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China Takes a Bit Bite Out Of Apple's Dominance

2018.10.20
[Wellington, NZ, Oct 20, 2018] The biggest tech news of the week was the launch of the Huawei Mate series smartphones. The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro "phablets" might sound boring to those who don't follow tech closely. But they're really not.

From a technology perspective, they're the most advanced smartphones of the year (sorry Apple). It's a more interesting story than just that though. The launch of the Mate series represents a turning point in the tech world.

Huawei and China are now arguably leading the way for innovation. Which is an incredible achievement for a company that wasn't pushing its devices globally a few years ago...with a brand name the majority of people still struggle to pronounce correctly - "Wah-Way."

For over a decade, China was simply the place where tech giants manufactured their phones. Now, China it's making its own phones. And they're brilliant.

So what is it that makes the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro so good?

Firstly, they're absolute monsters. The Mate series of phones have always represented an annual trolley-dash of the latest specs crammed into polished rectangles.
"Crammed" may seem like an odd word for smartphones that boast 6.1- and 6.5-inch displays. But trust me. It's not.

The Mate Pro 20 has three rear-facing cameras! 1. A regular 40-megapixel main camera. 2. 8-megapixel telephoto camera. 3. A 20-megapixel wide-angle camera.
Alongside the trio of cameras is a massive 4,000mAh battery with fast charging that will give you over 50 per cent of juice in 30 minutes. It's also the first Android phone to feature a 7nm processor, which for those of you who don't speak fluent nerd translates into "a really fast phone".

These specs. And tons more I don't have space in this column to tell you about have been made possible, in part, by clever space-saving features like embedding the fingerprint sensor in the display and doubling the USB-C port with the phone's loudspeaker.

The impressive $1,499 Huawei Mate 20 Pro and $1,199 Mate 20 will be available to buy in NZ from 2nd November for $1,499. Good news for Kiwis after Google has seemly ignored New Zealand with the rollout of its new phone the Pixel 3 last week.

Wi-Fi networks to FINALLY make sense

If there was an award for the least catchy name, 802.11 - the current name for Wi-Fi standards - would get it.

Well, this is all about to change as the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that its names are set for an overdue shake-up.

The newest generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, will now be known simply as Wi-Fi 6. Previous versions of Wi-Fi will also get a name change. 802.11ac will become Wi-Fi 5 and 802.11n Wi-Fi 4. Hooray!

"For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection.".

I'm happier about this news than I should be.

Amazon Echo will now protect you against break-ins

Amazon announced a new feature for its (always-on) smart speaker, this week. The Amazon Echo will now let you know if it "hears" a distressing noise such as a window smashing.

When the Echo detects one of its trigger noises, it will automatically send a clip of the recorded audio to its owner.

The new feature is called Amazon Guard and it launched alongside 70 other new Amazon smart features this week. Included a smartplug that lets you turn any dumb device into a connected smart device by simply plugging your device into the adaptor.

Note: Amazon hasn't confirmed if or when the smartplug will make it's way to New Zealand. Watch this space.