Technology is always changing, and this week those changes are worth paying attention to. From an urgent patch on computers to 8K to 5G to foldable devices and a mid-range phone that’s worth it, you’ll learn about it in five minutes.
For the week ending May 17, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week seems to be all about changes. That’s a fairly regular topic for technology, because it’s always changing, but this week has felt more like change was what this week was all about.
And some of these changes are useful, but others have been completely necessary, like if you own a computer from the past eight or nine years.
And if you do own a computer from that time period that has Intel inside, be it a Surface or a MacBook or something made by someone else, it’s time to head to your operating system’s update area and get you some updates.
This week Intel released information that a major security flaw had been found in its chips, something so severe that it needs to be patched in not just old computers, but quite a lot of new computers, as well.
If you’re on a Mac, you can expect to find a patch coming down for your Mac very shortly, and the same is true for Windows, as well. The problem won’t affect your iPhone or Android, because only a handful of phones run on Intel, and not many of those are in Australia.
So there’s some good news out of that, and Intel says future chips shouldn’t have the problem, either.
Change is also coming for new releases, something that is perpetual in the world of technology.
One of the biggest changes on the horizon is 5G, and while Telstra is expected to launch phones to use its 5G service very, very soon, Optus will have 5G in Australia very soon, making it more in reach than you probably realise.
Also in reach of more people is 8K, the successor to 4K that delivers more pixels and more clarity in movies. TCL this week hinted at a new 8K TV that would be coming to Australia soon, arriving to give Samsung’s Q900 some competition, alongside what’s coming from LG and Sony, though there’s no pricing yet, nor is there any scope on content.
Right now, the only 8K content that exists is upscaled 4K content, but we’re sure that will change as time goes on.
All things change, and while some of it can be for worse, much of it is for the better.
Take foldable computers, which are poised to change technology by folding what you want and rely on in a smaller space. We’re hearing rumours that Samsung’s foldable phone is nearing being ready for release, while Lenovo used this week to talk up a foldable laptop, which will offer a big screen that folds up like a laptop.
It’s a cool concept, because it basically turns a form-factor like a book into a laptop, similar to how other foldable phones will turn phones into tablets when opened up flat.
Lenovo’s foldable laptop has no real date and no price, outside of next year, but it’s just one of the examples of how technology will change, and it’s joined this week by changes to Sonos, which is about to be the first multiroom speaker system to work with both types of the major smart speaker systems, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
It’s something Sonos has been working on for quite some time, and it brings the Google Assistant to the Sonos speakers with Amazon Alexa onboard, though only the models with a microphone enabled. That means the Sonos One and Sonos Beam are ready to take your orders on both Amazon and Google, though not Siri. We’ll have to leave that for the HomePod.
And there’s also another change: phones are getting more cost effective.
You’ve probably seen how phones have become expensive again. It’s hard to ignore, because when phones can cost as much as $2400, it can be hard to justify the cost of a new phone, and just tick along with what you have.
But fresh from its announcement last week, we’re ready with our review of the Pixel 3a, Google’s take on the mid-range, and my, what a phone it is.
While it’s clearly a sibling to the high-end Pixel 3, Google has replaced the glass body with plastic, and it still works. It’s still comfortable to hold and use, and while the chip is a little low end in comparison, it still works just as well, too.
The best part is the camera, because Google has brought over the same 12 megapixel rear camera from the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 3a. There’s a massive difference in price between them, with the Pixel 3a almost half the price of the Pixel 3, but it’s the same camera, and it works beautifully in day time and night, taking some of the best photos we’ve seen for a phone that in America hits $400 while in Australia costs $649.
There’s even a full day of battery life on offer, a little more, actually, but you do miss out on a couple of things, like water resistance and wireless charging, both of which are missing in action.
Otherwise, it’s a Pixel all the way, complete with the ambient screen, squeezable sides, and clean Android. It’s a Pixel for all and a Pixel without the price.
We’d say the Pixel 3a is definitely worth it, and great to end the show on, because we are out of time.
But you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find out about what you’ve heard here at the Pickr website, but The Wrap will be back next Friday for more technology in five on Podcast One and Apple Podcasts. Until then, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.