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Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: Google Switch to Android App

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we looked at Google’s quiet release of a free app on Apple’s App Store which is promising a wireless transfer process to Android. Switch to Android is an unlisted application on the iOS app store with the link discovered by 9-to-5 Google. I downloaded the app before the show and although not yet able to do the full transfer – it’s a start.

Cable to cable transfer works well with Samsung phones and Android 12 has made the process a lot easier. Apple has had the advantage here for a long time. It has been offering a Move to iOS Android app since 2015. An equal, simple switching process, is long-overdue between the two big operating systems so let’s hope this continues to be refined on both sides.

NEW SMART HELMET FOR MOTORBIKE RIDERS

Australia’s Forcite Helmets has just released the MK1S. A smart helmet inspired by a bike accident the CEO was injured in. It’s taken two years of development and $10.1M of R&D investment. The helmet includes smart navigation technology, alerting riders of upcoming dangers. The LED display is designed to be non-distracting – no need to look down or at a head-up display.

There’s no bulky clip-on camera or headsets. An embedded camera records continuously – in HD. Following an accident, or even a dropped helmet, Forcite owners can send their helmet to have the shell replaced and the tech components salvaged. 

Another great Australian tech success story.

GETTING THE MOST OF YOUR APPLE WATCH

Most consumers have only scratched the surface when it comes to using their Apple Watch. My own research reveals that a stunning amount of people are unaware of even the most basic of apps. So in this segment I take Tim through some basic but practical apps – that I use every day. The noise app measures the sound around you in real time. It will also notify you when a certain dB is reached for a sustained period. I’m using this many of my tech review now.

The torch/flashlight is a life saver. You can tell Siri to activate it – turn it away from you – and it gets brighter. You can also select a red light – this can sometimes make objects clearer or prevent distraction.

Many people don’t realise the Apple Watch can do a lot more than just tell time, get messages and do fitness tracking. Do yourself a favour and start digging into the Apple Watch settings and apps.

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Back to School Phone Options: Advice for Parents

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As the school year begins across the country, many parents are deciding whether their children should have a mobile phone. The decision is further complicated by schools cracking down on phones nationwide.

So my advice?

Don’t hand down your old Android phone because security updates might be a problem. Unless it’s very new. Get the latest model possible but don’t spend too much. Let’s face it .. kids won’t be able to use them as much due to the school bans.

Djuro Sen discussing back-to-school phones with Tim Gilbert on Sky News Weekend Edition

On the iPhone side – get a refurbished model that is supported by iOS 17. The iPhone 8 and X are getting too old.

Here are some affordable options I’ve compiled for you but you need to act fast as most are on special.

Nokia 2660 Flip

Nokia 2660 Flip

Nokia 2660 Flip is HMD’s retro design with modern insides. Its long battery life and basic operation, makes it ideal for the youngest school kids. It flips open to reveal a big display and big buttons. The 2660 Flip also comes with Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) and emergency button that works while closed. There are other features like games, web browsing and camera. Although the camera is made in the modern day, the shots it takes are definitely from the early 2000s. Good choice for mostly phone calls and text messages.

NOKIA 2660 ON SALE FOR $97

Nokia G22

The Nokia G22 can be repaired at home using Quickfix

The Nokia G22 is the first phone in the HMD Nokia range to enable Quickfix repairability. As I tell Tim in the video above, if your kid breaks it, he or she can fix it. Pretty handy skill to learn. Together with ifixit, Nokia has created a self-repairable phone where aspects like dead batteries, broken screens and bent charging cables can be fixed at home by the phone user, without voiding the warranty. The Nokia G22 prioritises a longevity-first design with the self-repairability being supported by 3 years of warranty and updates as well as a 3-day battery life.

NOKIA G22 ON SALE FOR $289

OPPO A79 5G

OPPO’s A79 5G is a fresh release in Australia

The A79 5G is the most expensive in this group but it’s definitely good value. It has all the best feature you’d expect from OPPO. The large display is incredibly bright. You can see in the demo video above just how bright it gets. Brilliant for outside use by kids. A hefty 5,000mAh battery can be charged to 100% in approx. 74 minutes. A 5-minute charge is enough for up to 2.6 hours of phone calls. Dual AI rear cameras are outstanding at this price.

OPPO A79 5G FOR $367

Motorola G54 5G

The Moto g54 5G is outstanding value

The moto g54 5G comes packed with Motorola’s usual features which include twist-to-launch-camera and shake-for-torch. It has an excellent 6.5” display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The rear 50MP camera system with OIS can capture outstanding images. Of course, it’s also 5G. At less than $250, the Moto G54 is amazing value.

