Revealed: The top Christmas gadgets of the last decade

Smart watches set to top tech-savvy Christmas lists … From games consoles to tablets and wearables, the top technology Christmas gifts of the last decade chart how the world has advanced. The way we game, read, track our fitness and work has been revolutionised since 2005. As Christmas approaches, what better way to celebrate trends in technology than to take a look at the most successful technology products of the past ten years?

2005
Back in 2005, 1.1 million of us sent Shane Ward to the Christmas top spot, and number one on everyone’s Christmas list was the brand new Xbox 360. Demand hugely outstripped supply, with hundreds of gamers queuing for hours in the rain to lay their hands on the console, which sold out in hours. The Xbox franchise has continued to delight gamers; 9 years later, Microsoft announced that Xbox 360 sales stood at 84 million units sold, with lifetime game sales for the platform at $37.7 billion. On last calculation, Xbox 360 gamers have logged more than 88 billion hours of gameplay, which is equivalent to more than 100,000 centuries.

2006
2006 saw Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond in ‘Casino Royale’, and Sony’s fight back against Microsoft, in the shape of the Play Station 3. First introduced in 1995, the Play Station and Play Station 2 are still the best-selling home game consoles in history. To date the four Play Station versions have sold a total of 344 million units.

2007
2007 was the year gaming got physical, with stocks of Nintendo’s Wii finally becoming widely available to buy. Named a ‘revolution’ by Forbes Magazine, which claimed that the Wii ‘has re-invented video gaming, making it more social, more intuitive and surprisingly physically engaging…it’s potentially the device that will make video gaming as widely enjoyed as board or card games.’ Since launch, it’s sold more than 100 million units.

2008
It’s hard to imagine life before the smart phone, but 2008 was the year the 3G iPhone hit our shores. Now in its 12th incarnation, over 500 million iPhones have been sold, currently making it the best-selling smartphone of all time.

2009
The Amazon Kindle took technology into a new realm, revolutionising the way we consume new and enduring classic literature. The Kindle 2 was launched in 2009 and by early the next year the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, stated that "millions of people now own Kindles” and that “six Kindle books were being sold for every 10 physical books". Kindle remains the undisputed leader of the e-reader. The company is famously secretive about sales figures but 2013 estimates put sales of all Kindle devices at roughly 44 million.

2010
Pre-2010, the thought of receiving a tablet for Christmas was understandably unlikely to be anywhere near the top of anyone’s list. That all changed with the unveiling of the iPad in January 2010 by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In contrast to earlier tablet PCs, the iPad was marketed as a consumer device that would fill the gap between smartphones and laptop computers. Over 292 million have been sold to date.

2011
2011 was a momentous year for Brits, with the union of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In the world of technology, all eyes were on the launch of the first commercially successful ‘phablet’, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Whilst some media outlets questioned the viability of the device due to its 5.3-inch (135-mm) screen, the Note received a positive reception, selling 1 million units in two months.

2012
2012 was the year that London was Olympics-obsessed, Facebook debuted on the stock market, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space and the iPad went mini. Lighter and thinner than its predecessor, the iPad Mini reportedly sold three million units in the three days post launch.

2013
Sony’s next generation console, the Playstation 4, launched in November 2013. Six months later, 7 million homes world-wide owned a PS4. Having lost several previous battles to Nintendo’s Wii, Sony was finally winning the games console war.

2014
To 2014 and wearable technology; namely the fitness tracker. Sales have risen 250% year-on-year and from mid-2014 to mid-2015, the wearable industry grew by a massive 223%. At this rate, it’s possible that the market will actually reach the predicted $74 billion mark by 2025.

2015
2015 is undoubtedly the year of the smartwatch, combining fitness tracking, time keeping and connectivity in one package. The global smartwatch market has the potential to reach $32.9 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate of 68% between 2014 and 2020. It’s thought that 135 million wearable devices will be sold by 2018 – 68 million of them smart watches. Few other industries have such growth perspectives, and the potential to revolutionise how people communicate, monitor their health, work, and interact with their surroundings.

