ITy Bytes 16 April contains vital news nuggets to keep you up to date. In this edition
- Apple News+ gets F- ;
- Huawei P30 and P30 Pro now in store;
- Xiaomi comes to Australia – aims to price beater;
- Amazon Link and Amp adds Amazon music streaming to an existing hi-fi;
- Xbox Game Pass: Monster Hunter: World, Prey, Life is Strange 2: Episode 2, and more;
- Xbox fans can once again access ‘Insider Xbox’ podcast;
- Razer Seirēn X streaming microphone comes to the PlayStation4;
- Astro’s gen 4 gaming audio solution for console and pc gaming;
- HyperX QuadCast Microphone is here
Apple News+ gets F-
A raft of complaints about dodgy user interfaces, lack of mobile-friendly content and family sharing that exposes your credit card and a lot of pain has dogged Apple News+ earning it a Fail-.
While it is not over here yet, Gizmodo Australia has one of the better reviews, and it is polite by calling Apple News+ a total mess.
Steve Jobs used to say that a product or service cannot be released until it is perfect. Apple customers cannot be its crash test dummies. Sage advice for Tim Cook who regularly ignores it.
You can buy a Huawei P30 or P30 Pro online or off-the-shelf from today
Yes, we all know how damned good the P30 Pro camera is but let me tell you the less expensive P30 is pretty good too.
Huawei local management said that its pre-orders have sold out three times over and new stocks rushed over for “this priority market.” It also said that while the P30 Pro at $1599 had been the run-away seller at three-to-one over the P30 sales of the latter have been stronger than expected at its $1099 price.
Retailers include JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Huawei’s Amazon store. Telcos include Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. Huawei’s Australian website is here.
GadgetGuy is finishing its two-week review and expects to have a fully detailed (is there any other way) review up next week. In the interim, you can read its P30/Pro coverage here. The one question everyone is asking is would you buy it over the new Samsung Galaxy S10/+? The answer is that its camera has superior low light and optical zoom so if that is your criteria then go for it. We will do a ‘shootout’ of both after the P30 Pro review.
Xiaomi to come to Australia
It appears that the Chinese smartphone makers have discovered fertile ground in Australia where around 50% of its sheep use iPhone and a substantial portion can afford Samsung and Huawei flagships.
Alcatel (TCL) has been here for ‘yonks’ and has a huge commitment to the pre-paid and value segments as well as a major sponsor of the Rabbitohs. It is a good corporate citizen.
OPPO came here in 2014 and has a substantial local investment with staff, offices, warehousing and support – and it makes some incredible stuff from its entry-level A series, fully featured R series and its quirky Find X pop-up camera flagship. It too has a huge corporate conscience and sponsors a range of fashion and sporting events including the Indian Cricket team.
Xiaomi is number four in China behind Huawei, OPPO and vivo (the last two are siblings). It has a reputation for excellent value, and its flagship Mi9 (Qualcomm SD 845 and the works) will sell at $995.
A company called Panmi has secured the rights, and chief operating officer George Saad said the launch would “revolutionise consumers’ expectations”. To allay fears of ‘Chinese spying’ servers will be set up locally.
Expect to see a retail presence in a couple of months, but Panmi has a warning – it can only support and warrant phones it sells here – not ones sold by opportunistic grey/parallel importers. Other Xiaomi products like electric scooters, wearables, power banks and smart home devices will also be available via its Mi Store.
Amazon adds Alexa Companion devices – Echo Link and Echo Amp
You can now add Amazon music streaming to existing audio systems.
Echo Link $299 includes analog, optical, coax, 3.5mm amplified headphone, and subwoofer line-outs; and analog, optical, and coax line-ins to connect and play music directly from another audio component like an amplified turntable or MP3 player. It has a volume knob for granular control, an Ethernet port for reliable connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi dual-band, and can be added to a Multi-Room Music Group for whole-home audio streaming through Alexa.
