Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – Virtual IFA: Computers, TVs, & Phones

How is tech changing for the back half of 2020? We’ll talk new computers and chips from Intel, new phones from Samsung, plus new earphones, TVs, and a whole lot more from a virtual IFA, the mid-year tech show.

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For the beginning of September 2020, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this is one week where everything has happened, because finally, yes, there’s been another technology show. It wasn’t one like any other, because it has been online. Almost entirely so.

Normally around this time of the year, the mid-year European tech show that is IFA is on. But this year, leaving the country is complicated. Leaving any country is complicated, so few journos have travelled to Germany for the event. So everything has been online, and a lot has happened. There’s so much technology news this week to pack into five minutes, we need to start… now.

Starting with phones, because there are a few more of those in the world this week, starting with Samsung. There were already a couple of new Samsungs in August, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, but Australia is about to get two new foldables from Samsung, sequels of sorts to its other foldable phones.

There’s the Galaxy Z Flip 5G which is a 5G variant of its compact clamshell folding phone, coming for a little over two grand, and there’s also the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the second tablet that folds into a phone. Or is it a phone that unfolds into a tablet. It’s one of them, and this year does away with the bezels some, letting a 6.2 inch phone unfold into a 7.6 inch tablet.

It’ll include pretty much everything you’d expect a phone to have these days — several cameras, Bluetooth, WiFi, plenty of memory and storage, and 5G — plus a foldable screen, something that really stands out. It also comes with a three thousand dollar price, which also makes it stand out.

There are other ways for phones to stand out, though.

ZTE has a phone coming that has a camera under the screen in an almost invisible way. There’s no word on whether its Axon 20 5G will come to Australia, but if it does, it’ll bring a phone with an under-screen camera to market, and it may not be alone. Xiaomi says it has one coming next year, as well.

Tablets are also big news at IFA, where TCL and Lenovo have both shown new models meant to take on the iPad, as well as Samsung throwing an extra model in the ring. If you’re surprised to see so many competing, we’ve been told by at least one manufacturer that tablets are still big business, particularly in the education space, so as much as big phones and computers make a dent, tablets still have a place.

There are also new TVs from Samsung coming, one of which is a water-resistant Terrace TV, while Samsung also joined big screens properly with a short-throw projector in The Premiere.

Entertaining at home is still a big deal, as is going out in the world, something LG is preparing for with a face mask with an electronic filter, because that’s the world we live in.

We also live in a world of regular change, where old and familiar things take on new forms. Take the bedside clock, because there’s change coming from Lenovo, and one which features Google Assistant built in. The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential looks more like a regular clock with a simple LED screen, and you can use it to check the time, or you can say “Hey Google, tell me the news”, and it’ll do just that.

There are also a whole new breed of computers on the way, thanks in part to some developments from Intel.

This week, the maker of both the Core chips has a new jingle on the way and new chips, the latter of which are arguably way more important. Built on a new process, they’re small and built for performance, notably in graphics, where they could see improvements to games and content creation in very thin and light laptops.

There’s also a new name for Intel’s Project Athena, now called “Evo”, and it is very much a template for computer makers to build something fast, light, and able to last a day of battery life, something we’re all still craving, even if we’re mostly working from home. At one point, that might end, and we might go back to a world where battery life matters.

Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and Acer all had computers to show off this week, and there’s plenty coming, so if you’ve been waiting to get something, your time might be very soon.

And that’s true for audio, as well. There’s already plenty of choice, but there might soon be more.

LG also has new earphones that can clean themselves using UV light in the Tone Free, while Realme and TCL both have their own takes on inexpensive earphones.

Lots of companies make earphones now, and pretty soon, you may find more with noise cancellation, thanks to a new Bluetooth chip made by Qualcomm, the maker of the Snapdragon mobile chip, set to be used across the industry. That’s good news for people, because it means noise cancelling earphones could come down to more price points.

And all of this is good news for choice overall, which is what tech shows often provide. It’s good news because it means the choices you have to make can be wide and varied, and coronavirus won’t be able to stop you from having the latest and greatest of tech, even if it takes a little longer to come in.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap can be found every week at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and The Wrap will be back next week for more tech in five, but until then, have a great one. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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