After the May drought expect a gadget monsoon

 
Steve Dinneen
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Gadget junkies in need of a fix may have to accept a few more weeks of gut-wrenching, palpitation inducing cold turkey. May has not been a good month for so-called “hero” product releases. The single most exciting thing to hit the shelves has been Motorola’s Atrix handset, which is a bit like saying magnolia is the most exciting shade of beige.

There are rumours the eternally protracted launch of BlackBerry’s Playbook tablet could finally happen this month, which seemed like an exciting prospect when I got hold of it back in January but has since lost approximately 97 per cent of its appeal. It’s been like waiting for five months in a queue for a rollercoaster at a seaside resort – you have plenty of time to realise that it’s probably not going to be worth the money, you’d rather be at Alton Towers and the whole thing will likely be over before it’s really started.

There is a very fine margin between giving time to let excitement build and boring potential customers into a coma. Apple, the puppet-master of public opinion, tends to show off its latest offerings a matter of days before lucky customers have the chance to camp outside its stores for a few nights to pick one up. Gadgets are about making things happen, fast. Dangling the prospect of a new product with no sign of a release date angers and confuses me, like a bear that can smell food but is unable to open the tin, lacking as it does the requisite manual dexterity.

So, in the meantime here are some dates to add to the gadget calendar, if indeed such a calendar exists. Which it should.


Chromebook
Samsung, Acer and others, June 15
The first generation of browser-only laptops powered by Google will go on sale. Everything will be stored in the cloud, meaning the laptop itself will be incredibly stripped down. Pricing will be the make-or-break factor.

Wii 2
• Nintendo, June 7-9
Nintendo will unveil the highly anticipated Wii follow-up at the E3 showcase event. Expect a handheld HD screen and next-gen graphics.

iPhone 4S
• Apple, August/September
Bigger screen, thinner body, A5 dual core processor and a camera upgrade are all rumoured.

iPod 7th Generation
• Apple, August/September
The new iPod will apparently pack in even more features including, bizarrely, a thermometer.