The Wrap – June 15, 2018

Kogan enters the smart home, BlackBerry returns, Sony’s little big camera, why a game is causing a stir, and how you can watch the World Cup on practically any device. It’s The Wrap.

Transcript

For the middle of June 2018, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while this week will end with a kickoff, it started with a kick in the phone world as BlackBerry returned. Yes, the once great smartphone maker is back, introducing the Key 2, another button-based phone with a keyboard just like the old days.

It’s still a 4G phone, and it’s one that will come with Android, as BlackBerry brings its unique tiny keyboard to the world of smartphones not made by Apple. It also comes with two cameras, and this is becoming really popular as the phone impact the camera world, taking over lens by lens and shot by shot.

But there are still cameras about, and Sony has added another this week, launching a compact with the heart of a big camera. It’s called the RX100 Mark 6, and it’s a small rectangular box with a staggering 24 to 200mm lens inside, effectively offering a professional focal range in a small body.

It also includes a 20 megapixel sensor, a touchscreen LCD, and a small viewfinder, and support for 4K video, effectively making it the full package if you still want a compact camera. It does come with a pretty hefty price of $1699, but if you’re after a compact that can wipe the floor with your phone and then some, it may do the job.

And it wasn’t the only new thing announced this week. Australian etailer Kogan also launched its first products into the smart home world with two smart heaters.

There aren’t many smart products in home heating out there, so this is interesting. Dyson makes one, but outside of smart air conditioners, good luck finding one, and Kogan’s will be controllable from either the iPhone or Android. They won’t support smart home standards yet, but with prices under $200, you may not care.

And there were plenty of other announcements this week too, thanks in part to E3 in Los Angeles, where lots of games were announced.

Gaming is understandably big. It’s big for entertainment, but it’s big business as well, and one game doing tremendously well is Epic’s Fortnite Battle Royale. With over 100 million players, it’s pretty easy to understand why: it’s a free multiplayer game available on consoles, phones, and tablets that you can keep playing provided you’re online.

But it’s also one that grabbed the attention of the media because kids are playing it.

Now let’s just get something straight here: like many online games, Fortnite is a multiplayer shooting game, so it’s not made for kids. The violence is cartoony, but it’s still focused on teens and adults.

That means if kids are playing it, parents should get involved, finding out what the game is, and maybe placing limits on the gaming. There are lots of ways you can do this: remember, it’s an online game, so if you cut off the internet from your router, the game stops.

But we’d talk to the kids about it, because video games are not a babysitter or a replacement for parental connection.

Seriously, if your kids are addicted to playing Fortnite, talk to them. Set restrictions. Play it with them. You’ll either have fun or make it uncool for them. Or do something else. Go outside and play a sport, or come inside and watch the game together.

In fact, from this week and for the next month, watching the game together is something you’ll be able to do pretty much every day, and that’s because this week kicks off the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Australia’s Socceroos are in Russia to do their best, and while we wish them luck, they’ll have strong competition.

Fortunately, cheering them on is super easy if you’re living in Australia, with quite a few ways available to you regardless of what device you own.

If you just want to see Australia play, and a few of the other majors, SBS will be airing the games free on pretty much every device, as well as free-to-air TV. That means if you have an iPhone, an iPad, a Galaxy, a PC, or even a VR headset, you can tune in using an app or browser. SBS will even be airing it on Twitter under the #WorldGameLive hashtag.

But if you want all of the games and on demand, Optus will be running that for $15 a month.

Basically, if you thought there was no way for you to watch the World Cup, think again, because as long as you have the internet, you can.

Like if your wife wakes you up at all hours of the morning to set it up, she doesn’t need to anymore. She can do it herself. Hypothetically, of course. It’s all hypothetical right?

You’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears every Friday at PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech in five.

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

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