Life & Technology - 2GB 6th September, 2014

I've spent most of this week in Berlin for IFA - one of the biggest tech shows in the world! Unsurprisingly, there's been a lot of big news!!

 

But first, we've had a bit of big news of our own - we just launched a beta of the new CyberShack website. We're pretty proud of how it's looking, so be sure to check it out!

 

Samsung shocked everyone with the announcement of their virtual reality headset - the Gear VR. Built in partnership with Oculus, the creators of the Oculus Rift, the Gear VR is powered by the newly announced Galaxy Note 4 and lets users engage with a variety of virtual reality experiences through their phone! The Galaxy Note 4 was another highlight of Samsung's show - it takes everything that was good about the Note 3 and makes it better, and puts it in an all new more premium package. I ran into Arnor Lenior, Samsung Australia's Chief Marketing Officer, and he told me we expect to see both new products in Australia before the end of the year. Very exciting!

 

For more information on Gear VR, click here, and for more info on the Note 4 and a phone unlike anything I've seen before, click here.

 

Sony had some big news of their own - and some smaller news. The company announced their new flagship, the Xperia Z3, which will come in a 5.2-inch model and a 4.6-inch model. What's impressive though is that aside from the screen-size, the phones are almost identical, the smaller model doesn't make any compromises in terms of power. I had a chat with Calum MacDougall, Director of Product Marketing for Sony Mobile about these stunning new devices. Calum told that in building the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 compact, they've tried to take the best of Sony's various divisions, whether it's televisions, photography or gaming, and use that to build a pretty amazing phone. I'm definitely looking forward to spending some time with these! For more information on these phones, check out our write-up on CyberShack.

 

I had also the pleasure of speaking to Karen Regis, Intel's Director of Roadmap and Strategies for Mobile. Intel have just announced their Core M processor - a new breed of chip that be used to build fan-less devices! Karen told me that we'll be seeing these new Core M processors in a variety of form-factors, ranging from laptops to 2-in-1s to hybrids to tablets, and the first devices running it will be released in Australia before Christmas! Exciting stuff!

 

In non-IFA news, the first whisky in space is returning to Earth this month! Scottish distillery Ardbeg have had a small amount of their finest single malt orbiting on the International Space Station for the past three years and now it's been coming back. Apparently they've been observing the effects of gravity on whisky maturation; hopefully no one up there's drunk it!

 

In news that's pretty good for me, cars have been driving digital radio figures to a five year high! A report was released that said that almost 2.8 million people are tuning in per week across Australia's five metropolitan cities alone. Let's hope that continues.

 

And last but not least, FreeviewPlus has finally launched in Australia! FreeviewPlus is an upgrade to free-to-air channels that integrates an electronic programming guide and catch-up functionality straight into TVs. I had the chance to film a quick overview video before I left - check it out here.