Sony's in a slump, will.i.am gives us the hump

Jony Ive is White Van Man and Samsung's stuff stinks

Week in Tech

If you thought rumours of a flatscreen Apple TV were far-fetched, we've got a doozy for you: according to reports, Apple is making… a van! It won't be a normal van, of course. It'll be a magical van that's designed and built to exacting standardszzzzzzzzzzzz…

Sorry, where were we? While Apple explores unexpected new avenues, Sony appears to be shutting down most of its businesses, Samsung's getting it in the neck for dubious design decisions and Mark Zuckerberg wants to put Facebook on your face. Fasten your seatbelts for a wheely good Week in Tech!

Sony to shutter smartphones, sound and vision?

Oh, Sony, sometimes you make us so sad. The Apple of the 1980s has had a rough couple of years, and it looks like the phone, audio and video businesses are going to go the same way as its PC business. Sony has announced that it's spinning off its audio and video divisions, and its phone division may be sold off too. That'll leave Sony with just three key businesses: making films, making PlayStations, and making camera sensors for iPhones.

Samsung isn't better by design

You've got to feel sorry for Samsung: if it actually knew how to design nice things, it might be as popular as, er, Samsung. According to former Samsung Design America executive Kevin Lee, Samsung may have sold an awful lot of phones but it's done so despite being absolutely awful at design. "I've seen amazing concepts and prototypes," he says. "If only we had that in the market, the rest of the market would go bankrupt." Samsung, he says, designs by committee, which is of course a sure-fire way to stop anything interesting happening.

Has Samsung realised that? It might have, if the latest Galaxy S6 news is accurate: the latest renders suggest that unlike previous Galaxies, the S6 hasn't been firmly beaten with the Ugly Stick.

If you're thinking that the renders look a bit iPhone-ish, we'd agree - but Samsung's, ahem, similarities with Apple don't stop at design. It's just acquired its own payment company, LoopPay. While the firm will remain independent you don't need to be Mystic Meg to predict its integration in future Samsung phones.

LG has seen the future, and it's boring

LG has been busy: not only has it made the most expensive Android Wear watch we've ever seen, the LG Watch Urbane (although let's keep some perspective here: the Urbane is £299.99, which is loose change compared to the thousands we think the gold Apple Watch will cost), but it's been to the future and can confidently tell us that it's boring.

Apparently the LG G Flex 2 is about as exciting as smartphones are going to get for the next few years, because designs are restricted by what component firms can supply. Transparent and flexible displays simply aren't "commercially viable technology at the moment," LG says.

Piece.o.crap

We're shocked to discover that will.i.am's smart cuff, the Puls, isn't very good. Despite the obvious synergy between writing songs about boobs and designing cutting edge wearable computing technology, the Puls suffers from a couple of minor issues: "texting is awful", the "display is too dim", it's "sorely lacking apps", the "battery life is abysmal", the "design needs work", it's "uncomfortable" and it "heats up". Sounds like the only thing missing is My Humps on constant repeat.

Upsetting: the Apple car

Is Apple's next product a car? No, but in a few years time it might well be. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple's "project Titan" is a competitor to Tesla and looks like a van. It's unclear whether Titan is a car project or just a tester for in-car tech, but the idea of an Apple car isn't that far-fetched: electric cars are really just computers with wheels, after all. One thing's for sure, though: if Apple does make a car, it won't be cheap.

Facebook on your face

For a picture of the future, imagine Mark Zuckerberg in your face, forever. "You'll do it, Beyoncé will do it," says Facebook product head Chris Cox about Facebook's virtual reality plans: while it'll be a "while" before we see any VR apps, "you realise when you're in it, that you're looking at the future, and it's going to be awesome."

If you prefer AR to VR, Sony's awfully named SmartEyeglass Attach is pretty cool: while it's still a bit bulky, it's a lot less silly than Google Glass and we're cautiously excited about it - assuming it survives Sony's Bonfire of the Business, that is.

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