Life & Technology – 2GB 9th November, 2014

Mobile internet is set to get a lot faster over the coming year, and Telstra is one of the telcos pushing the way forward. This week, the company unveiled their new 4GX network, so I got in touch with Andrew Volard, Telstra's Director of Devices, to find out what's going on. The network makes use of the 700MHz spectrum, so compatible devices icluding the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5 and LG G3 will be able to download speeds of over 10 megabytes a second! I'm pretty sure that's faster than my home connection! While the network launches on New Year's Day 2015, Telstra has already started trials in Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin and a number of regional centres. Read more here.


Malcom Turnbull recently introduced the metadata retention scheme legislation to parliament. The scheme would require telecommunications companies to retain customers' information for two years. The proposed bill's definition of metadata includes a customer's name, email address, username, download and upload volumes, and the duration of phone calls, times messages are sent and received and the location of WiFi hotspots or cellphone towers a device is connected to. Apparently this information will not be used to persecute illegal downloaders.


Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo recently announced the Oppo R5 – the world's thinnest smartphone. To learn a bit more about the R5, I had a chat to Michael Tran, Oppo's Australian Director of Marketing. The R5 is an incredibly 4.85mm thin, over 2mm thinner than the already impressively thin iPhone 6. Oppo is still quite new to Australia, and customers can currently only purchase their phones through their website, but Michael told me that Australian customer will hopefully be able to walk into a retailer and getting their hands on a phone before buying it in the near future. The super thin Oppo R5 will be available in Australia in 2015, alongside the Oppo N3, another new handset, featuring a motorised rotating camera. 


In other smartphone news, Motorola is now officially a part of Lenovo. Motorola will still trade under its own name, and continue to make Moto and DROID branded devices. It will certainly be interesting to see what this partnership will bring.


I also heard from Rose Read this week, the Recycling Manager for MobileMuster, Australia's official mobile phone recycling program. In partnership with internationally acclaimed artist Chris Jordan, MobileMuster will build Australia's largest e-waste artwork in the Sydney CBD from nearly 6,000 mobile phones. The piece will be built in the Customs House forecourt, and can be viewed between midday on the 12th of November to 6pm on the 14th.


Microsoft's fitness tracker, simply called Band, is now official. It costs USD$199, has ten individual sensors and is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. Unfortunately the wearable is currently exclusive to the US, which is a bit of shame – I'm keen to try it out.


Last but not least, CyberShack TV is back in on Channel 9 in just a fortnight! Click here for this season's schedule.