The Wrap – Uber Air and Is 5G worth your time?

Near the middle of the year, we’ll take to the skies with Uber Air, look at what’s new from Beats and Bose, find out what’s happening with the next Xbox, and go all in with 5G. All in five.

Transcript

For the middle of June, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and six months into the year, it can seem like everything is happening. Gadgets are coming out left, right, and centre, new computers aplenty, and there’s this whole flying car thing. Well kind of, anyway.

This week Uber talked up a new type of Uber. You’ve probably taken an Uber before, be it a cab, an Uber X, one of those luxury Uber Black cars you lucky person you, or an Uber car pool to save some coin. But in the next few years, there will be a very different kind of Uber. There will be a flying Uber.

That’s something Uber announced this week as Uber Air, an elevated edition of Uber that won’t so much fly you to your friend’s place or that business meeting across town, but will get you what would normally take a one or two hour drive in closer to fifteen minutes.

Like if you need to get from Melbourne Airport to the centre of Melbourne’s CBD, you’ll be able to do that using Uber Air, a flying version of Uber that is a little like a drone trip for five or six people meant to cut longer drives into shorter flights.

It’s not coming for quite some time, around four years or so at the earliest, but it will be tested in three places, with Dallas, LA, and Melbourne seeing the pilot programs first.

And that means expect some flying machines to ferry people and cargo in those cities shortly, with a lot of safety tests. We don’t really have any flying vehicles for regular trips outside of aircraft yet, and while I’m still keen to see a DeLorean powered by garbage to let us fly through the clouds, this whole thing is really new, and it’s going to take some time to iron out properly.

Uber isn’t expecting Uber Air to be in usable action until 2023, so it has some time to get it right. Here’s hoping they do.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of technology around.

There’s a new baby camera this week from Owlet, and it offers temperature tracking and a way to talk to your bub through the camera, plus there’s a hint that Owlet will be bringing a wearable electrocardiogram to Australia to let pregnant mums hear their baby’s heartbeat without being near a doctor.

Bose turned to sunglasses for a form of earphones which is truly unusual, arriving in the Bose Frames. Simply put, they’re $300 sunglasses with speakers built in, and they’re surprisingly good, but really strange.

Expect a review soon, alongside the Beats Powerbeats, $350 wireless and cordless earphones that get much of their tech from the new Apple AirPods, but do things better. Not just for sport, but everything else.

Panasonic also has new TVs on the way, with three ranges of OLED TVs, aimed at folks who prefer a more cinematic experience. Our highlight is probably the sound, with the flagship Panasonic GZ2000 using upward facing speakers to fire an arc of sound around you and support Dolby Atmos, all from the TV.

And Microsoft dropped hints about the next Xbox, codenamed “Project Scarlett”. It also unveiled a massive list of games for the next year or so, but if you’re keen for a new Xbox, you’ll be waiting until 2020, when the 8K capable next generation of the Xbox arrives for the holiday season.

Before then, why not have some 5G, because we’ve been testing it on the Telstra network in Australia with the Oppo Reno 5G, a 6.6 inch Android phone with three cameras and 10x zoom, no notch, and a selfie camera that moves into place from the top only when you need it.

On paper, it’s one of the least expensive 5G phones out, costing $1499 locally, and able to use the high-speed 5G network. And there are only a handful of places where you can test it out properly. In theory, 5G is fast, but our tests this week show 5G isn’t reliably fast.

You should be able to give well over a gigabit of speeds, or around 100 to 150 megabytes per second, and as much as 200. We’re hitting the 4G speed of 500 megabits, which is closer to 60 megabytes per second. That’s fast, but it’s 4G fast. Not that brand new whizz bang 5G stuff we’re being told about.

Right not, 5G isn’t really reliably fast, and probably has some time before it’s stable.

Fortunately, there’s more to the Reno 5G than just 5G. There’s three cameras and a lot of reach, a big screen without a notch, and a day of battery life, though you might be able to get a little more out.

It’s surprising for such a high-end phone that Oppo has skipped out on water resistance and wireless charging, but we’re delighted to see NFC, which means it supports mobile payments through Google Pay.

As for whether it’s worth it, there’s little doubt that the Oppo Reno 5G is the best Oppo yet, but it still needs some work, and 5G is a big part of that. You can get the Reno without 5G, and that might be the one to get, at least until Telstra sorts its 5G issues out.

Or gets more reception out. 5G is so hard to find, and virtually nowhere has it. Unlike this show, which can be heard anywhere, is now over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup.

The Wrap appears every Friday at Podcast One and Apple Podcasts. We’ll be back next week for more tech in five.

Until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.