Regular dispatches from AccountingWEB gadget devotees including executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris, community correspondent Rachael Power, community manager Henry Osadzinski, and Accountants Power Tools' Kevin Salter.
Latest from CES gadget fest in Las Vegas
Google managed to over-shadow this week’s consumer electronics show in Las Vegas with the unveiling last week of its new Nexus One smartphone, tipped as the company’s iPhone killer.
In fact the Nexus One is just one small step in Google’s plan for world domination. The Nexus is actually a fairly unexceptional device designed completely by smartphone maker HTC, with software features that will soon be available to other Android phones with advanced hardware anyway. What is more important is the direction Google is driving its Android phones – open phones with open application stores sold through a variety of channels, running an open-source operating system. That means persuading consumers to look beyond the existing chains of retailers controlled by the mobile phone networks when they want to buy a new handset. That, in turn, will require Google to keep its mobile software on a par with, or even ahead of, Apple. It sounds like a long war of attrition though – the company projects Nexus One sales of 150,000 in 2010 – compared with an estimated total market for smartphones of 1.8 billion! * * *Microsoft was quick to use CES to get in ahead of Apple’s eagerly anticipated tablet computer launch next week. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated examples of what he called the new “slate” devices, tablet-style PCs such as a small Hewlett-Packard device about the size of Amzon’s Kindle e-book reader and running Kindle PC software; Archos mid-sized tablet that resembles a UMPC; and the larger Pegatron tablet that would be ideal for reading full-sized newspaper and magazine folios. These are all basically just full Windows 7 PCs in a small form factor with touchscreen functionality and no hardware keyboard – but they bring a huge amount of computing and multi-media power to handheld devices which could soon rival mobile phones as portable media viewers. * * *At a more humble level, Powermat, the wireless battery charging system, is launching new swappable batteries for HTC, Blackberry, Nokia, LG, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson phones. Rather than using the previous (and rather chunky) Powermat back cover for your mobile, simply replace the standard battery with one of these, lay your mobile on the silicone Powermat and it recharges without wires or plugs. You can put several devices on the mat and recharge them simultaneously. Brilliantly simple.