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Evolutionary times

Apple iPhone 4Not every invention can be an iPhone. Even Apple’s follow-up smartphones have struggled to match the impact of the original model; this summer the company has received negative feedback about the reception and 3G connectivity of its much anticipated iPhone 4.

It was probably only a matter of time before Apple slipped up. Success can only go on for so long before the backlash begins and the poppy-loppers step in. And many industry watchers seemed to have been patiently awaiting the time when the company that could do no wrong did just that.

But the iPhone 4 furore will soon die down. A fix has been offered, along with an acknowledgement from Steve Jobs of Apple’s fallibility – and it’s a safe bet that no such design flaw will mar the next iPhone, or the one after that.

In the meantime, another highly successful company has had issues to contend with. Amid customer complaints and slow sales, in June Google announced its exit from the smartphone hardware game. The Nexus One handset based on its Android mobile platform was withdrawn, and the company reaffirmed its software focus.

Some might see this as a retrograde step for Google, yet it’s surely an eminently sensible one. Like Microsoft, which made its name and built its empire on software that runs on other people’s hardware, Google has realised where its expertise lies.

Microsoft, however, has at least one new hit on its hands. The first is Windows 7 – almost inevitably set to replace the outgoing Windows XP as its most successful ever operating system. Microsoft’s search engine Bing and full-body interactive gaming technology Kinect have also been much admired. The latter, an Xbox 360 add-on, certainly wowed team PC Advisor when we got to try it out.
 
Another company likely to celebrate a successful evolution is Dell. We’ve been taking its Streak tablet/smartphone hybrid for a spin, and have been impressed by its design and usability, along with the fact that it’s no iPad wannabe. It’s certainly a far cry from the clunky devices we’d been led to expect from traditional box-shifters. Look out for our in-depth review of this and all things Android in our November issue.

In our October issue (on sale today), however, it’s a technology rather than a product that has stood out for us. The transfer speeds and near-instantaneous file access solid-state drives afford is truly astounding – especially in the case of the Crucial RealSSD, which took advantage of the SATA 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) bus to power through our performance tests.

If this gets you thinking about how you could give your laptop or PC a nudge towards modernity, you’ll find a heap of suggestions in our Ultimate upgrades guide in the October issue. Time to get tinkering.

Pick up a copy of the October edition of PC Advisor, on sale today.

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