Curvy phones, cool Chromebooks and some BBC brilliance
11th Oct 2013 | 10:50
You spin me round (like a smartphone, baby)
Is everyone fed up with flat? Samsung seems to be: as phone OSes get flatter and flatter, it's decided that it's high time cellphones got curvy.
Its solution is the Samsung Galaxy Round, the world's first smartphone with a curved display. Sadly the phone is curved horizontally rather than vertically. Maybe we'll see the Samsung Galaxy Banana next year.
A curved screen means it'll sit more snugly in your back pocket, but is there more to it than making your phone more buttock-friendly? Let's ask Dean Evans, who pitted the Round against its sibling, the Galaxy Note 3. The verdict? It's essentially a Galaxy Note 3 with a curved screen.
Lessons with Auntie
Imagine telling somebody 20 years ago that one of the world's top tech firms would be the BBC. They'd have laughed at you and hit you with sticks. But they'd have been wrong, because the BBC is doing all kinds of interesting stuff - and this week it unveiled a whole bunch more.
First up there's Playlister, a new music service that hopes to "transform people's relationship with music".
As Hugh Langley explains, it's "a music discovery service waiting for the next time you ask 'what was that track being played on Strictly Come Dancing last night?'" and it'll soon be integrated with iPlayer. You'll be able to add tracks to playlists, and then - this is the good bit - you'll be able to export those playlists to your chosen digital music service.
That's not all Auntie Beeb's been cooking. Director general Tony Hall gave an inspiring speech about the BBC's future, and as Patrick Goss explains, there's lots to look forward to: a personalised iPlayer, public service broadcasting via digital and most interestingly of all, a programme to educate the next generation of coders. As Stephen Fry put it, we used to teach children Greek; now we need to teach them geek.
Fancy a Chromebook? The range has just got bigger, with some particularly nifty models from Acer and HP. The latter's new Chromebook 11 comes in a range of funky colours, boasts an 11-inch IPS screen and delivers an awful lot of tech for just £229.
HP's loyalty to Windows appears to have slipped somewhat, and this week HP CEO Meg Whitman explained why: Microsoft and Intel have swung from long-time partners to "outright competitors," and "Wintel-based devices are being aggresively displaced by ARM-based PCs and mobile devices." HP isn't taking that lying down, as its closer relationship with Google demonstrates.
Did someone say Google? The not-so-secret Nexus 5 continues to tease, and it could be out in October - although if Google's planning a launch around October 22, it might want to change the date. In a move that's in no way designed to annoy Nokia (which is unveiling a tablet on October 22) and Microsoft (whose new Surfaces launch on the same day), Apple has moved its rumoured iPad event from the rumoured October 15 to a rumoured October 22.
We (sort of) know the date, but do we know what Apple will unveil? The rumour factory's predicting the usual flying cars, infinite improbability drives and so on, but we're hoping for an iPad Mini 2 and a thinner, lighter iPad 5 with an A7 processor and maybe even a Touch ID sensor. Most importantly of all, we're likely to see new colours: Space Grey is a given, and we wouldn't bet against a gold one either.
And that brings us to HTC, which has decided to show us exactly what we feared when we first heard the words "gold phone".
Where the iPhone 5S kinda gets away with gold (although we're still divided on that one), the HTC One Gold Edition definitely doesn't. The gold-plating doesn't just hurt your eyes - it ruins the signal too, and it costs £2,700 to make. We're very glad that there are only five in existence.
- Fancy a great phone that hasn't been dipped in precious metal? Read our HTC One review