[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

[Special Feature]Fearless Predictions for 2013

Shawn and I thought it would be fun to do a predictions piece for 2013 so we would be able to come back and laugh at ourselves when none of it comes true.  These opinions are solely ours, and have not been put forth with any insider information from any OEM.  Most of these actually have no basis in fact whatsoever.  But with that in mind, here are our fearless 2013 predictions:

Sean’s Predictions:

1) Apple will release an iPhone 5S that looks virtually identical to the iPhone 5.  The internet will decry the  new phone and say Apple has lost its way.  Tech sites and blogs will write editorials expressing their disappointment.  Apple will sell as many as they can produce.

Shawn’s Response:
I’m probably on board with this one, considering the years and years of history we have of Apple to fall back on.  I’m really not sure where Apple takes their iPhone from here though…even thinnerer and lighterer?

World Exclusive: the iPhone 5S will look exactly like this

2) Google will release an updated Nexus 7 with a 1080p screen.  Pricing will be the same as the current Nexus 7

Shawn’s Response:
Not sure I agree here.  I think putting a 1080p viewpanel in a Nexus 7 drives the cost up past the point where Google is able to offer it at $249/$299.  I see the Nexus 7 as their “mid-grade” line of tablets, and the Nexus 10 as the high end tablets.  So I’m not sure I see this in Asus or Google’s future.

3) Samsung will release the Galaxy S IV with a 5″ 1080p screen, a quad-core Exynos 5450 CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 2600MAH battery and a 13MP camera.  It will inexplicably still have a home button.

Shawn’s Response:
Samsung has a real hit on their hands with the Galaxy series.  I think these specs could be dead on…but I’m predicting not only a physical home button, but also a total of 4 capacitive buttons as well, 2 on either side of the home button.  Samsung’s official stance:  “People love buttons!”

4) Microsoft will produce its own Surface Phone.  Nokia will continue to struggle until they are eventually bought.  Windows Phone 8 still won’t exceed 5% market share in the United States.

Shawn’s Response:
Microsoft does this only if they’re incredibly stupid.  The Surface (which may or may not be a great device) does nothing but put Microsoft squarely in the center of a war with their hardware partners which they can’t really win.  The phone space has enough dead or dying OEMs already (Nokia or RIM ring a bell?) for MS to really think they can jump in with a device that will move Samsung’s Galaxy S or Apple’s iPhone out from a top spot.  Also…Windows Phone 8 is not a good product.  Considering the amount of money that MS has spent on marketing for the Surface, they had better have a lot more cash reserves  if they want to make a move into the mobile phone space.  Then again..since Sean is predicting that Nokia will be bought – perhaps it will be Microsoft that buys them?

Microsoft should definitely copy this

5) Jony Ive will give iOS a major update which will include widgets and a new industrial look.  It’ll still be locked down and allow for little user customization.  Tech sites and blogs will give it rave reviews.

 Shawn’s Response:
While I’d be shocked and amazed if this actually happened, I don’t see it.  Ive is a great hardware designer (if you like the Apple products) but there’s a lot of change that would have to come to software side of Apple’s iOS that would make widgets in particular possible.  It goes against so much of the tradition of Apple and the iOS platform…I don’t know if it could be done in a year and I don’t know that Ive has the software chops to do it.  Perhaps 2-3 years out…but not in 2013.  

Shawn’s Predictions:

1) Motorola will produce a Google Nexus branded phone, with cutting edge (for the time) specs in processor, screen (non-pentile), and have a gigantic battery – probably called the Nexus Maxx HD.  This device will be sold with LTE through the Google store, unlocked, and be heralded as the greatest Android phone ever.

Sean’s Response:
I would love this so much, but I’m not sure I see it happening.  Google doesn’t want to risk alienating its partners and releasing a Motorola Nexus might do just that.  

This + 3300mah battery = win

2) Google will do “something” to further chip away at Apple’s dominance in the 10 inch tablet space.  Not sure exactly…but something good.  Like a massive public awareness campaign that will culminate in the launching of a Nexus 10 with HSPA+ wireless for $499.

Sean’s Response:
The Nexus 10 won’t sell in huge numbers.  While I think an HSPA+ Nexus 10 will definitely come out in the next year, I don’t see it “chipping” away too much at Apple’s dominance in the 10 inch tablet space.  If Google really wants to compete in the tablet space, they need to get a better tablet app infrastructure in place.  

3) Google will release the Key Lime Pie version of Android, version 5.0, which will at last unify the mobile device platforms of phone, small tablet, and large tablet.  App developers will flock to it and scaling apps will no longer be an issue for Android ever again.  Apple users will deadpan it as being too complicated and lacking polish, claiming it feels like an unfinished product.  It will launch on the Nexus Maxx HD, and be on someone’s Galaxy Nexus two days later.

Sean’s Response:
We’ll definitely see Key Lime Pie this year and I expect it to continue the refinement Android has undergone under Matias Duarte.  If Google can solve the smart phone/tablet apps issue they’ll finally be able to really compete with Apple.  KLP will definitely show up on the Galaxy Nexus in a day or two, but not on the Nexus Maxx HD because it won’t exist 😉

4) RIM releases Blackberry 10 and their new hardware devices, to deafening silence.  Large corporations continue to shed Blackberries from their mobile device fleet, until in August of 2013, RIM files for the Canadian equivalent of bankruptcy protection.  This comes after months of trying to sell their portfolio to anyone who will buy them…with no takers.

Sean’s Response:
I think Blackberry 10 has a chance.  In fact, I think it will outsell Windows Phone 8 (WP8) in 2013.  Although Rim has been hemorrhaging customers, it still has a dedicated and loyal fan base.  The hardware looks nice and Blackberry 10 has some cool features.  The major carriers have thrown fairly large support behind WP8 trying desperately to establish a third mobile OS in addition to Android and iOS, but they’re backing the wrong horse.  Blackberry 10 will do better than WP8 and finish the year with greater than 7% market share

Best looking Blackberry ever