This week on The Wrap, get stuck into mobile news from Mobile World Congress covering phones, tablets, and laptops, plus what’s new in sound from B&W, Sonos, and Apple. All that and more, all in five.
It’s the end of February and the beginning of March, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and it’s time for Mobile World Congress, a show which is kind of like CES, but for phones and mobility in general.
We get one of these nearly every year, though unsurprisingly, things have been a little weird under the whole pandemic thing. Last year’s occurred later than expected, while the 2020 edition of MWC was cancelled entirely.
But this year, Mobile World Congress was back on, even if we didn’t see a whole heap of mobile announcements, as such.
The word “mobile” can mean quite a bit, of course, and while many of us normally think of “mobile phones”, this year we saw a show seemingly focused less on phones and more on mobility in general.
With Oppo and Samsung already having announced their phones – the Find X5 Pro and Galaxy S22 models – TCL was one of the only major mobile makers to talk up new devices, with a good five coming, though only one of which was 5G, and it has the word “5G” in the title. We also heard HMD’s Nokia brand had some phones coming, but they might not be coming to Australia, at all.
Telstra talked up 5G with a new speed record, hitting nearly six gigabits per second in a test, and set to bring new high speed mobile modems to the market very soon. Meanwhile Oppo announced a phone charging technology in something it calls Super Vook, promising a full charge in the space of 15 minutes, dealing with the issue of mediocre battery life by charging very quickly instead. There were two technologies, with one needing as much as 15 minutes, while the other, an experimental high-power tech, could charge a phone in just less then ten. Crazy.
And there were tablets and laptops aplenty.
Intel launched some new chips for fast thin and light computers in its 12th generation Core processors, Microsoft’s Surface Studio launched in Australia, Acer has a couple of new Swift machines, and there’s even a tablet or laptop from Huawei, plus a pen-based electronic ink model like a Kindle with a stylus in the Mate Pad Paper.
That’s similar to something we recently checked out from Kobo, which was an eBook reader with pen support. That’s the Kobo Sage, which lets you take notes in the same gadget you read books on, and that’s basically what Huawei is trying to do with its Made Pad Paper.
Lenovo had quite a few things, too, with notebooks, notebooks for gaming, Chromebooks, and even something it collaborated on with the makers of the Snapdragon, Qualcomm, with a ThinkPad laptop running on a chip not unlike what’s in your phone. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13 S is a similar style of machine to the M1 MacBook Air in that it runs an ARM chip and is built to be thin and light, but it runs Windows, and even has 5G built in.
There’s no word on pricing just yet, but we’re not expecting it to be cheap.
There’s also a new WiFi technology on the way, as WiFi 7 is announced. It’s not going to be a big deal for a few years, but when it does arrive, it’ll offer more bandwidth and speed, with close to around a gigabyte per second transfer speeds making it more than ideal for media in the home. Before that’s out, you’ll find WiFi 6E, which will give everyone a little more range to work with, and will be the wireless technology to look out for this year.
So that was the world of mobiles and Mobile World Congress 2022, where there was plenty of mobility. Outside of MWC, there was also quite a bit happening in the world of sound.
Take Bowers & Wilkins, which announced a Dolby Atmos soundbar in the fifteen hundred dollar Panorama 3, a soundbar that looks set to take on the Sonos Arc, while Sonos itself announced a new version of its portable Roam speaker, but this time without microphones and the virtual assistants the regular Roam has. Expected for a few bucks less than the Roam’s three hundred dollar cost, the Roam SL will probably save Australians twenty or thirty bucks, and bring much the same hardware without either Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant.
Oh, and if you happen to be a fan of The Beatles this week, you’ll want to check out Apple Music, which has launched a spatial remaster of The Beatles number one album, giving you Beatles songs in Dolby Atmos. You’ll want a decent pair of headphones, and if you have an Apple-made pair, you might even have head tracking, but it’s a real treat all the same.
Finally, while we’re talking about Apple Music now, we’re giving you a bit of a heads up: the next show will very likely be an Apple loaded show, because Apple has an event shortly.
We’re expecting a new iPhone S E, a 5G model, plus a new iPad Air, and there’s also the possibility for new MacBook computers, as well. The theme is “peak performance”, and that implies fast gadgets, be it new computer chips or high-speed mobiles.
However, if you’re thinking of buying a new Apple anything, you might want to wait until those announcements are made. You’d hate to feel like you’re getting older tech, and it’s only a few days away.
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, but otherwise, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.