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CES 2016: Daily life drives Intel’s tech vision 

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The vast power of technology to deliver new and amazing experiences throughout daily life was the driving force behind Intel’s announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

From the digitisation of sports, to advances in health and wellness, to unleashing human creativity through music, art, robotics and invention, the company announced a number of collaborations, products and innovative technologies that “make the amazing possible”.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced a series of collaborations with leading industry brandsthat will use technology and data analytics to benefit people’s overall health, fitness and athletic performance. Intel announced plans to work with ESPN and Red Bull Media House, New Balance and Oakley.

Krzanich also announced a multi-year partnership with The Recording Academy as part of its official “Next Generation of GRAMMY Moments” to use technological innovation for people to see and engage in the evolution of technology in music. The first artist to collaborate with Intel on the programme will be six-time GRAMMY-winning artist Lady Gaga.

These collaborations underscore the three trends that Krzanich said are shaping the future: the smart and connected world, technologies gaining human-like senses, and computing becoming ultra-personal.

“There is a rapidly growing role for technology that is at once transformative, unprecedented and accessible,” said Krzanich. “With people choosing experiences over products more than ever before, Intel technology is a catalyst to making amazing new experiences possible, and ultimately improving the world in which we live.”

He also stressed that Intel remains focused on addressing big societal challenges facing the technology industry and foreshadowed plans for a bold, new anti-online harassment effort with Vox Media, Re/code and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to promote diversity and inclusion. And he confirmed that Intel is moving beyond just microprocessors to achieve its goal of validating its broader product base as “conflict-free” in 2016.

“When Intel started its work to address conflict minerals and gaps in diversity and inclusion, we were told by many people that our goals were unrealistic and would be impossible to achieve,” said Krzanich. “Our collective efforts show that we can influence entirely new and different ways of doing business that also improve the human experience.”

Below are more details from announcements featured during the Intel keynote at CES 2016, as supplied by Intel:

Digitising the Sports Experience:

Intel announced a collaboration with ESPN to showcase the latest technology set to add new levels of data-powered insights to the feats of athleticism at X Games Aspen 2016. The tiny, low power Intel Curie module will be integrated into the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle and Men’s Snowboard Big Air competitions to provide real-time data on athlete performance such as in-air rotations, jump height, jump distance, speed, and force on landing. This access to new data will provide athletes with greater insights into their performance, provide additional metrics for on-air analysts, and change the fan experience both at home and in the stands. The competitions will be televised on ESPN and ABC.

Intel and Red Bull Media House announced a global partnership that will extend into multiple genres and platforms. Red Bull Media House CTO Andreas Gall joined Krzanich on stage to demonstrate how athletes and spectators can get information about the performance instantly with the help of Intel Curie technology, with the promise of more announcements to come in 2016 and beyond.

Intel is working with Replay Technologies to deliver completely new viewing experiences for sports fans on broadcast, in the stadium, and in the home. Using Replay’s freeD technology optimised for Intel platforms, sports fans will be able to re-watch key moments of sporting events from nearly every conceivable angle and share a custom created clip with the world. FreeD takes advantage of 6th Generation Intel Core processors and Intel server technology that has been optimised to deliver this immersive entertainment experience.

Changing the Landscape of Health and Wellness:

Intel and New Balance announced a strategic collaboration to develop wearable technologies that connect athletes with technology to improve their athletic performance as part of New Balance’s newly formed Digital Sport division. Krzanich and New Balance CEO, Rob DeMartini, wore running shoes featuring customised 3-D printed midsoles enabled by Intel  RealSens technology and disclosed plans to develop a smart sport watch available for the 2016 holiday season.

Oakley and Intel previewed the first look at “Radar Pace” – smart eyewear featuring a voice-activated, real-time coaching system. Oakley is the first Luxottica Group* brand that Intel is working with to fuse premium, luxury and sports eyewear with smart technology. Engineered with Intel Innovation and crafted with Oakley’s high-quality design and materials, the smart eyewear is designed to provide runners, cyclists and workout enthusiasts with in-the-moment feedback and analytics, helping to track progress and improve real-time performance.

Unleashing Creativity:

Six-time GRAMMY-winning global music icon Lady Gaga announced her first collaboration with Intel, in association with Intel’s announcement of a multiyear partnership with The Recording Academy as part of the official “Next Generation of GRAMMY Moments” programme that will launch during Grammy week in February 2016. Lady Gaga commented: “Intel has enlisted Haus of Gaga to work together on a project that will showcase technology through creativity at the highest level. The partnership culminates in a ground-breaking collaboration that inspires to remind the world of the seed of innovation.” While Lady Gaga will not perform new material as part of the programme, she promises to deliver an experience not to be forgotten.