James Jie, Managing Director of Huawei UK and Ireland says, “It’s fascinating to see the impact that technology has had upon our lives during the past decade. In the recent past we saw technology as either fitting in with our work life – for instance PCs – or play, in the shape of games consoles. Now those boundaries no longer exist as technology is embedded within our daily lives. This is no more evident than in the rise of wearable technologies such as the Huawei Watch, which combines connectivity with style.”

Jie continues, “At Huawei, we invest 10% of our sales income into research and development to ensure that we are driving new technology forwards. In 2014 alone, we invested $1.2 billion into R&D. The Huawei Watch embodies our unfailing ambition to deliver an all-connected future across wearables, vehicles and smart phones. Looking back at the past ten years, it’s amazing how far technology has advanced and we look forward to being at the forefront of new advancements for years to come.”

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iOS or Android: which offers more?

When the first iPad was released back in 2010 many commentators questioned whether they would succeed; given that they didn’t seem to fulfill an obvious gap in the market. Too large for a pocket, unable to take calls - buy an iPad the joke went and pay hundreds of dollars for a bigger, more useless version of the phone you already have.

Time has clearly shown those early naysayers wrong; as 229 million tablets were sold worldwide last year. Approximately 68 million, or 30%, of the total were Apple devices and while collated Android sales figures are not yet available for 2015 it is likely in the 140m - 150m range; confirming that these two operating systems maintain a virtual duopoly on the tablet market.

Which to plump for?

Assuming your choice is between an iOS and Android device, what are the main advantages of each system? The primary advantages of iOS are twofold - it is incredibly intuitive and, because the system is built for a very small range of devices, the 500,000 iPad specific apps will run extremely well; with few glitches or crashes. However for the trademark Apple style, you will have to pay somewhat over the odds.

Android tablets are sold by a variety of manufacturers, and utilise a wide variety of hardware. Samsung, Kobo, Asus and, of course, Google have all released successful tablet ranges running Android - but on a wide variety of screen sizes, processor types and other hardware options. Although this gives the consumer a relatively larger choice it comes with usability drawbacks - you may download an app for your Android tablet and find it requires hardware your model doesn’t have. You’ll also run into more bugs and crashes - but be compensated by a larger range of titles and the greater freedom given to developers in the Android framework.

As an example, Android users rave about Tasker which allows you to program your phone to perform actions when triggered; like turning on WiFi as you approach home, for example. No equivalent app exists for iOS because Apple are incredibly reluctant to give any developers the “under the hood” access these apps require.

Of course both systems share their basic functionality and have a large overlap in the range of compatible apps. Whichever system you buy you’ll be able to watch TV on Netflix, read emails or play video games on the move. Given the recent surge in popularity of “interactive gaming”; betting to you or I, most casinos and bookmakers ensure their full suite of games is available on all platforms.

Before making your choice try to think what you want to use your new tablet for. If you’re just looking to watch videos and music; Android will likely fulfill your needs at a lower price. If however you’re looking to do a bit more, organising emails, contacts and calendars for example, you’ll likely find iOS far more simple and intuitive.

Author - Dan Brook

QUICK MOBILE FIX GOES LIVE

QUICK MOBILE FIX GOES LIVE … 
It Breaks. You Send. We Fix

Last year it was reported that 7 out of 10 people in the UK own a Smartphone. Nowadays, many of us have come to rely heavily on our mobile phones, from the mundane function of waking us up; to reminding us about important events and, obviously, keeping us connected with others. Naturally, mobile device related mishaps happen from time to time; these accidents can be anything from breaking the screen to more technical issues such as liquid damage. In fact, a well-known technology news source reported that 26% of iPhones break within 2 years of purchase.

Quick Mobile Fix is a new national mobile device repair service that offers a solution to the problems many of us face when our mobile phone breaks, mainly, how do I contact people now? Not only will Quick Mobile Fix mend your current mobile phone, tablet or iPod with their 24 hour service, but, also, offer incredibly competitive prices, include free postage and a 1 year warranty on all repairs, and will, additionally, offer you a courtesy phone in return. The phones on offer range from basic Nokia’s to the latest iPhone & Samsung Galaxy.

