News of a Godzilla reboot brought unwelcome memories of the Roland Emmerich effort in which ’Zilla had his ass whipped by the US military. This time, however, the director’s chair was occupied by a Brit. One who made a fine fist of directing alien flick Monsters on a budget of $800,000. For Godzilla, funding’s doubled to $160m. What does that buy? “400 crew, 200 soldiers and helicopters,” says Edwards. “Welcome to my world.”
Commitment-phobes love this Uxbridge-based phone network’s no-strings pre-paid SIM card deals and the “goodybags” full of minutes, texts and data. The ever-growing list of unlocked handsets available is an attraction, too, but for us it’s the purely web-based customer care that scores a win.
As we write, Sky’s TV customers have risen by 74,000 in just three months, and a large part of that spike in uptake is down to Now TV. Offering live streaming and on-demand from Sky’s channels without the need for a contract, as well as bringing 4OD and iPlayer to those without a smart TV, it’s widening its appeal by launching on PS4 and Xbox One this summer.
From £10 | Now TV
Cambridge’s screen tech mavericks and designers of the flexible LCD display that you can roll up like a paper have been at it again. This year it’s demonstrating a four-inch flexible display aimed at the blossoming wearables market. CEO Indro Mukerjee asks us to imagine “a bracelet with phone, watch and video functionality”.
Lord Norman Foster
Spaceport America, located in a desert basin in New Mexico, is the Heathrow of space travel, with Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and UP Aerospace all using it as a base. Its fittingly futuristic architecture is the work of Norman Foster, the pioneering British design legend also responsible for London’s Gherkin.
The UK’s fastest-growing e-commerce business, founded by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish, this is the eBay of craft, full of things that, as the URL suggests, you won’t find on the high street. That could be anything from cat teepees to chocolate golf balls, with all the products sourced from independent suppliers and artists in Britain.
The Laserlight, designed by this Cambridge physicist turned entrepreneur, is an LED bike light that also uses a laser to beam the symbol of a bicycle on to the road ahead, alerting other road users to your presence. “Blaze tackles the biggest cause of cyclist fatality: being caught in a driver’s blind spot,” Brooke, Blaze's CEO, explains.
Hoy Sa Calobra 001 2014
Eleven-time world champion and Olympic gold medal collector Chris Hoy left the velodrome and developed a collection of British-made bikes, including this lightweight, aluminium road star (pictured). He’s not the only legend cashing in either, with fellow Olympian and Tour de France vet Chris Boardman putting his name to a range of road, MTB and hybrid rides, too.
£750 | Hoy Bikes
With new rules, new hybrid cars and a brand new team rivalry to take on Senna vs Prost, this F1 season is hotting up. Driving what has been hailed as the world's best Formula One car, Hamilton is in a great position ahead of the British Grand Prix.
Check out the latest issue of T3 for our full interview with Lewis.
British Gas have Active Heating
An unlikely tech hero, but British Gas’s connected thermostat has trounced the now Google-owned Nest on British shores. In the last year 75,000 homes have signed up to the app-controlled heating service, with GPS sensors that keep the heating off whilst you’re away from home.
£199 | British Gas
The gaming enthusiast, funny man, voice of Darth Maul and crowned Twitter king (719k followers and counting) has lent his vocal chords to Assassin’s Creed III and this year’s acclaimed Dark Souls sequel. He got the latter gig after expressing his undying love to developer Namco on... yes, Twitter.
Bristol Robot Laboratory
Leading the way in drone research, the University of Bristol has the largest robotics lab in the UK, with two specially built flying centres and medical ’bots for doing everything from resetting bones to caring for the elderly. Some £1.65m has been spent on facilities.
“Help me build a computer,” asked a seven-year-old relative of this DIY computing kit’s founder, “but it has to be simple and as fun as Lego.” One Raspberry Pi purchase and a successful Kickstarter campaign later, and these packs are doing just that. A new generation of IT professionals is born.
