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BIG WEEK FOR FLAGSHIP DEVICES

You may have heard that it’s been a pretty big week for technology companies. Apple released their hotly anticipated iPhone5, Windows & Nokia got more serious, and Amazon have been steadily ramping up their formidable presence with the release of their Kindle Fire HD tablet. Here’s what you need to know.

First up, the iPhone. According to Apple, it’s “without doubt the very best computer that [they've] ever built”. Choice words, perhaps even true, but has it lived up to the hype? The first thing to say is that, perhaps unfortunately for brands & advertisers, there is no NFC. That’s a real blow to, at the very least, the speed of development for NFC and its many associated benefits.

The iPhone has a bigger screen, is super-fast (twice as quick as its predecessor), and comes with an 8 megapixel camera for HD video recording. It has a much improved battery, and a new smaller charging connector – and all this has been achieved in a device 20% lighter, and 18% thinner than the iPhone4S. That is undeniably impressive.

Its new operating system, iOS6, kicks out GoogleMaps in favour of its own, new maps, which include a fancy feature called Flyover: [Watch]. And it’s got Passbook. It’s Apple’s answer to an eWallet, and hopes to centralise the myriad apps that have been built to date with ticketing functions, passes and similar. Many brands would be wise to be considering how to use Passbook immediately: [Watch].

Finally, The iPhone5 is a 4G device. It’s ready to deliver the super-quick internet speeds imminently available in the UK: [Watch]. For a full breakdown of iPhone5, and a comparison with Manufacturers’ Flagship competitors, [Watch/Read].

Quietly developing at the sidelines is the newest Windows phone. It’s been received well by critics, and Windows & Nokia may have learned enough over the last few years about reacting to the environment around them, and actually take advantage of the hammer blows Apple has been dealing Samsung in the courts.

In some quarters, the new Windows 8 phone, the Lumia 920, is a move away from the app-centric phone and a step toward a ‘people centric phone’. That’s intriguing, and not without foundation. The impressive, highly customisable phone elegantly presents so much information on its ‘live tiles’, that actually clicking into apps à la iOS/Android starts to look like an old-skool concept. It comes eWallet (including loyalty card) ready, and NFC equipped. It even wirelessly charges. [Watch]. However, Window’s/Nokia will only to release the phone in November – 6 weeks later than the iPhone.

Finally, Amazon have launched their Kindle Fire HD device, and it’s arguably the most impressive alternative to Apple’s dominant iPad yet. Coming in far cheaper (starting at an incredible £159 in the UK), and running Android’s OS, it is almost certain to transform the tablet landscape with its quick access to Amazon’s vast rich media retail outlet. [Watch]. Its pricing, coupled with solid and impressive technology, is likely to mean it will penetrate quickly and efficiently as the initial Kindle devices did – with competitors Google and Apple, looking over their shoulders. The game seems to be opening up. iPad Mini, anyone?

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