This week on The Wrap, dive into all of the tech news to start the year, explaining what’s new in TVs, computers, headphones, and cars, to name a few. From BMW to foldable laptops to OLED and more, find out what’s happening in 2022, all in five minutes.
It’s the beginning of 2022, the first show of the year, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and while this week would normally see us recording a show every day in Las Vegas, we are instead doing one big show from Sydney, because only a handful of journos have made the trip, and we’re not one of them.
We’re new parents once again, and with Omicron raging, that’s a risk we’re not game to take, and we’re not the only ones.
By the time CES kicked off, lots of companies had pulled out of having a physical presence. Amazon, Google, Lenovo, Microsoft, and many others pulled the plug on being there in real life, and while some still turned up, CES is reportedly more like a husk of its former self. Like it was last year in the wholly digital show amidst Covid 2021, CES is very much digital this year, and that’s a CES we can attend.
It means the news has come thick and fast for those of us who stayed behind, because there’s so much to get stuck into, we’re going to need to do it on rapid fire.
First up, there’s TVs, and Samsung has a new technology it has won an award for, achieving a best of innovation award for a quantum dot OLED panel. That’s one of those self-emitting pixel panels LG has previously made, but with quantum dots thrown into the mix. It’s called QD-OLED, and while Samsung hasn’t talked up what its 65 inch QD-OLED will be like yet, or even how much it will cost, it won’t be alone, with Sony launching a QD-OLED in the Bravia A95K.
It won’t be the only TV for either Samsung or Sony, because both will offer Mini LED TVs with 4K and 8K resolutions, though 8K content is still largely missing in action. However, those Mini LED TVs now have improved performance for controlling the tiny LEDs, which aim to provide OLED-like performance without necessarily the OLED price or maybe even the lifespan, which can be a bit of a question mark.
LG also has updates to its OLED TVs this year, but not with quantum dots. Rather, LG has new processing power to handle contrast and colour better on its screens, plus the tech to deal with Dolby Atmos in a psychoacoustic way.
Dolby Atmos is big for a lot of brands this year, as 3D sound becomes more or less the norm. Some of those Samsung and Sony TVs will see speakers positioned around the frame to fire audio around the room from the TV. While they may cost a pretty penny, Hisense has an Atmos soundbar that won’t, fetching $799 in Australia.
They’re just some of the examples for how 3D sound is going to reach into more devices this year, with more to come from other brands, too.
There’s more happening in audio, as the announcements trickle in. Take Astell & Kern, which has a three thousand dollar headphone amp with an Android media player built in, while Skullcandy launched a more affordable pair of earphones that have a smart assistant built in that isn’t Google, Amazon, or Siri.
And in what’s becoming a bit of a trend early on already, noise cancellation is appearing in more places. Take Jabra, which is throwing the tech in the $180 water resistant Elite 4 earphones, while Shure adds it to the slightly rugged $450 Aonic 40.
Computers also got updated in a big way, with Intel announcing the fastest laptop chip it had ever made, the 12th gen Core i9, which will see its way into gaming and performance laptops from February, though there are other models. And they’ll come in lots of computers, arriving from Dell, Alienware, HP, Gigabyte, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus, to name a few. Though the latter of these, Asus, has a 17 inch foldable OLED computer that is both a big tablet and a portable laptop, folding into a 12.5 inch notebook.
Lenovo also has a foldable tablet computer with Tile integration built in, handy if you were to ever lose it – because hey, it happens – and more is coming. It may actually be possible for the foldable to become more than a neat gimmick this year. Maybe maybe.
And speaking of things that may be a bit of a gimmick, BMW – yes, the car company – has a car in development that can change colours. It has no release date, but the iX Flow is a unique car that uses technology similar to the e-ink screens inside the Kindle or Kobo to change colours and patterns. It was even developed by an Australian engineer at BMW, which makes it Australian made. Kinda sorta.
We’ve not even managed to get through everything, because Withings has a scale that can use a small bioelectrical charge to measure and weight parts of your body, Samsung has a portable cinema projector made into a tube you can take with you, TCL has a pair of glasses that work as an entertainment system and a bunch of new tablets, and we even caught wind of a smart pillow.
We’re not sure if we need a pillow to be net connected, but last year we reviewed an app connected toothbrush, so maybe we do.
All up, it’s shaping up to be a big year, and one we can’t wait to go properly hands on with.
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.