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CES 2016: 170 000 visitors included 50 000 non-US

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CES 2016 wrapped this weekend with more than 170 000 industry professionals, including more than 50 000 from outside the USA, having been drawn to this Las Vegas business event driving the global technology industry. 

“At CES 2016 everyone saw that tech is about more than single products and services, it is about improving our world and providing hope for our future. It was awe-inspiring to see traditional and non-traditional ‘tech’ industries meet to brainstorm, partner and collaborate on ways to do business and address global issues,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

“Technology now touches every facet of our lives, from improving our workouts and the way we sleep, to keeping us safe on the roads and in our homes and even preventing or treating illnesses. CES has cemented its position as the global gathering place for all industries to be wowed by the tens of thousands of ways that technology is changing the world as we know it.”

“CES is the one place where expanding global innovation, the technology community and government can join and showcase a better future for us all,” said John Penny, chief strategy officer, Starz.

CES once again confirmed its position as the global stage for innovation, with attendees from more than 150 countries and more than 100 official delegations, including the first Cuban delegation organized by the Cuban Embassy of the U.S.

“CES allows us to reach almost all of our key global partners – dealers, technology partners, suppliers and a huge press core from around the world – in a single efficient place,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO, Gibson Brands Inc. “It is not possible to touch base with so many relationships anywhere else. To have such intensity in a fun, hospitable and well organized show makes attendance a pleasure.”

Emerging innovation was at the heart of this year’s show with 500 startup companies in the Eureka Park Marketplace, up from 375 in 2015. “Eureka Park was incredibly inspiring,” said Paul Sabbah, president, Stamford International Inc.  “The exhibitors see a future that many of us have forgotten was ever there.”

From automotive technology and unmanned systems to wearables and 3D printing, the breadth and depth of innovation on display at CES is unmatched and growing. “You see so many important trends at CES,” said David Hagan, chairman and CEO, Boingo Wireless. “This week we saw that devices are no longer just connecting to the Internet, they are increasingly connected to each other.”

CES 2016 welcomed government officials including every member of the Federal Communications Commission and four members of the Federal Trade Commission. Two cabinet level officials, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Forman, as well as U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Mark Warner and Representatives Darrell Issa and Will Hurd also were in attendance. Other top level government attendees at CES included representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Trade Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, NASA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, among other government agencies.

With more than 6,000 members of the media in attendance, CES 2016 garnered worldwide media coverage. The show also received impressive social media momentum, including 1,278,870 mentions of the #CES2016 hashtag and 15.2 billion total potential social media impressions from January 5-9.

“We had amazing press coverage,” said Pat Lavalle, president and CEO, VOXX International. “We were able to see our customers, government guests and international partners all in one place. CES is the most efficient place in the world to do business.”

While attendance numbers reached a record high, improvements to show operations enabled attendees to navigate CES 2016 with ease. For the first time, Uber and Lyft were allowed to operate in Las Vegas, increasing transportation options for attendees. “Having Uber and Lyft available here was just amazing,” said Lee Cheng, chief legal officer, senior vice president, corporate development and corporate secretary, Newegg Inc. “It made it so much easier and convenient to get around and attend meetings.”

CTA will release final CES 2016 attendance figures upon completion of the show’s independent audit late this spring. CES will return to Las Vegas Thursday, January 5 through Sunday, January 8, 2017. For the latest CES news and videos, visit CESweb.org and CESweb.org/videos. B-roll for CES 2016 also is available online.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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