MOTO G54 5G ON SALE FOR $247

iPhone SE – refurb

iPhone refurbs make sense but only if they are still supported by iOS updates

iPhone has a long support timeline but it’s not endless. So I would recommends parents look for a 2020 SE device. These refurbished phones are great for families that want to be all-in with Apple team. This is handy for easy sharing and tracking. Although you’ll see many iPhone 8 and X models around, I would skip these as they are at, or nearing the end of their support life from Apple. This is important for security updates. It’s also a good idea to underscore the importance of phone security with you children as it will help set them up in later life. I’m pleased to say my kids are always doing the right thing when it comes to security .. and they are in their twenties now.

IPHONE SE (2020) REFURB ON SALE FOR $299

Smartwatches

Trackers could give parents some peace of mind

In this week’s segment we also covered smartwatches at school. I found that rules vary on the use of these devices in different jurisdictions. Some won’t allow them, others will, if they are in flight mode or with notifications turned off. Of course, there are exemptions for medical reasons.

Watches are often used to track where children are during the day so another option might be AirTag for Apple users or SmartTag2 for Samsung owners. Tile will work for all. Just pop one in your kid’s bag and you’re good to go. Although two-way communication isn’t possible you could just make them beep remotely. That could signify you need to make contact.

Or you could just ring the school .. old skool.

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Make Your Dumb Car Smart with Laser’s $169 Touchscreen

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Going handsfree has never been easier with Laser’s A$169 (just $148 here) CarPlay and Android Auto Wireless Touchscreen. Part of Laser’s Navig8r range, the screen is easily mounted on a dash of a car that doesn’t have a smart display.

It connects wirelessly to iOS and Android phones so drivers can use CarPlay or Android Auto. The unit is powered by a cigarette lighter adapter and connects to your in-car stereo via FM radio or 3.5mm audio cable (supplied).

Once paired, you can store your phone safely out of sight while driving.

It was very easy to setup and worked well with CarPlay. I’ll get to Android Auto later when I finish my full video review. I started with the 3.5mm stereo input but had a little hum coming through the speakers so I switched to the FM transmitter. It was perfect. The unit has a built-in speaker so if you don’t have a working stereo you can still listen through the device.

Despite its price, the Navig8r 7” Portable Wireless Touchscreen delivers some clever features, including the ability to add a reversing camera.

  • Navigation – Whether the user prefers Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, or another mapping product, latest maps can be integrated with real time features just as would be seen on your smartphone. The user can issue voice instructions to get directions while driving.
  • Music – stream, cast, or play favourite songs, playlists, and podcasts. Any app on the users smartphone such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and so on can be displayed on the touchscreen, and songs and actions undertaken with voice command.
  • Messaging – touchless and by voice. Whether using Whatsapp, SMS, WeChat or other messaging platforms, the user can have messages read aloud, or simply speak aloud speech to be converted to text ready to send.
  • Handsfree calling – Leave your phone in your pocket and dial numbers or contacts simply by talking. Use voice commands to check your calendar, play podcasts or engage in a team’s meeting.
  • AirPlay and MiraCast – cast content from your phone (or tablet) onto the screen. Kids can watch streaming services from your phone on the screen when used in the backseat. While this feature might be restricted in cars with CarPlay built-in, the Navig8r Portable Wireless Touchscreen has multiple uses even out of the car thanks to its portability.
  • Powered by USB – take it anywhere and keep it powered through any USB power source
  • 7″ LCD screen with IPS – Using a high quality In-Plane-Switching LCD panel, the 7″ screen offers improved colour accuracy and consistency as well as a wider viewing angle.
  • Bluetooth & Wifi – Wireless connection from your smartphone means the phone can be left in the users pocket, handbag or backpack. Once connected, the pairing is saved so that next time the user gets into the car their phone is automatically re-connected.
  • FM transmitter – with a choice of preset stations on the device, it can be simply tuned to FM radio to be enjoyed via the cars audio system or the device’s built-in speaker.
  • Extendable Windscreen mount – offers a variety of installation options from close to the driver to a central located position. The extendable windscreen mount is adaptable for all windscreen types.

Add-On Accessory Available – Navig8r Reverse Camera | RRP $29.95

Given the price of this display and its connectivity options, I’m impressed. Laser boss Chris Lau has done a great job offering such an affordable, yet capable handsfree device to Australian drivers. Just in time for Christmas.

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FIRST LOOK: Google Pixel 8 Series is Ridiculously Clever

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Google has produced a phone so smart it could change the way we record history. I’ll be able to prove it when the Image Matrix Tech review goes live next week. The Pixel 8 Pro will get the best features, including BEST TAKE, where you pick the image then ‘steal’ a face from another shot to make sure everyone in the photo has their eyes open.

Watch Djuro Sen go through the features of the new Pixel 8 series on Sky News Weekend Edition

This adds to the powerful toolkit Pixel has for photo editing. Removing people from backgrounds is well established but now Pixel can clean up your sound too. Audio Magic Eraser can identify sounds, like people talking in the background, music or wind. By sorting these sounds into clear layers, you can control their output.

