ITy Bytes 9 April – bite sized news you need to know. In this edition

  • Western Digital adds PCIe NVMe to its WD Blue range;
  • Huawei P30 Pro wins TIPA award for best photo smartphone;
  • Beats beat Apple AirPod II with its POWERBEATS PRO;
  • Mitsubishi’s Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa controlled AC units;
  • DOOGEE S40 tough as nails smartphone (import only);
  • Amazon ‘significantly more expensive than Coles or Woolworths’;
  • Logitech Zone Wireless for noisy work environments;
  • James Dyson Awards 2019 now open

Western Digital adds PCIe NVMe to its WD Blue range

WD Blue has long been a hard disk SATA 6 staple of the PC range – good value, performance and reliability.

It has added a mid-range performance PCIe NVMe WD Blue SSD topping out at 1700/1450MBps sequential read and write speeds. SATA 6 is more like 500/350MBps.

Its more expensive WD Black range is 3470/3000MBps (GadgetGuy review here). The endurance (Terabytes written) is 150/300 for the 250/500GB versions. Both have a 5-year warranty.

Why buy? You want good speeds but don’t want to pay for WD Black.

250/500GB for $79/$119. Website here  

ITy Bytes 9 April

Huawei P30 Pro wins TIPA award for best photo smartphone

The Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) judges said,

Incredible Low Light Performance and Focal Length Options. The P30 Pro is dubbed a “quad camera” with numerous imaging options. The primary camera has a 1/1.7 40MP sensor that yields 10MP images. The optical stabilised lens has a 27mm (equivalent) focal length and maximum f/1.6 aperture, plus there is a 20MP 16mm (equivalent) super-wide option, a stabilised 5X (125mm equivalent) periscope style telephoto lens with folded optics, and a fourth PDAF “time of flight” AF sensor.

The P30 Pro can cover an incredible focal length range thanks to a “super-resolution” algorithm that combines several RAW images into one high-res image that is then cropped to produce a 50X zoom effect. Low-light capability is equally impressive, with a top ISO of 409.600 that can capture exposures in near darkness, which is claimed to be 40% more light sensitive than a standard RGB sensor, delivering the best low-light performance of any smartphone camera to date.”

ITy Bytes 9 April

Beats beat Apple AirPod II with its POWERBEATS PRO

Beats by Dr Dre (Beats – an Apple company) has launched the new Powerbeats Pro, completely wireless earphones that deliver powerful sound for the world’s most passionate music lovers and motivated athletes. They feature industry-leading battery life, advanced functionality, reliable connectivity, exceptional fit via the signature ear hook design and beautiful fidelity.

 “Powerbeats Pro is a harmonious blend of premium sound, fit and functionality. Powerbeats are already the #1 fitness headphones in the world, and they are now untethered, with all the benefits of the Apple H1 chip,” said Luke Wood, president of Beats. “No longer do you have to choose between performance and practicality—it delivers the best on both fronts.”

Early reviews say it beats the hell out of AirPods Gen II

Powerbeats Pro is available in May in Black, Ivory, Moss and Navy for $349.95.

Mitsubishi Electric Australia releases Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa controlled AC units

Atesh Mani, National Product Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Australia says that the new voice control feature is in response to consumer demand.

“Our customers want to integrate heating and cooling into their Smart Home. The addition of Amazon Alexa and Google Home compatibility to Mitsubishi Electric Wi-Fi Control provides our customers with a Smart Air Conditioning solution.”

“Mitsubishi Electric Wi-Fi Control already provides great convenience. The ability to use a device to turn your air conditioner off remotely or the ability to precool or preheat your home before you get there can save energy by preventing excessive use. Now your air conditioner can be controlled along with other smart devices such as lights and power outlets.”

The new voice control feature is available in Mitsubishi Electric split systems, ducted and the commercial City Multi air conditioning units installed with a Wi-Fi adapter.

ITy Bytes 9 April

DOOGEE S40 tough as nails smartphone (import only)

The DOOGEE S40  is as hard as nails surviving extreme temperatures, drops, dust and water – IP69K. With a quad-core processor, fingerprint unlocking, face recognition, Android 9.0, 8+5MP rear cameras and a 4650mAh battery. All for the amazing price of US$99.99/ approx £80.

The DOOGEE S40 nicknamed the “Rock Solid Explorer”, is just that thanks to its reinforced metal frame, superior TPU corners and cover allowing it to survive multiple drops, extreme temperatures and water damage.

As well as being one of the toughest phones on the market, the S40 further enhances its outdoor credentials with three pinpoint GPS navigation systems allowing for extremely accurate positioning if the user is ever away from civilization.

ITy Bytes 9 April

Morgan Stanley says Amazon ‘significantly more expensive than Coles or Woolworths,” on comparable items

A lot of that may be to do with Coles and Woolies house brands, and at this stage, online grocery shopping has not caught on here especially as Amazon has few fresh grocery staples. Coles and Woolies have nailed that with their home delivery services that can even find a ripe avocado.

ITy Bytes 9 April

And Amazon uses your purchasing history to selectively and slowly raise prices on items you have purchased – kind of the Chinese water torture. Its AI is substantial

The recent report also said JB Hi-Fi and Rebel (owned by Super Retail Group) had taken a razor to prices for products available on Amazon. It was now on average 14% more expensive.

Australian resellers are resisting going on Amazon’s platform preferring eBay by a huge margin. According to Morgan Stanley analyst Tom Kierath,

“By selling to Amazon, brands give the company access to the sales data of their products. Amazon can quickly identify top sellers, examine why customers like the product by mining customer reviews, manufacture its private label version of that item, undercut on price, and then place it at the top of the search results. International suppliers have learnt from experience and avoid Amazon dominating sales of their products.”

Logitech Zone Wireless for noisy work environments

Logitech has addressed the noisy open plan office with its new Zone Wireless headphones and mic. These are on-the-ear so great for frequent on-and-off the head, have active noise cancellation, connect to two devices (smartphone and PC), have a Tune App and a 14-hour battery (ANC on) with Qi charging.

They are certified for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. They also work with Google Cloud, Zoom, Fuze, Unify, TrueConf, StarLeaf, Cisco WebEx, Cisco Jabber, and Go-To-Meeting. Price $319.95.

ITy Bytes 9 April

James Dyson Awards 2019 now open

The annual James Dyson Award is open until 11 July for entries, giving Australian students and recent graduates of engineering and design a unique opportunity to showcase their problem-solving inventions on a global stage.

To launch this year’s James Dyson Award, now in its 15th year, Dyson surveyed 1,000 Australians to reveal their opinions on solving real-world problems. The YouGov survey has revealed that 33% of Aussies say they lack confidence in their abilities to bring problem-solving ideas to life and 26% have a fear of not succeeding.

Past Winners

Global: O-Wind Turbine, a smart technology that has the potential to revolutionise how we power our cities.  The product was designed and created by two students originating from Chile and Kenya respectively. www.jamesdysonaward.org/2018/project/o-wind-turbine/

National: Macaron Assist the visually impaired with Macaron, a smart tape measuring device that intuitively measures and records distance. www.jamesdysonaward.org/en-AU/2018/project/macaron-universal-access-smart-tape-measure/

ITy Bytes 9 April