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09-12-2013

November’s biggest releases

Nexus-5

With the holiday season approaching, brands are releasing the product that they want us to buy to our relatives (or to ourselves).

End of last month, Google quietly released its flagship, the Nexus 5, a powerful 5 inches beast built by LG. This device is shipped with the latest version of Android: KitKat. The version 4.4 comes with some under the hood improvements and some UI tweaks. The Nexus 5 also comes with one exclusive feature, the Google Now Launcher, a home screen that integrates Google’s omniscient, contextual assistant on the leftmost panel, and that can be triggered by saying “OK Google” (or “OK Jarvis” if you’re an IronMan fan), a bit like the Moto X.

Moto-G1

Google also released a Motorola mid-end phone with the price tag of a low-end device. The Moto G, unlike its big browser the Moto X, is available worldwide, and has no contextual dedicated co-processors. But it is said to be as fast and responsive as the Galaxy S4 and the Nexus 5. With this device, Google and Motorola are targeting emerging markets with an excellent quality/price ratio.

 

On the other side of the Atlantic, the company built by disappointed Nokia’s engineers, Jolla, released their first flagship. This company started where Nokia left with MeeGo, and built Sailfish OS on top of it. I already talked about the customization feature of the Jolla phone in a previous post: The Other Half. One other feature that could help the adoption of this new player, is the fact that you can install Android apps on it, and then benefits from the huge amount of apps available, unlike Windows Phones.

Jolla

That’s about it for smartphones, but this year is a big one for the gaming industry: 2 big players are releasing the next generation of their living room console.

In alphabetical order (to avoid making anyone jealous ;-)), the PS4: this machine is built for gaming and only for gaming, it is powerful, small, a bit noisy, and has a ton of feature related to games (like live streaming what you’re doing in front of the TV while gaming), but when it comes to other stuff you do in a living room you’ll have to wait: this device cannot read video files or mp3, at least for now.

PS4

The direct competitor released the Xbox ONE: a more expensive console with similar specs (despite being said to be a little less powerful), but built for the future of entertainment: it comes with a lots of VOD services, Live TV integration, video conference through Skype, music streaming, Internet Explorer (Yeay!!! :-P), and more. Moreover, it comes with the Kinect 2 and its powerful voice and gesture recognition feature (the PS4 also has a similar feature, but it seems a bit bulky).

Xbox-One

But at the end, we all know that this is the list of available games and exclusive titles that will decide the fate of these two competitors.

In a previous article, I already talked about Valve, the company behind Half Life 1 and 2 and the Steam platform, and its desire to invade the living room with its Steam machines. IBuyPower thought it could take advantage of the war between the PS4 and the Xbox ONE to present its first Steam machine. A PC shipped with the Steam OS for the price tag of an Xbox ONE. The problem is that we will have to wait for 2014 to see big games compatible with Linux. Meanwhile, the Steam Machines are not really a threat for Sony and Microsoft,… yet.

Talking about Microsoft, they decided to take advantage of the buzz created by their Scroogled campaign to sell products. The Scroogled campaign aims at discrediting Google, by showing in funny videos, how the Montain View company is using your personal information to sell ads.

And last but not least, if you don’t have 300€ to spend in a Parrot drone, you can still control a paper plane with you smartphone thanks to PowerUp.

[polldaddy poll=7630749]

 

Charles Bonneau
Twitter: @charlesbonneau
Blog: http://blog.cbonneau.me

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