From Samsung S9 to Open Bionics’ Hero Arm via Fitbit’s first female fitness tracker, we’ve collected the devices making the biggest waves right now
Samsung S9 and S9+
Apple and Google unveiled their latest flagship phones before the new year, so the pressure was on for Samsung’s new phablet to impress consumers. Clearly its developers didn’t break under the weight of the expectations, with Samsung S9 and the bigger S9+ proving to be a match for its competitors. Samsung has put a lot of effort into upgrading the photography and according to most reviews it really shows, with the new 19 megapixel rear camera snapping clear pictures even in darker environments. Add to that 400gb of expandable storage, a crisp display and instant access to the smart assistant Bixby, it’s safe to say Samsung can breathe easily for the time being.
Open Bionics is one of those startups that never fails to inspire. Having spent the last four years developing and testing high-tech bionic arms, the Bristol startup’s first commercial arm for amputees will be available to buy on Wednesday April 25. Not only does the Hero Arm come packed with high-tech sensors enabling users to intuitively use the device within minutes but it’s also three times more affordable than similar arms thanks to it being 3D-printed. Providing adults and kids as young as eight-years-old with a better quality of life, Open Bionics clearly shows how UK tech startups can be force for good.
A consequence of the tech industry being very male-centric is a tendency to develop products primarily targeted towards men. Maybe that’s why it’s taken Fitbit so long to come up with a wearable fitness tracker for women and people with smaller wrists. Fortunately, The Fitbit Versa makes up for this somewhat by being an extremely strong device. Not only can swimming enthusiasts comfortably go down the deep end due to it being waterproof up to 50 metres, they can also make contactless payments on the fly using the watch with a simple flick of the wrist. Additionally, it can help track everything from menstrual cycles to sleep patterns, which all in all easily justifies the £199 price tag.
IKEA may be best known for its minimalist flatpack furniture and for fur rugs occasionally being used by the costume department of Game of Thrones but the Swedish company has also made forays into tech. Following the back of things like smart lightbulbs and wireless charging, IKEA has now unveiled its first bluetooth speaker. Unsurprisingly, the ENEBY speaker doesn’t require any assembling. Instead it comes ready to be mounted on your wall, bookshelves or on your desk. It comes in two sizes: 20cm by 20cm and the larger version 30cm by 30cm. In a time when all developers seem to launch voice-controlled smart speakers, it’s interesting to see IKEA release a speaker that does one thing and one thing only: play audio.
Sega Mega Drive Mini
Having famously exited the hardware market after the Dreamcast gaming console flopped, Sega is now back in the game. Well, kind of anyway. Riding the same nostalgia wave that has already made Nintendo’s NES Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini immensely successful, the game developer has announced that the Sega Mega Drive Mini will be released later this year to coincide with the classic console’s 30th anniversary. There are few facts and figures out about the new console but given the success of Nintendo’s mini consoles it feels like Sega could be in for a win.