Phablets Growing In Popularity, Apple Gunning For Switzerland, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, tweets in space, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, cheap Windows tablets, next-generation Minecraft, and Ikea mocks Apple.
Phablet Shipments Are Set To Soar
Phablets are set to keep on growing, that is, in terms of sales rather than screen size. This is according to International Data Corp. (IDC), which predicts phablet shipments will soon surpass shipments both of tablets and laptops. For the uninitiated, “phablet” is a portmanteau of phone and tablet, coined due to the size of these devices (between 5.5-inches and 6.9-inches).
IDC estimates shipments of 175 million phablets in 2014, which is slightly more than the 170 million laptops expected to be shipped during the same period. In 2015, IDC predicts a huge increase to 318 million units, more than the 233 million tablets shipping during the same period. By 2018, phablets could represent 32 percent of the total smartphone market.
Phablets started out as a bit of a joke, with people openly mocking those stupidly large screens, but that is no longer the case. This change in mindset is cemented by the fact Apple is expected to launch its own phablet, with a 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 all but guaranteed to make an appearance on September 9. [Insert Steve Jobs turning in his grave joke here]
Switzerland Should Be Scared Of iWatch
This nude celeb leak is bad timing for Apple. Also, I hope Apple’s wearable isn’t called iWatch, because creepy.
— Adi Kingsley-Hughes (@the_pc_doc) September 2, 2014
Apple is expected to unveil its long-gestating smartwatch at the iPhone 6 press event on Sept. 9. Probably. Whether it makes an appearance or not, Jony Ive, the egotastic Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, is confident it will succeed. So much so, he thinks the iWatch will eat into the market for classic Swiss timepieces.
“According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, in bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble — though he chose a much bolder term for ‘trouble’ to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple’s watch comes out.”
As good as the Apple iWatch may be, and this could well be the game changer for smartwatches, surely it won’t sway watch collectors into abandoning the spiritual home of analog timepieces. Will it?!
NASA Sends Tweets Into Space
Please forgive our species we know not what we do. #AsteroidMission
— Joe_vella (@Joe_vella) September 4, 2014
NASA is offering everyone the chance to have their tweets or Instagram photos blasted into space. In total, 50 of the best tweets and 50 of the best Instagram photos tagged with #AsteroidMission will be included in a time capsule aboard the OSIRIS-REx, a spacecraft embarking on a round-trip mission to the asteroid Bennu.
OSIRIS-REx is due to depart in 2016, and not return to Earth until 2023. You only have until September 30, 2014, to get your submission in, with full details available on the official Asteroid Time Capsule website. Nanu nanu.
The Galaxy Note Edge Is Too Weird
Phablets may be increasing in popularity, but we’re not sure the world is ready for the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. This phablet is almost identical to the Galaxy Note 4 except for the extra display that curves around the edge of the handset. This extra display works independently of the main display, with contextual controls based on which app you’re using at any given moment.
This is decidedly odd, but then Samsung is known for throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. And at least it’s original, with no one suggesting the Korean company copied this particular feature from Apple. Unless the iPhone 6 has something similar. Dun-dun-duuun!
A Windows 8.1 Tablet For Just $119
If you desperately want a Windows 8.1 tablet but cannot afford the pricey Surface Pro 3 , then the Encore Mini from Toshiba may fulfil your needs. This is a 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet priced at just $119. A price which buys you a quad-core Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.
The Toshiba Encore Mini is set to start shipping on Sept. 17, and we can see these things flying off the shelves. Windows 8.1 may suck as a desktop operating system but it’s surprisingly good on tablets.
Minecraft Imminent For PS4, Xbox One
The insanely popular gaming phenomenon that is Minecraft is set to land on the next-gen consoles this week. Minecraft will arrive on PS4 today (Sept. 4), and arrive on Xbox One tomorrow (Sept. 5). Both versions are attractively priced, with upgrade options for those who originally bought the game for PS3 and Xbox 360, respectively.
Ikea Mocks Apple With BookBook Commercial
And finally, Ikea has mercilessly mocked Apple and its hyperbolic, hipsterish style of ads with a video introducing the 2015 catalog. This isn’t a book, it’s a bookbook. With eternal battery life, and no need for any cables, this is a mesmerizing product. Just don’t try playing Angry Birds on it, or you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do you see the appeal of phablets? Do you think the iWatch will threaten the market for classic timepieces? Is the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge too bizarre to succeed?
Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr
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