This week on The Wrap, find mobile news from Mobile World Congress covering phones, tablets and laptops, plus new sound from B&W, Sonos and Apple. All this and more, all in five.
It’s late February and early March, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest-paced tech roundup, and it’s time for Mobile World Congress, a show that’s a bit like CES, but for phones and mobility in general.
We get one almost every year, although unsurprisingly things have been a little weird amid the whole pandemic. Last year happened later than expected, while the 2020 edition of MWC was canceled entirely.
But this year Mobile World Congress was back, although we didn’t see a whole bunch of mobile announcements, as such.
The word ‘mobile’ can mean a lot, of course, and while many of us normally think of ‘cell phones’, this year we saw a show seemingly less about phones and more about mobility in general.
With Oppo and Samsung having already announced their phones – the Find X5 Pro and Galaxy S22 models – TCL was one of the only major mobile makers to talk about new devices, with five good ones coming, only one of which was 5G, and it has the word “5G” in the title. We’ve also heard that HMD’s Nokia brand has phones coming, but they might not come to Australia at all.
Telstra has hit 5G with a new speed record, hitting nearly six gigabits per second in a test, and is set to bring new mobile broadband modems to market very soon. Meanwhile, Oppo has announced phone charging technology in something it calls Super Vook, promising a full charge in 15 minutes, addressing the problem of poor battery life by charging very quickly instead. There were two technologies, one requiring up to 15 minutes, while the other, an experimental high-powered technology, could charge a phone in just under ten minutes. Crazy.
And there were plenty of tablets and laptops.
Intel has launched new chips for fast thin and light computers in its 12th Gen Core processors, Microsoft’s Surface Studio launched in Australia, Acer has a few new Swift machines, and there’s even a tablet or laptop from Huawei , plus an ink model-based e-pen like a Kindle with a stylus in the Mate Pad Paper.
It’s similar to something we recently checked at Kobo, which was an e-book reader with stylus support. It’s the Kobo Sage, which lets you take notes in the same gadget you read books on, and that’s essentially what Huawei is trying to do with its Made Pad Paper.
Lenovo also had quite a bit, with laptops, gaming laptops, Chromebooks, and even something it collaborated on with Snapdragon makers Qualcomm, with a ThinkPad laptop running on a similar chip what’s in your phone. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13 S is a similar style of machine to the M1 MacBook Air in that it runs an ARM chip and is designed to be thin and light, but it runs Windows and even has 5G built in.
There’s no word on pricing yet, but we don’t expect them to be cheap.
There’s also new WiFi technology on the way, as WiFi 7 is announced. It won’t be a big deal for a few years, but when it does arrive it will offer more bandwidth and speed, with transfer speeds approaching around a gigabyte per second, making it more than ideal for media at home. Before that, you’ll find WiFi 6E, which will give everyone a bit more range to work with, and will be the wireless technology to watch this year.
So it was the world of mobiles and Mobile World Congress 2022, where there was a lot of mobility. Outside of MWC, there was also a lot going on in the sound world.
Take Bowers & Wilkins, which announced a Dolby Atmos soundbar in the fifteen hundred dollar Panorama 3, a soundbar that looks set to take on the Sonos Arc, while Sonos itself has announced a new version of its top sound. portable Roam speaker, but this time without microphones and the usual Roam virtual assistants. Expected for a few bucks less than the Roam’s three hundred dollar cost, the Roam SL will likely save Aussies twenty or thirty bucks and bring much the same hardware without Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.
Oh, and if you’re a Beatles fan this week, you’ll want to check out Apple Music, which has launched a space remaster of the Beatles’ number one album, bringing you Beatles songs in Dolby Atmos. You’ll want a good pair of headphones, and if you have an Apple-made pair you might even have head tracking, but it’s still a real treat.
Finally, while we’re talking about Apple Music now, we’ll give you a little warning: the next show will most likely be an Apple-loaded show, because Apple has an event shortly.
We’re expecting a new iPhone SE, a 5G model, plus a new iPad Air, and there’s also the possibility of new MacBook computers. The theme is “cutting edge performance,” and that means fast gadgets, whether they’re new computer chips or high-speed mobiles.
However, if you’re planning on buying anything new from Apple, you might want to wait until those announcements are made. You’d hate to feel like you’re getting old, and it’s only days away.
So far you’ve listened to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest tech roundup. A new episode pops up every week on LiSTNR, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but otherwise have a great week. See you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane and take care of yourself.