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The first half of 2012 has been somewhat lackluster. We’ve talked to Siri. Took a look into Blackberry 10. And have finally seen mobile payment systems start to catch on. But things are really heating up at the start of the summer. Below is a list of items you should keep your eyes on in the categories of, tablets/ultrabooks, smart phones, and games.
Microsoft Surface – Announced just this past week, in two different models (Surface with Windows RT and Surface Pro), Microsoft surface is going to be in direct competition with Apple’s iPad. Microsoft’s plan with the Surface line of tablets is to focus on productivity, but also a consumer friendly device with features for all ages, pretty much identical to Apple’s plan with the iPad. But this is no iPad. Microsoft Surface will be running Microsoft’s newest version of it’s OS, Windows 8. Its screen size, inclusion of full USB 2.0 ports, built-in kick stand, keyboard/cover, optical bonding display and sturdy build are all features that are being well received. Although the release date and price are yet to be announced, speculation points to a side by side release with Windows 8 which is scheduled for this fall with a price tag that should be in the same ball park as the iPad.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga – Staying with the Windows 8 theme, the IdeaPad Yoga is an ultrabook that can convert into a tablet. The 17mm thick flip-over device can be used as a laptop, tablet or kickstand-tablet for movie watching. You’ll want to watch movies on this thing, too: it’s got a 1600 x 900 IPS multitouch display, unheard of in a device of this caliber. It may not be up to par with the Retina display on The iPad, but it is a beautiful display. When it is all said and done, the IdeaPad Yoga is a laptop with a touchscreen more than it is a tablet with a keyboard. It is about 3 and half pounds, making it over 3 times heavier than the iPad. Where it will shine is as a productivity workhorse and entertainment machine. Expect this convertible at the end of the year for around $1,000.
HP Envy Spectre XT – After a rough 2011 (3 CEO’s, the personal computing fiasco, dropping webOS hardware, and a plummeting stock…ouch) HP is looking to make 2012 their comeback year. What better way to start with a beautiful series of Ultrabooks. HP’s Envy line of ultrabooks are sure to impress with a lightweight design, slender case, and beautiful screen, I wouldnt count HP down and out just yet. Although, Apple’s MacBook Air is a little prettier to look at and better in terms of usability.)
Tablets to stay away from: Anything with Android Honeycomb (Honeycomb is so 2011)
iPhone 5 - The world has been waiting for the iPhone 5 since the iPhone 4 came out (Waiting more like an angry mob with pitchforks and torches when the iPhone 4S was release). The wait is finally almost over. The iPhone 5 is going to be released in just a few months and Apple fanatics can’t wait to get their hands on one. Anything in terms of specs for the iPhone 5 are merely speculation. But with that in mind, the internet is buzzing at what the iPhone 5 might have in store for us. One rumor that seems to be pretty solid is a larger 4.08 inch screen. Along with the size of the screen changing, it \has been speculated that Apple has decided to change the ratio of the screen from 3:2 to 16:9, making the iPhone appear more elongated. This, however, would mean that the current iPhone developers may have to adjust their apps to fit the new resolution. Some other rumors for the iPhone 5 that have been flying around the internet are: 10 Megapixel camera, 4G LTE, A5X CPU & Quad Core Graphics, 1GB of Ram. The iPhone 5 is sure to get a lot of buzz in the months preceding its release, but will it all be worth it. All signs point to yes.
Samsung Galaxy S III - The Galaxy S III is just about to be released on US carriers but has already hit the market in other countries. The Galaxy S III is the new flagship phone from Samsung that is sure to impress strangers who happen to gaze over at your phone. It has the newest technologies packed into it including S Beam which allows you to beam over info like websites, pictures and videos to other friends with NFC enabled phones, as well as Face Recognition software that allows you to unlock your phone just by looking at it. The Gallaxy S III has a 4.8 inch screen, is available and two colors, white and Blue, and is one beautiful smartphone. If you’re an Android fan and want the top of the line, don’t pass this one up.
The first Blackberry 10 Phone - I might get ridiculed for even bringing this unannounced, unknown phone up but, call me crazy, I think Blackberry still has a shot. I know they are falling fast into the black whole of mobile operating systems along with PalmOS, webOS, MeeGo, and a hand full of others, but I still think they have a chance. Check out the video below. This is nothing like your dad’s blackberry.
It’s unbelievable how much things have changed in terms of video games in the last 25 years. As technology developed and became more powerful, it seems like the benchmark for how powerful a machine is has always been in terms of graphics (Can it run Crysis 2?). With the way the world is shaping into a mobile world, video games have adapted to not only be playable sitting on your couch staring at the TV, but have evolved into giving you the same experience in the palm of your hands that you would expect from a home console system. Below are two new technologies from Microsoft and Nintendo that you’re going to want this year.
Microsoft SmartGlass is a free mobile application that Microsoft has developed that can be installed on any Windows 8 tablet or phone, Android Device, or iOS device including the iPad and iPhone. Once the application is installed on your device, it will connect itself to your Xbox 360. This allows your device to communicate with your Xbox in ways that are similar to Apple TV. It allows you to send, music, movies, videos and even websites to your xbox so that you can view them on your TV. Whats even cooler is that once you send it to your TV, your device then turns into an controller for music or movie, as well as an information center for the movie. On the gaming side, SmartGlass utilizes your tablet as a second screen for controls like game maps, play calling in sports games, or item selection in RPGs. It’s reported that their will be some sort of augmented reality control as well. Microsoft is really flexing its muscles this year!
Nintendo Wii U - I was one of those people who waited outside of a Wal-Mart overnight for the Original Wii to come out, and it looks like I will be doing it again this year for when the Wii U arrives. (Yea I’m one of those crazy people) What makes the Wii U so interesting is the fact that instead of using traditional controller, it comes with a tablet like controller that interacts with the gaming system and your TV in ways that no other console can compoare to (although it does support the original Wii controllers). I could write about the Wii U all day, but i think this video sums up all the awesome details about the Wii U. Enjoy the video and i hope to see you in line on December 21st!
Video Game Consoles to stay away from – Anything that’s not a PS3, Xbox, Nintendo Wii U, or Nintendo 3ds.
Well, there you have it! If you follow this guide you’re sure to have the coolest gadgets in 2012. But, watch out! In the tech world you never know what may be coming out next, rendering your new device obsolete!