Mobile World Congress is in full swing over in Barcelona and the headline act is Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9+. They aren't huge updates over the S8, with a few tweaks to make a good phone better. There's two versions of the S9 - the US, China and Japan will get Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoCs and the rest of the world Samsung's Exynos 9810 SoC. According to Anandtech's testing, the Exynos SoC is way faster than the Snapdragon. The S9 also gets a bigger battery than the S8 it replaces and Samsung put the fingerprint reader back under the camera, so people stop touching the camera's lens. They kept the headphone socket too. The camera features a "tri-stack CMOS" sensor and f/1.5 lens, so the S9 should take some awesome pics. Oh they ripped off Apple's Animoji, which is a rip off of Snapchat's thing, which I'm sure they ripped off someone else too. Prices start at $1199 in AU and will go on sale March 16.
Nokia made a lot of people happy at MWC, by making all their smartphones part of the Android Go and Android One programs. This means they'll all be clean Android, with no bloat and monthly updates for 3 years. Perfect! There's also new hardware like the cheapo Nokia 1 running Android Go, the Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco (looks like a Samsung S8+). The most interesting update is the reissuing of the Nokia 8110. Yeah, the same badass 8110 Neo was given in the that scene of the Matrix where he has to escape his office. This new one uses Kai OS, making it a smart dumbphone, (has a few apps, but it ain't Android or iOS). Hopefully it comes in other colours besides banana yellow. Nokia is on fire lately, very easy to recommend Android phones.
LG announced the V30S ThinQ, aka, the weakest phone update ever. It's the same as current V30S, just with different colours, that's it. The software that makes the ThinQ "unique" is going to be on the V30S anyways, so why bother?
Huawei's MateBook X Pro is a laptop with a display bezel so thin, they hid the webcam under a keyboard button between the F6 and F7 keys. Huawei also released some new Android tablets, for those people still interested in a tablet that isn't an iPad.
Vivo's Apex concept phone also has a retractable front-facing camera. Vivo is experimenting with ways to get the entire front of the phone as an LCD without a notch or thin sensor bar. I like it.
Telstra is building up hype for its 5G network, saying they will spend $5b on it and launch some time in 2019. They also said they'll use LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) for disseminating live AFL games to Telstra 4G customers this year.
Alcatel showed off some relatively forgettable phones. I don't know why you'd bother with them when Nokia's are the same price (or cheaper) and run Android Go/Android One, meaning they'll get proper updates! Alcatel did have some Android tablets though, that's kinda rare these days.
Dropbox is officially listing on the stock exchange. It's worth around US$10b privately, so this should be a huge IPO. They plan to use the money to pay off debt and ramp up the marketing. Interestingly, the financial statement included with the IPO states that it's still yet to make a profit, losing $112m in 2017. That said, Dropbox has been very resilient against competition from Google, Microsoft and Apple. It's grown to 500 million users, which when you consider OneDrive and iCloud are built-in to the operating system and enabled by default, is a pretty good effort. Dropbox runs their own server infrastructure too, so they don't have to pay Google or Amazon (who are competitors!) so their business can run.
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has said that 5G and IPV6 will make it much harder for law enforcement to get access to user communications. "On existing 4G networks, law enforcement agencies use the unique identifier associated with a user's device to trace an individual. But 5G technology replaces this permanent identifier with temporary ones that are destroyed after a connection to a tower is made, removing the ability to associate the device to a person". IPv6 is an issue because "a single user may have numerous IP addresses when operating online" and the inclusion of encryption as standard rather than retrofitted like IPV4. Can't wait to see what legislation pops up because of this.
The Commodore 64 is a legendary computer, even people like me who were born after it came out and never used one back in its heyday know enough about it to give it some respect. That respect is so strong, that there's an entire documentary about it - The Commodore Story. It explores why this computer is so revered by talking to the people that made it and the users who still keep its spirit alive, 36 years after it first went on sale. I can't see anywhere to get the full doco yet though.
Michael Harris argues that because of smartphones, he's forgotten how to read. His attention span has been so warped by the addictive apps on his internet connected glass and metal rectangle, that reading a book is now mundane and boring. Something he loved to do for years, is now a chore instead of a joy. I unfortunately, totally relate to Mike's struggle. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I would read a novel or two a month, then as I got older, I just started reading less and less books. I haven't read a book cover to cover since May last year. I'm not 100% sure it's the fault of the smartphone, but I definitely do find reading difficult now, in a way I didn't a decade ago.
More cheap stuff in eBay's P20TECH sale (ends tonight):
That's it, see ya tomorrow!