Quick Mobile Fix repairs all Samsung phones, iPhones and iPads, which is handy, because iFixit have recently announced that the latest iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S are trickier to repair than the iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 is harder to fix than its predecessor. Aside from these fantastic offerings, Quick Mobile Fix also sells a number of different used and reconditioned mobile phones at affordable prices.

To find out more about this useful new service please check out www.QuickMobileFix.com or follow @QuickMobileFix on Twitter.

Most Popular Tech Creations this Century

In the 21st century the rate of change is faster than ever. When people in the year 2100 look back on our century, who knows what advancements they will celebrate. Although we are only 14 years in and there is still a long way to go, this century has already witnessed technological changes that affect everyone’s lives. Here are just a few:

Smart Phones

The iPhone was introduced in January 2007 and Google’s Android software for smart phones was introduced in 2008. It’s hard to believe that modern smart phones are less than a decade old, and they just keep getting more useful, with millions of apps available for both platforms to add just about any feature imaginable. The multi-touch screens, GPS, and ever faster connectivity mean that you can use your smartphone as everything from a GPS for driving directions, a small television, a game console, or a communications platform for Facebook, messaging, and video calling. The introduction of smart phones means you can truly be connected to the Internet just about any time, anywhere.

Tablet Computers

Tablet computers may not be entirely new, but the introduction of Apple’s iPad in 2010 made them a sought after device that can perform many of the functions of a larger, heavier laptop. Early tablets were mostly devices for consuming media, whether reading books or watching movies. But with the introduction of better and faster chipsets and the creation of new apps, today’s tablets can be used to create business documents, edit videos, or store a doctor’s searchable library of medical texts for diagnosis.

Image Credit:  Sam Churchill

Image Credit: Sam Churchill

Driverless Cars

Google has created a car that can drive itself, a concept that has furthered advances in computer traffic grid systems and other near-future set ups. The goal is to reduce driver accidents by allowing some, or all parts of a journey, to be handled automatically. The Google car is a Toyota Prius outfitted with cameras, radar sensors, and a laser range finder to help it navigate through city streets. The car has been reported to have travelled 140,000 miles in a publicity tour without ever having an accident.

Image Credit:  Intel Free Press

Image Credit: Intel Free Press

Ultra Light Laptops

With more power than a tablet but still incredibly thin and light, ultra thin computers such as the Toshiba Kira Laptop have changed the face of laptop computing. These laptops typically use low-power Intel processors, solid-state drives, and a unibody construction to make the smallest, lightest product possible. The MacBook Air was introduced in 2008 and today there are dozens of ultrabook makers in the market. Click here for more information on adding the speed andportability of an ultrabook to your technology tools.

Image Credit:  Jason Howie

Image Credit: Jason Howie

Social Media

Who could have predicted when Facebook launched back in 2004 that it would have over 600 million users in less than a decade? Or that YouTube, launched in 2005, would soon boast over 4 billion videos viewed every day. Social media has invaded and changed every aspect of Internetculture, from how you connect with friends to how products are marketed.

Office for iPad to be announced next week

Microsoft has announced that office for iPad is coming soon and will officially unveil it next week during a press event. The event will be the first time we see new CEO Satya Nadella speak publicly to the press since replacing Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.

Reports say that Microsoft is sending invitations to some members of the press regarding the press event in San Francisco taking place on March 27. It is thought Nadella will himself introduce Office for iPad which is rumoured to closely resemble Office for iPhone which launched last year.

Office 365 allows subscribers to install office on up to five devices excluding Windows Phone and Windows RT devices which get free access. As with the iPhone version users will be able to view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

Nadella recently spoke of his intentions to prioritise cloud services and in particular cloud services on mobile devices so this fits in with that vision. Microsoft also recently made OneNote available on Mac as part of this effort.

