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IFA 2012: 10 best gadgets on display

by Naina Khedeka 

After six days of tech-imbued events, the Internationale Funkausstellung or IFA, a leading trade show held in Berlin for consumer electronics finally pulls the curtain.

IFA 2012: 10 best gadgets on display

After six days of tech-filled events, the Internationale Funkausstellung or IFA, a leading trade show held in Berlin for consumer electronics has finally come to an end. IFA 2012 was eventful, and leaves us with some cool innovations, hot trends, and a controversy too. Talking about tech trends, it did take a leaf from Computex as manufacturers continued to display hybrid and convertible Windows 8 devices. Windows 8 appeared not only in tablets and Ultrabooks, but also in a few All-In-Ones (AIOs). Near Field Communication (NFC) showed up in a number of devices. TVs with 4K resolution are becoming more popular. IFA 2012 showcased some really promising devices and technologies; we have selected the 10 devices that impressed us most.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The successor to Samsung’s best-selling ‘phablet’ has been making headlines for quite some time now. After rounds of rumours and speculation, the company finally took the wraps off the Galaxy Note 2 at IFA this year. It features Android v4.1 (Jelly Bean) out of the box, and is fuelled by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor. Samsung has thrown in Air View, a new feature that it hopes will change the way mobile phones are used nowadays. Air View enables users to hover over an email, S Planner, image gallery, or video with the S Pen to preview content without having to open it. The feature enables users to quickly search and see more information in one view without making screen transitions. Moreover, the S-Pen has also been given a facelift. It is now longer, thicker and has a better grip, allowing for a more precise, comfortable, and natural writing and drawing experience. The Samsung Galaxy Note II will be available in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern markets in October.

Note 2 unveiled

Note 2 gets new Air View feature

Here is a quick look at the features of the Samsung Galaxy Note II:

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 pixel density
  • 4G LTE, EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz), Wi-Fi HT40, NFC
  • GPS with GLONASS and A-GPS support
  • Bluetooth v4.0 with USB 2.0 Host
  • 8 megapixel AF/ Touchfocus camera with full HD video recording and playback, 1.9MP VT Camera, BSI front facing camera
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, all with expandable support up to 64GB
  • MHL for AV out

Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 
This handset made heads turn, and not just because it runs the highly anticipated Windows Phone 8 OS. It appeared in Samsung’s kitty rather than that of Nokia. Samsung stole Nokia’s spotlight, if we may say so, to show off the first Windows Phone 8 smartphone dubbed ATIV S. The device is extremely thin with a narrow bezel. Apart from Windows Phone 8, which is the talk of the town, the handset is equipped with other features, which surely set the bar for upcoming Windows Phone devices.

First Windows 8 Phone from Samsung

First Windows 8 Phone from Samsung

Here is a look at the highlighted features of the Samsung ATIV S:

  • 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels
  • GSM, HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, NFC
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • 8 MP AF, LED flash with full HD video recording, 1.9MP front facing camera
  • 16GB, 32GB versions with expandable support up to 32GB via MicroSD card

HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook
HP showcased its new Ultrabook in the Spectre range, the Spectre XT TouchSmart. While Ultrabooks have begun showing off some nifty hybrid designs, this one from HP has given the design a miss, but brought some touch functionality to the display. This would definitely make the Windows 8 UI (formerly known as Metro) a breeze to use. This highest-end HP Ultrabook embeds a 15-inch IPS display with an edge-to-edge glass covering it, with a full 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. The device is sleek at 17.9mm and tips the scale at a little over 2.1kg. It has an all-metal design, glass touchpad and speakers with Beats Audio technology. The Spectre XT is easily one of the slickest and most high-end PCs on display, and would be an enviable system even without the touch screen. It is also the first notebook from HP to feature Intel’s Thunderbolt interface which enables high-speed transfers of data to external hard drives. Moreover, it features the latest Intel Core processors, Intel’s identity protection, anti-theft, Smart Response and Smart Connect technology. On connectivity front, one will find Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. It is expected to hit store shelves in December with a starting price of approximately Rs 78,199 ($1399).

Yet another Spectre

Yet another Spectre

Dell XPS Duo 12
Early this year, Intel had showcased some new technologies in an event held in Mumbai. The event showed some potential Ultrabook designs. One such design was this laptop-tablet combination. At the IFA, surprisingly, Dell put on display a trio of Windows 8-enabled devices namely, a 10-inch Windows RT tablet, XPS 27 All-in-One and XPS Duo 12. Dell wowed us with its XPS Duo 12 convertible/ hybrid device. It has a unique design with a sleek frame as the screen hinges at the centre of the left and right sides as seen in the image below. The screen swivels vertically and can be flipped by 180 degrees. This allows one to flip the screen backwards and fold it, turning the device into a tablet. It has a 12.5-inch touchscreen that serves as a tablet surface and also a conventional notebook screen, along with processor options up to Core i7.

Distinguishable design (Image Credit: Cnet)

Distinguishable design

Samsung dual-screen laptop prototype
Samsung had yet another prototype on display at IFA. The company put on display a dual screen laptop. Harnessing the dual nature of Windows 8, creative minds at Samsung showed a fully functional laptop on the inside while the outer side becomes a tablet with the tiled UI. Interestingly, the company also utilises the S Pen on the outer touchscreen. The device certainly looks trendy but the dual screen capability is likely to add some bulk. The laptop also shows a front-facing camera, and the touchpad has a brushed metal look along with black chiclet-type keys. Although just a prototype and in need of more work, we think it would be a cool device in case it makes its way into the market.

Best of both worlds (Image Credit: Engadget)

Best of both worlds

IFA 2012: 10 best gadgets on display

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