Top innovations at IFA 2012 – hybrid tablets to android cameras
We’ve seen a number of exciting new devices and ideas at IFA 2012 – an annual consumer tech show held in Berlin – and while the dust settles for another year (or until the even bigger Las Vegas version – CES – in January) we’ve rounded up our top innovations and ideas for you here.
Find out our top picks of the best products from IFA 2012.
1) Sony Tap 20 – all-in-one PC with tablet-style screen
This generated a fair bit of attraction here at IFA, and it’s certainly a neat idea. The viability of actually letting your kids play on the floor with a 20-inch tablet that weighs about 5kg and costs about £1,000 – as Sony appear to be suggesting – is yet to be proven though. Catherine’s first impressions were:
This PC is squarely aimed at families and tries to offer options a traditional all-in-one PC can’t. The screen itself really does feel heavy so I wonder how often it would be moved, or used flat on a table for example. And I’ll be interested to see how long the battery will last too. As an all-in-one PC, the screen’s not bad but the stand could feel a bit stronger.
Watch our video of the Sony Tap 20 to see it in action.
2) Samsung Galaxy Camera – an Android camera with wi-fi and 3G
‘What would you do with Android on a camera?’ you cry. Well plenty according to Samsung. It means you can download and use any app in the Google Play store, effectively meaning you can update the features of the camera as you go. The wi-fi and 3G mean you can then upload them straight to the internet. Andy’s first impressions were:
Android is the star here. It lets you select filters on the fly, previewing exactly what your photos will look like, or tweak them afterward and then upload them. Samsung’s designed the interface so it’s easy to make changes quickly, including every effect you can imagine and the ability to crop photos and so on.
3) Sony Xperia Tablet S
The tablets market is a hard one to crack with such intense competition from Apple and Samsung, but Sony’s latest attempt has a few interesting innovations to set it apart from the rest. Firstly the ‘guest mode’ which means you can set up profiles for different users. There’s also an optional keyboard case which means you can use the whole screen without it being taken up by a virtual keyboard. Andy’s first impressions were:
It’s a thinner tablet than last year’s, though it’s still got a textured section for grabbing hold of. But if there’s one chink in the armour it’s that it still feels flimsy and plasticky compared to the iPad, Asus Eee Pad Transformers and Google Nexus 7s of this world. It’s a difficult thing to overlook.
Find out more about Sony’s Xperia Tablet S and see it in action.
4) Windows 8 hybrids
It’s impossible to pick just one of what I’m naming ‘half and half’ laptops and tablets. They’ve been seen before but not with Windows 8, and not to my mind in versions that you could actually imagine someone using. Toshiba and Dell stood out for the most robust looking designs, but there were plenty more to be had from the likes of Sony’s Vaio Duo 11 and HP’s Envy x2 . Here are Catherine’s first impressions on the Toshiba Satellite U920T (shown above):
I was surprised at just how light this laptop was when I picked it up, though I’m not sure why as the ultrabook label should have given that one away. I think it’s because it actually looks pretty robust, especially when compared to some other hybrid systems we’ve seen before that seem a bit rickety. The sliding action works well and it’s easy to open and close – you actually slide it fully out before you tilt the screen up which means you aren’t trying to pull in two directions at the same time.
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