We are likely to hear lot more from Microsoft about it’s future plans at the Build Developer Conference which starts on April 1st. The biggest announcement will likely be the release of Windows 8.1 update 1 but it will be interesting to see what else they have up their sleeve under the reign of Satya Nadella.

 

iOS 7.1 update released

Apple yesterday released the much anticipated iOS 7.1 update for all devices capable of running iOS 7 so that’s iPhone 4 and later and iPad 2 and later and both iPad mini devices. iOS 7.1 contains some significant features including the addition of CarPlay, formerly known as iOS in the Car. This allows users with a ‘CarPlay’ enabled  vehicle to use features of their iPhone using the cars dashboard touchscreen for features such as sending and receiving texts answering and making calls and interacting with Siri.

The update also fixes the issue whereby the touch ID was not very responsive for the iPhone 5S and brings stability and performance improvements to the aging iPhone 4. Having tested iOS 7.1 on an iPhone 4 I can confirm that this update has significantly improved the experience of iOS 7  and the iPhone 4 runs a lot smoother than it did prior to this update. Many iPhone 4 users have complained about the poor performance of iOS 7 on their iPhone so I would encourage anyone still using an iPhone 4 to update and reap the benefits.

Other users have complained about a ‘White Screen of Death’ since the launch of iOS 7 particularly on the iPhone 5S and 5C and this has also been addressed in the latest update with Apple claiming they fixed a bug that may cause the homescreen to crash.

There were numerous other small updates and tweaks such as those listed below:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS’ in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;

  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;

  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;

  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from “Now Playing”;

  • Accessibility additions: The “parallax” motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations;

  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;

  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

To update your device to the latest firmware simply go to the settings app, tap about and then check for updates. As always you can also update to the latest version of iOS by connecting your device to your computer and using iTunes which may be your only solution if you are currently running a Jailbreak on your device. Please be aware that as discussed last week if you update to this firmware you will lose any active jailbreak currently on your device.

Image Courtesy of KĀRLIS DAMBRĀNS (Flickr)

 

Apple issues iPhone and Apple TV updates

It's update time again as Apple has today released another minor update to iOS 7 that provides a fix to the SSL connection verification issues that people have been experiencing. The 7.0.6 update comes less than a month after Apple released the 7.0.5 update for iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C users that fixed network issues affecting people in china. To update your devices open the settings app and navigate to the 'software update' option. If you prefer to update your device via iTunes you can connect your device to your Mac or PC and update there too. 

Apple have also been releasing beta versions of iOS 7.1 to developers over the last few months and is currently at 7.1.4 as of last week. Unlike today's minor update iOS 7.1 is a more feature rich release with major improvements to Mobile Device Management mass deployment system and possibly a new 'volume services' web client. It is expected that iOS 7.1 will be out of beta and available to the public towards the end of March. 

Alongside the iOS 7.1.6 update Apple also released an update for older devices by way of a 6.1.6 release which is available for iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch fourth generation which are unable to run iOS 7. 

Update:

Alongside today's updates for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Apple also released an update for Apple TV. The 6.0.2 update has been classed a stability and performance updates and can be downloaded via the devices settings menu. 

Stay on the Ball with the Bwin Sports App

As much as we would like to spend most of our days in the stadium, rooting for our favourite sports team, it is not always feasible. That is where the bwin sports app comes in handy. It lets you take the excitement of your favourite sports events with you while keeping you up-to-date on the latest game results. Bwin is a pioneer in the world of mobile sports betting and their app has been released for Android phones and tablets as well as the iPhone and iPad. 

With the bwin sports app you can enjoy all the features of bwin sports betting on the go. This includes:

• accessing your bwin account and checking your details and bet updates.
• placing live bets and pre-game bets.
• placing single, multiple and system bets.
• receiving live video updates of sports events.
• accessing the entire bwin sports betting range.
• using the betfinder feature to help you find new sports events to bet on.
• a sleek and ergonomic design.

 

The user friendly interface takes any frustration out of the betting process and makes it easy even for complete beginners to place a bet on the outcome of a game of their choice. With the app you are able to bet on any sporting event from football, American football, rugby and tennis to Formula 1, snooker, golf, ice hockey and many more. The betfinder feature makes sure that you will never get bored as there are always more games with fantastic odds to bet on. 

