September and October are arguably the two busiest month in the year for consumer electronics. The new products begin to roll out at the IFA exhibition held in Berlin and keep going through until November. Along the way there are likely to be high profile new launches from Apple, Samsung and LG plus a raft of exciting new innovative gadgets that will land on crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Here then are five key consumer electronics that we think are likely to shape the rest of the year.
1 Huge phone launches – Pretty much every major manufacturer has a launch or two up their sleeves in the coming months. The big one will inevitably be the arrival of the Apple iPhone 8 which, if Tim Cook follows the template, will be unveiled in early September and on sale by the end of that month. The rumour mill is on full pelt at the moment suggesting that the new phone will have a bigger screen to handset ratio – more akin to the Samsung Galaxy Edge series – and that the screen will be an OLED one taking image resolution to new heights. There’s also a lot of excitement about the phone’s camera. Bloomberg ran a story recently which reported that the phone will have “the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person’s head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works.
The launch will be accompanied by the debut of iOS 11 and the arrival of features developed via ARkit – more on that in a moment.
This time last year Samsung paraded its ill fated Galaxy S8. This autumn it is the turn of it’s supersized flagship the Note to be updated. The Galaxy Note 8 will be formally announced later this month and is likely to hit the stores in September.
Samsung’s big Korean rival LG is also rumoured to be on the verge of launching a new flagship phone the LG-V30 at the IFA exhibition. Meanwhile Sony is likely to add to its range, given that it seeks to unveil new models every six months.
2 Augmented Reality – We have already had a taste of how much fun AR can be via the briefly ubiquitous Pokemon Go! app. This season though Augmented Reality will be everywhere courtesy of the way that Apple has baked its AR developers ARkit into iOS 11. There are already plenty of exciting and useful apps that have been previewed – and you can see a few of them here. The blurring of virtual and real worlds will also be reflected in new app for Android phones, but probably most excitingly is a range of clothes and toys that can be teamed up with phones to create fascinating interactive AR moments. Like the Virtuali-tee which was recently a big Kickstarter hit.
3 Next gen wearables – Well it turned out that Apple Watch wasn’t such a dud after all. So it appears that we do like to have notifications relayed via gadgets. Which is good news for a lot of startups because as ever there will be a load of new products offering notifications, health tracking and load more. Our favourites include the Vue Smart Glasses, which have a similar features set to the ill-fated Google Glass, but they look like real specs and secondly the controls are virtually invisible. Also rather sneaky is the Smart Buckle which was recently funded on Kickstarter and is about to go on sale. It is basically a tiny, but reportedly very accurate, fitness tracker that can be integrated into the strap of any watch.
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