The latest ways to protect your Apple kit
Griffin iPhone cases
Relieve the glory days of John Major and Gladiators with Griffin’s retro line of Global Hypercolour-inspired iPhone cases. Warm them up and watch as your handprint appears in a secondary colour. Very nostalgic.
For those who can’t remember the early 1990s, Griffin’s Woogie 2 may be better. The child-friendly case and accompanying free app make your iPhone look and act like an friendly, furry monster. www.griffintechnology.com
If the stress of owning a fragile smartphone is getting a bit much, you could try out one of these bright cases by Scosche.
Designed to relieve anxiety, much like a 1980s executive toy, the primary-coloured cases are squeezable – which also means they’re great at resisting damage. www.scosche.com
Otterbox’s stand at CES featured a display of protective cases from years past; most of them the size of bricks and twice as ugly. But toughness is the only thing this attractive modern number has in common with them.
It’s made of polycarbonate and silicone, and has a built-in screen protector. This colour scheme is called Camo, and seems designed for hiding in fields of wheat, floating orange rings and Apple logos. www.otterbox.co.uk
Designed to be tough and protect your iPhone 4/4S while staying stylish, the new Phantom case from Case-Mate utilises triple-ply technology and a front snap-on screen for all-round piece of mind.
At press time UK buyers are limited to the navy/aqua colour scheme seen below, or black and white; but Case-Mate plans to launch more exciting turquoise and pink lines in the near future. The Phantom will set you back a spirited £39.99. www.case-mate.co.uk
Cygnett Icon Art Series
Nathan Jurevicius, the creative mind behind the Scarygirl game and illustrations, has produced three colourful designs exclusively for Cygnett’s iPhone 4/4S cases. Made to add as little weight and thickness to your phone as possible, the rubberised soft feel cases come with a screen protector, and will certainly make your iPhone stand out from the crowd. They cost £24.95. uk.cygnett.com/iphone
MAPI’s beautiful leather cases – available for Kindle and BlackBerry, but primarily for Apple devices – are smart and well-made. A number of them feature Smart Cover-esque foldable magnetic straps, ideal for propping up iPhones when podcasting or enjoying video on a small screen.
Prices start at $30 (about £19), and MAPI will happily ship to the UK; the firm hopes to set up UK distribution soon, so watch this space for more details. www.mapicases.com
HzO has come up with a waterproofing process that enables an iPhone to be repeatedly submerged, while continuing to play music. It’s too expensive to use on an individual basis, so HzO is negotiating with device makers to include it as part of their manufacturing.
Check out a video of the demonstration at tinyurl.com/83ga3by.
Rivals and copycats are closing in…
nVidia Tegra 3 tablets
nVidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor might just hold the key to the success or failure of the next generation of iPad wannabes. Whether we’re talking Windows 8 or Google Android 4 (or ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’), nVidia-powered tablets are gunning for their share of the Apple-dominated market. Again.
Speaking at CES in January, nVidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang described Tegra 3 as the world’s first quad-core mobile processor, but one equipped with five cores. He called this fifth core a ‘ninja’ core – one that’s able to apply its power where necessary.
Huang also announced Direct Touch, which enables more responsive touchscreen technology, by sampling more frequently.
Tegra 3 seems to make tablets at least competitive in terms of processing power, with desktop computers or dedicated gaming consoles. nVidia demonstrated a multiplayer first-person shooter running on Android tablets without any apparent problems, and used the Splashtop THD remote-access app to run video and music on a remote PC.
There are plenty of Tegra 3 tablets coming to market. Starting with Android models, the Acer Iconica A510 (top) is likely to launch in Europe in April, with a price of €500. The A510 runs Ice Cream Sandwich and has a 10.1in, 1280x800 touchscreen and 1GB of RAM.
Then there’s the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF700T (below right), which takes the firm’s stylish TF201 and ups its display resolution to 1920x1200: images looked outstanding on a demo unit. This unit is due out in the second quarter of 2012, with US pricing starting at $599 for the 32GB version, and $699 for 64GB.
Even more noteworthy, however, was Asus’s second CES launch, the Eee Pad MeMo ME370T. Asus says it will cost just $250 when it ships in the second quarter, with a 1280x800 screen, 16GB and 32GB storage options, and – of course – Tegra 3, complete with ninja core. www.nvidia.co.uk
Acer Aspire S5
One of the biggest themes at CES was the Ultrabook, an Intel-defined laptop category that blends power with slender portability, and is clearly targeting the MacBook Air. Acer claims its Aspire S5 is the thinnest.
At its slimmest point, the Acer Aspire S5 measures only 15mm, and weighs a mere 1.35kg. It manages to stay slim by hiding its I/O ports in a flip-out flap at the rear.
Hitting the MagicFlip key causes the flap to spring open, revealing HDMI and USB 3 ports, as well as the crowning glory: an ultra-fast Thunderbolt connector.
According to Acer, the Aspire S5 can boot from standby in less than 1.5 seconds, making it faster than earlier Ultrabooks. The S5 is expected to launch in mid-2012. acer.co.uk
Nokia Lumia 900
Thus far Windows Phone hasn’t been much of a threat to the iPhone, occupying less than 3 percent of the market at time of writing. But one look at the tablet-influenced design of Windows 8 makes it clear that Microsoft is taking mobile very seriously indeed.
And so it was that Steve Ballmer, the heaviest heavyweight Microsoft has, took to the stage at CES to add his support as Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900 Windows Phone handset, its first 4G LTE phone.
The Lumia 900, which will run over the AT&T network in the US, runs Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’ and features a 4.3in touchscreen. It’s powered by a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, and has 16GB of internal storage, an 1830mAh battery and an 8Mp camera. Indeed – and characteristically for a Nokia flagship phone – the camera in the 900 has a Carl Zeiss lens with a F2.2 aperture, and a dual wide mode function. We’re happy to see that the 900 has a front-facing camera: something the 800 was missing.The Lumia 900’s single injectable polyurethane matt plastic build gives it a sturdy feel. The material is soft to touch, but scratch- and fingerprint-resistant. It also doesn’t feel like it will shatter if you drop it.
Pricing for the Lumia 900 was not disclosed at the press conference, and a UK launch date wasn’t mentioned. However, events since suggest that the handset could hit our shores in June. In late January the 900 was briefly listed on the Carphone Warehouse website, which allowed Brits to pre-register for information about the device, and claimed it was “expected June 2012”. The page was quickly removed, but the cat – if a bona fide cat it was – was out of the bag. www.nokia.com/gb-en
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