Life & Technology – 2GB 8th March, 2015

I spent the beginning of this week in Spain for Mobile World Congress (MWC), going hands on with the first big wave of smartphones and wearables for 2015!


As of late, Microsoft’s been giving away an awful lot of Office 365 subscriptions. You can’t buy a budget Windows notebook, two-in-one or tablet without getting a free subscription to Office 365 – which in my opinion, is a pretty good thing.


Microsoft’s two newly announced budget midrange smartphones, the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL both come with a year’s subscription to Office 365 that works across the smartphone, a tablet of your choice – whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows – and a computer.


Free Office aside, the two new Lumias look like pretty solid devices. Both have a 720p display 5-inch and 5.7-inches respectively, a quad-core processor and a gigabyte of RAM. We’re expecting them to cost around AUD$230 for the 5-inch with 4G, and around AUD$315 for the 4G version of the 5.7-inch, which makes them pretty good value! These two should be in Australia around April or May.


Arguably, the biggest announced this week was the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. While I was at MWC, I had a chat with Arno Lenoir, Samsung Australia's Chief Marketing Officer, to learn a bit more about the phone. Click here for a video I shot with him.


On another smartphone related note PayPal recently conducted research that revealed mobile commerce is growing at nearly three times the rate of overall ecommerce and the amount spent on mobile devices is predicted to grow by 43 per cent in Australia in 2015.


Key findings included that the amount spent via mobile devices is projected to grow to $AUD 8.8 billion (a 43% increase) this year and that 33% of Aussie online shoppers purchased an item on the smartphone in the past 12 months. Locally, 64 per cent of smartphone shoppers have purchased via an app and 55 per cent have purchased via browser and among those who have used both platforms, apps are typically preferred. It’s certainly interesting stuff! 


Samsung weren't the only ones with a new flagship, HTC announced the brand new One M9 – a phone that's sure to make some of the people disappointed with the Galaxy S6's lack of expandable storage happy! I had a chat with Ben Hodgson, HTC's Country Manager for Australia while over at MWC, here's the video!


One of MWC's biggest surprises was the Huawei Watch, one of the nicest looking smartwatches I've seen yet. I had a chat with Joe Kelly, Huawei's International Media Relations guru, on the show floor. Click here for the video!


Now this is something I know a lot of you have been waiting for – Netflix finally has an Australian launch date: March 24! What’s even more exciting is that if you’re an iINet or Optus fixed-line broadband customer, you’ll be able to use Netflix unmetered. What this means is you’ll be able to watch as many TV shows or movies as you’d like without them counting against your monthly download limit!


And to finish up this week’s show, we’ve got one more piece of smartphone news. Telstra’s announced that they’re planning to have their 5G network ready for public use by 2020. While 2020 is still a while away, and 5G is still an evolving standard, the current specifications state that 5G networks must support download speeds of 1 gigabit per second to be consider 5G. That’s about 125 megabytes per second! You could download an album in a second or a high definition episode of Game of Thrones in 10. Bring on 2020!