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Samsung Galaxy SmartTag2 – Smart Redesign

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Watch Djuro demo SmartTag2 on Sky News above

Samsung Galaxy users can now track their belongings with a tag that rivals, or in some areas, surpasses Apple’s AirTag for iPhone users. Galaxy SmartTag2 launched globally this week with product available in Australia from 12th of October 2023.

“We are constantly looking at ways to make people’s lives more convenient through Samsung Galaxy’s industry-leading innovations,” said Jaeyeon Jung, Executive Vice President and Head of SmartThings, Device Platform Centre at Samsung Electronics.

“With an enhanced finding experience and a longer battery life, Galaxy SmartTag2 will provide users with greater peace of mind for longer and in more situations.”

Bluetooth trackers rely on other devices to report their location via the Internet. Samsung’s vast network of Galaxy devices definitely makes the SmartTag2 the clear winner for users over Tile – if you use a Galaxy phone. So, if you’re in the Samsung family, the SmartTag2 makes sense for you. But remember .. Tile works with both Android and iOS.

DESIGN

SmartTag2 comes ready to attach

The first thing you notice is the design. The previous SmartTag was closer in shape to the Tile tracker while the new SmartTag2 is a ring-shaped design. The large loop uses metal on the inside of the ring for greater strength and durability. Right out of the box, it’s ready to be attached to keyrings and clips. Avoid the temptation to clip your SmartTag to the outside of your check-in baggage. It will be stolen! Always place your tracking device inside your bag. It will work fine.

Galaxy SmartTag2 is IP67 rated for water and dust resistance. This helps for outdoor use, like on bikes, back of utes or on pets. The new tag also supports a pet walking mode, making it easy for users to log walks.

SmartTag2 supports pet walking mode and alerts you if you if they stray from home

LOST MODE

Galaxy SmartTag2 has a new Lost Mode. It allows users to input their contact information via a message. Anyone who discovers an item with a Galaxy SmartTag2 attached can use their smartphone to scan the tag and see the owner’s message and contact information. This means a Galaxy SmartTag2 attached to a pet’s collar will ensure the owners phone number is attached to the animal virtually. Lost Mode works with any mobile device with NFC reader and web browser.

COMPASS VIEW

SmartTag2 gives better directions

Compass View is an improved feature with arrows to show the direction and distance of the Galaxy SmartTag2 in relation to the user. This mode is available on any UWB-supported Galaxy smartphone, like the Galaxy S23 Ultra. UWB meaning Ultra Wideband.

BATTERY LIFE

The SmartTag2 battery life is 500 days or 700 in Power Saving Mode

In Normal Mode, battery life is now extended to 500 days, a 50% increase on previous models. But to extend that even further, a new Power Saving Mode lasts up to 700 days, more than twice as long as previous Galaxy SmartTag models. The SmartTag2 uses a typical button battery but parents should know it’s locked in tight. Access works like removing a SIM from a smartphone. Without an ejection tool, you’ll have to break it to get the battery out. Nice child safety touch from Samsung.

SMARTTAG IS SMART

The SmartThings Find app has also been upgraded, with newly registered Galaxy SmartTags that now installs a shortcut to the app on the user’s smartphone, allowing users to launch SmartThings Find more quickly. The app also features a full screen map view. When switching Galaxy smartphones, SmartTag2 now automatically re-syncs your new Galaxy smartphone using your Samsung account.

Galaxy SmartTag2 also works with SmartThings Station, which is integrated with SmartThings Find. It helps users keep track of valuables that have a SmartTag attached. SmartThings Station will notify users the location of their tagged item — personal items like TV remotes, wallets, keys and registered devices like smartphones, tablets, watches and earbuds. Pet owners will also receive an alert when a tagged collar moves too far from the SmartThings Station.

SmartTag2 takes advantage of both Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and UWB capabilities, leveraging Augmented Reality (AR) Find technology to visually guide users toward their item using their Samsung Galaxy smartphone camera. The new tag works out to 120 metres and can control smart home appliances through the SmartThings app.

PRIVACY

The device’s location is only made available with the user’s permission. SmartThings Find also encrypts user data and is supported by Samsung Knox for an extra layer of security. Disabling Lost Mode immediately hides contact information and wipes the message left by the owner from the device.

To help prevent stalking, SmartThings Find can also provide security through its “Unknown tag alerts” feature. This feature alerts Samsung Galaxy users of any unauthorised tracking by sending them a notification if SmartThings Find detects an unknown SmartTag following them.

AVAILABILITY

Galaxy SmartTag2 and Galaxy SmartTag2 cases will be available in Australia from October 12 from Samsung.com/au and select retail partners.

