08 Sep 2015

The top 7 mobile tech trends to watch out for

It’s been a big month in the world of smartphones and mobile operating systems. The big established players Apple and Samsung are showing off new models and software, while new Chinese players are making their presence felt.

Here’s our rundown of the top 7 innovations to keep your eye out for:

1. Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung managed to pip Apple with the launch of two new devices in Australia that begin sales on September 4. The Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+ are identical in size and features, except the Note comes with a stylus and the Edge has the curved edge that its predecessors are famed for. Neither comes particularly cheaply – the damage is over $1000 for both models – and although they are technically capable of supporting the Samsung Pay digital wallet service, it looks like that functionality could be at least a year away locally. While noting the S6 Edge+’s beautiful design, Gizmodo said it was hard to hold, making it also hard to recommend.

2. iPhone 6S

Apple is expected to use an event on September 9 in San Francisco (the early hours of our September 10) to unveil – among other things – the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus handsets. The ‘S’ naming suggests plenty of under-the-hood improvements: right now, a better processor and camera are rumoured, along with the introduction of Force Touch – a feature on Apple Watch that can distinguish between light and heavy taps on the screen. BGR suggests the hip pocket damage will be similar to the current iPhone 6 prices.

3. Microsoft Lumia 940 and the 940 XL

Part of the reason why we’re so excited about the upcoming Windows Lumia 940 and 940 XL is that they will be among the first handsets to run full Windows 10. Microsoft is to finally tackle the Windows Phone apps problem by running one OS across phones, tablets, PCs and laptops. The Lumia 940 has the beefiest spec of any Windows Phone and the XL is a large version with a 5.7in screen. There have been some concepts shared of what the device will look like but expect to see the real deal revealed in an October 2015 product launch.

4. Huawei Google Nexus

Rumour has it that Huawei have been working on a secret Google Nexus phone. The new device is said to be phablet-sized, with a 5.7 inch Quad-HD display using the latest Qualcomm processors. If based on the design of the Huawei Mate 7, then the Huawei Nexus will be super slim and pleasingly powerful. There’s no indication of exactly when Google will release a new Nexus device but it tends to be towards the end of the year, likely to be in October, in line with the introduction of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

5. iOS9 is coming

The next version of Apple’s mobile OS has been in public beta since early July but is expected to get a full release about a fortnight after the Apple launch event on September 9. Though Apple is touting plenty of tweaks, early reviewers noted that it doesn’t look much different from the versions it replaces. One of the more talked-about features is the introduction of a content-blocking mechanism that will allow iOS9 users to block ads when browsing websites, something desktop users have been able to do through the Safari browser for some time. It seems this will also break a lot of tracking technologies used by marketers, making for some interesting times ahead.

6. Android Marshmallow

Google touted version 6 of the Android OS earlier this year, but it wasn’t until August that they unveiled the latest sweet-themed codename for the release: Marshmallow. It boasts a number of new features over version 5 (Lollipop), including Android Pay and a power-saving feature called Doze, which stops apps from chewing up battery life while running in the background. Also expect changes to the way Android handles permissions – instead of presenting you with a giant list when trying to download an app, you’ll instead be prompted for permission only when the app needs it.

7. OPPO goes Optus

Chinese smartphone maker OPPO has struck a deal with Optus, making it easier to get hold of its R7 handset. The company has been slowly making in-roads in Australia since launching here in September last year. The R7 costs a lot less than rivals Samsung and Apple without lowballing on specs. Its main claim to fame is its thin design and a technology that makes it very quick to charge the battery. Although it runs a custom Android OS, you can change it if you like, and OPPO will reportedly even help you out if you accidentally brick the handset in the process.