By Wares June 24, 2017 Phones, Mobile Devices & Portable Audio

A round-up of some of the latest local and international phones, mobile devices and portable audio category news and new products.

Is it a phone or is it a camera?

In May Eastman Kodak and Bullitt Group (which has previously designed & produced phones for brands like CAT) announced the availability of a US GSM version of its retro-styled, photo-focused KODAK EKTRA smartphone, along with a software update adding RAW support, improved auto-focus performance, and optimisations to auto-white balance and colour saturation.

Powered by a Media-Tek Helio X20 core processor running Android, the KODAK EKTRA also features a 13MP front-facing camera, and a rear-facing camera with the ability to capture 4K video. More photo-specific features include scene selection modes and a manual mode. Google’s Snapseed photo editor app is also pre-loaded for additional image editing.

The US$399 KODAK EKTRA also makes quite a visual statement with a range of accessories including over-the-shoulder camera-styled leather cases (see photos below).


The next “Essential” device?

Founded by Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, Essential Products is about creating future-focused consumer technology products.

Take its first product, the Essential smartphone (right), which has been attracting a lot of chatter following its reveal this month. Pitched as a premium product (pre-orders are at US$699), it has a super-resilient titanium body, ceramic back and tough-as Corning Gorilla Glass 5 cover glass.

Relatively future-proofed using as it does a version of the Android operating system, it also has USB C connectors, uses Bluetooth 5 (one of few to rock the newest Bluetooth system, so far) and a simple magnetic Click cordless connector of its own devising, allowing wireless data transfer and easy charging (with its own dock) and connection of accessories like the small 360° camera also shown at right.

Display Resolution is 2560 x 1312 QHD and its super thing dual camera system uses both colour and monochrome sensors that can capture up to 200% more light than traditional phone cameras.

The rear camera offers 13MP, while the front-facing camera is capable of producing 8MP still photos and 4K video. Both cameras capture video at 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps or 720p 120fps.

Essential also has a home hub style product in the wings which promises to work with almost any connected product, being operating system agnostic.


Apple 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro Tablets

In June Apple announced its most powerful iPads to date. Both featuring redesigned Retina displays with high ProMotion-boosted refresh rates, Apple Pencil fluidity (see photo at left), and improved battery life. A powerful new 64-bit A10X Fusion chip provides performance that is “faster than most PC laptops shipping today”, speeding up complex tasks like editing photos and 4K video, rendering 3D images or playing games. They share the iPhone 7’s cameras front & back but also include a four-speaker set-up… With iOS 11 coming soon to enhance the product’s functionality and customisability, improve multi-tasking and file organisation, these two tablets look set for success.

OMP The Doodlers Crayon Touch Screen Stylii

In four colours, blue (Scrawl M8260B), red (Splodge M8260R), yellow (Swoop M8260Y) and green (Splat M8260G), the affordable new OMP Crayon Touch Screen Stylus makes controlling your iPhone, Android device and tablet child’s play! Designed for touch typing, games and drawing apps and keeping your device clean by preventing grubby fingerprints on your screen, you can even use these retro stylii with your gloves on.

Belkin Portable Device Products

Not only a great way to reduce cable clutter, the new BOOST|UP Wireless Charging Pad is also faster than many standard wired chargers on the market today with its 15W Qi wireless charging. By reducing cable clutter, the Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad makes for both a handy and stylish addition to your office desk or bedside table.

The new Mixit DuraTek Cable includes durable Kevlar fibres for added strength, abrasion-resistant nylon for a tough outer jacket and highly flexible insulation to minimise damage and friction. Other smart design details further reinforce the cable at stress points. Available in Lightning, Micro-USB and USC-C versions.

Also new are the USB-C Car Charger & Cable (4-foot USB-C to USB-C cable and up to 21 Watts output power for fast charging) and the USB-C Home Charger & USB-C to USB-C Cable (fast charges any USB-C smartphone up to 15 Watts).

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