From £99 | Kano
The success of this dating site and app for busy professionals is largely thanks to its clever matchmaking tech. It analyses the way you interact with other users, taking into account winks, views and favourites, to assess what you’re looking for rather than what you say you’re looking for – often very different. You can lure suitors by advertising dates, too.
This stripped back mini computer was released back in 2012 and has sold 2.5 million units as of this year. Not only is it being used as a cheap tool to teach kids about computing and coding, but Dave Hunt, a software engineer from Limerick, has even used one to create the PiPhone, a smartphone made entirely of off-the-shelf tech bits totalling just £94.
The maker of mind- bending app Monument Valley has cemented its reputation as a gaming pioneer, after the cult hit Whale Trail. UsTwo’s executive producer Dan Grey told T3 that the key to App Store success is “being given the cash to create and told ‘You guys, don’t worry about making money.’” Yes, we imagine that would do the trick nicely.
The UK-born CEO of HarperCollins told The Guardian recently that publishers “need to take that space back” – the space being digital. Ebooks aren’t enough anymore and he knows it, having previously pushed the boundaries with the augmented reality Wonderbook for PS3-owning Harry Potter fanatics.
While British hi-fi is a global stalwart, there are only two headphone brands on these fair shores, and it’s Bowers & Wilkins ruling Britannia’s ear canals. The P7s are the company’s finest creation yet, with leather earpads and superb sound reproduction.
£329 | Bowers & Wilkins
2014 Range Rover LWB
No car maker sums up British engineering and luxury quite like Jaguar Land Rover, and 2014’s Range Rover 5.0-litre V8 fortress is the ultimate school-run wagon. Also unveiled at the New York Motor Show in April, was the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept, which adds autonomous driving, gesture control and lasers that scan terrain ahead. Proof it’s got the future of motoring nailed, too.
£105,840 | Land Rover
When Roberts set up a forum for mums to share tips and ideas online back in 2000, few would have dared to believe the force it would become. Mumsnet now boasts 4.8 million unique visitors per month, and Q&A sessions with David Cameron and Gordon Brown. It’s sure to take leaders to task again before next year’s election.
It takes a brave or foolhardy company to go up against Sky, but BT has invested £2bn in its sport channels. With five million subscribers and footie fans switching to watch games on the cheap, it seems to be paying off, too. The addition of Champion’s League footie next year – snatched from ITV and Sky – should secure another good season.
From free for BT broadband customers | BT
Founded in London in 2010, this website and app has developed into a global marketplace for affordable, original art, with 2,857 artists featured in its online gallery. Pieces generally cost between £100 and £300, with a powerful search engine making it easy to hunt out portraits, landscapes, or works to fit a particular wall space. Doesn’t fit? There are free refunds.
Free | iOS
This Scottish hi-fi brand is a favourite with audiophiles, but it doesn’t just make great speakers and amps; its digital music service, Linn Records, provides the 24bit, 192kHz studio master-quality downloads to make them sing. The back catalogue spans Mozart to Ella Fitzgerald and is an invaluable digital source for music purists with large hard drives.
Winner of the London Design Museum’s Digital Design of the Year award, Peek fits all you need to perform eye-health checks into a smartphone. “More people have access to mobiles than running water,” Peek’s creators claim, so diagnosis and follow-up care will be accessible. It’s being trialled in Kenya, with data analysed at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London.
The Hertfordshire-based firm’s PowerVR graphics processors are used in Cupertino’s iPhones and iPads. That’s not the only string to the bow of Sir Hossein Yassaie’s firm, either, as it also owns Pure, the audio champ behind the Jongo speaker range.
The Grand Theft Auto-creating juggernaut bagged a BAFTA Fellowship this spring. Last year T3 spoke to co-founder Dan Houser for an insight into how Brit gaming royalty ticks.
Grab yourself a copy of T3's summer issue to read our full interview with Dan.
