Mobile Nations Weekly: Taipei calling

By | 4th June 2016

ASUS goes big, Samsung gets fit, Tesla drives itself, and into the virtual realm.

ASUS kicked things off at Computex 2016 with the announcement of an impressive and expanded ZenFone 3 lineup, Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro tablets, and the thin-and-light ZenBook 3 — oh, and a weird meowing/rolling robot. But they weren't the only ones at the big show in Taipei: Samsung launched the updated Gear Fit 2 fitness band and Gear Icon X earbuds, HP showed off a near-final version of their Elite x3 Windows 10 "superphone".

There was a changing of the guard at the Microsoft Insider Program, with the beloved Gabriel Aul stepping down to focus on his engineering job, with Dona Sarkar moving in as his replacement manning the magic red button. The Insider program went on without a hitch, with releases for Redstone and HoloLens, plus a public update for the Microsoft Band 2.

If there was any doubt, Tesla's mostly put it to rest: the Model 3 will have full self-driving autonomy as a marquee feature of its later-in-2016 "part 2" reveal. What it won't have? Free Supercharger access though we're not certain how exactly Tesla plans to collect money for it.

Apple is ramping up for the 2016 World Wide Developer Conference, and they're going big — expect updates for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and even tvOS.

Oh, and we launched a new site dedicated to the next revolution of the interface: it's VRHeads, and it's all about virtual reality. Whether it's something basic like Google Cardboard or immersive and advanced like HTC Vive, we're going to cover it all. We're launching with comprehensive guides for all of the best VR headsets and everything else you need to know about VR, and a massive giveaway: enter to win an HTC Vive headset and ASUS VR desktop!

Android Central — Computex!

Computex was the big news driver this week, and even though the craziness of time zones (the show is in Taipei) threw everyone off, there was still plenty to talk about. ASUS released its ZenFone 3 lineup, as well as a few other announcements like the crazy Zenbo robot.

We also got Sony Xperia X news, SanDisk launched a new USB-C flash drive and Samsung refreshed its fitness wearable line with the new Gear Fit 2 and Gear Icon X earbuds.

Outside of Taipei, Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave an interesting interview at CodeCon that shed some light on how the company is looking at Android and the Nexus program. It's worth a watch if you're interested in looking behind the curtain a bit at how this is all done.

CrackBerry — Developer heros

With BlackBerry OS 10.3.3 expected in mid-June, BlackBerry has now released the new developer OS to builds to developers for testing. Plus, they also kicked off a new Developer Hero Program will help showcase BlackBerry 10 apps. Finally, if you purchased an AT&T unlocked Priv for cheap, only to find out you can update the software, BlackBerry working on a fix.

iMore — Software season

The World Wide Developer Conference — WWDC 2016 — begins on June 13, Apple has just confirmed the traditional keynote presentation will kick-off at 10am PT/1pm ET, and iMore will be there!

We're expecting iOS 10, OS X 10.12 — or macOS if you're trendy, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10. If that looks like a lot of software, that's because it is. This year, think software.

At least until the iPhone 7 rumors kick back up again...

Tesla Central — Self-driving speculation

Tesla Model 3

This week was all about the Tesla Model 3. The upcoming $35,000 all-electric sedan only saw a partial unveiling earlier this year — part two will be later in 2016.

But What will we be seeing at that eventual event? Oh, just an explanation of how Tesla will charge for Model 3 access to Superchargers and more than likely complete self-driving autonomy. It is, after all, the obvious thing.

It's a crazy reality we live in — in about 18 months Tesla is going to be building cars that drive themselves. Of course, Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't so sure that this is actually reality. Not that it matters.

VRHeads — A virtual launch

Welcome to VRHeads! We're all about virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic reality — from the people who are using it to the things you can do with it to the hardware you'll need for it. We're talking everything from Google Cardboard to HTC Vive and Microsoft Hololens.

So the question is, should you buy a VR headset, and which one?. Admittedly, that's a complicated question. First off: yes, you should. But which one depends on what you want out of VR and your budget — and there are options for every preference and price point.

And because we just love you guys and VR so much, we're giving away the current cream of the crop: Enter to win a brand-new HTC Vive VR headset and an ASUS VR-capable desktop gaming rig!. It's one of the biggest giveaway's we've ever done, and we're giving you multiple ways to enter!

Windows Central — Insider changes

This week we had our Mobile Nations team on the ground in Taipei for one of the biggest PC and tech shows on the planet: Computex. You can see all of the coverage and hands-on videos on our top Computex page to catch up on anything you missed. Suffice to say, between ASUS and AMD and MSI and Intel, it was a busy show.

The face of the Microsoft Insider program, Gabriel Aul, announced he was stepping down so that he can focus on his primary job at Microsoft. Microsoft vet Dona Sarkar was announced as his replacement and took possession of the magic red button.

Speaking of the Windows Insider program both PC and Mobile had a Release Preview update that brought many fixes and improvements. Windows 10 Mobile got a Fast Ring update for Redstone enabling new features as well. Not to be left out even HoloLens picked up a massive update – its first so far – that brought a huge list of new features, improvements, and fixes. We showed what some of those new features look like in a hands-on video that you must see. The Microsoft Band 2 grabbed a new feature with Heart Rate Zones and support for Cortana on Android.

Finally, we kicked off our fifth Gems series focusing on new and awesome apps for Windows 10 and Mobile. So far, we covered Misfit, Todoist, and Roblox. Stop by and take a look to win some awesome prizes (US only) and learn how Windows 10 can help you #DoMoreEveryDay!