Touchdown for the touchscreen in Berlin
Move over 3D TV – the world’s biggest tech show was dominated by the tactile as touchscreen technology moved centre stage on devices ranging from computer monitors to tabletsAFTER YEARS hawking 3D televisions, this year’s IFA in Berlin focused on the touchdown of the touchscreen.
From computer monitors to tablets, the world’s biggest tech show was dominated by the tactile, thanks to Windows 8, Microsoft’s colourful reboot of its operating system that offers a touchscreen interface. More on this later.
Samsung bounced back from its iPhone patent war with Apple with several interesting products. The Note II was an upgrade on the hybrid phone/tablet (phablet, anyone?) premiered at last year’s IFA. It doubles the RAM to 2GB, slightly larger screen, faster processor and improved stylus. All this for just 2g more in your pocket.
The South Koreans left Nokia in their dust at IFA by presenting the first Windows 8 mobile phone – the Ativ S – showing off Microsoft’s colourful “Metro” tiled interface on a 4.8-inch, 1280-by-720 Super AMOLED screen.
Taking care of business behind the reinforced glass is a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and big 2300 mAh battery to power the .89 cm thick phone. The new arrival boasts two cameras (8 and 1.9 megapixels) as well as 5 GHZ wifi and SD-card slot. The company expects the phone to come on the market in time for the Christmas trade.
Another impressive Samsung product was the Galaxy camera – with a 21x zoom out front, a 4-inch touchscreen out back and Android and wifi inside for fast sharing of snaps.
There was a colourful cast of laptops traipsing through Berlin’s trade fairground. Eye-catching new arrivals included two ultrabooks from HP weighing just over 2kg each: the Spectre TouchSmart XT and Envy.
Just 1.8cm at their thickest point, boasting every high-speed data port you can think of and a sharp 15.6-inch touchscreens running Windows 8, these laptops are clearly geared at photographers and musicians looking for a light, heavyweight MacBook Air alternative.
Apart from a dark outside case and a few rounded edges, the inside case and black keyboard are so daringly close to their Apple rival that you can practically hear the patent lawyers licking their lawsuit lips.
But back to the clear trend at IFA 2012. Apple may have been first out of the gate with the iPad but, after two years playing catchup, Apple’s rivals have caught up and even overtaken Steve Jobs’s heirs, offering tablets with attachable keyboards
While Apple users still have to turn to third-party manufacturers such as Logitech, rivals from Asus to Samsung now offer customers an attachable keyboard option to turn their tablet into a lightweight laptop. HP presented the slick “Envy x2” with an aluminium case and keyboard complete with touchpad and an optional pen for notes.