SteamOS and Steam Machine official, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX announced, Surface 2 revealed, and more: Gadget Digest
It’s Friday! Time to catch up on all the week’s tech happenings. And what a week it’s been. BlackBerry has almost crumbled, Amazon has unveiled some natty new tablets, and Valve drew back the curtain on its Steam Machine gaming PC and Steam OS, an entire operating system built around gaming. We’ve got the lot and more, here in our gadget digest.
Steam Machine and SteamOS
It’s been a big week for gamers. Valve took aim squarely at your lounge, with the announcement of its SteamOS and Steam Machine. SteamOS is an operating system with gaming at its heart. But it’s not just for games. It’ll bring together other media services, though exactly which ones Valve isn’t saying just yet. You’ll be able to stream games from your Windows PC too, so you won’t lose out on those you’ve already paid for. It’ll be free, when it’s released some time around the start of 2014. Steam Machine was also unveiled this week. It’s a prototype gaming PC, ahead of the company’s Steam Box, and 300 lucky winners will get their hands on one before the year is out. Those lucky devils.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX
Amazon’s new tablet comes in two sizes – 7 and 8.9 inches – and is packed with new features. Mayday is the most impressive. Press a button, and a real live person appears on your screen to help with your problem. They can even draw on your tablet’s display to show you what to do. The tablet’s specs have been beefed up considerably, too – the 2.2GHz quad-core processor is three times as fast as that in the Kindle Fire HD, and the memory has been doubled to 2GB. A marathon battery life, and searingly hi-res screen make this a tab to be reckoned with. Now if only Amazon would bring it to the UK as well as America.
Microsoft Surface 2
Speaking of tablets, Microsoft has revealed the follow-up to its ailing Surface slate. The Surface Pro 2 comes with a stylus, and has the new Intel Haswell processor inside, making it much faster than last year’s model. Battery life is also 75 per cent better. The Surface RT has been updated as well, and is now known as simply the Microsoft Surface 2. It has the same screen as the Pro 2, with an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor inside. There’s also a range of new accessories to go with both slates.
BlackBerry on the wane
It wasn’t a good week for BlackBerry. The troubled Canadian company announced a loss of £621 million, and that it was slashing 4,500 jobs – that’s 40 per cent of its workforce. As such, it’s received a buyout offer. BBM for Android and iOS also wasn’t released over the weekend, when BlackBerry said it would be. Not to be dissuaded, today it launched its biggest ever handset, the Z30, though you can only buy it from Selfridges until Monday, when it’ll get a wider release. It could be the last consumer handset we see from the company. Sad times.
iPhone 5s hacked
It also wasn’t a great week for Apple. Its supposedly secure Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s was hacked. The device is sold out at the Apple Store too, with the gold version fetching upwards of $10k on eBay. And to top it all, Apple’s Maps is up the creek again. That app never fails to amaze us.
Samsung Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3
Two of the biggest gadgets of the year went on sale this week, too. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy Gear smart watch are in the shops now, but be warned, they don’t come cheap. The Christmas gadget wars are hotting up! But what’s on your wish list? Let us know in the comments below.