Innovate

What to expect from the cutting edge of consumer electronics this season

SAMSUNGSamsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9
We’re not likely to see a new iPhone until later this year, but in the meantime there are two powerful new Android rivals rubbing themselves raw on the cutting edge of tech. Samsung’s sixth generation flagship is its first with a metal frame, an epic 16-megapixel sensor (and a five-megapixel one on the front for selfies) and even a fingerprint sensor in the home button. If that’s not all, a Galaxy S6 Edge variant sports a striking screen that wraps around both sides of the phone lengthways.

Not to be outdone, however, HTC has unleashed its latest and greatest, the HTC One M9. It retains the beautiful aluminium shell of its 2014 predecessor while improving the processor and even squeezing in a powerful 20-megapixel camera. Which is better? That’s going to come down to taste: we’ll know more when both phones go on sale soon.

Apple Watch gets new competition
Apple’s highly anticipated Watch launched in April, but it’s not the only company with a brand new wearable to show. Startup Pebble puts its third generation smartwatch, the Pebble Time, up for pre-order on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, raising US$9m in just 24 hours and smashing records in the process. It’s a slightly different proposition to the Apple Watch, however, with a low US$199 pricetag, Android and iPhone compatibility, and perhaps most excitingly, a colour screen that’s visible outdoors and allows for a seven-day battery life. Which smartwatch will shoppers choose in the long run? Only time will tell.

Farewell, Sony?
We’ve seen a few big-name tech companies fade away in recent years, from Palm to Nokia, but it may not be long until Sony becomes little more than a memory either. In a bid to streamline operations, its CEO Kaz Hirai has announced plans to spin off the Japanese gadget giant’s audio and visual arms as separate companies, just as it did its VAIO laptop line last year. In other words, Sony TVs may soon be a rare species indeed. It’s still staying in the movies, music, gaming and mobile sectors – the PlayStation 4 is a hit, and not going anywhere anytime soon. But it does mean that the Sony Walkman’s days are likely to be at an end. Farewell, old friend.

Great design: Motorola Moto E
Motorola’s reinvented itself in the last few years with its wildly successful Moto G line of affordable Android smartphones – but its Moto E lineup is set to undercut that. The newly announced second-generation Moto E features everything you could need to stay connected: a large 4.5-inch touchscreen, 4G superfast connectivity, a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, even the very latest version of Google’s Android smartphone operating system, 5.0 ‘Lollipop’. In fact, just about the only corner cut is the non-HD resolution screen, so you won’t want to read eBooks on it. But for US$149 or £109 off-contract, you’ll find it hard to find a better deal.