If you order the latest Galaxy S23 FE you’ll receive a bonus 4-pack Galaxy SmartTag2 and battery pack via redemption.

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Audio

First Impressions: The Return of Beats Pill

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The first new Beats Pill in around a decade looks to be a hit. The lightweight portable bluetooth speaker has been completely overhauled for the better. Here are my initial impressions – which I also shared on Sky News Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert.

DJURO SEN WITH THE 2024 BEATS PILL ON SKY NEWS WEEKEND EDITION

First. It’s good to see the Pill return.

The original device first appeared back in 2012 with the upgraded Beats Pill+ released under Apple’s ownership in 2015.

Now we have the 2024 version simply called – Beats Pills.

It’s a streamlined device that features a 20-degree upward tilt for better sound projection. It also has re-engineered racetrack woofer with stronger magnets helps drive 28% more motor force and displaces 90% more air volume.

The redesigned tweeter really does deliver crisp highs and satisfying mid-range tones. Although a mono speaker, if you get a second model you can combine them as a stereo pair.

The new Beats Pill is IP67 dust and water resistant so you can take a quick plunge without worry.

You’ll get up to 24 hours of battery life per charge and two hours of music playback from a 10-minute charge. The USB-C port at the back is for charging and quality audio.

It works with iOS and Android phones but the experiences are slightly different. You can take calls and activate your voice assistant plus add it to Find My apps.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Available now for A$249.95 in Red, Black and Gold.

In-depth review soon.

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Bluetooth

Bluetooth Auracast is Going to be Big

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Bluetooth Auracast is set to revolutionise the way we listen to content in public or with a private group. Bluetooth Auracast is a form of broadcasting – via LE Audio (low energy). Last week Bluetooth put on a demo for tech journalists and relevant industry representatives in Sydney.

I was blown away. I’ll have a deep-dive video coming soon but for now I’ll go through the basics and what we experienced.

Listening to Bluetooth Auracast broadcasts will soon become the norm

We were handed a Pixel phone and Bluetooth earbuds. Just like selecting WIFI – we were able to select a Bluetooth Auracast broadcast. Just one click and we were away.

In this demo the TVs has transmitters connected

The first scenario was a mini TV wall with audio transmitters placed on top. In the phone’s menu we selected either TV 1 or TV 2. The latency was very low – so there was no problem with delay.

This immediately reminded me of the thousands of times I was in a bar or airport hoping someone would turn up the sound on the TV I was interested in.

Intel Laptop with Bluetooth Auracast

Any device can broadcast in theory. The Intel Laptop (shown above) was broadcasting audio from movie trailers and our group tuned into it with a click and password entry. So if you have sensitive content it can be restricted.

There’s no limit to the amount of listeners

Other uses include seminars and meetings, where you might need live translation.

This big one is airports.

For example, you could select your gate broadcast and not miss vital updates by listening in transparency mode. Streams could be in different languages or targeted for arrivals at customs. People with hearing aids would also benefit. The options are endless.

Anyone who wants to broadcast – can do it – it’s that easy.

WHEN CAN WE START USING BLUETOOTH AURACAST?

Auracast assistants scan for Auracast broadcasts

From next year onwards we should be seeing some of the scenarios explained above making their way into wider use. You can actually use it now if you have the latest 2023 Neo QLED 8K and 2023 MICRO LED and Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

Read more from Samsung here.

Sending multiple streams to a bunch of kids watching TV means peace and quiet for mum and dad.

Joining a broadcast is like selecting a WIFI network

HOW DOES IT WORK?

First of all, this is not the same as Bluetooth pairing. It’s a broadcast via Bluetooth technology. During the demo event I attended the wireless earbuds did all the work, not the phone. Let’s break it down.

Step 1

An Auracast transmitter begins an Auracast broadcast that includes advertisements, which provide Auracast assistants with information about the broadcast (e.g. name, content, codec configuration, etc.), as well as one or more audio streams (e.g. left and right stereo audio streams).

Step 2

Auracast assistants scan for Auracast advertisements and provide a user interface (UI) to enable users to select an Auracast broadcast to join, similar to the UI commonly used to connect to Wi-Fi networks in public spaces.

Step 3

Once an Auracast broadcast is selected, the Auracast assistant provides the Auracast receiver (e.g. headphone, earbud, hearing aid, etc.) the information it needs to join the Auracas broadcast. 

More video coverage to come.

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Audio

Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: Big Moment for Cultivated Meat Tech

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we covered the landmark final approval for lab-grown cultivated meat to go on sale in the United States.

