The Wrap – Big entertainment in a small size

This week on The Wrap, you’ll hear all about how IKEA’s collaboration with Sonos to make home speakers better and more affordable, as well as more entertainment, including Xbox, Foxtel, and the new Kindle reviewed.

Transcript

It’s almost the end of July, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while we end up talking a lot about phones and computers, much of the focus in the past week hasn’t been about that. Rather, it’s been about entertainment, and the things you use to be entertained.

We all love entertainment in some form or another, whether it’s sitting down for a game, watching a movie, or just sitting back with some tunes, maybe with some friends.

This week has been about that, about the gadgets we use to tune out, and there are quite a few of them.

The big news of the week comes from IKEA, a company you might not typically associate with entertainment. They make bookcases and sofas and flat pack furniture of many types.

Well from the end of September, they’ll also sell two new speakers, and not just any speakers, but speakers made with Sonos.

They’re called the Symfonisk, and they’re a little different from your conventional speakers, mixing form and function, instead of a case of form over function. There’s the Symfonisk Table Lamp which is a lamp and a speaker put together for $269, and the Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker, which is a $149 speaker that can sit in a bookshelf and be mounted to a wall as a bookshelf.

It’s the sort of quirky concept you might come to expect out of IKEA, and it’s something that sounds great. And those prices are just the sort of thing that could bring people over quickly.

It’s hard not to like the effort in convergence IKEA is presenting here, and while we haven’t spent a lot of time with the Symfonisk speakers, what we did hear impressed us enough. Especially when you factor in that they work as part of the Sonos multiroom system, opening up Sonos for more people.

You’ll see them in late September, with Australia getting the IKEA speakers a month after the US and UK.

Before then, there are other entertainment gadgets on the way.

LG is rolling out AirPlay 2 and HomeKit to some of its 2019 OLED TVs around the world right now, meaning if you bought an LG TV this year, you might just get an update. We say “might” because it only applies to OLED and Super UHD TVs from LG, and only from this year’s slate.

If you bought one of last year’s OLED models — or even bought one of last year’s this year — you probably won’t see the update, at least not yet.

Foxtel is getting an update as well, as Australia’s answer to cable TV gets cozy with Netflix, joining the services together. You might already have Netflix on another device, but if you’re a Foxtel customer with an iQ4 box, you’ll be able to connect the two shortly. If you have an older iQ3 box, it might take a little longer, but it will happen.

And there’s a new digital only Xbox One out at the beginning of August, made for folks happy to save money by skipping on the Blu-ray drive the Xbox typically comes with. It’s $50 less, but that could be the deciding factor for some people.

There’s also now support for Alexa on the Xbox, though not through Kinect. We’re not sure how many people are using the Kinect these days, but if you are, you’ll have to talk to Alexa on the Xbox using a phone, a computer, or another Amazon Alexa speaker.

And Amazon touched our lives in a different way this week, as the latest Amazon Kindle arrived. For folks who love reading, the new eReader is the 2019 Kindle Oasis, a slightly revamped take on the super slim Kindle Oasis from before.

There’s a bind for you to hold the eBook reader with just like before, and there’s a good two weeks of battery life, just like before. It’s ever waterproof, just like before.

In fact, almost everything about the new Kindle Oasis is just like before, because the new Kindle Oasis is very much like the old Kindle Oasis. Except, of course, for one thing: it has a warmer screen.

By “warmer”, we mean that the screen’s front-lighting can have its colour temperature raised to make it easier on the eyes. It’s a little like True Tone on the Apple iPad, iPhone, and MacBook range, except for one key difference: the Kindle won’t change the colour of the screen based on the lighting in the room.

It’s more of a manual control type thing, or handled by a schedule, like with sunrise and sunset times.

It’s definitely a cool inclusion, though we’re not sure if you’d upgrade from the old Oasis to the new one. If you had to buy a new Kindle and wanted the best, the $399 Oasis is it, but the Paperwhite still represents the best value at $199 because it’s a little like the old Oasis, just a little thicker.

And that’s all the time we have for the show this week.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. Pretty much everything you’ve heard here can be found at the Pickr website, as well as a whole lot more. Lots of stuff there.

The Wrap will be back next week, online every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but until then, gave a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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