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CES 2016: New Balance runs into connected consumer

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At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, New Balance announced its Digital Sport division, designed to motivate and improve athletes’ lives through digital experiences and wearable technologies.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, global athletic company New Balance announced  a new division dedicated exclusively to connecting consumers with the technology they desire to improve their athletic performance.  New Balance Digital Sport will focus on understanding, motivating and improving the lives of athletes through digital experiences and wearable technologies.  The first consumer product to launch from the new division will be a smartwatch, expected to begin retailing in the 2016 holiday season.

“New Balance has a 110-year heritage of product development and innovation in the running category, and, our new Digital Sport division represents our newest commitment to invest in athletes and runners around the world in their pursuit of extraordinary physical feats,” said Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance.  “Digital technology has truly revolutionized, very quickly, this industry and New Balance wants to continue to be a brand on the forefront, arming our athletes with the cutting-edge products that will help them reach peak performance.”

New Balance Digital Sport will develop a comprehensive athlete-focused digital ecosystem featuring innovative New Balance-branded wearable technology products designed to improve physical performance.  The company will partner with leading digital, hardware and software companies, including Intel, Google, Strava and Zepp, to incorporate smart technologies, optimized for wearable consumer products, into footwear and apparel lines across a variety of sports.

Digital Sport will initially focus on three product categories: devices, including the smart-watch; embedded technology, such as intelligent sensors integrated into New Balance footwear and apparel; and performance sport, including sports equipment micro-fob that senses, analyzes and provides feedback on the athlete’s performance.

The division’s inaugural product will be a smartwatch that will enable athletes to work out while untethered from their smart phones.  Specifically designed for runners by runners, the watch will track runners’ routes via GPS and also enable them to run with music, all without carrying their smartphones.  Google and Intel will be providing the athlete focused smartwatch platform powered by Android Wear.

“Technology has tremendous power to make the amazing possible, and nowhere is that more apparent than in sports and fitness,” said Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel Corporation. “As an avid runner, I look forward to seeing how our collaboration with New Balance and their deep intelligence about the running experience can unlock the performance potential for runners everywhere.”

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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