The big tech news of the week is Google’s release of its hotly anticipated “superphone”, the Nexus One (a nod to a Philip K. Dick book, for the geeks out there). Much mystery has surrounded the Google-branded “iPhone killer” and its features have remained a closely-guarded secret until now. The internet giant has called on HTC’s expertise in creating mobile devices perfect for the Android operating system, such as the excellent HTC Hero. Android itself was developed in part by Google, and the Nexus One is one of the first devices to run the latest version of the software, Android 2.1. With Google behind it, the Nexus One has an array of fancy inbuilt software innovations, such as the latest version of Google Maps with satellite navigation (pictured), the ability to enter text without typing and integrated voicemail transcription. That’s not to mention the 18,000 Android applications available, rivalling iPhone’s app store. Vodafone has secured the Nexus One in the UK, with a contract deal expected Spring 2010. However, the Nexus One is available from Google in the US and can be shipped to the UK.
Nexus One hardware at a glance: 3.7" display, 1GHz processor, 5MP camera with flash, 1024MB flash + RAM, SD card slot (expandable up to 32GB) and a “tri-colour” trackball that flashes when calls/emails/etc. arrive.
Price $529 (not including shipping from the US)
Samsung adds to N-series range of netbooks
Another year, another raft of netbooks it seems. Among the first to be announced in 2010 are Samsung’s new additions to its N range of netbooks, a form factor which exploded in popularity last year. The Samsung N210 (pictured), N220, N150 and NB30 are quoted as having battery lives of at least 8.5 hours. The N210 and 220 should, according to Samsung, last a wopping 12 hours at average day-to-day use and with the average hardware configuration. Samsung says this impressive battery life is down to a battery-friendly 10.1” LED display, an optimized processor and its very own “proprietary Enhanced Battery Life solution.” All four laptops come with an integrated webcam and Intel’s N450 processor.
Sennheiser RS Range of wireless headphones
Sennheiser is fast building a reputation as a maker of quality audio equipment. Its latest additions include the RS range of next-gen wireless headphones, namely the RS 160, RS 170 and RS 180. All three sets come with a base station and headphones with a battery life of over 15 hours, according to Sennheiser. The RS 170 and 180 are aimed at the home cinema and hi-fi user, while their little brother, the RS 160 (pictured) has a smaller portable base station. The RS 160 is small enough to be carried around when connected to an MP3 player or mobile phone, and its base runs off AA batteries.
Price RS 160 £139.99; RS 170 £179.99; RS 180 £219.99
Trustive wifi access for Android
Trustive has now launched its third party MyHotspotter wifi-client for mobile devices running the Android operating system (such as the Nexus One). The app allows users to spot wifi zones, an alternative to the standard inbuilt wifi client. Further, the app gives clients access to the Trustive wifi service, which brings together a number of leading hotspot partners under one umbrella, such as BT OpenZone in the UK. According to Trustive, users should be able to access wifi hotspots from different providers all in one place and when travelling from place to place. Trustive’s website lists more than 8,000 hotspots within the UK (1,520 in London), including those belonging to hotels such as Best Western and Holiday Inn Express. The Trustive client has been available for laptops and on the iPhone for some time now.
Price The application itself is Free; Trustive service available with monthly or a choice of prepaid subscriptions. No download quotas imposed.
HTC Smart – Spring 2010
HTC has unveiled its latest mobile device. Rather than running on Android or Windows, the HTC Smart runs Qualcomm’s Brew MP, a less costly mobile operating system reflected in the phone’s price. The HTC Smart has a compact, “friendly” touch design and is intended to be more widely accessible across global markets. The HTC Smart is slated for release across Europe and Asia this spring. Details on specific features and specifications are scarce, but here’s a picture to whet the appetite.