In ITy Bytes 13 May Edition

  • Spotify Premium for Family gets a free Google Home Mini – but hurry offer expires 14 May.
  • Sony reveals PlayStation 4 State of Play;
  • Amazon Alexa claims it supports 60K ‘smart devices’;
  • LG V50 ThinQ 5G may be Australia’s first 5G smartphone;
  • No more trash talk on Xbox – about f*&^%n time;
  • Microsoft tackles IoT compatibility with plug and play;
  • Android Q has new gestures. What does Q mean?;

ITy Bytes 13 May are small news nuggets to keep you up to date

Spotify Premium for Family gets a free Google Home Mini – but hurry, offer expires 14 May.

Spotify Premium for Family subscribers already enjoy personalised Spotify accounts for up to six family members at a total of $17.99 per month.

Sorry for the late advice but if you sign up today – 13 May until midnight – both new and existing users get a free Google Home Mini worth $45. GadgetGuy coverage here. Sign up here.

ITy Bytes 13 May

Spotify and Google Assistant work really well together, and it even supports playlists. More importantly, it allows you to ask for genres – dinner, dance, gym, drive and control these by voice as well.

Sony reveals PlayStation 4 State of Play

Sony’s PS4 key announcements are in its latest PlayStation Blog. They include 

ITy Bytes 13 May

Amazon Alexa claims it supports 60K ‘smart devices.’

Amazon Alexa is claiming a massive increase in the number of smart devices up from 12,000 twelve months ago. The fine print is that there are about 7,400 ‘brands’ and it was convenient that Amazon’s announcement was smack in the middle of Google I/O.

The five-fold increase is due to a massive increase in the number of Chinese made generic smart Wi-Fi lights, plugs and switches that do not require a specific skill, brand or hub to connect. In which case its good news for Google Home as these devices will cozy up to that ecosystem as well.

In fact, number posturing does not matter anymore in the war between Alexa and OK Google – Google already has 1 billion smartphones, its Google Home app has had over 100+ million downloads, and it has a 4.1-star rating for unmatched convenience and utility. Alexa has 10+ million downloads and a 3.4-star rating.

ITy Bytes 13 May

On those fronts, at least in Australia, Google Home is well ahead.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G may be Australia’s first 5G smartphone

While the LGV50 ThinQ 5G is LG’s first 5G smartphone (and it looks very impressive), it may well be the first 5G handset to sell in Australia with a launch planned for 4 June.

The unique selling proposition of this device is an optional clip-on AMOLED dual screen (GadgetGuy overview here).

What we know is that it uses a Qualcomm SD855 powered device and the Qualcomm X50 5G modem. It has a 4,000mAh battery, tri-rear camera, dual front camera and Dolby Atmos stereo speakers.

The specs look great, and LG has always made excellent quality and high-performance V-series flagships. Price – single screen will start around $1999, and the optional screen will add a few hundred more.

If you want to know more about 5G in Australia read our brief guide here.

No more trash talk on Xbox -– about f*&^%n time!

Microsoft has released its Community Standards for Xbox that will help keep the Xbox community safer. It also outlines strong punitive measures for problematic behaviour including restrictions placed on your profile.

Recidivists may have their profile permanently suspended if Microsoft can no longer trust it due to a severe violation or attempts to correct repeated negative behaviours are unsuccessful. Under permanent suspension, the owner of the suspended profile forfeits all licenses for games and other content, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balances.

This is a great move to remove gutter talk and to make gaming safe and fun for all.

ITy Bytes 13 May

Microsoft tackles IoT compatibility with plug and play

Microsoft has announced that it will try to bring plug and play to IoT devices that connect to Windows systems (and others) by setting up the Azure IoT Device catalogue. Plug and Play also offers developers an open modelling language to connect devices to the cloud without having to write code.

Plug and Play has been hugely successful in the computer peripherals world, and the idea is that manufacturers place their drivers in the Azure cloud to allow seamless connection and configuration. So far 1280 devices are on its register.

ITy Bytes 13 May
If this move works it will be very good for IoT takeup

It’s early days but Android is expected to support the move making this a significant open source step forward in configuring and security IoT devices.

Android Q uses gestures too. What does Q mean?

Android Pie had rudimentary gestures in addition to its typical one button, or three buttons. We are not sure of all the new gestures in Q, but one is swipe diagonally to launch Google Assistant. Going home is a swipe either from the left or right edge and switching apps is a swipe up.

And what name can we expect for Android Q?

Google uses sweets or deserts – Kit Kat, Oreo etc. Q is a little harder because the only two Q sweets include

  • Queijadinha/Queijada/Quindim – a sweet made in Portugal from grated coconut and cheese, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, butter and egg yolks.
  • Qottab – Iranian deep-fried pasty with Almonds and Walnuts and sugar

The only other Q words that come to mind are Quik (chocolate drink), Quality Street (brand – not likely), Quaker Oats or Quaker Quisp (brand – not likely), Queen of Puddings (to Brit), Quince/Quiddany (as in Quince Paste or Quince Jelly), Quinoa, Quail, Quesadilla and Quiche.

There is a suggestion it may be another famous Q. Either James Bond’s Q Quartermaster or that annoying so-called Q-continuum god in Star Trek.

And believe it or not, there is only one colour – Quartz.

ITy Bytes 13 May

My money is on Quik (from Nestle) or Quackers (as we have a duck family living under the jetty).