Things of note for Friday September 4th, 2015.
Bumper IFA edition! Live (ish) from Berlin!
1. IFA 2015
This item gets quite geeky quite quickly. If it’s not your thing, feel free to skip to the next item, I won’t be offended.
The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin is an annual tech conference that tends to carry a good couple of announcements and is potentially on its way towards perhaps over-shadowing Mobile World Congress as the big mobile-tech conference of the yearly calendar. Maybe.
And as this edition of FToF goes to press, and with a huge thanks to Lenovo UK, I will be
on a flight back in a car on my way home from aforementioned gathering after having spent a healthy couple of days in the presence of predominantly brand new and super-exciting technology.
Hurrah and hurrah again.
The majority of the news from this trip will be covered in episode 139 of mobile tech podcast, The Voicemail (recording this Sunday – subscribe via iTunes), however there’s no reason why I can’t give you lovely lot a very quick run down of what was cool / awesome about my three day jaunt to IFA Berlin.
Cool / awesome IFA thing ONE:
From Lenovo, the new Yoga Tab 3 Pro and the new Moto 360 smartwatch were the highlights for me.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) September 2, 2015
The former because, in the main, it feels like the Yoga Tab Pro models have finally come of age. This new one sporting a less-cumbersome 70″ projector (yeah, I know), a sleek new colour, and a fancy leather back. Launching imminently for around $499 US. I’ve got a silver Yoga Tab Pro 2 at home and it gets used regularly. While the much neglected tablet-version of Android can be frustrating at times, the hardware is par excellence. Good to see that aspect following through in this new version.
With a thinner/smaller edition ‘for women’ as well a new selection of rose gold straps also aimed at said market; a wider selection and a maturity in its approach to its audiences has resulted in what can only be a step forward for this still quite nascent tech category.
Other awesome things from my hosts at IFA also included a Moto 360 concept smartwatch with a 3D Google street view hologram built into the watch strap (unbelievable) and this Lenovo smartphone with a built-in pico projector.
Side note: If you’re reading this in the newsletter, do the embedded tweets work or are you seeing crap bits of code/images? Answers to the usual address (hint: just hit reply), thank you.
Cool / awesome IFA thing TWO:
From Sony, the new Xperia Z5 Premium is VERY fancy high-end device (with a high-end price to match). I’m rocking a Sony Xperia Z3 at the moment and, aside from a current hardware fault where an awful amount of dust has got underneath the lens (A common problem – GRR! – but Vodafone are replacing it under warranty, which is nice) it is a fantastic phone – see this example of the best photo I’ve ever snapped with a phone ever – from SXSW earlier this year. I digress.
The Z5 comes in three models, the Z5 Premium, the Z5, and the Z5 Compact. In reverse order, the Z5 compact will probably be quite popular as the Z-range compact models have often been in the past as Sony refuse to tow the line of creating ‘Mini’ models (reducing features and spec with size) and instead keeping the high-end elements and merely reducing the phone’s body. Very impressive.
The Z5 is very nice and – for Sony fans at least -will probably be many folk’s next phone when it launches this November. It’s smart, pretty, and feels fantastic in the hand. I liked this a lot.
Then we get to the Z5 Premium. Slightly larger and the absolute top top top spec, it comes with a 4K screen (which many are calling out as utterly superfluous; who needs that many pixels on a 5.5 screen) and a stunning build that, on the chrome edition at least, is reflective on the back.
— Hilariously, Sony’s global PR just RT’d this and now it’s going nuts —
It may look cheap in the image but when you see it in the flesh, it really does POP and it definitely makes you go ‘Wow!’. Worth a look when it launches, definitely.
Sony (and Motorola for that matter) could be about to go through somewhat of a renaissance. With Samsung/Apple fatigue setting in combined with a compelling range of devices marketed to different hands and handbags, 2015/16 could be when mass-market consumers finally catch on to what they’ve been missing out on.
Side note: almost every Android phone I saw in attendance was a Sony Z3. It was everywhere. Alright I own one but I really do think that, if you know your tech and you prefer Android, Sony really is the best in show right now. And from my anecdotal data points of ‘I counted quite a few’, IFA attendees clearly agree with me.
Cool / awesome IFA thing THREE:
Last one, promise.
Finally, also from Sony, yours truly managed to have a sneaky go on the upcoming PlayStation 4 VR peripheral, ‘Project Morpheus‘.
About which I am very excited.
LOOK AT ME WEARING IT, LOOK!
AND IT WAS AWESOME.
SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD!
And, depending on how abhorrent the pricing is (or isn’t), I may well be first in line when this bad boy launches in Europe at some point next year.
