hardcore critiquing of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
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