IFA 2014: a comedy roast

IFA 2014: a comedy roastAs the old saying goes, “If you can’t laugh at yourself…” Er, I’m not sure what the proper ending is (even Google doesn’t seem 100% certain), but I like the sentiment.

I had intended writing a Best of IFA 2014 type feature this weekend, but rather than churn out effectively the same old predictable nonsense as every other mobile blog out there, I figured I’d don the old Cape of Hate (that’s tongue in cheek “hate”; remember Everything is rubbish?) and poke a bit of fun at this week’s new stuff.

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was utterly dominant in the IFA 2014 smartphone field, which possibly explains why no one else bothered launching anything of – pun intended – note.

At the high-end, Sony unveiled the Xperia Z3, and while there are various improvements over the Xperia Z2, you’d need a freakin’ degree in Sony flagships (that’s where Martin James comes in) to understand them – never mind appreciate them. In layman’s terms: don’t get too upset if you bought an Xperia Z2 in the microsecond gap between it and the Z3.

The Ascend Mate 7 sounds decent enough, but it’s probably safe to immediately file it under Another Huawei Phone That’ll Emphatically Fail to Have Any Impact on the West.

Not that Huawei cares; it’s the world’s number-three smartphone manufacturer behind only Samsung and Apple. Maybe when the UK has a population of 1.3 billion (which might be pretty soon if things don’t change at Calais)…

Moving down the ladder slightly, the Nokia Lumia 830 is being promoted as an “affordable flagship”, but the only problem is: it’s not particularly affordable, nor is it a flagship.

Sticking with the mid-range, the HTC Desire 820 proudly claims to be – for what it’s worth – the world’s first 64-bit Android phone. The jury’s still out on why any current phone would genuinely need a 64-bit processor, never mind one that’s otherwise completely and utterly middle of the road.

Down at the low end, Sony appears oblivious to the existence of the Moto G. Their Xperia E3 is more expensive than Motorola’s wallet-friendly chap, but with worse specs, including – hilariously – a sub-720p resolution and 4GB internal storage.

Speaking of Motorola, it seemingly has little understanding of what made the original Moto G so successful (being wallet- and pocket-friendly without compromising too much on specs), cranking the successor’s display size from 4.5in to 5in but keeping the 720p resolution, ultimately yielding a phone that’s taller, wider, heavier, and less pleasing to the eye. Its name? The Motorola Moto G. Oh lord.

In other Motorola news, we finally got a closer look at the Moto 360 smartwatch, 92 years after the US manufacturer first lifted the lid on the design, which includes – shock horror – a circular display.

Indeed, wearables on the whole had a pretty significant presence at IFA 2014, another highlight being the Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset for people who, y’know, can’t handle actual reality.

And finally tablets. With the Xperia Z3 Tablet, Sony reiterates its refusal to join the resolution race, coming in relatively low at 1920 x 1200. That sigh of relief you hear is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and Apple iPad.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s latest tablet offering, the Galaxy Tab Active, has a 1280 x 800 resolution, 1.5GB of RAM, and 3.1MP/1.2MP cameras. Any takers? Thought not.

Normal service will resume tomorrow, which means I’ll stick a fork in your calf if you badmouth anything mobile. You've been warned.

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JanSt / MOD  Sep. 7, 2014 at 18:06

Oh, just bring on 9/9 and 24/9 ...

lcurdie / MOD  Sep. 7, 2014 at 21:33

September 24? You mean when BlackBerry reverses its ailing fortunes with its media-friendly 1:1 phone? :p

I jest, I jest. I feel like now, maybe more than ever, there's an appetite for something truly "different". Or maybe it's just us, since we spend most days rambling on about phones.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 7, 2014 at 23:43

square screens are great for, um, instagram.
hey, it's big enough to watch a sized down youtube clip. and who watches long HD movies on a phone?

tbh though, I think the Passport may feel a big uncomfortable... we'll see (and it'll probably cost more then a Porsche Z10)

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 7, 2014 at 23:44

PS: true, probably "only us"...


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