Here’s a video outlining the experience that I had (from a different event, but the demo is the same).
And here’s another video of me this time actually playing said demo – yes, I look like a wally but I was having so much fun (thanks for the footage, Nick x).
Google Cardboard withstanding, this was my first go on any real kind of consumer-facing modern take at VR so I didn’t really know what to expect. There’s still some work to be done (collision detection etc) but the best description I can give you is that I came out of it with the kind of exhilarated grin that is only really reserved for when I get to the end of a rollercoaster – such was my enjoyment.
And you can’t get a better seal of approval than that.
So yeah, that was a cool trip. Once more, thanks to Lenovo for flying me over, putting me up, and generally keeping me fed and watered throughout. I had a great time.
Again, as mentioned, expect more in-depth coverage in the next episode of The Voicemail.
Right then, that’s IFA done. Shall we continue with FToF?
2. BATMAN ANIME FOR THE WIN
Christ, are we only at item 2?!
There’s a website that I read from time to time that specifically covers redesigns and re-imaginations of comic book heroes and villains called Project Rooftop. If you fancy seeing some wicked art, I can suggest heading over right away and taking a look.
This next bit is not from that but it reminded me of it.
Live for Films recently published this concept of an anime Batman a couple of weeks back that I liked so much I didn’t want to just shove into last week’s bonus section so, here it is in all its glory.
There’s much more at the link (including a brief explanation of the approach as well as a fairly awesome mecha-Superman), so go check it out.
3. ONE MINUTE TIME MACHINE
This popped up on my feeds this morning and I think it’s my favourite item this week. A five minute short film called, you guessed it…
And it is wonderful.
It’s slightly NSFW in its use of language at one point but it really is laugh out loud funny and if, like me, you love a good sci-fi ish yarn, you’ll enjoy this quirky little number.
4. TODAY DO THIS
This is your Twitter follower recommendation of the week: @TodayDoThis is my kind of Twitter account. I shall let the ‘founder’ (haha) describe what it’s for:
‘TodayDoThis (@todaydothis) is a daily nudge towards making today slightly better than yesterday. Each morning – 8am UK, NYC and Sydney time – a simple suggestion is posted. Something you can easily do that day should you so wish. Something that might make your day better, or someone else’s (and often both). There’s no specific subject matter, there’s no agenda. Just things to do that might make today a good day. Because if you can do one thing today to make it a bit better than yesterday, then maybe you’ll be open to doing more tomorrow…’
Little moments of inspiring betterment, delivered right into your Twitter stream.
Off you pop then, go give’em a follow.
5. CHARLES ARTHUR’S OVERSPILL
As a writer of collated content, I tend to dig it when I find other collators who also do the same. Both from a MOAR CONTENT perspective as well as a ‘Ooo, I wonder how they do it’ angle.
One that I’ve recently been growing fond of is that of master collator (and ex-tech editor at The Guardian) Mr Charles Arthur.
His latest ‘Overspill‘ is quite excellent and there is much there I could link to (from great Google car encounters to the very latest Ashley Madison discoveries) but instead I shall just link you to the article in its entirety and you can go digging yourself.
Y’know, just in case you haven’t had enough STUFF this week.
Bonuses this week are as follows.
- Please vote for my SXSW Panel. Please. Today (Friday) is the last day for voting.
- I may’ve mentioned this in an earlier edition but Social Media Week London is just around the corner and the collection of COMPLETELY FREE events that Ogilvy is putting on each morning really is quite superb. Each talk/panel/presentation takes place between 9am and 10am which means that, if you can’t get out of the office for the whole week, you could probably come along to ours and then just tell your boss the bus was late. Winner.
- There are 200-year-old tunnels under the streets of Liverpool and no one knows why.
- Eight questions you’re afraid to ask Tattoo Artists [video].
- This past weekend my dear friends Mark & Isolde made their wedding vows and I wanted to announce their nuptials like this is some kind of newspaper announcement. So consider this that. It was wonderful, and I wish them much love and laughter for their future together.
‘The best thing about about FToF is that I usually know one of the five, or sometimes none. Never more. HTF do you do that?!’
– Pedro Stephano
‘I anticipate and appreciate every issue of Five Things on Friday. Getting this in my mailbox makes my Friday even more Fridayer.’
– Jim Gibson
‘Five Things is a dishy selection of culture, tech, social and news organically curated – always something that surprises – an enjoyable pre-weekend read!’
– Susi O’Neill
And that’s it from me.
See you all next week?
PS. If you’ve enjoyed this, please refer it to another; a tweet will do.
PPS. Instagram ads are awful.