Week in Tech: Tech’s top table is getting bigger all the time
The world of tech is hugely competitive and ridiculously fast-moving, and that’s why we like it so much: today’s hero can quickly become tomorrow’s zero as something more interesting, elegant or exciting comes along.
That’s definitely the case in the ultra-competitive smartphone market, where we’ve discovered the very best thing money can buy: it has “every kind of feature we could ask for and more, and [it] raises the bar once again in terms of what consumers should be expecting in terms of battery life, processor speed and media management.” We’d recommend you buy one “without hesitation”.
Is it the iPhone 5? Nope! It’s the Samsung Galaxy S3, which we’ve spent some more time living with to see how it compares to Apple’s latest. As nice as the iPhone is, we still think the S3 is better – even though it “doesn’t have the same wow factor” as its predecessor.
As we explained in our hands on review, “the fifth-gen iPod touch is a big step forward. Its battery life and low cost of ownership (since it has no cellular contract) beat the iPhone, and it can do just as much, in a thinner, lighter package.”
The iPod certainly remains a titan in its field, and you could well say the same of a particular big-name CEO. Yes, there’s Ballmer, but he’s – well – Ballmer. The late Steve Jobs was seen by many as the king of the technology industry, and our Gary Marshall makes a strong argument that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is his successor: “In a world of dull tech CEOs – ten points for anyone who can say three interesting things about Samsung’s CEO; hell, ten points for anyone who knows his name without Googling it – Jeff Bezos stands out,” he writes, arguing that “like Jobs, Bezos thinks big and plays for keeps.”
But it’s not all great news this week. According to the US House Intelligence Committee, the Chinese mobile makers Huawei and ZTE are kings too: kings of EVIL! After an 11-month investigation, the Committee said that the companies are an espionage threat to western firms and governments, and accused them of bribery, corruption, discriminatory behaviour and copyright infringement.
As you might expect, the companies angrily denied the allegations – in Huawei’s case, over 81 no doubt riveting pages – but the news sparked “dozens and dozens” of fresh complaints to the Committee, so the story isn’t going away any time soon; meanwhile the Committee is urging US firms to buy kit from other companies and TechRadar news writer Matt Swider’s pun generator is set to max: he describes the growing international consensus against Huawei as “The Coalition of the Un-Huaweilling.” Zing!
Could we have a new king of small tablets this time next week? It’s certainly looking that way as the world greets the imminent arrival of a new Apple product with the traditional rumour-mongering, leaked product images and wish lists. You know it’s coming. We know it’s coming.
Pretty much the only thing we don’t know is whether it’ll be called the iPad mini, iPad Air, or Sharon – although it’s unclear whether we’ll see a 3G/4G version or, as The Guardian reports, just a Wi-Fi one to keep the small iPad distinct from its bigger sibling. Yet more allegedly leaked pictures are doing the rounds, showing the expected Lightning connector and a more squared-off case. Unless Apple really messes up or charges too much, it’s clearly going to sell squillions.
Are you planning to buy an iPad mini or similar device for your kids? Some experts say you shouldn’t, and that “your gadgets will eat your children’s brains and turn them into something even more horrible than George Osborne,” Gary Marshall warns, agreeing that too much screen time and not enough exercise is unlikely to have a happy ending.
“As a geek parent I’m a paid-up member of the Gadgets Are Great club, and I think tech can be great for teenagers and tots alike,” he says. “The trick, as with most things, is to get the balance right. If your kids are trying to pinch and zoom their picture books, you should probably give the screens a break.”