[News] Tech events next week

Lots going on next week in the world of tech, and here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know…

Microsoft hosts an event on Wednesday, 10/26/16
What to expect…
Microsoft is expected to take the wraps off some new hardware, and coming just after Google’s hardware event (and just before Apple’s hardware event) their timing couldn’t be better – if you’re a Windows or Surface fan.  Some of the rumored devices include:

  • Potentially a new Surface PC – desktop class computer
  • Upgrades to the Surface Pro and Surface Book laptop computers
  • A smart speaker alleged to be called “HomeHub” (an Amazon Echo/Google Home competitor)
  • Maybe Windows 10 software upgrades as well (but Microsoft has another event on Nov 2 as well, which could dive more in depth into their latest software updates)
So if you are looking into getting a new Windows based PC, laptop, or are interested in what the new “connected smart home” craze is all about, you’ll want to check back here for some updates on what was announced.  But there’s something else going on the very next day you’ll want to check out as well – namely:

Apple hosts an event on Thursday, 10/27/16
What to expect…
Fans and professionals that use Apple’s portable MacBook line of laptops have been bemoaning the lack of updates to theses machines for some time now.  Well, apparently the wait is over.  Invites for Apple’s “Hello again” event are out and some of the rumors include:
  • Refreshed MacBook Pros with lighter chassis, an OLED touchscreen bar replacing the row of function keys, and as much as 2TB of solid state drive storage
  • The new MacBook Pro could also contain only USB-C connectors, replacing the existing USB-A, HDMI, SD card, AND the MagSafe charging connections
  • Updates to the MacBook Air line, (although they are expected to be relatively minor)
  • According to Engadget, there’s also a report that there will be a new “13 inch MacBook” in addition to the existing 12 inch standard MacBook
Most analysts have been predicting the return of the MacBooks in a big way (the standard, Air, and Pro) and so this could be it.  The new MacBook Pros in particular could be a big step forward with more power, more storage, and new features (like TouchID and the Magic Toolbar) built in.  Check back with us next week and we’ll have all the details.  Finally, if you’re thinking about picking up a new smartphone, there’s one that’s (finally!) going to be here next week:

LG’s V20 will be in stores by Friday, 10/28/16
What to expect…
LG may actually have their latest large flagship smartphone available in stores for people to actually purchase it!  After the debacle with the Galaxy Note 7, and the poor sales of the LG G5, the V20 being available in stores might be the shot in the arm that LG is looking for.  The Friday 10/28 dates is the availability for T-Mobile, but its likely going to make its way to the other carriers as well by then.  Here’s a quick recap of what the V20 has to offer those interested:
  • 5.7 inch QHD display, with a secondary display on top of it (for notifications and app shortcuts, among other things)
  • Snapdragon 820 processor with the Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB of RAM
  • 3200mah removable battery with an SD card slot that supports cards up to 256GB
  • All metal chassis and dual rear cameras (one 16MP and one 8MP, for wide angle and telephoto shots) as well as a 5MP front facing camera for selfies
  • For audiophiles, the Quad DAC (digital analog converter) inside the V20 promises to produce high quality sound output from the headphone jack into your headphones of choice
So if you are in the market for a new large display smartphone, the V20 might need to be on your list (along with a few others) – but we’ll be sure to have some impressions of the device once its actually in stores.
Busy week next week right?  Stay tuned to Silicon Theory for all the details as they are made available, and if you have any questions, hit our Inbox up at silicontheory@gmail.com

[Guide] So you can’t get the Note 7 – now what?

So we’ve received a few questions about the Note 7 and for those who were looking to upgrade, its now off the table (sorry Samsung) – but the question becomes, okay – now what do you buy?  We’re glad you asked!  Without further ado, here are some thoughts on what you might want to consider if you are wanting or needing to pick up a new smartphone this year.