Sir Jonathan Ive
Chingford’s greatest son, the expat Apple design god behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad, is currently listed as inventor of 730 US patents. His next trick is reportedly to kickstart the wearables market with a long-rumoured, but still unconfirmed, iWatch. Read all about his new iOS 8 design that may fuel it on p15.
Launched last year, the BFI Player has pushed the 81-year-old British Film Institute into the modern age, delivering curated free and pay- per-view contemporary and classic movies to UK film fans. There’s no subscription to pay and, with collections as diverse as “Edwardian Britain on Film”, there’s guaranteed to be something there you haven’t watched before.
From free | BFI Player
This London app’s grown exponentially since its debut in 2008, now not just recognising songs but selling them – 500,000 tracks are bought through Shazam every day – adding them to Spotify playlists, and giving Siri a helping hand. It has its ear trained on TV, too, recognising US shows and providing info. UK telly version soon?
Free | Shazam
Lord Sugar may have stepped away from his ship, but the Freeview TV boxes that feeds you a week’s worth of catch- up TV from BBC, ITV and channels 4 and 5, as well as an on-demand library of popular shows, is going from strength to strength. Pause and rewind live TV, record shows from your phone, all without paying a sub.
From £170 (free with BT and TalkTalk subscription) | YouView
The McLaren Technology Centre in Woking is the ultimate high-tech garage, having created Jenson Button’s hybrid Formula One car for the 2014 season and currently building the jaw-dropping McLaren 650S (above).
£195,250 | McLaren
This month’s cover stars – Proporta’s Union Jack-emblazoned iPhone case is in our cover model’s mitts – these Brighton-based phone lovers not only aim to keep your blower protected from bumps and scratches, but well dressed, too. Recent collaborations include quintessentially British designers Ted Baker and, landed gentry favourite, Barbour.
Tech companies don’t know what women want. Creative agency Lady Geek is helping rectify that, enticing more women – and girls via Little Miss Geek – into technology. With CEO Belinda’s help the latest tech trends will appeal to, not patronise, females. Read her anti- pink manifesto on p47.
Who’s responsible for the rapid rollout of 4G across the UK? No, it’s not Kevin Bacon. It is, in fact, the network operator formerly known as Everything Everywhere. By melding Orange and T-Mobile coverage and then extending it, 98 per cent of Brits will have 4GEE by the end of 2014. Double Speed is promised to land soon, boasting up to 60Mbps.
Invented by Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, Li-Fi uses the rapid flickering of light – too quick for the human eye to detect – to deliver an internet signal. Touted as the natural successor to Wi-Fi and the ideal connection for the growing internet of things, it’s managed to hit data speeds of 10Gbps in recent tests.
This free app monitors your home’s energy consumption, alerting you to what’s using up the most precious power, so that you can stop it bumping up your monthly bill. You can also track the temperature inside and outside your house and view the “Swingometer” to see if your tampering is making any real, monetary difference.
The Herts entrepreneur gave us a lesson in bubble economics when he sold Bebo, his social networking site, to AOL in 2008 for $850m, only to buy it back again last year for $1m. Can he reinvent Bebo, “The world’s biggest repository of illustrated cock and balls,” into a mobile messaging service? “It will be fun trying,” he tweeted.
Take the iconic Type75 lamp designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, then get London fashion guru Paul Smith to handle the paint job and suddenly you have an all-British design icon on your hands. The colours are numerous, bright, brash and bang on trend.
£149 | Out September | Anglepoise
Anglepoise by Paul Smith
This quirky, Surrey-based games dev makes inventive, not to mention exclusive, games for PlayStation. LittleBigPlanet’s build-your-own platformer won hearts with its patchwork playthings and Stephen Fry narration, while Tearaway swept the board at the Video Game BAFTAs. New PS4 title out this year.
