New year, new gadgets
Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson looks at the innovations shaping our lives and what to expect in 2014
1 CURVY SMARTPHONES Samsung has launched a curved Galaxy Round phone, while LG countered with its G’Flex phone, which curves from top to bottom. Expect to see more of this next year, including screens that wrap around the side of a phone.
2 SMARTWATCH GETS SMARTER Our wrists will be hot property in 2014, with smarter smartwatches on the way. Sony and Samsung launched models early, but expect to see competition from Google, LG, Microsoft and even Apple, long- rumoured to be producing the iWatch after it applied to trademark the name.
3 4K OLED TV They were the hot ticket at IFA 2013, and 4K OLED televisions could arrive in stores next year. These televisions combine the two best TV technologies: organic light- emitting diode screens with brighter, bolder colours and 4K resolution with four times the pixels of current full high- defi nition TVs.
4 VIRTUAL REALITY GAMING The Oculus Rift headset ( right) is due to launch publicly next year. The wireless headset has a 7- inch display with full high- defi nition resolution and it tracks your head and body movements to put you in the game.
5 SMART SPECTACLES Google Glass will fi nally go on sale to the public next year. The search giant has promised to release the internet- connected spectacles with an expected cost of $ 1680. Expect to see smartglasses from Meta and GlassUp, as well as rival products from Microsoft, Oakley and Sony.
6 FOXTEL’S IQ3 Pay- TV operator Foxtel ( which is part- owned by News Corp, publisher of this newspaper) will introduce its third personal video recorder. The iQ3 is expected to connect to the internet wirelessly, offer a new electronic program guide, eight TV tuners to record more programs simultaneously, and a one- terabyte drive on which to store them.
7 SEE- THROUGH SMARTPHONES They may not be practical but one Taiwanese company is poised to launch transparent smartphones next year. Polytron Technologies has already developed a basic prototype of the phone that appears to be a clear block of plastic with its speaker, memory card, batteries, microphone and other circuitry on show.
8 FULL- FRAME COMPACT CAMERAS Full- frame cameras, with image sensors as large as a 35mm fi lm strip, are set to become smaller, cheaper and more available. In addition to the three models launched by Sony and Nikon ( above) late this year, there are more rumoured from Sony, Pentax, Samsung and, perhaps, Canon.
9 A BIGGER IPAD Apple could be in for a big year. One development allegedly on the agenda is a 12.9- inch iPad, breaking the size barrier. The new tablet is rumoured to be called the iPad Pro and feature a 4K screen.
10 SPEEDY MOBILE DOWNLOADS Telstra promises to have 85 per cent of the population covered with its 4G network by the start of next year and it will continue trials of LTE- Advanced that could deliver downloads as fast as 300MBps. Rival Optus promises to cover 70 per cent of the population by April, and its reseller Amaysim plans to add 4G to its offerings.