From Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 to Fitbit’s new Ionic smartwatch, it certainly seems as if developers have made an effort this month to show that Apple isn’t the only game in town
Galaxy Note 8
As Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 8 next week, Samsung is attempting to consolidate its hold of the phablet market with the Galaxy Note 8. And despite its many similarities with Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ from this spring, the new kid on the block’s outstanding dual camera definitely sets it apart. Combining a wide and a tele lens has almost become an industry standard since the iPhone 7 introduced it last year but the Galaxy Note 8 has one advantage over its main competitor: optical image stabilisation, which enables the camera to take in more light in dark environments without the image becoming too blurry. Add to that the fact that the Galaxy Note 8 has up to 256GB in internal storage compared to the older models’ 64GB and it feels as if Samsung can breathe a little easier before Apple’s upcoming event.
Anyone who’s spent time with a baby knows how rapidly they grow. However, that also means that a lot of garments are only used during a short period, resulting in a lot of unnecessary shipping and production costs, not to mention unnecessary environmental impacts. Fortunately Ryan Yasin, founder of Petit Pli, aims to do something about it with his new range of children’s clothes that grow as the kids do. Using his training as an aeronautical engineer, Yasin has developed a pleated fabric that doesn’t just adjusting to the child’s size but is also waterproof and wind resistant. Given its potential to save both the environment and parents’ personal finances, it’s hardly surprising that Petit Pli has just won the prestigious UK James Dyson Award.
The Essential Phone
Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android is back with a new phone and, if the name is anything to go by, he’s not being modest about it. The Essential Phone, which is also named PH-1, is the first phone from his new company Essential and it aims to be an alternative to anyone who’s not completely sold on either Apple’s price or some of Samsung’s software issues. And from its sharp design to its impressive screen, it’s safe to say that the Essential Phone means business. Packed with 128GB of storage and a Snapdragon 825 processor, this phone enables the user to watch high-quality videos and tutorials, perfect when you’re doing that elevator pitch. And accessories like the attachable 360-degree camera ensure that this is an Android phone to take seriously.
Nest Thermostat E
Smart homes are too expensive. No matter how cool it is to check the contents of your fridge via an app on your phone or adjust the temperature by asking your Amazon Echo, these gadgets and gizmos don’t come cheap, which is why we're still not living in the clever computer-run houses envisioned in the Jetsons. Fortunately, Nest Lab’s latest thermostat is taking some steps to overcome this hurdle. Nest Thermostat E has all the features you’d expect from a smart thermostat but the $169 price tag is just two-thirds that of the original device. Just like the original, Nest Thermostat E can learn your schedule, knows when you’re home and can be easily be controlled via an app. The main difference is that it is not compatible with as many heating and cooling systems as the flagship model. Still, the functionality and the price are definitely a step in the right direction.
With its 50 million registered users, Fitbit has a market penetration few other fitness technology companies can boast of – but it’s still only the third biggest wearable brand, after its main rivals Apple and the Chinese tech giant Xiaomi. Aiming to change that, the company has just launched its new smartwatch. With an appearance slightly reminiscent of props from William Shatner’s days on the USS Enterprise, the Fitbit Ionic is packed with features, not only tracking fitness but also enabling you to stream music, make contactless payments and check the weather. Add to that a promised four-day battery life and there may be some people over at Apple who are slightly concerned.