Week in Tech: New Galaxies, hoverboards, and why your house is stupid


Blimey, is it August already? That can only mean one thing: the world of tech is about to go crazy again. We're speeding towards the most important tech shopping season of the year, and that means lots and lots of new things for us to drool over. But that's not all. We've also seen tech that could transform the way we live, the way we see things and maybe even the way we skate.

Meet the new Nexus 5 and 6

The world of tech suffers from more leaks than a tent during the British summer, and this week's list'o'leaks includes some tasty titbits about the next Nexuses. With a launch expected as soon as next month we've got almost all the details of the phone: it'll have a 5.2-inch display with 13MP camera and an octa-core Snapdragon 620, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage and 3180mAh battery. That's the next Nexus 5; details on the next 6 are more sketchy, but we're hearing 5.7-inch display, a metal body and Rezence/WiPower wireless charging.

New Galaxies discovered

Nexuses aren't the only new handsets leaking all over the shop: Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy 6 Edge+ have been spotted in the wild too. It looks like Samsung is continuing to snub expandable storage: the pictures of the Note 5 show that there's no microSD card slot, and there's no removable cover like the one in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The Note 5 also drops the removable battery, which could be bad news for power users.

I spy with my bionic eye

Researchers from the University of Washington have given us a glimpse of what someone with a bionic eye implant might see when they open their eyelids. It's the first realistic simulation of a bionic eye's vision, and it's a big step forward: thanks to this, researchers will be able to develop ever better implants. It's amazing stuff.

Now that's what we call a smart home

Forget houses with clever thermostats: you can't call your home a smart home unless it can change shape according to the weather. The Motus concept is a transforming building that's powered by solar and cooled by water, and it's designed to use as little energy as possible. Sadly the cutting edge tech means we're in Grand Designs territory here: the lowest estimate for construction is $3.5 million, and if those builders are anything like the ones we know that means a final build cost of about eleventy billion dollars.

Is Windows 10 worth it?

Our detailed Windows 10 coverage didn't stop when the download links went live: we've been sharing our experiences with Microsoft's latest and apparently greatest operating system, and it's safe to say they've been mixed: while there's lots to love, there are also lots of little irritants, often due to bugs. It also turns out that some of the features you might expect as standard actually cost more: for example, if you want the Windows 10 DVD player it's US$15 (£9, AU$20) if you don't grab the time-limited free upgrade from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. You'll also need to pony up if you want an ad-free version of Solitaire.

These ones go up to eleven

Intel's sixth generation Skylake processors are heading to a desktop near you, and they're screamingly fast: fancy a Core i7 you can clock at 4.8GHz? Intel has yet to announce when its new processors will hit retail shelves, but gaming PC makers are already starting to announce newly updated lines featuring Skylake processors. The new chips don't just deliver fast performance: they also use Intel's latest Tock architecture and bring USB-C to desktop PCs.

Facebook invents a Periscope for pop stars

Fancy streaming live video to your Facebook friends and followers? Now you can, and the only catch is that you need to be famous before Facebook will let you use its new Live streaming service. We don't mean famous in terms of having quite a lot of Facebook followers, either: we're talking famous like The Rock, Serena Williams or Michael Bublé. Us? We'll be on Periscope with the rest of the plebs.

We got game

It might not be as big as E3, but the annual Gamescom hootenanny is giving gamers plenty to talk about. The Xbox One's backwards compatibility has been announced for August, Minecraft's creator has an Xbox One shooter for you to play, Bethesda's showing more of Fallout 4 and EA did a weird stage party thing to promote the Sims 4. Not only that, but we've got some brand new Metal Gear Solid V footage to gaze at. Behold!

Hover tech uncovered

Remember the hoverboard that Lexus was teasing everyone about a few weeks back? We've discovered the tech inside it, and it's really rather clever. How many boards do you know that feature liquid nitrogen-cooled semiconductors? Sadly you won't be able to pick one up and head for the nearest half-pipe: the board relies on powerful magnets embedded in Lexus's "hoverpark".

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