Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top gadgets for 2013

To kick off the new year, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look through some of the expected tech launches in 2013.

Before you start back-flipping with excitement, none of this list has been confirmed, most of it comes from rumours. Still, rumours aren’t always wrong, so here's what we expect to be the hottest gadgets of 2013.

Retina iPad mini

The iPad mini was a standout moment in 2012. Apple’s foray into the world of the affordable tablet was a somewhat symbolic backtrack over a product the company had originally steered clear of.
What it lacked against the competition was a class-leading screen, something for which Apple’s other tablets are known. So, in 2013, could a Retina display iPad mini be coming?

Before 2012 was even out, rumours had already begun of a higher-resolution iPad mini, alongside a thinner and lighter iPad 5.

The lack of Retina display on the 7.9-inch tablet was quite an omission for Apple, likely tied up in the need to drive prices down. Given the 720p nature of the screens on devices such as the Nexus 7, however, it may be that Apple rethinks this Retina-free approach to its small-form factor tablet in 2013.

Xbox 720

Wii U aside, console gamers have been long overdue a new piece of hardware to get stuck into. The Xbox 720, or whatever name it eventually launches with, is most definitely that.
What to expect? Well right now, the rumours point to a lack of announcement at E3 in 2013, with Microsoft instead going for a specific 720 launch event.

These have been further backed up with a recently leaked Bungie contract for the game Destiny, which made reference to the "next Xbox".

A new version of Kinect should also launch alongside the console, as well as much revamped internals, including, we hope, a Blu-ray player.

PlayStation 4

The history of video game consoles is marked by generations. As these things go, this has been a long generation. Nintendo got out ahead with this year’s release of the Wii U, but it’s still unclear how their machine will stack up against the next generation of consoles coming from Sony and Microsoft. Sony is known for standing behind its consoles – you can still buy a Playstation 2 off the shelf today and that thing is over a decade old.

They’re not saying much about the next console, but speculation is understandably rampant. Industry analyst Michael Pachter said he doubts Sony wants to launch behind Microsoft again, which supports the theory of a 2013 launch for Sony’s next console. If the PlayStation 2 is any indication, the PlayStation 3 will likely remain a hit for the company for years after their new console is released.

Amazon Kindle phone

Amazon already makes big waves in the affordable tablet world with its Kindle Fire HD. Surely, then, the company is keen to get in on the cheap smartphone action as Google has, with the Nexus 4?
Again the rumour mill comes into play here, although we expect Amazon will most definitely do something in the mobile market in 2013, just to stop the Nexus 4 running away with it.

The phone has all but been confirmed, with its existence being mentioned to the Verge back in September by multiple sources.

Expect a heavily modified version of the Android OS, just like the Kindle Fire HD and an extremely persuasive price tag, with top-of-the-line internals.

Mozilla Firefox mobile operating system

Currently in production, Mozilla plans on releasing a new mobile operating system to take on the likes of Apple and Android.

The OS, or Firefox OS as it is known, can actually be tested right now from your computer. Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, here is near proof that a new OS is coming.

Unfortunately there have been no confirmed handsets yet, nor are there a lot of features to play with on the downloadable build, which runs within the Firefox browser.
The OS is as open source as possible and geared towards emerging smartphone markets, with it not requiring huge amounts of power or programming.

Google Project Glass

Google showed just how exciting Project Glass could be at Google I/O. The Project Glass team, some skydivers, mountain bikers and general extreme types, all put the technology to the test.

The result was one of the most awesome product launches ever, for a product you couldn’t really buy.

Google has already promised that those that signed up for the developer programme would be getting their beta units in 2013 so let's hope that the final Project Glass glasses will start turning on shop shelves up by the end of the year. It might be fairly unnecessary as tech goes, but expect the world to be information rich before the end of the year.

Tesla Model S

As electric cars go, Tesla’s model S represents the first genuine alternative to a mid-range saloon.
For $59,000 - roughly £40, 000 - Tesla will deliver a saloon like no other. The interior of the Model S is unparalleled and features a huge interactive centre console display not found even in the most expensive of saloons.

Then there is the five second 0-60 time and 300 mile range on a single charge. Combine all this and you have a fantastic car at a decent price that just happens to be electric. This could be the vehicle that kick starts the electric car revolution.

BlackBerry 10

Set for a January 30 launch date, we've already started to see a number of "leaks" surrounding RIMs new BlackBerry 10 operating system as the company tries to ensure its survival.

BlackBerry fans can expect two new phones to kick off the proceedings - an all touchscreen affair and  a traditional QWERTY keyboard model akin to the BlackBerry Bold already on the market.
With a stack of new and exciting features in the operating system already, RIMs job won't be convincing people they've got great hardware and a great OS, but that their favourite apps will be available to. Successful launch or not, many are expecting RIM to have to change dramatically if it is to make it through 2013 without being bought or going bust.

Samsung Galaxy S IV

Nothing official has been said, but you can bet Samsung will be keen to release a fourth version of its flagship Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. Will it have a flexible screen, an even bigger 5-inch screen, the ability to make a cup of tea, or will Samsung go retro and shrink the whole device to finally fit in any pocket.
The verdict is still very much out, well at the start of 2013 is it, but that hasn't stopped people having a go at making a hands-on video of what they want the SGS4 to look like.

Sony Xperia Z / Yuga

Whether it will be called the Xperia Z or the Yuga doesn’t really matter. The fact remains that one of the most hotly anticipated gadgets of 2013 is set to be the first phablet from Sony. It’s rumoured to be water and dust-resistant have a 5-inch screen and measure 139 x 71 x 7.9mm.
At its heart will be a quad-core Qualcomm APQ8064 chipset with Adreno 320 graphics, with great graphics results reported from an early prototype - just the ticket to power the Full HD 1080p display. Expect a CES2013 launch.

Fujitsu Lifebook 2013

The Fujitsu Lifebook 2013 is a concept device designed by Prashant Chandra. It’s the result of a competition the company ran in 2011. The Transformer of tech gadgets, the Lifebook 2013 features a digital camera, smart-phone and a tablet – all of which can be detached and used individually. Each component has its own CPU and could run on the same operating system. No one is sure if Fujitsu will make these in 2013, but a lot of people are hoping so.

MIT’s folding car – The Hiroko

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is expected to release the Hiroko in Europe and select American markets in 2013. The car is able to “fold up,” which allows three of them to occupy a typical parking space.
The Hiroko’s front windshield is also the car door, which lets you park the car facing the sidewalk and step right into the pedestrian space. Its “robot wheels” allow the Hiroko to turn on a dime and its steering wheel is a wide screen LCD panel. The Hiroko currently has a 75-mile range and seems destined to be put into service in ZipCar-themed programs given the crowded nature of European streets.

Smartphones that bend

When fashion and technology meet, good things can happen. Sometimes.
This might be the case with bendy screen smartphones. Samsung has already shown its OLED display technology, which means this tech could be in our hands – or wrapped around our wrists – in 2013. It’s likely to be called the Galaxy Skin and will feature everything you expect in a smartphone – camera, high-res screen and a decent processor.

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