On top of that, Pixel’s new Video Boost technology (coming soon) will deliver HDR+ and enhanced colour grading plus Night Sight Video. Video Boost will use Google’s cloud computing power to render a processed version of the video shot on the Pixel. You’ll still have an HD version on your phone while the 4K file is rendered.

Google is taking computational photography, sound and video, to a whole new level.

Google takes on the king of phone video – iPhone

Both Pixel 8 phones have with the same 50-megapixel main camera. It has 21% more light sensitivity than the Pixel 7 series. The ultrawide camera has been updated on Pixel 8 to include autofocus, allowing Macro Focus on the base model.

All cameras on the Pixel 8 Pro have been upgraded. Autofocus is now included in the selfie camera. Google says the Pixel 8 Pro 48MP ultrawide lens gathers 105% more light than the Pixel 7 Pro. The minimum focus distance has also been improved to just 2cm.

Low light handling is supposed to much better and for the Pixel 8 Pro we get manual shutter and ISO controls.

Watch Google’s entire Pixel 8 Keynote above

Here are the side-by-side camera specs.

CAMERAPIXEL 8PIXEL 8 PRO
Main Camera50 MP Octa PD wide camera 1.2 μm pixel width ƒ/1.68 aperture 82° field of view 1/1.31″ image sensor size Super Res Zoom up to50 MP Octa PD wide camera 1.2 μm pixel width ƒ/1.68 aperture 82° field of view 1/1.31″ image sensor size 2x Optical Quality
Ultrawide12 MP ultrawide camera with autofocus13 1.25 μm pixel width ƒ/2.2 aperture 125.8° field of view Lens correction48 MP Quad PD ultrawide camera with autofocus 0.8 μm pixel width ƒ/1.95 aperture 125.5° field of view Lens correction
Telephoto 48 MP Quad PD telephoto camera 0.7 μm pixel width ƒ/2.8 aperture 21.8° field of view 5x optical zoom Super Res Zoom up to 30x
ExtraSingle-zone LDAF (laser detect auto focus) sensor Spectral and flicker sensor Optical + electronic image stabilization on wideMulti-zone LDAF (laser detect auto focus) sensor Spectral and flicker sensor Optical + electronic image stabilization on wide and telephoto

Pixel 8 Pro has a vast set of features like a thermometer. You can quickly get the temperature of objects like frying pans or drinks by scanning them like a barcode. Google has also applied for approval to use the thermometer for personal temperature records.

Pixel 8 Pro is also a thermometer

Pixel 8’s 6.2-inch display – known as ‘Actua’ – has an improved refresh rate
of up to 120 Hz for smoother scrolling and gaming. The 6.7-inch Pixel 8 Pro display has a variable refresh rate of 1 to 120 Hz.

DISPLAYPIXEL 8PIXEL 8 PRO
Full-screen 6.2-inch (157 mm)1 display
20:9 aspect ratio
Actua display
(1080 x 2400) OLED at 428 PPI
Smooth Display (60–120 Hz2)
Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus® cover glass
Always-on display with At a Glance and Now
Playing
Up to 1400 nits (HDR) and up to 2000 nits (peak
brightness)3
1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
HDR support
Full 24-bit depth for 16 million colours
Full-screen 6.7-inch (170 mm)1 display
20:9 aspect ratio
Super Actua display
(1344 x 2992) LTPO OLED at 489 PPI
Smooth Display (1–120 Hz2)
Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus® 2 cover glass
Always-on display with At a Glance and Now
Playing
Up to 1600 nits (HDR) and up to 2400 nits (peak
brightness)3
1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
HDR support
Full 24-bit depth for 16 million colours
New Google Tensor G3 chip is at the heart of Pixel 8

Google’s Tensor G3 chip is the key to all of Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s performance upgrades. Since Google Tensor was introduced with Pixel 6, its AI capabilities have increased. The biggest machine learning model on Pixel 8 is 10x more complex compared to Pixel 6.

Google also announced an astounding seven years of software support for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, including Android OS upgrades, security updates and regular Feature Drops. This means if you buy a Pixel 8 model this year you’ll be supported to 2030.

We’ll have more details in our full review of both Pixel 8 models.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Pixel 8 starts at only A$1,199 and will be available for pre-sale from October 5 available at the Google Store, Telstra, JB HI-FI, Optus, Vodafone, Officeworks and Harvey Norman.

It’s available in Hazel, Rose and Obsidian.

Pixel 8 Pro starts at A$1,699 and will be available for presale from October 5 available at the Google Store, Telstra, JB HI-FI, Optus, Vodafone, Officeworks and Harvey Norman.

It’s available in Bay, Porcelain and Obsidian.

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