MGM Television Group* and Digital President Mark Burnett joined Krzanich on stage to provide a sneak peek at the innovators vying to turn their ideas into reality – from improving health monitoring to communicating in new ways to testing the limits of our imagination – in the new competition series, America’s Greatest Makers. Premiering this spring on TBS, America’s Greatest Makers is part of a larger initiative that includes coverage on CNN.com, Bleacher Report and other Turner digital brands. They also launched the Digital Hub at http://www.americasgreatestmakers.com/, which spotlights inventors, new innovations and tech tutorials, as well as unique weekly digital content.

Intel’s leadership to integrate human-like senses into technology continues to gain momentum: In unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Krzanich demonstrated the Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense technology, which enables collision-avoidance capabilities and will be available 1H 2016. In robotics, Krzanich showcased a Segway personal transporter from Ninebot that can transform into a robot. The open platform uses the new Intel RealSense ZR300 Camera to navigate complex environments and intelligently interact with users and sensors in the home and is powered by an Intel Atom™ processor. Segway plans to make the robot commercially available and will initially introduce a developer kit in the second half of this year.

Improving the Human Experience:

Krzanich highlighted plans for a new anti-online harassment effort with Vox Media, Re/code and Born This Way Foundation. The initiative will be unveiled on 7 January and will help make our smart, connected world a safer, more inclusive place.

Third-party audits and direct validation by Intel’s supply chain organisation will confirm that the company’s broader product base – beyond just microprocessors – is “conflict free.” Maintaining accountability in the supply chain is an ongoing process for Intel.

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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.

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Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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LG G7 arrives in SA

LG this week introduced South Africa to its latest premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, focused on bringing useful and convenient AI features to the smartphone experience.

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Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the LG G7 ThinQ offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage to run demanding tasks and apps with. It is equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Bright Display, but the LG G7 ThinQ remains compact enough to use with one hand.

Sporting a new design aesthetic for the G series, the polished metal rim gives the LG G7 ThinQ a sleeker, more refined look, complemented by Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back for enhanced durability. Rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the LG G7 ThinQ is also awarded MIL-STD 810 c certification, having been subjected to a range of extreme temperature and environment tests designed by the United States military.

The LG G7 ThinQ has an 8MP camera up front, rendering clear and natural selfies, with two 16MP cameras at the back that deliver higher resolution photos with more detail, as well as a Super Wide Angle configuration.

As with other leading brands, LG has evolved its signature camera by including AI functionality. The AI CAM offers 19 shooting modes for intelligence-optimised shots. Users can also improve their photos by choosing from an additional three effect options should the AI CAM recommendation not suit their taste.

The new Super Bright Camera captures images that are up to four times brighter than typical photos shot in dim light. Through the combination of pixel binning and software processing, the AI algorithm adjusts the camera settings automatically when shooting in low light.

Live Photo Mode records one second before and after the shutter is pressed for snippets of unexpected moments or expressions that would normally be missed. Stickers uses face recognition to generate fun 2D and 3D overlays, such as sunglasses and headbands, that can be viewed directly on the display.

New to the G series is Portrait Mode, which generates professional-looking shots with out-of-focus backgrounds. This effect can be generated using both front and rear standard lenses as well as the rear Super Wide Angle lens.

LG G7 ThinQ offers further AI functionality with the inclusion of Google Lens features. Google Lens is a new way to search using the AI and computer vision. Google Assistant and Google Photos allow users to access more information on objects such as landmarks, plants, animals, and books. It can identify text or visit websites, add business cards to contacts, events to the calendar or look up an item on a restaurant menu.

A button just below the volume keys launches the AI functionality. A single tap of this button launches the Google Assistant, while two quick taps launches Google Lens. Users can also hold down the button to start talking to the Google Assistant without the repetition of the OK Google command.

With Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) and the highly-sensitive G7ThinQ microphone, the Google Assistant can recognise voice commands from up to five meters away. SFFVR is able to separate commands from background noise, making the LG G7 ThinQ an alternative to a home AI speaker, even when the TV is on. Commands for the Google Assistant have been increased in the LG G7 ThinQ so users can get more done with their voice alone.

“The LG G7 ThinQ is strongly focused on the fundamentals and its launch marks a new chapter for our company,” said Deon Prinsloo, General Manager for Mobile Communication, LG Electronics S.A Pty Ltd. “Through the combination of personalised and useful AI functionalities with meaningful smartphone features, this is LG’s most convenient and in the moment smartphone yet.”

Key Specifications

  • Mobile Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.1-inch QHD+ 19.5:9 FullVision Super Bright Display (3120 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:
    • LG G7 ThinQ: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM / 64GB UFS 2.1 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:
    • Rear Dual: 16MP Super Wide Angle (F1.9 / 107°) / 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°)
    • Front: 8MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 80°)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Size: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 162g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Colours: New Aurora Black
  • Others: Super Bright Display / New Second Screen / AI CAM / Super Bright Camera / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / Boombox Speaker / Google Lens / AI Haptic / Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Google Assistant Key / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / FM Radio
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