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.”

For more information, please visit: http://consumer.huawei.com/minisite/worldwide/huawei-watch/

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Google Smartwatch: Will it be an 'iPhone moment' for wearables?

Despite all the promises, smartwatches remain an acquired taste. Yes, there's a market but one that largely caters to the likes of health junkies and early adopters.

Fitness bands are cheap and light but too minimalist. Samsung's Galaxy Gear is all brawn but lacks device compatibility and email support. And the Pebble, one of the first true-blue smartwatches, is still trying to build an app ecosystem the way that Google and Apple did for their smartphones. It's an uphill battle for Pebble, the smartwatch darling, and it won't get any easier when those tech titans join the fray...

Read the full story here... Source: CNET

Samsung Unpacked 2013 - Live Stream

Join us live at Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2 from the Tempodrom in Berlin where we will unveil the next-generation products. Livestream begins at 19:00 CEST / 13:00 EDT on 4th September, Wednesday.

Microsoft’s Smartwatch Has Been in Development for Over a Year

Microsoft might not just be toying with the idea of building a smartwatch, but may already be well along in the development process. The Wall Street Journal said earlier this week thatMicrosoft is working on a smartwatch with a 1.5-inch display and now The Verge says it has learned that Microsoft’s Xbox team has already spent a year developing a prototype. The watch will allegedly employ a wristband that attaches to the watch face using a magnetic mechanism that’s capable of transmitting power and data, The Verge said.

Microsoft isn’t the only company planning to enter into the smartwatch wars. Samsung, Apple and Google all reportedly have similar devices coming down the pipeline. The ultimate question that remains to be answered is how they will benefit consumers. Will smartwatches simply serve as notification windows into our smartphones, or will they provide a unique experience that adds real value to our wrists?

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Apple iWatch and iPhone 5S to Sport Fingerprint Scanners

Several reports have already suggested that Apple’s iPhone 5S will launch with a fingerprint scanner under the home button. The idea is what users will be able to securely lock and unlock their phone with a quick fingerprint scan, and it’s a feature that we’ve already seen in phones such as the original Motorola Atrix. Now one analyst says Apple’s iWatch will also offer the security feature.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White published a note to investors on Wednesday that said checks with his suppliers in Asia suggest the technology will be built into the iWatch. It makes little to no sense, however, since there’s really no need to lock or unlock something that’s constantly stuck on your wrist.

White also suggests that the iTV will launch with an “iRing” for motion controls, even though the Siri voice engine already provides plenty of control. Better yet, Apple could build a sensor into the TV, similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, that would negate any reason to wear a ring. Is April fools over yet?

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

New Apple 'iWatch' Patent Application Reveals Slap Bracelet with Wraparound Touch-Sensitive Display

A newly-published patent application from Apple discovered by AppleInsider discloses a new "bracelet" accessory with a wraparound design where the screen would cover the entire outer surface. While the word "watch" is not used anywhere in the patent application, which was filed in August 2011, the "wearable video device" described in the document could clearly serve as an advanced wristwatch.

The patent application describes a "bi-stable spring" design, where the watch strap would automatically curve snugly around any sized wrist, the two ends overlapping as required. The display itself would be flexible, and the patent describes a method by which any portion of the display covered by the overlap could be automatically switched off.

The device's screen is described as having a "touch-sensitive user interface" overlaid on the flexible display, in contrast to the physical buttons used on existing smart watches like Pebble.

The design comprises a thin flexible steel band within a fabric wrap, with the screen glued to the outer surface and the electronics and battery glued to the inner surface, though it also refers to the possibility of a more robust design with a fabric frame surrounding the display.

The display appears to be made up of a series of flexible segments which would be flat when the watch is placed on a desk but which curve as much as needed to fit the wrist when the watch is worn.

The patent application also gives clues as to the possible size of the watch, suggesting a width of one inch. though it should be noted that this refers only to the 'typical' width of such bracelets rather than any specific plan by Apple:

The most recent widespread use of such a device was the slap bracelet, also called the slap wrap. The slap bracelet consists of layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover. Typical slap bracelets are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. In a first equilibrium position they can be flat. The second equilibrium is typically reached by slapping the flat embodiment across the wrist, at which point the bracelet curls around the wrist and stays relatively secure in a roughly circular position.

The patent suggests that gyroscopes and accelerometers would be used to allow the watch to determine the orientation of the display, depending, for example, on whether it was worn on left or right wrist.

The patent application also lends weight to speculation that the watch would be a partner device to an iPhone rather than a standalone product, as it refers to "a method for passing information between an accessory device disposed on one surface of a bi-stable spring substrate and a portable electronic device." The watch would act as an input device as well as a display, with reference to a virtual keyboard.

While plugging in the watch to a power source appears to be the primary means of charging the battery, the patent also discusses options for solar power and kinetic charging of the battery, two technologies Apple has addressed in previous patent applications.

Many of Apple's patent applications of course never come to fruition in the form of released products, with Apple instead seeking to control certain technologies or aspects of devices that may appear in completely different forms. As a result, it is unlikely that Apple has plans to launch such a slap bracelet watch accessory, but the patent application does give some insight into what Apple has been considering as it has worked on the project.

[Source: MacRumors]

Apple Working on iOS Watch, Says Report

Rumors are circulating once again that Apple is looking into the possibility of launching an iOS-based wristwatch.

Citing anonymous sources at Apple’s offices in Cupertino, The New York Times reports that Apple is experimenting with a wrist watch that would be powered by iOS. This potential move by the company has been rumored ever since wristwatch bands appeared for the last generation of the iPod Nano, and occasionally word leaks out that Apple is playing around with the concept. Apple of course declines to comment on the rumors, but it does appear the technology is there and that it could fill in some holes in Apple’s technology.

“You can certainly make it wrap around a cylindrical object and that could be someone’s wrist,” Pete Bocko, the chief technology officer for Corning Glass Technologies, said for the report. “Right now, if I tried to make something that looked like a watch, that could be done using this flexible glass.” However, Bocko isn’t saying it would be easy. “The human body moves in unpredictable ways,it’s one of the toughest mechanical challenges.”

Bruce Tognazzini, founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group, is no longer with the company, but you have to throw a suspicious eye his way that he may know something. Just last week he published a lengthy post on his blog about what an iWatch could mean for the company and consumers. He sees it as filling an important gap in Apple’s ecosystem that would allow consumers to control all of their other devices purchased from the company right on their wrist. And, enticingly, he also speculated on how Apple could integrate NFC and Passbook into the watch, something that was also mentioned in the report from the Times.

Apple hasn’t introduced an entirely new product since the iPad in 2010, could wearable technology be where Apple is casting its research and development next?

The evidence certainly seems to be there that Apple is at least exploring the possibility of wearable technology, but that doesn’t always mean it will definitely hit retail shelves. From the sounds of it, though, an iWatch would definitely fill in some gaps in the overall Apple product line.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]