Hands up: Project Ara is a long way from commercial release but it’s definitely worth getting excited about well ahead of time. Google’s speculative attempt to create a modular smartphone – in which functions like the camera or storage can be swapped out, upgraded or repaired to your heart’s content – Project Ara is possibly the most ambitious development in the smartphone space since the iPhone. Cutting waste, providing customisable smartphones and tackling the rapid obsolescence of modern devices is a noble aim but can Project Ara ever work as a commercial reality? All eyes are on Google’s test roll-out in Puerto Rico later this year.
Sony Walkman ZX2
Being able to access all of your music on the go is awesome. The fact that you often have to sacrifice audio quality for portability isn’t. This is something Sony aims to address. Packing a whopping 128GB hard drive, the Walkman ZX2 supports the full gamut of high-end and lossless compression formats including DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC and Apple Lossless. It also upscales more compressed formats, making them sound extra tasty. The only drawback is it’s probably only an option for those who are really passionate about high-quality audio: retailing at £949, the ZX2 is just for the serious audiophile.
Stop the clocks. We’re officially calling time on ugly smartwatches. Asus’ ZenWatch may actually be a world-first as a smartwatch that’s attractive enough to appear on even the most fashion-conscious entrepreneur’s wrist. More than just a pretty face, the ZenWatch has a few nifty features that help it stand out, such as a forgot phone warning and an SOS that sends out an emergency message to loved ones if you’re in trouble. It’s not without flaws but a short battery life and slightly erratic trackers don’t mar what is otherwise an impressive smartwatch entry.
There’s no hiding that at Elite Business we’re suckers for anything that will give us better control of our devices, especially if it involves intuitiveness of gesture control or touch sensitivity. Flow offers the best of both worlds and combines a wide range of different methods of interfacing with your machine, allowing users to click, turn, swipe and wave to their hearts’ content. It’s built on an open platform that allows developers to programme custom shortcuts for their apps; its creators have already created shortcuts for a range of software from Photoshop and Illustrator to OS X and Linux.
In certain professional environments, leaving one’s laptop unlocked is asking for trouble. However locking things up isn’t always at the front of mind when you pop to take a leak or top up your caffeine levels. Sesame 2 is the natural solution. Chuck it in your pocket or put it on a keychain and every time you wander away from your Mac, it will automatically lock. On your return, Sesame 2 will unlock it without you having to press a key. You can also set it to perform other functions, from pausing your tunes to setting yourself as away on your apps. Clever stuff.