Devices |

CES 2021: get ready for a big year of 5G

By Luke Hopewell January 21, 2021

We’re on a roll with 5G, with more places covered now than ever. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was loaded with incredible new gear powered by 5G.

New fast flagship smartphones

Amid the flurry of news at CES, Samsung announced its incredible new flagship smartphone series: the Galaxy S21.

The next-gen Galaxy range consists of three devices, all with 5G connectivity, beautiful screens, incredible cameras and monster specs.

The top-of-the-line Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G also features support for the excellent Samsung S Pen, so you can be even more productive on the go.

To check out the full range, check out our first-look on Telstra Exchange.

5G smartphones for less

Not all 5G phones have to be expensive flagships, however. At CES this year, chipmaker Qualcomm announced its new family of Snapdragon 480 processors.

The Snapdragon 480 family has the X51 modem built right in, which means it’s a perfect system on a chip (SoC) for the next generation of 5G devices. And most importantly, it’s a cheaper piece of hardware.

That means you can expect to see 5G come to even more affordable smartphones in the next 12 months and beyond.

Faster work on the go

Laptops have been beefing up their batteries and screens for years to become brilliant mobile productivity sidekicks. Now with the addition of 5G, they’re even better.

A number of manufacturers have announced new, razor-thin and incredibly powerful 5G-enabled laptops joining the range in the near future.

Lenovo’s classic ThinkPad X1 lineup is now blessed with the speed you need, with the X1 Titanium Yoga now coming in a 5G flavour. At just over a kilogram in weight and sporting a 13.5-inch 2K display, it’s a great new flagship. Plus it packs in a fingerprint reader and an IR camera for fast and secure sign-in.

HP is also getting in on the action, with the HP Elite Dragonfly range bringing in not one, but two 5G capable models across its 2021 range. And as a built-in safety feature for the occasionally careless, the new HP Elite Dragonfly range has a Tile tracker built-in so you won’t misplace it easily.

And even if you can’t find the right laptop complete with 5G, there are always 5G-compatible modems and smart hubs to give you the speed you need on the go.

The network to back it up

Telstra 5G now works in more places than ever. One in two Australians now live, work and travel in our 5G footprint, and we’re only getting bigger and better from here.

By the end of June 2021, we’re aiming to have 5G coverage for 75 per cent of the Australian population.

Check our website for coverage, and to find out more about when this awesome tech will be available near you.

Entertainment |

CES 2021: what’s next for gaming?

By Luke Hopewell January 19, 2021

Just because next-gen consoles launched in 2020 doesn’t mean the gaming innovations are over yet. We’ve been at the virtual CES 2021 to find the best in gaming for your next round.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all happening online this year. Nevertheless, the gadgets and announcements have been coming thick and fast.

New form factors

Consoles like the Switch showed us that gaming is no longer constrained to a controller, mouse or keyboard. It’s all about new and immersive platforms that can work anywhere.

That’s what Lenovo and NEC want to do with the LaVie Mini: create a PC gaming device that works exactly like everyone’s favourite Nintendo portable. Powered by an Intel 11th Gen Core processor and featuring a 1920 x 1200 8-inch display, this may be the portable gaming PC of the future.

And if you want to really shake up your gaming experience, maybe something like Razer’s Project Brooklyn is for you?

Project Brooklyn is an all-in-one gaming station that allows you to slide into a purpose-built gaming chair, complete with integrated tray table and curved monitor. Both the aforementioned accessories slide into place to suit you, and it’s truly immersive.

Next-gen visuals

It’s all about the refresh rate on high-end monitors. 120Hz is great for making everything buttery smooth, but what if you had 360Hz to make everything look like real life before your eyes?

That’s what Asus has with its new ROG Swift 360Hz: a 24.5-inch display that updates its image 360 times per second. That’s six times as often as a 60Hz monitor for smoother gameplay.

Asus also announced the 43-inch ROG Strix XG43UQ which has 4K, 144Hz and HDMI 2.1, so if you have recently purchased a next-gen gaming console like the Xbox Series X, this is the display you want to play it on.

The world’s best-looking gaming laptops from Razer are also getting powerful updates. Both a 15- and 17-inch model are getting great spec bumps for this year, with NVIDIA G-Sync compatible 1440p QHD displays and new graphics chips onboard.

Elsewhere in the gaming laptop world, Asus; Lenovo Legion, and MSI are all getting their big boosts of their own.

Faster experiences with 5G

5G will make good on the promise of a truly connected entertainment experience, delivering speeds and network capacity we’d only previously dreamed of. We predict that when 5G reaches its peak it could be 10x faster than the current 5G speeds enabling a download of a HD movie in around a second. 5G also improves latency (lag time) helping you play games faster and improve video calls and other entertainment technologies.

Telstra 5G is getting better every single day. As more and more sites come online, we’re bringing the promise of future gaming to Aussies in more places than ever before.

In a world where every millisecond counts, the ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G will greatly enhance the experience on mobile devices. And as gaming platforms and with cloud gaming machines host content at the mobile edge, the quality of mobile games is set to skyrocket.

