Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – August 4, 2017

VR takes over your eyes with Google and HP, while OnePlus, Samsung and Apple make waves with new possibilities. It’s The Wrap.


It’s the first week of August and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest helping of technology poured in one shot glass so you can slam it down fast.

And this week the news has come thick and fast for virtual reality, with technology news of a few kinds for this exciting category.

We probably don’t have to tell you how excited for VR we at Pickr are, and it’s not just because we can overuse that letter “r”.

Even though it’s not International Speak Like A Pirate Day — that’s actually September 19 — our obsession with the “r” extends beyond that of the icon in our name, because “R” stands for reality, and whether it’s mixed, augmented, or virtual, we’re keen to take a look.

This week, that curiosity is fleshed out in a few ways, as companies talk up what’s happening in the VR world.

First, there’s the happenings if you’re a Galaxy S8 owner, or even someone who bought a Google Pixel or Pixel XL, because if you also bought a Daydream View VR headset, your purchase is about to work on Samsung’s flagship for the year.

Google was the one sharing the news on that this week, telling the world that support is presently rolling out for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8
+ with its Daydream View headset, meaning there are now potentially two VR headsets you can use with Samsung’s current major phones.

We say “potentially” because while Google says the support is rolling out, we haven’t been able to get the S8 working with Daydream, at least not yet.

But it’s coming, and that’s good news for choice in the VR world.

Also providing a little more choice is HP, which will be offering a new computer for people who want VR to be more than just what an advanced mobile phone can offer.

HP’s new gadget comes in different forms, be it developers or gamers, but the logic is basically the same with a computer you can wear on your back.

You’ll need to bring your own VR headset to make this work, and HTC’s Vive is the recommended headset for this, but essentially HP’s Z VR and Omen X VR will offer enough power to let you take VR away from the seat and closer to the real world.

It’s a great concept, and if you happen to be a developer of the VR world, the technical capabilities of HP’s Z system look impressive enough to even drop our jaw to the floor, boding well for what’s to come.

What’s also coming? New phones.

Yeah, we know you’re shocked, but there’s another phone maker on its way to Australia, as OnePlus announces that it’s coming.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a value driven phone, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the name before, as OnePlus has that sort of a reputation, garnered by geeks looking for a good combination of features for good price.

And that’s basically what OnePlus has offered, with the Oppo-owned brand doing just that with its phones, and giving big players like Apple and Samsung something to feel a bit threatened by.

The most recent phone is the OnePlus 5, and while it looks a lot like Oppo’s recent R11, on the inside there’s a totally different machine, going right for the spots occupied by HTC, Samsung, and Sony with premium features like a dual camera, eight-core Snapdragon processor, 4G LTE, and lots of storage and memory.

OnePlus’ first handsets will be given a bit of a soft launch to start with, but later on we wouldn’t be surprised to see OnePlus join the likes of Oppo in Australia, of Huawei, of Motorola and HTC and Sony with a mid—range mobile of their own to compete in our very aggressive mobile market.

Also competing aggressively in our market is the world of soundbars, and this week there’s one more, as Samsung adds the Sound+ MS750 to the list you have to choose from.

Now if you don’t know what a soundbar is and rely on your TV or an amp to get movies to sound big and pumping, consider the name: soundbar, because that’s what they are, placing all the speakers you need for a 2.1, 4.1, or 5.1 system in a single bar, sometimes bouncing the sound around you to get that surround feel.

Samsung’s latest packs in a whopping 11 speakers into its long surface area that looks like it would be welcome at home under a 55 inch telly, but it has a neat trick. To deal with the extra vibrations and buzz that many speakers together would create, it basically has a technology that can predict the movements and control the speakers, preventing crazy bass vibrations and their equally crazy buzzing sounds from entering your audio experience.

It’s a cool concept, and one we’re eager to try, and you’ll be able to as well with the MS750 rocking up for a buck under a grand this month.

And before we go and still on the subject of home theatre, here’s one interesting rumour that popped up this week, with word Apple might finally be working on something for the 4K world.

It has a couple of computer built for 4K, with two in the iMac range, but despite embracing Ultra HD on computers, Apple has yet to touch Ultra HD on TVs.

The most recent Apple TV is barely two years old, and even though it arrived when 4K TVs were well and truly out, it didn’t support 4K natively.

This week, however, we might have seen the first bit of evidence that this is coming, with a bit of a slip-up and one iTunes user getting a receipt for a 4K movie.

Now this means one of two things: either it’s just a total mistake, or more likely that Apple plans to make 4K versions of its films available, and that means a 4K Apple TV is likely just around the corner.

We’d expect a new Apple TV to have a new 4K-friendly processor inside, and that would likely come alongside a new phone announcement. And funnily enough, there’s one of those coming, with September the likely time for the new iPhone models.

Will we see a 4K Apple TV alongside the new iPhones next month?

We will just have to wait and find out, but good news, you have a few weeks until that happens.

For now, we’ve run out of time, but we’ll be back next week with more from the world of Australian technology news packaged in the smallest size we can manage.

We hope you have a great whatever’s left of the week and a lovely weekend, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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