UPSIDE Foods and Good Meat announced they have been granted final approval from the US Department of Agriculture to sell cultivated meat. Singapore is already selling clean meat but due to the sheer size of the United States meat market, this is massive news.

The announcements have been celebrated by companies in Australia. Here’s a local response from Magic Valley CEO, Paul Bevan. Magic Valley made their own breakthrough cultivated lamb meat prototype last year. 

“We are thrilled by the ground-breaking news that cultivated meat has finally received approval for sale in the United States. The approvals granted to UPSIDE Foods and Good Meat mark a monumental milestone, not only for the companies involved but for the entire cultivated meat industry and the future of sustainable and ethical food production globally.

Upside Foods’ facility is next level high tech and incredibly clean. A hallmark of the Cultivated Meat industry.

“This long-awaited decision by both the FDA and USDA not only recognises the immense potential of cultivated meat to address the pressing global challenges we face today, but also the years of dedication and persistence of the many committed visionaries, entrepreneurs and scientists who have worked to develop this transformative technology. 
 
“We extend our sincerest congratulations to UPSIDE Foods and Good Meat on their huge achievement and eagerly anticipate the positive impact their products will have in shaping a more sustainable and ethical food industry.

Lab made chicken tastes like the real thing.

“We hope that the approval of cultivated meat in one of the world’s largest consumer markets serves as a catalyst for the global adoption of this revolutionary technology – technology that offers a pathway to reduce the environmental footprint of the food industry, mitigate the impact of climate change, and alleviate the strain on global resources.

“This milestone will pave the way for further progress and innovation, driving investments and partnerships that will accelerate the development and commercialisation of cultivated meat products worldwide.”

Here’s a great explainer video from Magic Valley.

FIRST LOOK AT GOOGLE PIXEL TABLET

Google’s long awaited new Android tablet is finally here. It’s main role is a home hub but it’s also a powerful tablet on the go. In this segment we look at the similarities with the Nest Hub Max, Google’s impressive digital assistant display. But unlike the Nest product, the Pixel Tablet can be detached from speaker dock magnetically.

Google Pixel Tablet
  • Powered by Google Tensor G2 chip, the Tablet enables fast and smooth streaming, high-quality video calls, accurate voice typing and more
  • Keeping your tablet charged 24/7, the Charging Speaking Dock doubles as a great-sounding speaker for room-filling music
  • Created for entertainment, the 11-inch screen is ideal for streaming your favourite shows, and is the first tablet with built-in Chromecast 
  • Connecting seamlessly with Pixel phones, earbuds and watches, the Pixel Tablet offers a a world of help, built around you 
Google Pixel Tablet comes with a speaker dock in the box

The Pixel Tablet is now available at the Google Store, JB-HiFi and Telstra. Prices start from $899 (128 GB) or $999 (256GB), which includes the bundled Charging Speaker Dock.

You can buy extra docks for placement around the home.  

LASER MAKES PORTABLE SPEAKERS, MORE PORTABLE

Laser Portable Party Speaker with LED Stand

Portable party speakers are great .. but they can be heavy and awkward to carry around. So Laser’s solution is a bluetooth speaker in the form of a backpack. It comes with straps, a stand and plenty of RGB lights. It looks like a mobile, old school, equaliser. Even the stand has lights.

It does a lot more and you can get one here.

LASER RGB PARTY SPEAKER WITH LED MESSAGING PANEL

Another party speaker by Laser also comes with RGB lights and LED messaging panel. The customised message screen can display any text you want. It also has Dual Wireless Microphones – for good or bad duets.

You can get one here.

FUJIFILM’S NEW VLOGGING CAMERA WILL TAKE YOUR TRAVEL VIDEOS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

The new Fujifilm X-S20 is mirrorless camera that comes with a vlogging selection on the top dial. This unlocks special settings and features to simplify the process of doing a video blog or vlogging. 

When paired with an XF8mmF3.5 R WR lens, this small camera packs a mighty punch.

Key points:

  • NEW 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p,1080/240p video and 4:2:2 10bit internal recording
  • Vlogging made easy with our dedicated vlogging mode with easy-to-use features  
  • Compact body with greater battery life offering an estimate of 730 frames battery life – more than double the battery life vs X-S10
  • NEW optional external cooling fan for extended video recording in high res
  • Wider range of tracking modes – now including our subject detection modes and NEW product priority mode
  • The XF8mmF3.5 R WR is an ultra-wide angle (UWA) prime lens with the focal length of 8mm (equivalent to 12mm in the 35mm film format). 

I’ve seen it priced A$2,288 for the body only.

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