Cheap smartphones are something I get asked about a lot – conveniently, Microsoft is bringing its two cheapest ever Windows Phone 8.1 devices to Australia. The Lumia 435 will retail for AUD$129 and is Microsoft's cheapest smartphone launched locally to date (excluding sales). The AUD$149 Lumia 532 will be available in both single-SIM and dual-SIM varieties, and feature slightly faster hardware.
In addition, the pair are the first Australia-bound Lumia devices to not bare the Nokia brand name. While the two smartphones make use of the trademark Lumia aesthetic and colours, they're adorned by Microsoft's own branding. Our sponsor Harvey Norman will have both from early March.
Vodafone this week announced Shared plans, options that are bound to excite families. I had a chat to Stephen Smyth, Vodafone's General Manager of Post Paid to learn a bit more about Vodafone Shared. Shared lets families pool their data, talk time and messaging allowances into cumulative pool across 10 different devices. Customers can add phones for AUD$30 per month and tablets for as little as AUD$10 per month. Sounds like a good way to save some money! Click here for more info!
Australia’s telecommunications body has published a draft code that will require internet service providers to hand over customer’s information to rights holders after piracy offences in a 12 month period – a three strike approach to managing copyright infringement.
The draft code outlines a process where if a rights holder suspects a user is illegally downloading copyrighted material, they can send the user's ISP a standardised copyright notice within seven days of the activity. The ISP then has to email the user, informing them of the infringement. These notices will work on a three-strike model, dubbed Education, Warning and Final. These notices do not have to relate to works owned by the same rights holder. If all three are sent within a 12 month period, the ISP is required to hand over the user's details to the rights holder.
If the code is agreed on, ISPs will be required to start issuing warnings from September 1. We've got more info about what's happening on CyberShack!
I also had a chat to Amir Bassan-Eskenazi, the CEO of a very exciting start-up called Pixie. Pixie are working on an innovative take on identity tags. These are little sticker like beacons you can put on your things – bag, wallet, smartphone, cat – and the Pixie app will let you know where it is using augmented reality. The app can also let you know if you've left something behind when you're leaving home, such as a laptop charger. Super useful! I'm really excited to try these out when they launch later this year. Click here for more information on Pixie.
eBay announced a partnership with Woolworths this week where customers will be able to pick up their packages at certain Woolworths and Big W stores. Initially this will only be available to certain sellers, but eBay hopes to have 250 eBay stores offering “click and collect” in the next two months.
90 Woolworths and Big W outlets across Sydney and Tasmania currently act as collection points, and we assume that this rollout will continue nationwide.
Do you ever get sick of turning around to see if your kids are still wearing their seatbelts when you're driving? Buckle Me Up is an Australian innovation that hopes to change that. Buckle Me Up is made up two parts: a wireless receiver you plonk on your dashboard and cartridges you can put on your rear seatbelts. On top of a visual alert letting you know if your kids are wearing their seatbelt, Buckle Me Up also gives you an aural alert whenever a belt is undone! For more information, click here.
I found a really cool project on Kickstarter this week, it's called Beam. Beam is an Android-based projector that is powered in a bit of an unusual way: you can screw it into any light socket. While you can also power Beam using a traditional power cable, the projector's standout feature is that it can replace the bulb in your lamp or your hanging downlight. It even doubles as an LED bulb! For more information, click here!
Be sure to tune in next week for the latest smartphone news straight from Barcelona!