The Wrap – January 5, 2018

The new year begins with news from LG, Samsung, Dell, and Lenovo, and what will 2018’s tech trends be? It’s The Wrap.


For the first week of January and the first week of the new year, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest round-up of technology, and this week the news is fast, as a few companies get in early pre-announce what we’re all likely to see next week.

Next week, in case you don’t know, is CES, what used to be known as the Consumer Electronics Show but is now just another initialism that stands for the same thing, and it’s where most of 2018’s new technology will be launched.

We’ll be there, but before we go, we’re finding out some of what’s coming, including what will be happening in sound, computers, and experimental technology.

For instance, at the end of last year — which doesn’t seem that long ago — LG talked up its new relationship with Meridian Audio, and we already know what’s coming, with Google Assistant-enabled speakers, Bluetooth party speakers, and a Dolby Atmos enabled soundbar that aims to wrap your home entertainment experience in a bubble of sound.

3D audio is already the point of Dolby Atmos, and you’ll hear it if you go to a good movie cinema and a big blockbuster film, but for LG’s SK10Y soundbar, LG will be using a bit of technology from Meridian to fire audio up and customise the volume to match your room.

In essence, you’ll get a bubble of sound wrapped for your entertainment space that you can tweak accordingly, and we like the sound of that.

Next up is computers, and Dell has talked up a replacement for its XPS 13 with a new model which keeps the same name. Slightly different, though, this model will ditch the USB ports you’ve come to know and love, and move to the Type C and Thunderbolt design we’ve seen on the likes of the MacBook Pro, updating the processors to quad-core Intel Core chips, and including a new white finish made from a custom woven material Dell has actually had to work on.

Dell is also bringing in support for Windows Hello’s facial login, and it’s not the only one, as Lenovo talks up a few new computers with Windows Hello as well. You’ll find that technology across ThinkPad T, X, and L models, and while they just sound like letters, they’ll each be different: the ThinkPad X will be more durable, mil-spec tested, and flexible thanks to Yoga design, the ThinkPad T will more be made for business, and the ThinkPad L will bring the price of ThinkPad down.

And Samsung has also shown off a few experiments ahead of its big announcements, detailing some ways it could change the world. These come from Samsung’s Creative division, the C-Lab which sounds vaguely sci-fi when you say it out loud, and include a device to help those who have suffered lung damage learn to breath again, a pair of speakers to create a personal sound bubble if you don’t like headphones, and a pair of glasses that will make it easier to read if you have eyesight problems thanks to Samsung’s experiments in virtual reality technologies.

Those are just some of the things happening ahead of CES, so you have to wonder what next week will uncover.

And really, what will be 2018’s technology trends?

Well, this year you have a fair amount of technology to look forward to, and while new phones from Apple and Samsung and everyone else are definitely on the cards, there’s more than just the phone you stuff in your pocket.

For instance, you’ll find the first 8K screens will likely make their way out, not only complicating the 4K Ultra HD world a little more, but offering something higher quality. The fact of the matter is there will be two variations of Ultra HD, with 8K coming for more detail, though likely no content. We’ve already heard LG will be showing one of these off, and given Hisense did last year, expect it won’t be the only one.

The definition of smart will evolve a little this year, too, thanks in part the smart home, with more smart speakers expected, smart security systems, smart appliances, smart fridges, smart lighting, smart-everything, and you may even find better smartphone integration.

You’ve probably noticed how weird it can be having an Android and a Mac, or an iPhone and a Windows PC. Given how much is happening between computers and phones, we expect this will finally be bridged, possibly as a way to keep people using laptops as big phones take over.

And as big phones take over, the 3.5mm headphone jack will disappear, prompting more Bluetooth earphones and headphones to appear. That’s good news for you, because it will mean better choices for all, and of course better prices.

Of course, that’s just the start, and we’ll find out truly what’s happening in 2018 next week when the world’s biggest manufacturers arrive in Las Vegas for CES.

We’ll be there thanks to Dell which is flying Pickr there as a guest, and we’ll be reporting on all of the things, or as many as we can fit until we fall asleep exhausted from all the writing and talking.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest round-up of technology. You can find out more about what we’ve spoken about in this show at the website, and tune in next week when it becomes an all out technology news fest direct from Las Vegas.

Until then, have a great weekend, a lovely week, and we’ll catch you next time on The Wrap. Take care.


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