This week on The Wrap, check out the tablets coming to Australia, some of the security issues popping up, and find out how to take your Xbox games to-go on your phone and computer. All that and more, all in five.
Near the middle of December 2021, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as the year properly begins to wind down, there are less and less things to talk about.
That’s probably a good thing, because it means you don’t need to worry about what’s new in the world, and can focus on the things that matter. Family, buying things for family, dealing with said family – look, we can’t help you with the last one, but hopefully we can help in other ways as we wrap the world of tech, even with only a few weeks ago.
There are things still happening, much of which seems skewed to folks saving some money, something we’re all probably doing at this time of the year.
Starting with tablets, and Australia has a new player as a budget offering turns up from IQU, a brand you’ve probably not heard of with a model or two made for folks looking for a 4G tablet without a hefty cost.
At under $300, the tablets seem spec’d for low-end activities – web surfing, email, maybe some Netflix – however that probably means kids and seniors, and parents eager to save a few bucks buying for both.
There’s a similar feeling from TCL with a $400 10 inch tablet that’ll come with a case and a pen on the way. But for TCL, its week centred more around earphones, including a $69 pair clearly focused on the AirPods crowd, some colourful water-resistant $129 earphones, and a pair of $200 noise cancelling options.
You’ve probably heard us talk about just how much there is in the earphone world this year, and much of it has been about getting the prices down. The fact of the matter is you can find reasonable quality for around the $100 mark in Australia, with a little more in the asking price getting you noise cancellation, which kind of encases you in your own personal bubble of sound.
We certainly have our favourites for the year, and will talk on those in the coming weeks in our best of tech wrap, but the point is there is a lot of choice out there at the moment, and much of it’s pretty good.
Google’s wrapping up the year with a bit of news about how much we all searched, because, shock horror, we did a lot of that this year.
According to the search giant, the pandemic occupied much of what we searched for, with vaccines, vaccination certificates, and already omicron making a dent.
How tos in general took up a bit chunk of space for what we looked up, some of which were very 2021-centric, such as how to get a vaccination certificate, how to book pfizer vaccine, and how to buy dogecoin. Frankly we’d take how to say dogecoin, because we’re probably said it wrong.
At the same time, Aussies have been dodging security issues, and this week, there was another, as scammers embraced pretending to be Twitter support for Twitter users. If you end up getting a support claim in your Twitter direct messages, squint and question what you’re seeing. It appears scammers are out and eager for your logins, and just like they do on email, they’re going to keep trying until it works.
Security may as well be one of the big topics for 2021, and even as the year draws to a close, we’re seeing ever more reason to stay sceptical about what comes in.
SMS scams are back in droves as scammers do what they can to trick, with links to either get you to install malware on Android, or even to send you to fraudulent transaction websites.
We’ve seen both in recent weeks, and it just means everyone needs to stay on guard, because your phone number isn’t sacred, and scammers are automatically generating the numbers to get in your inbox.
Telstra is working on a solution for people on its network, and also on the networks that use Telstra, such as Mate, Woolies, Aldi, Belong, Boost, and others. Part of its Cleaner Pipes initiative, the telco is using artificial intelligence in an attempt to understand scams and stop them from hitting our phones.
It’s going to take some time, of course, but hopefully scammers won’t be able to make the dent they keep hoping for at least for that much longer.
And finally we’re checking out something a little more fun, as we dive into Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, a novel attempt at bringing console gaming to your phone. Simply put, if you have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you can play Xbox on your phone, tablet, or computer. You don’t even technically need an Xbox.
The idea works as a web service, connecting you to an Xbox in the cloud, and playing from anywhere. You will want a controller, but old wired 360 controllers can work, and from there, you just stream your games.
We’ve been using it to play Xbox on our phone and laptop, and haven’t even turned on the Xbox in the living room. There are of course great games on phones and computers, but if you desperately want to play an Xbox exclusive, you might want to check whether it’s on Game Pass, because cloud gaming means you can play it just about anywhere.
For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode appears every week on LiSTNR, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time. Stay safe, stay sane and take care.