The bwin sports app is being continually updated to give the user the best possible betting experience. Due to the gambling nature of this app you will need to be at least be 18 years old if you wish to place a bet. Good luck!

Apple Launching 'Apple Store' App for iPad

Nearly three and a half years after the debut of a dedicated Apple Store app for iPhone, Apple is launching a new iPad version of the application today, reports TechCrunch. The new app, which appears to be U.S.-only for the time being, offers a "sparse" iOS 7 design aesthetic and makes use of high-quality images and context-aware panels to offer an exceptional user experience...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

75% of Early iPad Purchasers Already Own an iPad, Early-Adopter Upgrade Cycle Around 23 Months

According to a survey by PiperJaffray, 75 percent of U.S. iPad Air purchasers on launch day already owned an iPad, compared to only 58 percent for last year's iPad mini launch.

Gene Munster, a PiperJaffray analyst, believes the U.S. market may be getting slightly more saturated.

Surveying 71 day-one iPad buyers, Munster found that the early-adopter upgrade cycle is around 23 months, significantly shorter than the general public's upgrade cycle of 30 months. Also, the average capacity purchased today was 59.7GB versus 40.5GB for the 3rd-generation iPad launch...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Entertainment on the Move

When the iPad was originally launched, tablet devices were launched into the limelight. It goes without saying that Apple were not the first, but they made this category of device sexy and created an experience that many did not know they wanted, until they had handled one of these new wonders. Since the first generation iPad was so successful, many other manufacturers frantically played catchup.

To a certain degree they have, with many manufacturers backing the Google Android platform. Whilst the hardware may not be as sexy, the ecosystem is definitely developing. The selection of apps on the Google Play Store is now more than acceptable, making the myriad of devices from the likes of Samsung, Asus and Acer (to name just a few) very viable options. My personal opinion is that they are not quite as tied in service-wise, whereas the Apple iPad is very good at synchronising with the likes of an Apple desktop or laptop.

This new category, for a long time, has been thought of as an ideal way of consuming media, but not necessarily creating. Things are pretty good, with regard to photo manipulation, simple spreadsheets, text documents and the like, but anything more than that is often a compromise. I do take notes on my iPad, but anything more than that and I grab my laptop, or sit down at a desktop computer.

Whilst these two platforms battle it out, Microsoft is sitting in the wings. It dipped its toe into the water with the Surface RT and Surface Pro, which were a hard sell due to lack of apps. However, with their most recent offerings, the Surface 2 and Pro 2, things have improved. Apps that were missing first time around are now appearing with around half of the mainstream titles not available at original launch, now in the Windows App Store.

Whichever platform you choose, all of these devices have something in common. They are all great entertainment devices. Awesome for playing back videos, music, playing games etc. The internet browsers add yet another dimension and allow you to play online games. You might even be able to increase your riches too, by trying your luck at Blackjack, Slots or Roulette on Casino.com who, like many websites, have enriched their experience for mobile devices. So whether it's online shopping, emails, surfing the internet or staying in touch with friends & family, this new breed of tablet device is here to stay and I am certainly thankful that Apple made this category popular again.

Top tweets on Apple's iPad event

Apple was once again the talk of Twitter during a media event that introduced new iPads and revealed that Mavericks would be released free of charge. The Cupertino company's event spawned more than 770,000 tweets between 10:00 a.m PT and 12:00 p.m. PT, according to data shared with CNET by analytics firm Topsy.

Collectively, the people of Twitter showed the most enthusiasm around the lighter, full-sized iPad Air and the new Mac operating system, but the top tweets surrounding the affair, measured in retweets and replies, highlight a mix of different emotions.

From 10:00 a.m PT to 12:00 p.m PT, actor Darren Criss, seemingly an enthusiastic Apple fan, had the top four tweets, which altogether generated 1,753 retweets and replies during the two-hour block...

Read the full story here... Source: CNET