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Thread: 2012 Gadgets – Upcoming Releases in 2012

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  1. #1

    2012 Gadgets – Upcoming Releases in 2012

    Here’s a list of some of the major upcoming 2012 gadgets and products:

    Apple iPhone 5

    No doubt, the Apple iPhone 5 is one of the most anticipated 2012 gadgets. Apple launched the iPhone 4S, which disappointed its fans very much. Although the device has some nice changes under the hood, including the addition of voice-recognizing personal assistant Siri and an excellent 8-megapixel camera, the phone looks quite identical to its predecessor – iPhone 4.

    The upcoming phone from Apple is expected to sport the Apple’s latest and greatest A5 processor chip, iCloud service, higher-resolution camera, and a 4-inch screen size.

    Apple iPad 3

    Along with the iPhone 5, fans are also eagerly expecting the release of iPad 3, which now reports indicate that it has been scheduled to be launched in February next year. The new tablet, in competition to Samsung Galaxy Tab will feature a new, thinner and sleeker design, down nearly 20 percent in size compared to the iPad 2. It will also support full touchscreen HD display with a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536.

    Apart from that, the iPad 3 will have a lighter battery life, reducing the weight of the tablet. However, the battery is reported to cost 20 to 30 percent more than the current iPad’s battery, which will also have a longer battery life.
    It is also expected that the iPad 3 will have a wireless charging technology, which will be able to charge the battery and transfer data wirelessly.

    Windows 8

    The next version of Windows is yet another, most anticipated product after the Apple iPhone 5 and iPad 3. Windows 8 offers a number of new features from its all new UI to Windows App Store and improvised security features.

    Windows 8 has got an interactive UI called the “Metro-style” design, which shows the most important information to you, embodies simplicity, and gives you full control over it. The UI is designed to provide a fluid and intuitive interaction and navigation with touch, or a mouse and keyboard.

    Microsoft released a Developer Preview of the Windows 8, which is currently in pre-beta version. The developer version shows off the current stage of the OS. It is available for free download at the official Windows site.

    Quad Core Mobile Devices

    Dual-core is old now. Welcome Quad-core. It is said that Quad-core smartphones with high resolution screens and graphics will take over in 2012 – nVidia Tegra 3 and Qualcomm Snapdragon are battling out for the fastest quad processor in the mobile market.

    Chip maker Nvidia says that smartphones featuring its quad-core Tegra 3 processors may arrive in the first half of 2012. Meanwhile, Qualcomm indicates that its quad-core Snapdragon will make its appearance in Windows 8 tablets in the second half of 2012.

    Some of the features that a quad-core smartphone would offer are:

    - Advanced video and photo edition

    - Multi-tab web browsing

    - High-end graphics games

    - Improved voice control and “air” gestures

    - Better multitasking

    Xbox 360 Update

    The next generation of the Xbox is expected to arrive in 2012. This would be a direct competition to the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii U. The following features will be included in the next Xbox update:

    - New personal and social features including Cloud storage for game saves and Live profile

    - Beacons and Facebook sharing

    - Enhanced family settings

    - Integrated voice and gesture controls across the dashboard and in apps

    - Bing voice search (available this year in the US, UK and CA)

    Recently we saw the new Xbox 360 Dashboard update. The look and feel of the new dashboard is probably the most noticeable difference, which sports a Windows 8, Metro-style interface.

    Facebook Timeline

    Facebook introduced its new profile, Timeline way back in September 2011, which is designed to be a better way to “tell your life story.” The new profile was scheduled to be launched to all users on Facebook in November.

    However, Timelines.com, a small Chicago based company filed a lawsuit against Facebook over trademark issues and claiming that the social networking giant’s new Timeline feature may “eliminate” the company from the site. Timelines.com has a trademark for the “timeline” name, filed in May 2008 and granted in January 2009.

    It is expected that Facebook might start rolling out the feature to its users starting January, 2012.

    PlayStation Vita

    With the huge success of PlayStation Portable selling over 71.4 million units worldwide, Sony is all set to release the next version of the PSP called as the PS Vita. The gaming console packs a quad-core graphics processor, which is even impressive than the iPad 2. It looks quite similar to the PSP, however without any doubt the Vita is more impressive and elegantly designed. It sports a 5-inch OLED multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, 24-bit color with a resolution of 960 × 540 qHD and has pixel density of 220 ppi.


