We got some hands-on time with the new Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact at IFA 2014, with Sony's new 8-inch slate featuring a 1920x1200 display, and much, much more.
We have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 chip, a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of on-board flash which is expandable through microSD, a SIM card slot in case you wanted to use data on-the-go, a 4500mAh battery, a 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera with an 8.1-megapixel rear-facing snapper.
Dropping prices in connected devices, and increasingly tech savvy families in the United States, will help drive the Internet of Things (IoT) in the future ahead. In a mature and affluent market, for example, there could be hundreds of "smart" objects in a single household by 2022, according to the Gartner research group.
Large domestic appliances aren't replaced often, so average households will grow their collection of smart objects slowly over the next decade. However, a mature smart home will not take place until 2020 to 2025, as smart domestic products continue to be released.
"We expect that a very wide range of domestic equipment will become 'smart' in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate, usually wirelessly," said Nick Jones, Gartner VP and distinguished analyst, in a statement. "More sophisticated devices will include both sensing and remote control functions. Price will seldom be an inhibitor because the cost of the Internet of Things (IoT) enabling a consumer 'thing' will approach $1 in the long term."
Amazon wants consumers to purchase its 32GB Fire smartphone, and hopes a price tag of just 99 cents will help entice customers to sign up for an exclusive AT&T phone contract. The launch price of the 32GB phone was $199 earlier in the year, but the phone has seen disappointing sales. Consumers interested in the 64GB model can purchase it for just $99, a $200 price drop from the launch price of $299.
"With access to all of the Prime content, Mayday, 32GB of memory and free unlimited cloud storage for photos, plus the exclusive Dynamic Perspective and Firefly features, Fire is another example of the value Amazon delivers to customers," said Ian Freed, Amazon Devices VP.
The company reportedly sold just 35,000 Fire Phone units through mid-August, with AT&T exclusivity hurting sales even further. In addition to the Apple iPhone, Amazon will need to compete against a growing list of Google Android-powered devices from Samsung, HTC, LG, and other manufacturers.
Amazon recently purchased videogame streaming service Twitch for $1 billion, and ESPN President John Skipper doesn't have any current interest in promoting "eSports" in the near future. Although ESPN is still known for mainstream sports, the broadcaster has shown everything from bowling and darts to bass fishing and poker.
"It's not a sport - it's a competition," Skipper recently said. "Chess is as competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I'm interested in doing real sports."
There is money that could be generated from streaming eSports, with 2.4 billion hours of eSports footage watched online in 2013, according to an HIS Technology report. The growing market could have an estimated $300 million value by 2018. Ironically, ESPN and Valve partnered to stream the Dota 2 world championship tournament on ESPN 3, the online and Web-based branch.
Social networking site Twitter wants its users to shop as they tweet, with "buy" buttons now being introduced on its service. Small numbers of mobile Twitter users on Google Android and Apple iOS devices will see the test button, with transactions finalized in just a few simple clicks.
Customers will be asked to provide debit or credit card and shipping information, then submit orders - and data saved on file will simply require a confirmation screen to make purchases. The test run is available to customers that allows them to purchase popular music or buy products from non-profit groups and select retailers.
"This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun," said Tarun Jain, Twitter Group Product Manager.
New car technologies that has paved the way for autonomous driving, cars communicating with one another, and other emerging features could scare some drivers away, according to Ford Chairman Bill Ford. To counter this initial fear, Ford and other carmakers need to make it easier for customers to opt out of high-tech car technologies they might not be interested in.
"A lot of this really cool technology... kind of freaks some people out," said Bill Ford, Ford Motor executive chairman, during a recent conference. "Some people hear 'autonomous driving,' and say, 'Oh my God, I never want to get into that vehicle.' Other people say, 'I don't want my car talking to other cars. That's terrible.' We have to do this thoughtfully."
Regardless of potential concerns, cars are getting smarter - and more connected - but automakers will continue to walk a fine-line to ensure they aren't forcing car buyers into uncomfortable situations.
The lure of bitcoins has led to greater interest from consumers and businesses, as bitcoin ATMs begin to pop up for converting bitcoins to cash or cash to bitcoin savings. If ATMs continue to grow in popularity, bitcoin supporters hope to see a major milestone as cryptocurrencies become mainstream.
"Having these machines in stores, especially quality stores that sell quality items, is really going to raise the profile of bitcoin," said Matt Russell, CMO of PYC, a bitcoin ATM operator in New York. "We'd be fools to not think that marketing is a part of this."
Bitcoin ATMs are being launched in metropolitan areas such as, Seattle, Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas - and companies want to drive adoption into hotels and other tourist locations. Along with U.S. cities, the ATMs are finding their way to Spain, France, England, and other EU nations - but the ATM industry is hoping to see more industry insight for the blossoming market.
It might have grossed an astonishing $1.2 billion at the worldwide box-office, making it the sixth highest grossing film of all time, but it seems that any agreement to have Robert Downey Jr. don the Iron Man armour for another stand alone feature is some time away, if ever.
Commenting to Variety, Downey Jr shot down any speculation by revealing "There isn't one in the pipe. No, there's no plan for a fourth Iron Man".
After his role in the 'Avengers' sequel 'Age of Ultron', Downey Jr is contracted to play the role just one more time, presumably in a third 'Avengers'. Unless, of course a deal can be struck with Disney and Marvel, but at 49 years of age, there's only so many years he can continue to play the role.
While Downey Jr earned a paltry $500,000 for his role in the first 'Iron Man', his profit participation negotiation for 'Iron Man 2' saw him net $12 million and then $50 million for the third.
Back in 1976 the iconic 'Star Wars' opening crawl - the text that dissolves into space in the film's opening, was a huge undertaking which was achieved with a series of models and props by Industrial Light and Magic and which was later replaced by CG text for the special edition versions.
Today, Disney have launched an interactive HTML app which allows users to generate their own 'Star Wars' crawl, prefaced with the obligatory "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" and share via social media.
The app can be accessed from the official site.
It's a very simple to use application, but it's a whole lot of fun. It's just a pity you can't extract a video from it, but there's ways around that of course.
Thanks to our friends at Roadshow Home Entertainment, we have copies of this week's Blu-ray release of 'Deep Breath', the first episode in the latest season of 'Doctor Who' up for grabs for ten lucky readers!
Directed by acclaimed Director Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, A Field in England) and written by Lead Writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat, the beginning of the Twelfth Doctor's era stars Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, Jenna Coleman as his companion (Clara Oswald) and sees the return of fan favourites The Paternoster Gang - Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) in a pulse-racing adventure through Victorian London.
To go into the running to take one Blu-ray copy home, simply correctly answer the following question:
Name the star of the latest incarnation of Doctor Who
To enter, simply 'like' this post and share via Facebook or Twitter and send your answers, along with your postal address to ben at TweakTown dot com before the competition closes on September 11th. The total prize pool is $249.95.
'Doctor Who: Deep Breath' is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Australian retailers on September 10th.