Life & Technology - 2GB 8th February, 2015

Microsoft last week launched Outlook for iOS and Android, a standalone email client for mobile operating systems. The app itself is a rebranded version of Acompli, a critically acclaimed mobile email client that Microsoft acquired in December of last year. While it’s pretty similar to Acompli at the moment, Microsoft has however promised frequent updates. Also, the similarity isn’t at all a bad thing, Acompoli was a fantastic app, and Outlook for mobile is no different.

 

Key features in the mobile version of Outlook include universal search, a Focused Inbox that prioritises important emails, customisable swipe gestures (you can choose whether a swipe left will delete an email or archive it for example), access to complete calendar information without switching apps, and the ability to attach files from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or from other locally stored emails.

 

In partnership with Samsung, Qantas is taking virtual reality to the skies, at least, to the first class cabin. The airline will be rolling out Samsung's Gear VR headsets to passengers as an alternative form of inflight entertainment on international flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, as well as the Melbourne and Qantas First Lounges. Will definitely be interesting to see if this is something that catches on! Qantas is also looking at bringing back WiFi for domestic flights

 

I also had a chat to Justin White, Toshiba Australia's Product Marketing Manager to learn a bit more about Toshiba's brand new two-in-one, the Protégé Z20t. The Protégé Z20t's killer feature is a battery than allegedly run up to 17 hours, which is pretty amazing. We've been road-testing one of the units in the office, and we managed to get it last 14 which is pretty damn good. Here's our review.

 

BlackBerry is back, with a back-to-basics smartphone it’s called the BlackBerry Classic. Unsurprisingly, it looks a lot like a classic BlackBerry, full physical keyboard and all. We’ve had one at the office for about a week now, and it actually makes a pretty good work phone. The physical keyboard means you can type much faster than on a touchscreen, making it perfect for blasting through emails.

 

It’s available now from Telstra on a plan and outright for about $500.  If you’re interested in more, we’ve got a review on CyberShack.com.au

 

There's been a lot of conversation around artificial intelligence lately, amid growing concerns it could be getting too smart for its own good, and become sentiment - kind of like Skynet or HAL9000. I got in touch with Fabio Ramos Research, an Associated Professor at University of Sydney's School of Information Technology, to have a chat about this dilemma. Fabio told me we don't have anything to worry about at the moment, and that the advancement in AI research isn't so much about making robots smarter, in the sense that they can think for themselves and be creative, but more useful. We'll have a longer story about the AI dilemma on CyberShack.com.au this week.

 

Looks like a lot more Android devices are making their way out into the world! Over one billion Android smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2014 according to research conducted by Strategy Analytics. This number grew from 780 million in 2013, and gave Android devices a global market share of 81.2%. For comparison, Apple maintained 15% of the global smartphone market with iOS devices, down 0.5% from the previous year.