Sleek, stylish, scarily smart; the results are in for ShortList’s first ever Design Tech Awards
It’s been an epic year for technology – from Google Glass to the test flight of the first jetpack (well, the first one that didn’t blow up). So we wanted to salute these hi-tech heroes. How? With the first ever ShortList Design Tech Awards. Judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts, our Awards are the definitive gongs for stylish innovation.
As you’d expect, the judging process was heated; fist-thumping, the odd rapier duel. Winners were selected in eight categories, ranging from Next-Gen Gaming Tech to Life-Changing App, while nearly 4,000 of you voted on ShortList.com for your Tech Icon Of 2013. It’s been a marvellous debut. We’ll be doing it all again next year. Wearing jetpacks.
Meet the Judges of ShortList’s inaugural Design Tech Awards 2013
Deyan Sudjic OBE, Director, Design Museum
Having spent a lifetime around desirable objects, Sudjic knows a classic when he sees it.
James Holland Gadget expert, The Gadget Show Online
The digital arm of Five’s TV show judges gadgets, games and gizmos.
Richard Jones Technology buying manager, Selfridges
Head of tech at the department store.
Tom Bailey Tech editor, ShortList
ShortList’s technology editor tirelessly seeks out the next best thing. A never-ending task that involves fondling anything shiny.
THE ART OF NOISE
Wireless music tech of the year
Winner: Bang & Olufsen A9
Designed by Øivind Alexander Slaatto
Shaped like an ancient gong and packing an 8in bass unit powered by a 160-watt amp. Full marks to B&O for going against the grain of a zillion copycat Bluetooth speakers.
RJ: “There’s no question that the sound quality is exceptional – the best of the best. It has to win.”
JH: “B&O lost its way and became predictable for while. But this is nothing
like anything I could have imagined.”
TB: “The controls are a work of art: simply wipe your hand over the nubs to quell its immense volume; pat to pause.”
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
Tech/style collaboration of the year
Winner: Leica X2 By Paul Smith
Designed by Paul Smith
Having marvelled at the Harris Tweed-wrapped Urbanears (and decided they didn’t make a great deal of sense), Leica – the masters of the limited edition – breasted the tape with this Paul Smith collab wrapped in durable green cowhide.
RJ: “The Leica Hermès Edition was beautiful, a true collector’s item. This is every bit as appealing to a purist, a collector or just a camera geek.”
TB: “Plus, the Hermès Leica came in at a ludicrously priced £10,000. This is reasonable by Leica’s standards.”
Proporta x Barbour iPhone case
Urbanears x Harris tweed Headphones
A BAND apart
Wearable tech of the year
Winner: Nike+ FuelBand
Designed by Nike£129; nike.com
The wearable tech revolution has kicked off ‘big style’ this year. With no Apple iWatch on the market as yet (fingers crossed for 2014), our panel felt the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch was a little too dorky. The Nike+ FuelBand activity tracker, therefore, became the preferred choice.
TB: “This was the first fitness tracker to gameify your life. And I like the
fact that it isn’t trying to look like a watch.”
DS: “Wearing a Nike FuelBand is very much about being part of a tribe; the Samsung Galaxy Gear was perhaps a little rushed.”
Samsung Galaxy Gear
INSTANT TRAFFIC JEDI
Life-changing app of the year
Winner: City Mapper
Designed by Gilbert Weddam
This journey planner helps you navigate complicated cities (London and New York) with live public transport info.
JH: “So simple it’s like being possessed by Bob Crow.”
DS: “A beautiful tool for discovering a city.”
SPRINGS IN YOUR STEP
Sports tech of the year
Winner: Adidas BOOST
Designed by adidas
The judges picked the adidas Boost running shoe as the sports tech winner, due to its radically-designed sole made from hundreds of tiny foam capsules – the key to providing the highest return of energy ever seen in a running shoe.
JH: “The science behind this design is amazing. You get the same energy return whether you’re running across Ethiopia in 40-degree heat or pounding the streets of Helsinki when it’s minus 20. A true breakthrough.”
TB: “It’s like wearing a pair of springs on your feet. It has to win.”
Boxing very clever
Next-gen gaming tech of the year
Winner: Xbox One
Designed by Microsoft
In terms of raw horsepower, the Xbox One and PS4 are evenly matched. But Xbox One is voice-controlled and also comes with Microsoft’s promise of high-end servers, which will make for even faster gaming in the future.
JH: ”It’s an extremely close call. But I love the Xbox’s upgraded Kinect sensor, which is so accurate it can detect your heart rate and tell when a game is pushing your buttons.”
RJ: “The PS4 has already proven popular, but the Xbox One is a clear winner for me. It’s more innovative; an entertainment system rather than a games console.”
Ouya Android Console
Sony PlayStation 4
FLUBBER HAS LANDED
Exec Tech of the year
Designed by Rachel Verghis
Declaring themselves “bored” with tablets, the panel went for this Flubber-like film that sticks your tablet or phone to any surface, yet isn’t sticky.
DS: “I like the idea of having my iPhone stuck to the shaving mirror in the morning to read news bulletins.”
JH: “Plus it’s not just another tablet.”
Sage tea maker
Sony Xperia tablet z
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Crowd-funded design of the year
Winner: The Vamp By Paul Cocksedge Studio
Designed by Paul Cocksedge
Fuelled by Kickstarter, crowd-funded tech has exploded this year. The Vamp, a Bluetooth cube for streaming music to classic hi-fi speakers, impressed our judges.
DS: “I like the idea of retaining the quality of a well-made speaker while embracing things such as Spotify.”
RJ: “Men are throwing out great-sounding old speakers. This makes them relevant again.”
Petzval portrait lens
Sigmo Voice Translation
Sexier HOME CINEMA
ShortList Design Tech Icon 2013
Winner: Samsung S9C Curved OLED TV
Designed by Samsung
The online vote for our Tech Icon Of 2013 came out terrifyingly close. But, of the two clear favourites – MakerBot’s 3D printer and Samsung’s curved OLED TV – the TV triumphed, gaining a fifth of the votes in the 10-way battle. A magnificent choice; if we’d had a firework, we’d have let it off.
Luckily we didn’t, but if you haven’t heard about the game-changing S9C, go seek it out in a department store and be wowed by its blur-free technology, next-generation, 55in OLED screen, Multi View (for watching and listening to two shows at once) and avant-garde, curved Imax screen.
This is the TV of the future, gentlemen. Through it, you’ll be able to stream Netflix (the word ‘film’ will cease to exist by 2017), Skype friends and explore the latest apps. Essentially, this is your Eye Of Sauron – albeit one you’ll actually enjoy looking into.