Week in Tech: Nintend-woes, marvellous Morpheus and Apple's unknown foes

Week In Tech: Nintendo's woes, VR PR and Chinese fakes away

As Mad Men's Joan put it: "one minute you're on top of the world, the next minute some secretary's running you over with a lawn mower."

This week the mower seemed to be heading straight for Mario, but Nintendo isn't the only tech giant hitting hard times: as we discovered, the Chinese are coming and smartphone firms should be scared. Boo!

Wii U fails to woo

Nintendo's latest financial results are out, and they're even worse than we feared: it sold just 310,000 consoles in the last quarter, propelling losses to a staggering $456 million for the year. Nintendo's answer? Skylanders-style NFC figures and new consoles for developing countries.

That's Huawei to do it

The rumours were true: Huawei's going after high-end Android handsets with the Ascend P7, which was officially launched this week in Paris. It's good, says John McCann, but it's not quite good enough: while it isn't exactly poorly equipped, "it's not in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2."

Chinese Fakes Away

China's reputation as the home of knock-offs and me-too devices is out of date: as Ben Stinson reports, it's now the home of "genuinely innovative and alternative handsets… Huawei and ZTE are already making moves into the developed smartphone nations, and they're set to be followed by a legion of Chinese smartphone makers in the next year or so." You might not be familiar with all of the brands Stinson describes just yet, but they have big ideas and the budgets to match. If the current smartphone kings aren't worried, they aren't paying attention.

G3 is the magic number

Has LG sneakily released its G3 phone in disguise? If history is repeating, the new Isai FL shows the LG G3 just like last year's Isai presaged the G2 - and that means a 538-pixels per inch display, a quad-core Snapdragon, 2GB of RAM and a cracking 13.2 megapixel camera. That screen "will make it the flagship phone to beat this summer", says Gareth Beavis, unless LG is overly optimistic about battery life and manufacturing yields. If it is, then the firm "is gambling pretty stupidly on a technology that could make or break the company's fortunes in the smartphone industry."

Small-ish. Beautiful?

Microsoft is having a "small gathering" on May 20, at which it's expected to unveil the much-rumoured Surface Mini. That's the good news. The bad: it looks like it'll run Windows RT.

Sony - in your face!

It looks like Project Morpheus, Sony's VR system, has been hiding in plain sight: as Hugh Langley can exclusively reveal, it's the reason for the always-on lightbar in the DualShock 4. We like what we've seen of Morpheus so far and Sony's promising more joy to come: the headsets will be improved significantly by launch, and we may see a "landmark" Morpheus game at this year's E3. You can go check out our updated Project Morpheus hands on review.

Facebook - in your face!

Fancy living inside Facebook? If Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe has his way, that's where VR is heading. Facebook will become a metaverse "joining disparate virtual worlds together," Iribe predicts, and the only thing preventing that from happening is the teeny-weeny detail that it'd require a bigger network than actually exists in the world today.

Uber, the hills, and far away

Google's added a bunch of new features to its iOS and Android mapping apps: there's support for car-calling app Uber, lane guidance for driving directions, more detailed information about businesses and points of interest and easy saving of maps for offline use. It's the biggest Google Maps update for some time and keeps it way ahead of rivals such as Apple.

We were promised jetpacks

What's white and invisible? That jetpack! According to future-gazing Google X head Astro Teller, the best example of nominative determinism we've seen since urologist Richard "Dick" Chopp, Google considered making a safe-to-use jetpack but had to scrap the project. There's still no news of metal trousers or meals in pill form either.

  • Hands-on with the Huawei Ascend P7 - will this hero handset frighten the flagships?

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