This London-based online fitness community launched in 2011 but has now produced its own range of sportswear thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Up to 40 per cent cheaper than the established running giants, prices are kept low because cash isn’t thrown at retail space or celebrity endorsers. You can have a hand in the design process, too.
Nick and Giles English have been engineering chronometers by hand at their HQ in Henley on Thames since 2002, but for their latest timepiece the brothers borrowed Boeing’s larger premises. The Bremont Boeing Model 1, named after the aerospace giant’s first plane, uses your choice of precision and aviation-grade titanium or stainless steel.
The British satellite telecomms company hit headlines this year when it used radio signals to narrow the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Inmarsat’s Chris McLaughlin called it “groundbreaking maths”, as his team made advanced calculations based on eight aircraft “pings” detected by a 1990s satellite.
It’s the beating heart of UK digital startups, with over 5,000 tech companies clustered in the area around East London’s Silicon Roundabout. Let us show you around...
The smartphone app that put your local curry house’s kormas at your fingertips made a £1.4 billion debut on the stock market this year and its CEO and “anti-cooking activist” David Buttress has plans to expand its existing 36,000 takeaway joints further this year.
Created by 26-year-old graduate Jenny Griffiths, this is part of an emerging fashion trend in Tech City. Seen an item of clothing you like the look of? Take a quick picture using Snap Fashion and it’ll search its database to find threads with a similar colour and cut.
Beloved of Lenovo’s top-man Ashton Kutcher, YPlan is a curated list of events in the capital, with users able to buy tickets in two clicks. Impressively, the Tech City startup claims the app is already installed on 15 per cent of the iPhones in London – there’s also versions for New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Taking the pain out of finding a trusted cleaner, Hassle’s postcode search lets you find a vetted one in your area, all costing a flat £10 an hour. It might be a London-only service at the moment, but its ambition is global, scaleable and one of Tech City’s brightest hopes for the next year.
This Android keyboard, with its prediction engine letting you type sentences with a single swipe was mentioned on stage by Apple at WWDC (see p15). That, and the hire of ex-MailOnline managing director and digital ace James Bromley, mark it out as one to watch in 2015.
A company helping the world’s biggest brands achieve their greatest prize: a million-viewed viral video. Instead of just imparting wisdom like, “add a cat and put its head in a piece of bread”, they provide detailed analytics and aim to predict an idea’s social shareability.
With interest rates in the current financial climate staying low, this app is one way for savers to grow their nest-eggs: by lending them to pay-day loaners. Your cash is broken up to minimise risk, so only £10 is handed out at any one time. In its tenth year, it’s a proven money-spinner.
Michael Acton Smith collected an OBE and, more prestigiously, a T3 Tech Personality of the Year award in 2013 for Moshi Monsters, his Tamagotchi-meets-Sim City online hit. 80 million kids are already hooked, but plans are afoot to conquer America, too.
London: Tech City
Two things that might surprise you about fashion designer Ted Baker: his real name is Ray Kelvin and he is an audiophile. Instead of taking an existing product, adding stripes and a hefty price tag, he’s commissioned audio engineers to design his own range of headphones and Bluetooth speakers from scratch. His leather-coated Rockall cans (above) look stylish and fold into a Ted Baker bag.
£180 | Ted Baker
Ted Baker Audio
After twelve years at the helm of ARM, Warren East leaves behind him a company that now makes chips for 95 per cent of the world’s smartphones. Retired he may now be, but the man once considered one of the most influential in the global tech industry is still on the board of directors at Dyson, BT and Rolls-Royce.
Warren East CBE
The fifth instalment of Broken Sword featured even more imaginative storylines and humorous voice acting, confirming our belief that this design company’s adventure games are the best you can download. And now PS Vita, iOS, Mac and PC users can get in on the act, attempting to solve the mystery of The Serpent’s Curse.