We’re working to build experiences on the back of our incredible 5G this year, including a massive upgrade to the future of the Marvel Stadium experience, and a partnership with Fortress to build out great gaming moments.

Check out where our 5G is live right now, and where it’s set to be deployed next on our Mobile Coverage Maps, and learn more about Telstra 5G on our website.

Samsung CES 2021 Bot Handy
Smart Home | Tech and Innovation | Telstra News |

CES 2021: step inside the future home

By Luke Hopewell January 15, 2021

2020 was a year we spent more time at home. While we might be doing the same for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean it has to be an analogue experience.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all happening online this year. Nevertheless, the gadgets and announcements have been coming thick and fast.

Technology around your home has come a long way over the last few decades. But as this year’s announcements from CES demonstrate, we’ve come a long way from Betamax and TVs that looked like large boxes.

Step inside our virtual home, where all the new and best technology from CES 2021 is ready and waiting.

Staying COVID-safe at the front door

Touching as few surfaces as possible has become something we all need to think about. You never know where COVID-19 might be hiding.

Smart home company Arlo knows this and has made a touches doorbell for the COVID era.

It gauges a visitor’s distance using what Arlo calls “proximity sensing technology” and alerts the homeowner of an arrival once the guest has safely approached.

Now to see if you can play ding-dong-ditch with it.

Four-legged tech

There’s even new gear for your furry friend!

Chamberlain has announced that the myQ Pet Portal is a new smart pet door that allows your dog to enter and exit safely on demand, and comes equipped with two-way HD cameras and sensors that only let the right pets in.

The pathogen-free home office

Targus Keyboard

In keeping with the theme, Targus has announced a new series of home office gear designed to keep you safe during a pandemic.

The flagship product is a UV light that sits above your keyboard and mouse designed to blast viruses and bacteria that might live there.

And if you need to stay clean on the go, Targus has an antimicrobial backpack, too.

Smarter treats

A lot of us got pretty handy in the kitchen during 2020’s on-and-off lockdowns. From bread to muffins and everything in-between, we all became overnight masterchefs.

Now that we’re probably going to be stuck at home a bit longer, it’s time to go back to being lazy in the kitchen. And what better gadget to be lazy with than an instant ice-cream maker.

The ColdSnap is a “rapid freezing product” that makes fresh frozen treats in a flash. Using pods, you can make a variety of things, from ice cream sundaes to frozen smoothies, and even a frozen alcoholic beverage for after dark.

Powering your future garage

Don’t think that your car misses out on all the tech fun, either. CES has new gear for your four-wheeled companion also!

Ensuring you get the right information about your car and the traffic conditions is essential when you drive. We’ve seen some pretty big screens added to cars in the last few years, but none bigger than this. Mercedes Benz’ new Hyperscreen is a 55-inch display that is built right into your car. And it’s not just a concept, either: it’s headed to the new EQS electric sedan later this year.

Keeping in the theme of EVs, everyone is getting in on the game these days. Cadillac and GM gave everyone a closer look at the “ultra-luxury” Celestiq EV, for example.

Entertainment like never before

The TV is often the crown jewel of the lounge room. But this year’s CES innovations show that your lounge doesn’t need to be the only entertainment room in your home.

LG has been making headway with its OLED technology for some time, and now it’s moving the TV tech out of your rumpus and into your bedroom. The company has envisioned a variety of transparent OLED TVs, including a transparent model that comes up out of your bed and rolls up when you’re not using it.

Other TV innovations from CES this year include a screen that won’t make you choose between flat or curved: you can have both! A variety of flexible OLED displays were shown off that bend on command to give you an immersive experience when you want it.

Leading TV brands like Samsung and LG are also introducing a new technology called Mini LED. It’s basically powering the TV backlight with even smaller LED lights than ever to make brighter whites and a better colour experience.
Keeping it all connected

While we’re all spending time at home, connectivity is vital to keep us going. Especially when it comes to new gadgets and there were some exciting WiFi announcements at CES also.

Strong Wi-Fi around the home means you get the work, learning and playing done in every room and on multiple devices.

We’ve got some tips to ensure you can get the most out of your home Wi-Fi router, and we’re not stopping there.

We’re putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to your strong home Wi-Fi coverage with our new Wi-Fi Guarantee. You can learn more on Telstra Exchange.

Telstra News |

Our top 6 predictions for the major tech trends of 2021

By Andrew Scott January 12, 2021

The start of the decade has been challenging for many reasons, and we saw how technology played a vital part in helping us get through it. We’re already looking ahead to what advances in technology may bring in 2021.

Over 11 million Australian households and businesses now have access to the nbn network, all major smartphone brands now offer 5G handsets, and AlphaBeta reports that videoconferencing is now used by more than 60% of Australian businesses.[1]

With fast connectivity and devices in more places than ever, new services and product innovation will thrive in this decade, and we have picked some of the next technology areas that will come to the fore in 2021 that Aussies can look forward to. I know I am.

