The week that was (TWTW) takes a look back at the week’s most prominent tech stories from around the world.
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Lastly you can find a full transcript of this week’s episode below.
In the week that was October 7th to October 13th, 2018:
- The Google Pixel 3 & Pixel 3 XL phones arrive
- Google have a “Slate” computer now
- The Google Home Hub is a working Echo Show
- Google+ is shutdown amidst controversy
- Facebook have an Echo Show thing too
- Microsoft have a game streaming service too
Hello everyone, my name’s Raj Deut and it’s time to take a look back at the tech news in the week that was:
October 7th to October 13th, 2018.
Google, google, google.
Yes this week one of the world’s biggest online data hoarders dominated the headlines with a slew of hardware announcements.
First up it was the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones. The heavily leaked phones were exactly as expected including a 5.5″ or 6.3″ OLED screen, a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 4GB of RAM and including either 64GB or 128GB of storage.
The phone oddly has two cameras on the front, the second for taking wide angled group selfies, whilst retains only a single on the back. It’s also capable of doing an increasingly freaky amount of things like taking photos only when everyone is smiling and in the US being able to answer phone calls for you to screen them for spammers before handing them off to you.
The phones are available for pre-order now and start at A$1200 with orders shipping November 1st.
Google also announced a new tablet computer called the Pixel Slate. A direct competitor to Microsoft’s Surface the Slate is a n Intel powered, 12″ tablet running ChromeOS.
Starting at US$599 for the Slate there’s also a keyboard add on for another US$200 and a stylus for another $99 meaning turning it into a rather expensive little Chrome Book.
And finally on the Google hardware front they unveiled the Google Home Hub, essentially a Home Mini with a screen or as the rest of the world calls it: an Echo Show without a camera.
Unlike the Echo Show the Home Hub can play YouTube videos and also provides an interface to your home’s Google connected devices.
The Home Hub is available to order next week and will set you back A$219 for the privilege.
Unfortunately the Google news doesn’t stop there though. The company also announced that it would be shutting down its ghost town of a social network Google+.
While it was initially believed to be closing due to its lack of usage and uptake it became clear and then confirmed by Google themselves that there was a far darker reasoning behind it.
A flaw in Google+’s API meant that personal data such as names, emails and addresses were exposed and whilst the company knew about it back in March, failed to own up to it out of fear of being lumped in with Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
And speaking of Facebook, they announced their own hardware this week, unveiling the new “Portal” video conferencing device.
The Messenger powered hardware includes a 10 or 15″ rotatable screen that’s designed to be placed in the home for making video calls. Built in to the device is smarts for the camera to zoom and crop on the individual talking and virtually follow you about the room to which Facebook “promise” is something they do only when a call is taking place.
They also promise that the Portal’s many microphones won’t be listening in on your conversation and that we should all trust them that that’s the case.
You can invite Facebook into your living room should you wish for US$199 and I wish you luck should you choose to do so.
Microsoft were back in the news this week, unveiling their games streaming service Project xCloud. Beaten to the punch last week by Google and their Project Stream announcement, Microsoft took a different tact revealing more details on how their service works behind the scenes.
Quite literally tearing apart an Xbox One S the team have managed to fit three in a single rack mount that is then installed into a MS Azure datacenter to run and stream its output to your phone, tablet or PC where you’re playing the game.
There’s no word on when the service will be available officially or how it compares to Google’s but now the cat’s out of the bag, expect more details to emerge soon.
And that’s it for another week!
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Over on the website this week you’ll definitely want to check out our write up from the launch even of Australia’s first digital bank “Up”.
We also have a competition running at the moment. We’re giving away a copy of NBA2K19 for the PS4 that anyone can enter by simply heading on over to reckoner.com.au/win
And lastly a big happy 3rd birthday to The Sizzle, whom without it’s daily coverage would make putting this show together far more difficult. Congrats Ant!
Have a great week and bye for now.