Week in Tech: Unbreakable phones, unpopular iPads and undrinkable drinks


If you've ever thought "man, I wish people would invent unbreakable phones and tractor beams and really big tablets and VR beat-em-ups and mobile Nintendo games and Fallout beer", you should probably sit down, because this week is going to blow your mind. It's been a particularly exciting week in tech…

Apple: still rich, but iPad sales are slowing

Apple has just unveiled its latest financial results. The completely unsurprising news is that Apple sold lots of things for lots of money, but while the iPhone is triumphant, sales of iPads are slipping. As Gary Marshall explains, it's "the first time iPad shipments have dropped below 10 million since 2011. It's also the first time that iPad sales generated less money than Mac sales". iPad sales are slowing for all kinds of reasons, but the main one is that "for many people the smartphone has become so good that they don't need anything else… it's not that tablets are bad. It's that smartphones just keep getting better".

Motorola's new phone isn't smashing

If you're like us, you've probably spent more money fixing smashed smartphone and tablet screens than you have on apps – so like us you'll be delighted to discover that Motorola might just have made smashed screens a thing of the past. The new Droid Turbo 2 is protected by Moto ShatterShield, which has five layers of impact-absorbent material to prevent the screen from shattering. You can still scratch it, but you get a four-year breakage warranty for the display and camera lens.

OnePlus one is X

We're pretty sure the people at OnePlus weren't paying attention in primary school, because according to them the number that comes after One and Two is X. The OnePlus X is coming in two designs with two release dates, and it has a "weird mix" of specifications, including a ceramic model that's a strictly limited edition. Everything you need to know is right here.

Samsung View: big, but not clever

What's bigger than Mr Big watching the film Big on a big TV? The Samsung Galaxy View, which Gareth Beavis describes as "heavy" with a "plastic build" and a "low-res screen". Mr Beavis, you've probably guessed, isn't entirely sold on the device. "It's a tablet that's sort of a TV that you can move except it's not a TV as you can't watch TV on it so it's a tablet but who has a tablet this big?" While he notes that it's "not the worst idea in the world" he "can't see this being a big hit for Samsung". Indeed, unless the price is really, really low, "it'll probably sink without a trace".

Even better than the real thing?

Sony unveiled more virtual reality plans this week, including some brand new titles and some surprises. There's still no pricing – we all know it's going to cost loads – but if games such as Crytek's new title Robinson: The Journey are as good as they look, we'll all be buying PlayStation VR headsets anyway. PS VR is also getting Gran Turismo and Tekken 7. We have absolutely no idea how Tekken will work in VR, but we can't wait to find out.

Someone's invented a tractor beam

Scientists from the Universities of Sussex and Bristol have created a Star Trek-style tractor beam that can move objects using sound waves. It's not quite capable of grabbing starships, but it might just "transport drug capsules or microsurgical instruments through living tissue". It's an amazing technological achievement, and it also enables us to point out that should any of the team become disillusioned with the project, they'd be ex-tractor fans.

Mobile Mario? Not quite…

After much speculation, Nintendo has confirmed its first ever smartphone game – and no, it isn't Mario. Miitomo, which translates as Mii Friends, will launch in March 2016. As Rob Edwards reports, the game will be free to pay "but features the grim spectre of in-app purchases. While it's not the mobile Mario title many had hoped for, Miitomo is only the first of five titles Nintendo plans to launch within the first year of its smartphone experiment". It's a hell-freezes-over moment for Nintendo, whose hardware business isn't doing so well these days.

Drinking games

Hot on the heels of Fallout beer, which is a real thing that you can buy, we've been wondering what other in-game beverages we fancy drinking. Our favourite is probably Grog, from Monkey Island, which contains "Kerosene, Propylene Glycerol, Artificial Sweeteners, Sulphuric Acid, Rum, Acetone, Red Dye No. 2, Scumm, Axle Grease, Battery Acid, and/or Pepperoni".

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.