This week could be characterised as the calm before the storm; the week before Google I/O has always been a little slow for news in the world mobile tech, and this year has proved no exception. We’ve had a bit of carrier news around VoLTE, some rumours about upcoming Motorola and Samsung devices, and the announcement of a hardy, all-weather Android Wear watch from Nixon. There’s been some welcome developments in apps, and some less welcome, and of course the elephant in the room; I/O is coming this week, and there’s
Google I/O is coming, what are we expecting?
The short answer is we don’t really know; we’ve taken a look back at twelve months of Google Photos which came out of Google I/O last year, and it seems mostly we’re all pretty happy with it. VR will undoubtedly be a big focus this year. It already has been for other companies, but now we’re seeing the emergence of Android VR in the Google Play Developer Console, which hints towards something fancier coming from Google in the next week.
For those not going to Google I/O (which would be most of us) we’ve got a bit of information about how you can join in on the action.
Launches & Rumours
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016)
Samsung snuck this release out very quietly, with no local flavour and just an appearance on Samsung’s global site. At this stage, there are no confirmed plans for the tablet to make its way here, though we have seen previous iterations in Australia so it may well come here in time. The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 is a mid-range tablet with a giant battery and otherwise fairly reasonable specs, with pricing expected to be fairly reasonable.
Nixon’s Mission Android Wear watch is coming to Australia
We’ve had a good selection of Android Wear in Australia so far (though the Moto 360 V2 never showed up… hmm), but one area that hasn’t really been explored yet is watches designed to take a flogging in the outdoors. Nixon’s Mission was announced back in March, but there was little indication it would come here. Dan has been in touch with Nixon, though, and we’ve established that yes the Mission will be coming here, and we can’t wait to take a look — the orange watch looks simply brilliant.
Samsung’s Note 6 has been rumoured, unsurprisingly
We’ve seen successive Galaxy Note launches over the last few years and so it doesn’t take much wisdom to predict a Note 6 for this year. Because nothing much is known, we can’t report any real specifications, but Venture Beat’s Evan Blass is reporting a US release scheduled for the week of August 15th. We’ll undoubtedly hear more about this soon.
Motorola is still in business, and could be working on two Moto X phones, and two Moto G sizes
Motorola are fast becoming the dark horse in the smartphone landscape; in Australia, things have become a bit disorganised after the Moto X-range launch last September, and we’ve heard next to nothing from them about .. well .. anything.
It seems they’re still in business though, with rumours of two Moto X phones scheduled for later this year (and some images as well), and news just this morning that the Moto G might arrive in two variants as well.
Instagram updated — new business features are cool, but the new icon maybe isn’t?
Instagram saw a couple of updates in the last week or so. The first brought new business profiles to the social networking service, allowing those who run a business presence to have extra details and contact options on their profile pages. Not content with that, Instagram also changed their app icon, and the colour scheme for their app as well, and not everyone was happy with that — the new icon really did look a bit … simple?
Popular travel app TripIt updated with Android Wear support
The headline says it all really; as frequent travellers, some of our team are quite fond of TripIt for organising travel, flights, accommodation and more. Late in the week, TripIt announced an update which brings TripIt to Android Wear, allowing you to see easy information from your wrist without having to pull out your phone. Of course, the phone-based app has seen some updates too which make it a little easier to navigate.
Here’s some quick news which you might’ve missed, which doesn’t neatly fit into our other categories:
- Samsung has released SUHD TVs and a fancy 4K Blu-ray player
- 4K UHD Blu-ray discs are coming, too
- LG has an action camera on the way, with LTE and live-streaming to YouTube
- Vaya introduced new pricing plans with a price-beat guarantee
- Optus talked about its VoLTE roll-out
- Chris interviewed Vodafone’s Benoit Hanssen about their VoLTE roll-out
- Popular calendar app Sunrise had its sun set by Microsoft