From £4.99 | Revolution
The 66-year-old engineer is still at the forefront of British tech design, with his new Cinetic bagless and filterless vacuum further revolutionising home cleaning, not to mention a range of in-the-works robotics – “We’ve been developing robotic capabilities for 15 years, so we’re getting closer,” he told T3. Next year, perhaps?
Sir James Dyson
Created in order to celebrate 100 years of the British sportscar manufacturer, the new Vanquish contains the most powerful engine in Aston Martin history: a V12 that hits 62mph in 4.1 seconds. It’s tech-packed too, with a Garmin-fuelled satnav system and thirteen Band & Olufsen speakers pumping out a storming 1,000 watts.
£279,995 | Aston Martin
Aston Martin Vanquish
The fourth film from British director Ben Wheatley, last year’s A Field In England, is the In Rainbows of the movie world, being the first feature film released simultaneously in British cinemas, on-demand, on DVD and on Film4. A bold move, but it brought the maximum amount of viewers to what is a very niche film, made on a £300k shoestring.
The studio behind the Doctor Who theme tune and the sound-effects of the TARDIS and Sonic Screwdriver is hitting the road. Lined up to play summer festivals this year, including Glastonbury and Bestival, it’ll be making sounds with everything from a lamp shade to a Macintosh computer.
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
When Gravity scooped the Oscar it was for Best Visual Effects, not Sandra Bullock’s “acting”, and it was Framestore that took the little gold fella home to its London HQ. The CGI specialist has added offices in Montreal and LA following last year’s success, so expect to see them building more new worlds soon.
The concrete-clad London venue’s become a mecca for tech and design fans, with the unforgettable rain room that used sensors to keep visitors dry and the upcoming Digital Revolution exhibition.
Jamyn told Forbes that he was a strategy consultant for 15 years before he realised he wasn’t “singing in the shower anymore”. How did he get his voice back? By creating a device that plugs in under your steering wheel, linking to an app that makes any car smart; able to track fuel efficiency, driving safety and mechanics.
$10 | Dash
With the broadest reach of global digital music rights in the world, the London-based company, founded a decade ago, powers music services for Samsung, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Toshiba, HP, Acer, HTC and Sonos, with access to over 27 million tracks. If you’re not getting your music from the iTunes Store, you’re probably getting it from these guys.
Dash Labs CEO
Indie game creator Mike Bithell’s first title, Thomas was Alone, started out as a Flash- based browser game, but the pixels sprang to life thanks to the voice of Danny Wallace, earning it a BAFTA and an extensive re-code for the PS3. Now all eyes are on Bithell’s next venture, Volume, a stealthy puzzle game where silence is your weapon of choice.
This British microchip giant recently shipped its 50 billionth processor, a figure that’s all the more staggering when you consider that 10 billion of those were snapped up last year alone. The HTC One M8 and Apple iPhone 5S all pack its powerful chips, so that number’s sure to rise.
The green shoots of economic recovery have manifested in the housing market, and Zoopla’s been there to cash in. The property website not only lists homes for sale, but lets house hunters access historic sales info, Land Registry data and Google Street View. Hoping for continued success, it will float on the Stock Exchange later this year.
This British media power couple might no longer come as a pair, with their TV and BBC 6 Music shows no longer on the air, but they’re still making waves. Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block and Misfits have been solid gold hits, while Adam Buxton’s dismantling of YouTubers on Bug has changed the way we read the comments section forever.
The Guardian's tech editor Charles reports direct from the trenches of innovation. He doesn’t need a flak jacket, but he is in the line of fire when it comes to gadget launches. His book Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet, charts one, still ongoing, tech war.
Adam and Joe
If there’s one thing us Brits do well, it’s make a racket. Arcam, Ruark, Cambridge Audio, and B&W all herald from these shores. However, it’s KEF’s new Reference 1 (pictured right) and 5 (left) speakers that caught our eye with their precision sound and towering good looks. Gawd bless’ em.
REF 1 £4,400 | REF 5 £10,000 | Kef