Echo Link Amp $459 adds a 2.0, 60W per channel amplifier along with left and right speaker binding posts to support wiring directly to passive/non-powered speakers.
Both units support 2.1 decoding by adding a powered sub-woofer. The amp’s claimed volume is 94dB at .008% THD.
Prey (April 11)
As Morgan Yu, you’ll have to use your wits, weapons, and strange powers to fight the alien threat that has overtaken the Talos I space station. Explore the station, upgrade your skills and abilities, and uncover the secrets of Talos I and the dangers within.
The Golf Club 2 (April 11)
Take a swing on new, lush golf courses or create your very own! Intuitive and realistic swing mechanics, infinite hours of gameplay, the opportunity to become a pro, and prestigious Club Societies are in store for you in this definitive golfing experience!
Monster Hunter: World (April 18)
You are a hunter of the Fifth Fleet, tasked with investigating the mysterious behaviours of the Elder Dragons out in the new world. Venture solo on quests or partner with up to three other hunters online for cooperative play.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (April 18)
Play as Javier Garcia, disgraced former baseball star now fighting to protect those he loves in a world plagued by the undead. Make choices that shape the fate of those around you, engage in thrilling action scenes, and explore beautiful comic book styled environments from “The Walking Dead.”
Life is Strange 2: Episode 2 (April 24)
“Run. From. Danger.” Brothers Sean and Daniel face another dangerous road during the heart of winter. Will this be the solace that finally keeps them safe? Sean’s key rule: “Hide your power” has worked for them up until now, but what happens if they’re turned over to the police?
Resident Evil 5 (April 25) fa
Somewhere in Africa, innocent villagers are transforming into aggressive and disturbing creatures. Featuring online co-op, players can experience this Resident Evil classic as either Chris Redfield or his new partner Sheva Alomar, as the duo must work together to investigate and stop whatever is causing the disturbing turn of events.
Xbox fans can again access ‘Insider X-Box’ podcast
An all-new episode of Inside Xbox on Wednesday 17th 7 a.m. AEST includes the latest news on E3, including Xbox FanFest and more.
The hour-long April episode will explore some exciting Xbox Game Pass news, new details on the much-anticipated Anniversary Update for Sea of Thieves, special guest Rod Fergusson from The Coalition, first details and footage of the Warhammer Chaosbane beta, an exclusive look at Rage 2, a handful of exciting Back Compat announcements, and several surprises we’re saving for the show itself.
Plus, if you watch live on Mixer while logged into your Microsoft account, you’ll receive an avatar item from Rage 2. Finally, due to popular demand, we’re bringing back the Ebon Flintlock in-game accessory from Sea of Thieves to celebrate a year of fortune and stories set on the high seas.
Razer Seirēn X streaming microphone comes to the PlayStation4
Razer worked with Sony Interactive Entertainment to bring broadcaster quality audio to streamers using PS4 systems seamless connections with PS4 systems and easy setup and use.
The streaming microphone costs $199.95.
Astro’s gen 4 gaming audio solution for console and pc gaming
ASTRO Gaming is introducing its fourth generation of A40 Tournament Ready (TR) gaming headset and MixAmp Pro TR technology. This collection of products, designed for PlayStation4, Xbox One, PC and Mac users meets the rigorous standards of professional gamers. ASTRO delivers immersive game audio along with performance, comfort and durability.
“At ASTRO, we engineer premium products and experiences, using high-end components to withstand rigorous use by professional gamers in tournament environments,” stated Ruben Mookerjee, Head of ASTRO Gaming. “We’ve spent the last ten years working with top console esports pros to develop industry-leading technology and world-class industrial design. In the latest generation of A40 and MixAmp products, ASTRO is proud to present our best performing audio system ever.”
HyperX QuadCast Microphone is here
What is it? A standalone mic designed for content creation, the QuadCast features:
- Built-in anti-vibration shock mount
- Four polar pattern choices,
- Gain control
- Built-in pop filter
- USB connection
- $219 via JB Hi-Fi