If you were already using the Note 7 (or are using another Note size device) we’ll assume for the moment that you want something with a similar size and are already using Android.  So, with that in mind, the options would likely be:

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Why choose the Galaxy S7 Edge?
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – Samsung just basically quit on the Note 7 because well…it was catching fire and stuff.  I get that.  But the Galaxy series (in both the S7 and the S7 Edge) have been out for a while now, and there’s no shenanigans going on with them.  We have a S7 in the house and its a great, great phone.  The S7 Edge is probably going to be the way you want to go if you 1) want a great display (at 5.5″ instead of the Note’s 5.7″), a great camera, SD card storage as an option, and IP68 water resistance.  The S7 Edge ticks all these boxes, and then some.
Why *not* choose the Galaxy S7 Edge?  
If you just don’t trust Samsung anymore AT ALL, I get it.  I’d say that’s a bit silly, but you’re entitled to your opinion.  If you aren’t in love with the dual curved displays, that’s another reason.  It does make the phone a little slippery in hand to hold, so if you go that route, be sure to get a good case.  If you want to ensure you get timely updates on Android directly from Google, you might want to avoid the S7 Edge as well, as Samsung hasn’t had a great track record with this either (but I hear that Android Nougat 7.0 should be coming soon) – that’s pretty much all that’s not to like here.
Photo courtesy of Droid-Life.com – the Pixel XL

Why choose the Google Pixel XL?

Google is getting into the hardware game with their own branded mobile device.  In the Pixel and Pixel XL, people are being told this phone will represent the best that Google and Android have to offer with a great hardware and software experience.  The Pixel XL will be the way to go if you 1), want a solid display (a 5.5″ QHD AMOLED display – rumored to have come from Samsung current generation displays), 2) a highly touted mobile camera, and 3) a clean, fast, stock Android experience including new features like Google Assistant and free unlimited native resolution storage of all your photos – forever.  The Pixel XL is available for pre-order but won’t be released til the end of October.
Why *not* choose the Google Pixel XL?  
The Pixel XL isn’t available yet, as noted above.  So if you need a phone NOW, you won’t be going the Pixel route.  If you can wait, you still might be put off by the high price tag (the XL 32GB starts at $769) and the lack of things like water resistance or SD card external storage (neither of which the Pixel has, but you could purchase a 128GB base storage model if you chose, for a whopping $869)  The Pixel is also mostly an unknown commodity, so if you aren’t keen about being an early adopter, then you should probably hold off on the Pixel XL as well.
LG V20

Why choose the LG V20?

LG’s latest big boy flagship is going to be out there soon, in stark contrast to the earlier released LG G5 which was not met with a ton of enthusiasm.  However, the V20 has got a lot going for it.  You might consider the V20 if you want 1) the same size display as the Note 7 (the V20 sports a 5.7″ QHD LCD display, 2) SD card storage, 3) are REALLY into audio (as the V20 has an internal DAC and amplifier), and 4) want or need a removable battery.  The V20 has an all metal chassis and also sports a dual camera setup on the back for regular and wide angle shots.  
Why *not* choose the LG V20?  
Like the Pixel XL, the V20 won’t be available until the end of October in most places, so if you need a new phone NOW, scratch the V20 off your list.  Its also rumored to weight in at the healthy $800ish price point, so you might avoid it if you can’t take the sticker shock.   It’s not going to have a better display than either the S7 Edge or Pixel XL, but it does have a secondary display like a ticker across the top which has some nice functionality.  But its still an LCD display, so that means its not likely to have colors that pop or deep blacks in its color gamut.  Its big – bigger than both the Edge and XL, so if you want something a little more….svelte?  Try one of the others.
There you go – some options for those saddened by the demise of the Note 7 and looking for other options this year.  If you’re interested in another device we didn’t mention (the iPhone 7 Plus) well, that’s because we assumed above you were using a Note Android device, and the iPhone doesn’t run Android (obviously) – but if you want our thoughts on that phone as well, hit us up at silicontheory@gmail.com and we’ll give you some feedback.
Cheers, and hope that helps!