    It is also reported that the PlayStation Vita has both front and rear cameras with supporting features such as face detection, head detection and head tracking that can be used for personalization and customization.
    Wii U

    In competition to Sony’s PlayStation Vita, Nintendo is set to release the next version of its gaming console called Wii U, which is the direct successor to the Wii. Nintendo unveiled the Wii U in it’s press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 on June 7, 2011.

    It is the first console from Nintendo to produce 1080p high-definition graphics, featuring a new controller with an embedded touchscreen. Nintendo showcased a prototype version of Wii U, which features a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contains a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera.
    The Nintendo Wii U will also feature internal flash based memory for media storage and game save data, however the system will also support external SD card and USB HDD support allowing users to expand storage capacity. It is expected to be released sometime after March 2012.

    Apple HD TV – Upcoming 2012 Gadgets

    Speculations around the Internet indicate that Apple is preparing to release a high-definition television set. The TV is expected to come in 15 to 19-inch range powered by the company’s mobile operation system, iOS. The TV, however, is not only used to play videos, but also play games, run applications and providing you control over social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It seems that dish satellite television will one day be extinct.

    Apple had launched Apple TV, a set-up box used for streaming video to a television, which was first released on January 9, 2007.

    It is expected that such a TV set from Apple would be available in time for the 2012 holiday season.

    Samsung Galaxy S3

    After having a huge success with the Samsung Galaxy S2, it is rumored that Samsung has been busy working on the next version of the smartphone Samsung Galaxy S3. It is expected that the device will feature a Samsung Exynos 4212 processor clocked at 1.8GHz and an ARM Cortex A9 chip, which will offer a 25% performance boost and a 30% reduction in power consumption.

    It is also expected that the Galaxy S3 will most probably be powered by Google’s latest OS – Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Rumors indicate that Samsung may unveil Galaxy S3 at a similar time to the iPhone 5.

  2. #2
    From smart to genius: will design define future gadgets?

    By Jeremy Wagstaff, Reuters chief Asia technology correspondent
    Posted at 09/01/2012 9:12 AM | Updated as of 09/01/2012 9:19 AM


    In a pre-iPhone age, mobile phones came in all shapes and sizes. Remember the clamshell, candy bar, swivel, backflip, slider, dual-slider, lipstick, and, of course, the taco? Nowadays, most phones have a touch screen, rows of icons and are rectangular.

    In short, they all look a lot like the iPhone.

    Now, in the wake of the Apple Inc vs Samsung Electronics trial, where the U.S. firm won what the South Koreans scathingly called a "monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners," the fear is that an era of rapid and exciting innovation in mobile design is over. The iPhone has won the day and all those whose handsets use Google's Android operating system, the argument goes, will either give up or tread carefully for fear of litigation.

    But others argue the opposite.

    Paul Pugh, creative vice president at frog, a San Francisco-based design company owned by India's Aricent Group, believes companies may now unshackle their designers to come up with genre-busting form factors and user interfaces that breathe fresh life into the industry.

    "We don't know yet how far the impacts are going to go from here," says Pugh. "I do hope it's an inspiration moment for the Android platform and the manufacturers to put their bets on innovation ... to come with great user experience based on users' needs, and not stagnate based on the patents crippling them."

    SMARTPAD

    Frog knows how hard this is to bring to market. Take the SmartPad; a prototype Android phone the company unveiled last year that at first glance looked, in the words of one reviewer on the technology website Engadget, like "yet another plain smartphone - dark, nondescript, and maybe a little like an iPhone 4 that's had its right-most extent sliced off."

    Flip open the two layers, however, and you had a phone with twice the normal screen size. "Suddenly it's a little tablet, two screens forming a 6-inch slate," the Engadget reviewer wrote.

    The prototype, which belonged to Imerj, part of Singapore-listed contract manufacturer Flextronics International , intrigued: The Engadget article attracted more than 400 comments. It wasn't a wholly new concept, but the design was impressive, including the software, which included apps that made the most of the extra screen. Imerj promised a kit for software developers, and a team worked on a slew of apps that made use of the innovative dual screen. They dreamed big: to take on Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

    "We had an idea that the smartphone was going to be the primary computing platform for most people going forward," recalled Brett Faulk, then Imerj's vice president of marketing. "However, it has two challenges: small screen and small keyboard. So the concept was to create a product that scales as my productivity needs increase."

    After a few months, however, everything went quiet. Imerj's Twitter account went dead, as did its website. Both are now offline. Faulk and others left the company. Flextronics declined to comment, as did frog's Pugh.

