Vodafone and TPG get the Federal Court’s blessing to merge
MWC 2020 has been cancelled because nobody wants to risk getting COVID-19
Essential (that smartphone company started by Andy Rubin) has run out of money and is closing down
This is a home-made mobile phone with a rotary dial and I love it
Cheap Yamaha soundbar, Xiaomi air purifier, LG 86" TV, Life is Strange
Vodafone and TPG have wanted to merge for a while now but last year the ACCC said they can't because it reckons 4 telcos are better than 3 for consumers. Voda and TPG took the ACCC to the Federal Court over the decision and today the court overturned the ACCC. It's now full steam ahead for the merger, with Vodafone's CEO saying that "for the first time, Australia will have a third, fully-integrated telecommunications company" - and he is right. I don't know what the ACCC was thinking here. Surely a strong 3rd telco is better for consumers than the status quo?
Mobile World Congress 2020 is not happening. After daily reports of some big vendor pulling out due to the fear of their staff contracting COVID-19, the straw that broke the camels back was Vodafone, BT, Nokia and Deutsche Telekom all going "nope, not going". It probably doesn't mean much in the scheme of things. Big deals for network installs will still get done and consumer handsets will just get individual launches over the next few weeks. Closer to home, Cisco Australia has cancelled Cisco Live, which was planned to take place March 3rd-6th, also due to COVID-19.
Essential, the smartphone company started by sex pest and co-founder of Danger/Android, certainly won't be at MWC because they've kicked the bucket. Despite shitloads of funding from companies like Amazon and Foxconn, sales of their first smartphone did not set the world on fire and a planned smart speaker never happened. The future of the company rested on Gem, a smartphone that looked like a TV remote control, but according to a company blog post there is "no clear path to deliver it to customers" and the company is shutting down. Owners of the PH-1 smartphone won't get any more updates or customer support.
Look at this rotary mobile phone. Bask in its mongrel beauty. The actual rotary dial came from an old "Trimline" telephone. Inside the 3D printed case is an Arduino with a 3G modem. It takes the analog signal from the rotary dial, turns it into a digital signal representing numbers, sends that number to the model via an AT command and boom, you've got a wireless telephone. This bad boy gets excellent reception because it's got an external antenna and there's even an e-ink display on the back with its phone number and who to email if it is lost.
Episodes 1-5 of Life is Strange (Steam/PC) - $3 at Green Man Gaming
Yamaha YAS-108B soundbar - $139 from The Good Guy’s eBay store using the code PICK100
Xiaomi Mi Smart Air Purifier 3 - $225.99 from Gshopper Australia
LG 86UM7600PTA 86" 4K TV - $2691 + delivery from Appliance Central’s eBay store using the code PLUV10
🎶 How to Handle a Rope (A Lesson in the Lariat) - Queens of the Stone Age
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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.