Tech Update

Technology | Thu 7 Jan | Author – Colin White
Tech Update

Bite-sized news, views and updates from the global tech industry, edited by Colin White.

THIS IS THE ONE

HTC OneHTC has unveiled the latest addition to its HTC One family, the HTC One A9. A five-inch, full HD screen allows brighter and more vivid colours than its predecessor – ideal for gaming, even in direct sunlight.

The HTC One A9 has inbuilt front and rear cameras, coupled with simple editing tools. Its main 13MP rear camera features optical image stabilisation (OIS), which automatically minimises handshake and corrects vibrations. Meanwhile, the front UltraPixel camera is ideal for self-portraits in most lighting conditions.

Another nice touch is an optional Pro mode, and you can also save photos using RAW capture – a tool used by professional photographers – for an unmatched level of post-shot editing flexibility.

Yet another function is the Hyperlapse editing tool. This fun feature allows users to speed up videos to 12 times as fast for a dramatic time-lapse effect. Alternatively, you can also edit in slow motion.

The HTC One A9 utilises HTC’s BoomSound Dolby Audio surround technology and a built-in DAC delivers audio at 24-bit, 192KHz quality. The smartphone has also been designed with new power-saving capabilities to maximise battery life – it’s possible to play 12 hours of HD video on one charge.

The phone is available in 16GB configuration and features expandable memory, supporting up to 2TB in SD card storage, perfect for storing all your apps, games, photos, music and videos.

Speaking at the launch, Cher Wang, CEO, HTC, said: “HTC is a smartphone pioneer, having delivered the first Android smartphone, the first Windows smartphone, the first 4G smartphone, and the first all-metal smartphone. Today we’re taking that heritage of innovation to the next level, unveiling a phone that stands apart in a market increasingly dominated by a company which controls every aspect of your phone. The HTC One A9 breaks from this trend by offering an incredible design, fantastic performance, cutting-edge software features and the freedom to take full control of your smartphone experience.“

The device is available in a grey, silver, gold and deep red and is now available in Ireland. Pricing ranges from free on bill pay and €549 sim-free.

THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’

Apple Watch newWearable tech has become a byword in tech industry circles of late and Apple’s newest, most personal computer, the Apple Watch, is garnering much attention since its announcement in 2014.

The watch comes in two sizes – 38mm and 42mm – and runs a carousel of round icons that change in scale and position, rather than the traditional springboard home screen filled with super-ellipse icons found on iPhone or iPad.

It uses a digital crown to handle scrolling and zooming and is available in three collections — the aluminium Apple Watch Sport, the stainless steel Apple Watch, and the gold Apple Watch Edition.

Apple has made some apps for the Apple Watch, including Fitness, Activity, and Workout for health and fitness and a remote viewfinder for the iPhone’s camera.

LITTLE STAR

Star WarsStar Wars has held a fascination for both young and old film fans over the last four decades. The announcement of its seventh instalment, The Force Awakens, coincides with news of a Star Wars robot – the BB-8.

The BB-8 is an app-enabled Droid that’s as authentic as it is advanced, claims the device manufacturer Sphero.

BB-8 has an adaptive personality that changes as a user plays. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and perk up when you give voice commands.

Its Bluetooth connection allows a workable range of up to 30 metres and you can get over one hour of play from a full charge.

The is iOS and Android compatible and has a top speed of 4.5 mph, and the app is available for free through iTunes or Google Play.

RELIGHT MY FIRE

Candle-touchIsraeli technology company Candle Touch revealed its new app-enabled Real Fire candle at the Web Summit 2015. This candle technology is the first of its kind to take advantage of app-enabled ‘smart world’ technology, providing new convenience and safety features to something as practical as a flame.

Candle Touch Real Fire candles feature an international patent pending technology that has been in development for the past year. The user can remotely control the device through an app from any smart device that supports IOS or Android and is communicated through Bluetooth.

All candles feature a real flame and can be extinguished by the user’s command, while integrated safety technology safeguards against problems that result from human error. An embedded Bluetooth device detects a user’s distance, allowing communication only if the user has a direct line of sight. If the user is too far away, the candles will self-extinguish.

The candle’s life averages 55 to 70 hours and includes a rechargeable battery, a built-in electronic circuit and an extinguisher.

Six different scents – vanilla, lemongrass, lavender, patchouli, melon and amber – are available.

VENUE OF CHOICE

Dell Venue 10 ProDell has launched two new professional-grade tablets: the Venue 8 Pro 5000 Series and the Venue 10 Pro 5000 Series. Both tablets offer high-end security with the Dell Data Protection suite that encompasses comprehensive encryption and advanced authentication and malware prevention.

Built on Intel’s Atom Quad Core processors, the devices offer advanced manageability through automated system deployment, monitoring and updating. With a light hand-held design, the Venue 8 Pro was created for companies that require specialised applications and on-the-go productivity.

The Venue 10 Pro 5000 Series Tablet offers an innovative two-in-one keyboard, the thin and light Venue 10 Pro is ideal for workers who need a balance between mobility and intensive productivity.

Dell’s Kace architecture helps ensure smooth integration through benefits such as desktop virtualisation, user state migration, compliance and reporting, user environment management, and vulnerability scanning, while Windows 10 offers a cloud-based deployment tracking system.