    A former member of the Imerj team said the project was deliberately aimed at a niche far from Apple's consumer-driven world, but that was part of the reason for its demise.

    Building a device and the suite of office applications to go with it required at least five years gestation, an investment the parent company in the end couldn't make. "We were very ahead," said the person, who was not authorized to speak about the project and declined to be identified. "We were very sad to see innovation being pushed aside."

    LIMITED ROOM

    At issue now is whether the Apple vs. Samsung verdict might upend such conservative calculations.

    It may already be happening: The latest addition to Samsung's Galaxy range of devices - at the centre of the court case - is a camera with a display that looks, feels and acts like an Android smartphone, including WiFi and 3G connections. And Samsung itself has a patent on a dual screen device, according to patent blog patentbolt.com, that looks a lot like the SmartPad.

    But there are limits to what can be done with hardware.

    "There was a lot of ingenuity about the mechanical configuration of designing buttons and cameras and exposing these particular features," said Horace Dediu, a former Nokia engineer who now runs a consultancy and influential blog called Asymco. With the rise of the iPhone "all that went away when you have a clean glass display with touch interface."

    The problem he says, is that the operating systems available to device makers - Android and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft's Windows Phone - are designed for that shape.

    So, if there is going to be a change in what a phone looks like, Google needs to be the one to change. "Theoretically, if Google thinks that this isn't a winning game for them they may go to the manufacturers and say OK, we're going to allow you to have mechanical differentiation," said Dediu.

    Until that happens, manufacturers have limited room to move. They can toy with the specifications and proportions of the device - Samsung has had a surprise hit with its outsized Galaxy Note, the second version of which was unveiled on Thursday - or by tweaking the Android operating system itself.

    Indeed, frog's most visible success in smartphone design has been a user interface that Sharp Corp recently launched for its Android phones in Japan. Sharp, said Pugh, was looking to maintain its market lead as Japan shifts from older feature phones to smartphones, and gave frog a broad remit to come up with something to make their Android devices stand out.

    The so-called 'Fresh UI' software adds an extra layer, or skin, to Google's basic operating system, which Pugh says improves access to the most used features on a device.

    SKINS AND FORKS

    Indeed, such skins are an increasingly popular way for handset makers to differentiate their devices from those of competitors. Huawei on Thursday unveiled its own 'Emotion UI' skin which it said will give consumers "one more reason to choose a Huawei smartphone over another brand's." It's not just for the big boys: Meizu, a small Chinese smartphone maker, has gained a cult following with its quirky customization of Android that once earned the ire of Steve Jobs, but is now fending off its own copycats.

    But taking this route is not without its problems.

    For one thing, skins are usually just that: a surface layer that users either love or hate, and which quickly peels away to the standard Android interface that is little different whether the device costs $500 or $50. And while the goal is to differentiate, they can end up pushing the Android interface into more closely resembling Apple's own iOS. Indeed, Apple presented slides at the trial alleging that Samsung's tweaks to the home screen on 13 devices made it mimic that of the iPhone. The jury agreed.

    Some makers have already taken note. Meizu, the Chinese manufacturer, was happy when the home screen of one of its models was cited in court by Apple as an example of not infringing on its design patents, but the Chinese firm has nevertheless "modified some aspects of our user experience" for future products, according to the Zhuhai-based company's product director Yang Yan.

    Still, in the longer run innovation needs to go beyond mere tweaking, argues Brandon Edwards, Shanghai-based colleague of Pugh. He believes more manufacturers will follow Amazon's path of taking Android in their own direction with the Kindle Fire, effectively parting company with Google.

    Such so-called forks are likely to appeal to device makers beyond phones, Edwards says. Clients have been talking to frog about embedding technology into smart systems, cars and healthcare, and those devices could well be running Android.

    DESIGN VALUE

    Innovation in smartphones, meanwhile, is likely to move beyond form factor and apps to how they interact with their surroundings, says Pugh. Expect to see smartphones better controlled by voice and gesture, moving beyond the restriction of the device's shape and touchscreen in the next year or so.

    The most significant outcome of the Apple Samsung spat, however, may be that design is no longer merely an afterthought.

    There may have been a lot of different shaped devices in the pre-iPhone world, but that doesn't mean they offered consumers a better user experience, says Pugh. "All this confirms that there is a monetary value to design," he says.
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