Faster and better Wi-Fi in the home

It became clear this year how critical a strong home Wi-Fi signal was for remote working, learning and video streaming.

The next generation of Wi-Fi technology will help with coverage, speeds and consistency of performance. Wi-Fi 6 has already appeared in premium devices and in 2021 we will see this technology in more mainstream devices. Many Wi-Fi 6 devices will also support Wi-Fi EasyMesh which repeats the Wi-Fi signal to boost coverage further around the home.

Together, we expect many people to update their home Wi-Fi setup next year, either through purchasing Wi-Fi Boosters to extend their coverage or at a minimum, understanding how slow Wi-Fi signal strength affects their video streaming or gaming experience.

High-end gaming

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the landscape of home entertainment. With the dramatic impacts to live sports, cinemas, and music events, Aussies are used to spending more time getting entertained at home, digitally.

Coupled with the introduction of powerful, next-generation games consoles from the likes of Microsoft with the Xbox Series X, there is a lot of demand being generated for rich, immersive games.

Whether you purely watch gaming streams on Twitch or YouTube, or actively play games, 2021 will be an exciting year. Cloud gaming is one of the hottest gaming trends and Microsoft has already launched its xCloud service in beta locally. We look forward to seeing this trend grow further from customer interest and other vendors in this space. One thing is for certain though, cloud gaming shows the value of having fast and reliable home and mobile networks. And as 5G continues to roll out further, this will allow Aussies to have high end gaming experiences in many more places outside of their home.

5G mmWave

Telstra 5G is already available in selected areas and is planned to grow further to 75% of Australia’s population by end of June this year[2]. But there’s another exciting 5G development happening this year: the first set of new high frequency, or “mmWave”[3] spectrum. 5G can provide incredible performance[4] over short range, so it won’t be available everywhere in the way you normally expect to find mobile coverage. It will have the most use in busy places, like inner city streets or sports stadiums.

New mmWave devices are expected to arrive this year, adding to the Telstra 5G WiFi Pro[5] we’ve already launched. There’s going to be some great examples of companies and brands leveraging the benefits of 5G mmWave which include ultra-low latency, high capacity, and very fast speeds. The other exciting thing is 5G mmWave is coming at the same time as the maturation of AI, IoT, automation, and cloud/edge technologies to create some amazing scenarios.

Social distancing goes digital

As we enter a new phase of the pandemic on the precipice of a vaccine, we all need to keep in mind that social distancing is still on until further notice. But with millions of people moving in and out of public spaces like offices, train stations and shopping malls every day, it’s impossible for COVID-safe hall monitors to keep track of everyone.

As we move back into offices we can expect to see a series of new technologies deployed around us to ensure COVID-safe guidelines are being followed.

With cameras and sensor technology evolving, you can expect the public and private sector to embrace low-impact connected technologies to monitor social distancing and even contact tracing.

We’re already working to forecast passenger numbers on trains, and using thermal cameras to detect people with fevers moving in and out of public spaces. All this information can not only serve to locate a potentially-infected person, but also work to give us all confidence we’re entering spaces that are appropriately distanced and COVID-safe.

Head-up displays (HUDs)

The original promise of Google Glass is starting to come good, but only in a range of specialist environments as this display tech has continued to mature, e.g. motorcycle helmets, vehicle windscreens, ski goggles, and smart hard hats helmets.

The use of these HUDs enables users get relevant data on their task or environment without having to interrupt the activity that they are doing. High-end augmented reality (AR) headsets have been bulky, but the technology is rapidly shrinking in size to fit into “user friendly” wearable form factors (like sunglasses and normal eyeglasses).

In the next 1-2 years, we will see more HUDs incorporated into vehicles and wearables for industrial and sporting use. Within the consumer market, industry websites report rumours that many major brands will bring smart glasses to market in a similar timeframe. Time will tell if that is true, but we are sure to see more products with smart heads up displays in the months and years ahead.

ARM-based laptops

When new laptops come out, the improvement emphasis is usually on either higher processing power or longer battery life – not both. With Apple launching its new MacBook sporting the company’s new in-house developed M1 chip, that equation has been broken.

Based on ARM-architecture, the M1-based laptops have improved dramatically in both performance and battery life. This also breaks the perception that ARM chips mean trading off performance on laptops.

As applications begin supporting the M1 chip, users will experience the benefits the new chip can bring. Throw in the mix the fact that Nvidia is acquiring ARM and we can expect to see high-end, GPU-enhanced ARM devices in the not-too-distant future – having already won the mobile chips, ARM architecture is now well and truly challenging x86 on the laptop side with more to follow.

[1] https://alphabeta.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/200922_australias-digital-resilience_report.pdf

[2] Australia’s best 5G now in more places (telstra.com.au)

[3] mmWave 5G: what you need to know (telstra.com.au)

[4] We’ve smashed another speed record with mmWave 5G (telstra.com.au)

[5] Telstra 5G Wi-Fi