Big-Screen Smartphones, Smartwatches Lead IT Race

      September 02, 2014 12:28

      Samsung, Apple, LG, Sony and other global firms are rolling out new smart devices this fall, intensifying competition in a near-saturated market.

      The key products are smartphones with larger screens and smartwatches.

      They will mostly be unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin from Sept. 5 to 10. But Apple will launch its latest products, including the iPhone 6, at its headquarters in Cupertino, California on Sept. 9.

      ◆ Large-Screen Smartphones

      Samsung is launching the Galaxy Note 4 simultaneously in Berlin, Beijing and New York on Wednesday. The Galaxy Note is sometimes called a "phablet," sized between a smartphone and a tablet PC. It features a 5.7-inch QHD display, which offers double the clarity of full HD screens. Samsung will also unveil what has been tentatively called the Galaxy Note Edge with a display on its edges showing incoming calls or text messages.

      A Samsung spokesman said only a limited number will be sold.

      Apple is also tipped to unveil a smartphone with a screen of over 5 inches, bucking the design philosophy of the company’s late founder Steve Jobs, who insisted that a smartphone should fit in one hand.

      The iPhone therefore came with displays that were smaller than 4 inches. But the iPhone 6 will apparently come in both 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch display versions.

      The G3, LG’s main product this fall, also has a 5.5-inch display. LG plans to unveil the G3 Stylus at the IFA to target emerging markets.

      Not to be outdone, Sony is releasing its Xperia Z3 smartphone, which reportedly features a 5.2-inch display and 20.7 megapixel camera.

      ◆ Smartwatches

      Oval designs are now the rage in the wearable devices market. The smartwatches unveiled so far have been rectangular in shape and were criticized for looking clunky.

      But last month, Motorola unveiled the first oval smartwatch called Moto 360 and LG followed suit with the G Watch R. LG claims it looks like a luxury watch if fitted with leather or metallic wristbands.

      Samsung's Gear S smartwatch, to be unveiled later this year, is rectangular, but the wristband and smartwatch are similar in thickness allowing it to wrap more snugly around the wrist. Unlike other smartwatches, the Gear S contains its own mobile communications chip enabling users to make calls or exchange texts without the main device.

      Apple reportedly plans to roll out its own smartwatch called iWatch. In the invite to the press junket, the company would only say, "Wish we could say more."

      Apple hired a former senior executive from Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer to develop the iWatch.

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