We know what we’re going to see, with Galaxy and Ativ stuff having already been leaked and, in some cases, announced, but that’s not going to take away our liveblogging fun. Henry and I will be providing our usual dose of snark and sarcasm along with the news from Samsung’s London event, so join us for a magical journey (if IFA 2012 is anything to go by).
Last June, a mysterious event invite came out of Microsoft’s Washington HQ. Unlike pretty much every other tech launch in the last two years, we hadn’t seen any major leaks beforehand, although rumours of the launch being for a tablet with Windows 8 (or, according to Mat Honan, a #MSFTaaaaaablet). What the company ultimately unveiled was the Surface, its first piece of Windows-based hardware, in both RT and Pro flavours, the latter of which still hasn’t made it to the UK. In a brave experiment, I have spent the last couple of months using the RT model as my primary computer, and it’s definitely been turning heads. Has this been for good reasons, though? Read on to find out. Continue reading →
Henry and I went to The Gadget Show Live in Birmingham on Friday, an annual extravaganza for tech companies to show off their latest wares to consumers in partnership with the popular Channel 5 programme, and we decided that we would turn our experiences of the event into a comprehensive report at the end of it. What you will read below this paragraph is the resulting document, which grew progressively more animated as the day drew to a close. What started out as a ‘thoughtful’ and ‘insightful’ piece descended into madness, dictated by bouncing, swiveling and a whole plethora of GIFs. This article is not for those with poor internet connections, but we hope you join us through our journey into the wonderful madness that was The Gadget Show Live 2013.
This was the entrance.
As you can probably tell, the whole event was sponsored by Microsoft, and it became apparent that the company wanted to push its products, mainly Windows, to the showgoers. Dominating the show floor was this stand.
On this stand, you could find pretty much every Windows Phone and bizarre Windows 8 form factor under the sun, so we made GIFs of them all.
What impressed us in particular was the Dell XPS 12. We spent a long time just spinning its screen round and round.
In the end, we left it like this.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist received similar treatment from both myself…
Henry also took a shine to the dual-screened Asus Taichi.
We both just laughed at Toshiba’s 21:9 offering, though.
As we moved away from Microsoft’s stand, Henry tried to capture the atmosphere on his Surface RT.
Soon after, we found ourselves in the Game Zone for an on-stage Grid 2 competition. Henry was lucky enough to be one of the 8 competitors hand-picked from the crowd.
He then faced the embarassment of coming in 4th in front of the gathered crowd. See if you can spot us both by clicking the image for full resolution.
After this, we found some calmer places to demo the game, which is set for release at the end of May.
The best one was undoubtedly the LG stand, which let visitors drive round the Red Bull Ring on a £19,999 84″ 4K/Ultra HD TV, shown off in the UK for the first time, coupled with a Vesaro sim racing setup that clocked in at £15,000. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for videos from this stand later this week.
Just next door, Samsung had a few HDTVs, a Galaxy Note 10.1 and a Perspex-encased Galaxy S4.
On the other side of LG, Bowers & Wilkins were showing off some bizarre speakers.
Sony, perched close to Microsoft, had a bus, which was sadly not open to the public.
Honda’s tiny stand showcased Miimo, a robotic lawnmower that borrows technology from the company’s line of Asimo humanoid robots.
Pioneer’s DJ equipment got Henry up and scratching merrily.
3D printers were all the rage this year.
Parrot’s cage full of AR.Drones being demoed every 5 minutes was prime material for GIFs.
The most fun we had all day was at the end with Kangoo Jumps. We bounced a lot.
Although Henry gained unnatural amounts of pleasure from making unusual GIFs of me.
The opposite was also true, however.
All in all, we had a great day at The Gadget Show Live. It was jam-packed full of cutting-edge technology and definitely worth the 6 hour round trip to Birmingham. From Henry…
…and from myself…
…we hope to see you all there next year!
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event was headlined by the appearance of Jessica Alba, but otherwise very little unknown information surfaced about the operating system or the devices it would appear upon. One smidgen of news that did emerge, however, was that a Samsung device, depicted by a lonely silhouette and named the Ativ Odyssey, was in the pipeline for a December release on Verizon in the US. Of course December came and went without a release, but CES gave Samsung the opportunity to show the 4″ Windows Phone 8 device to the world. Now, a press release has stated that the phone will be available sooner rather than later, with stores set to receive the Ativ Odyssey and Valentine’s Day editions of the Nokia Lumia 822 and Motorola Droid Razr M tomorrow (January 24th).
The Odyssey joins the Lumia 822 and HTC 8X in Verizon’s lineup of LTE Windows Phones, and its microSD slot and 2100mAh battery should win it some fans, although the 800 x 480 screen resolution and 5MP camera show that it is pitched towards the lower end of the market. As with almost all other Windows Phone 8 devices, the package comes powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip accompanied by 1GB of RAM, and it will be available for $49.99 with a new 2 year contract, while whispers of a European launch remain unconfirmed but not impossible.
The Surface Pro, the big brother to Microsoft’s Surface RT which was released in October last year, won’t go on sale in January as originally planned, but you will be able to have one in your hands by February 9th. On the bright side, Microsoft do seem to have admitted defeat with their Surface RT retail strategy, which was so bad that it was nominated for our biggest failure award – the Seattle-based company says that the Surface Pro will have wide retail availability beyond just Microsoft.com and Microsoft Stores.
We knew that Microsoft were targeting the high-end market with the Surface Pro, but even so the prices they’ve announced do seem extortionate. The minimum you’ll find yourself paying for one is $899, for the 64GB version with no covers included. The 128GB model will add $100 on to that price. The Surface RT 32GB tablet, the cheapest member of the Surface family you’ll find, would set you back $499, so there is obviously a significant difference between the RT and the Pro. Like with the its little brother, if you want to buy a keyboard cover for your Surface Pro it will cost $119 for the Touch Cover or $129 for the Type one. Microsoft will throw in a free pressure-sensitive pen in the box too.
On the same date as the Surface Pro is released, Microsoft have announced that a standalone 64GB will be made available for $599 – previously you could only buy it as a package with the black Touch Cover for $699.
It’s nice to finally get some genuine information on the Surface Pro, but we really feel that the large price tag will put a lot of potential consumers off buying one. Mind you, Microsoft do seem to be aiming here to make something which will completely replace your laptop or desktop PC, whereas previous tablets have only really been able to be used in conjunction with another device, to do all the ‘serious’ stuff on. The Surface Pro will certainly be an interesting one to watch, but personally we can’t see it taking off.
In a blog entry posted today, Windows Phone corporate vice president Terry Myerson confirmed Microsoft’s plans for Windows Phone 7.8, the update that the company has remained quiet about since its announcement at the Windows Phone 8 event in June. Serving to sweeten the blow for existing Windows Phone 7.x device owners that are unable to update their devices to the latest version of the operating system, 7.8 will bring new Start screen options including resizeable tiles and 20 theme colours, and users can also opt to have new password options and the daily Bing picture as their lock screen wallpaper. While developers are unlikely to target 7.x for app releases due to SDK changes for 8, Myerson promises that Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars will soon join Draw Something and Words With Friends in the expanding Windows Phone Store for 7.x. The update is currently said to be in testing with OEM and carrier partners, and Microsoft hope for a smooth rollout of the update in early 2013.
Source Windows Phone Blog