Week in Tech: It's back to the future with hoverboards, Nintendo and Nokia

Week in Tech
It's a Nok-out

In a week of news about Nintendo, Nokia, Galaxy Notes and Google's, ahem, iNbox, it's clear that everything important starts with an N. But first of all, let's take a look at the new (there's another one) iPads.

New iPads and Apple numbers

Our mobile device expert Gareth Beavis doesn't give out stars to just anyone: five-star ratings from him are as rare as good songs featuring Pitbull. But he's had to reach into his special star stash this week, because the iPad Air 2 is upon is - and it's brilliant. "Apple has taken the perfect tablet and somehow made it even better," he says - unless you go for the 16GB version, which is rubbish.

That's not the only new iPad, of course, but it's the only one getting the full five star treatment: the iPad mini 3 is pretty pointless unless you're gagging for a Touch ID sensor or a new gold finish. That's because its an iPad mini 2 with a Touch ID sensor and a new gold finish.

Apple also shared some numbers in its latest earnings call. iPod sales continue to fall, but iPads are slowing too. It looks as though tablets are more like PCs than phones - devices we replace every few years rather than every 18 months - but their sales are also being squeezed by ever-bigger smartphones.

New Note: nice

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is here, and it's a big beauty. That's what John McCann reckons, anyway, giving the flagship phablet four and a half shiny stars. It's as big as a house, of course, but the display is fantastic, the performance is excellent and the camera's good too.

Google's Inbox unveiled

Google has decided to reinvent email again. Its new, invitation-only Inbox is a brand new app for web, Android and iPhone that puts Gmail and Google Now in a darkened room with champagne, oysters and Barry White's Greatest Hits. The result is an app that shows you the data that matters, whether that's an appointment, a flight change or a particularly essential new cat gif.

A new Nintendo and Xbox One Updates

Gamers rejoice: there's a new Nintendo console on the horizon. Unfortunately that horizon is quite far away, as Nintendo's job ads suggest that it's just starting on the project. As Hugh Langley says, "the Wii U isn't exactly flying off shelves, and unless Super Smash Bros brings a drastic change in fortunes, we doubt we'll see things get much better for the console." A successor can't come soon enough.

While Nintendo looks to the future, Microsoft's Xbox One is celebrating its first birthday and new updates are imminent. You'll get lots more customisation options plus new TV and SmartGlass features too.

Nokia no more

It's official: the world's most famous and best-loved phone brand is no more. Microsoft is killing off Nokia in favour of the Lumia label, which is rather like Yellow Pages' superbly successful decision to rename itself "Hibu" and confuse the hell out of everybody. Nokia was responsible for two of the five phones everybody in the world loved, a list that doesn't even include the Matrix bananaphone. Remember that one?

Will you bovver with a hover?

Say hello to Hendo, the hoverboard that's just a quarter of a million dollars from being a real product. The Kickstarter project looks like the real deal, with electromagnetic fields enabling it to hover around an inch off the ground - but it runs out of puff after seven minutes and will cost you $10,000. One for rich, Back to the Future-obsessed early adopters, then.

The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.