4G frenzy, tempting tablets and your next PC

5th Oct 2012 | 09:30

4G frenzy, tempting tablets and your next PC

Scream if you want to go faster

Wheeeeeee! Wheeeeee! That's the sound data makes when it's whooshing across a 4G network - or at least, that's what our chums across the Atlantic tell us, because of course the UK doesn't actually have 4G yet.

But it will, and it's coming sooner than we feared: thanks to a network peace treaty the 4G spectrum auction's being brought forward and the main networks will all be offering 4G next summer, not next Christmas.

We know what you're thinking: what about EE, whose 1800MHz network is ready to go right now? We've got news on that front too: EE's 4G goes live on the 30th of October, although initially it'll be limited to 16 cities. You might need a new phone too: EE's network works with the iPhone 5, HTC One XL, Huawei Ascend P1 LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, as well as the incoming Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE.

EE's list might get a new entry on 17 October: the long rumoured iPad mini has gone into production, with an expected reveal date two weeks from now. There's a nanoSIM tray so it's 3G-capable at least, but given that the iPhone 5 does 4G it'd be a bit odd if the iPad mini didn't.

Moving towards Windows 8

With the iPad mini almost here, we're already thinking about the iPad 4 - and we've been looking at the iPhone 5 to see whether it offers any clues. Of course it does: you're going to need a different dock, it'll have a thinner screen, it'll have proper 4G and we think it might even have a different form factor. One thing will remain the same, however: lots of people are waiting for Apple to fail.

As TechRadar's own Gary Marshall says, "If the iPad 4 merely turns out to be a better version of what we've already got, expect a chorus of disappointment and disapproval."

Blackberry season

BlackBerry's in the coming-soon department too: while it rolled out an update to the PlayBook OS this week, that isn't the OS every BlackBerry fan is waiting for.

The good news is that BlackBerry OS 10 is nearly finished, and that it has a "slick interface" and plenty of "features that are exciting"; the bad is that instead of the predicted late-2012 launch, it's not going to be out until early 2013.

With just weeks to go before Windows 8 ships, many PC owners will be thinking about upgrading - and Jeremy Laird says that if they don't consider AMD PCs, they're great big ninnies. He didn't put it quite like that, but he did make a strong argument in AMD's favour: while AMD's processors can't quite match Intel's ones in sheer horsepower, "raw performance is gradually becoming less critical. It's now just one part of a broader package and in that context, AMD is much, much more competitive."

The word "competitive" is being used about Ultrabooks too, and if you're thinking you've heard that before you're right: Ultrabooks were supposed to be cheap and thin, but to date manufacturers have concentrated only on thin.

According to DigiTimes, though, PC manufacturers are gearing up to launch much cheaper Ultrabooks early next year. Essentially we'll end up with two kinds of Ultrabook: premium ones with Lithium Polymer batteries, SSDs, touchscreens and aluminium or carbon fibre unibody construction and $1,000-ish price tags, and cheaper $699 ones with hard disks, normal screens, traditional batteries and plastic or plastic-hybrid bodies.

If the OEMs need a new name for this exciting new sub-category, we've got it covered: why not call them "laptops"?

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