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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
Tech rumours that might just come true
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
May 02, 2014
First Published: 18:26 IST(2/5/2014)
Last Updated: 16:49 IST(3/5/2014)
Techilicious columnist Rajiv Makhni

Ever since I came up with a column on Secret and Whispers, I’ve been bombarded with requests to come clean on some of the more juicy stuff on upcoming devices. Here is what my ‘sources’ have told me about some of the most anticipated gadgets of 2014. Do remember the disclaimer: all of these are to be taken as ‘news from an anonymous source’, but I have a feeling that most of them could fall very close to the truth. Thus I’ve rated each rumour on my Credibility Rating Meter (CRM).

iPhone 6 to have a bigger curved screen and holographic animation: It’s the most fantastic and over-the-top of all news. The iPhone 6 may have a curved 5.5-inch screen but the curve isn’t like the one on the LG Flex. This curve is at the edge of the phone bezel and is there to give it a more rounded and sleeker feel with no sharp edges anywhere. The bigger screen will also bump up the resolution to 2560x1440 and the price by about $100. Far ahead of all of this is the rumour that a form of holographic animation will be used to signify incoming and FaceTime calls. I’ve been hearing about this one for two years, but it’s made a strong comeback in the last few days.

CRM out of 10: I’m going with an eight on the 5.5-inch iPhone and a zero on the hologram animation. They’ll first have to put true non-membrane screen holographics on a million-dollar projector before they put it in a $500 phone.

Samsung may stick to Android and not introduce Tizen in 2014

Nike abandoned the FuelBand as Apple’s iWatch Tracker is about to come out: Apparently, Apple politely ‘ordered’ Nike to get rid of their FuelBand to make sure they didn’t trespass into upcoming Apple territory. In lieu, the sports company has been promised a lot of exclusivity in software, and utilities that will run Nike stuff on the watch. The iWatch thus isn’t too far away from release and should be out in 2014 and the device will have the best of both worlds, including all that a smart watch and a fitness tracker should do. Apparently the iWatch has more sensors than any device has ever attempted on a wrist, including a camera that constantly tracks your environment.

CRM: The iWatch, out in 2014, gets a nine out of 10, Nike shutting shop for Apple gets a six and the feature set on the iWatch gets a nine again. All in all, this is solid news on the juice radar.

Google Glass’s next version will be less geeky and will actually work: The 10 minutes I spent with Google Glass were the most exhilarating and the most disappointing 10 minutes of my life. I was over the moon for the first five and down in the dumps for the rest. If ever a product blew my mind, it’s been Google Glass. What potential, and yet what a disappointment in every sense. From the few things you can do with it, its constant need to be attached to your phone to do anything, the most sucky battery life ever on a product, to the fact that I felt so obviously a geek wearing it. Yet the rumour mill around the next version is solid. Lightweight, looking more like a normal wireframe pair of glasses, new microLED screen that is brighter and clearer, new technologies including a screen that will triple battery life, major functionality even without being tethered to a phone and much easier interface and usage with voice and touch.

CRM: I’m sure that the next version will have all this and much more, else it’s RIP Google Glass. My problem with this rumour is that, right now, we don’t even have the beta version properly out on sale and here we are talking about the next version. I’m giving it a nine on feature set and a zero on GG Next Gen out in 2014.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 4 will still run on Android; Tizen thrown out? The next two big flagship phones from Samsung won’t run on home-brewed Tizen OS, but will stick with Android. To many this is a shock as Tizen is Samsung’s bet to break from the shackles of Google and Android, and forge ahead on its own. And there is no better way to showcase the supremacy of the Samsung product line and power than to do it with its two top-selling phones for the company. But the rumour is strong that Samsung won’t break off from Android and may not even have Tizen flagship products out in 2014. Also, the Note 4 will have a three-sided display with the screen bending on the two sides to show icons and give you a swipe interface. Both S6 and Note 4 will have 64-bit processors.

CRM: I’m giving this a 10. It’s pretty stupid to think that Samsung would try something this risky. Samsung has had a slight dip in sales and image in the last few months and a Tizen foray now would have sealed the fact that trying something so disruptive at a time like this would be suicidal. On the bent display on the Note 4, I’m going with an eight as it will have to change the look and feel and feature sets with a vengeance to make a comeback.

And more: There were a lot more rumours that flooded in – HTC will make the next Nexus 8-inch tablet, a Google Nexus phone at a price of about `5,000 will come out in India within three months, LG’s G3 will have a bendable screen that actually bends up and down, Motorola 360 smart watch with an OLED screen will be out within months and Amazon’s new phones will have gesture and tilting controls and will get an India release within 30 days of its US announcement.

It’s a wild, wild west out there in terms of new devices and the news around them. Remember my original disclaimer, that this is all news from anonymous sources. Let me add one more to that. Any of these come true and become international headlines, you heard it here first!

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

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