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CES 2016: Polaroid reinvents instant camera – again

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At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Polaroid announced the Polaroid Snap+ instant print camera featuring a 3.5 inch touch screen and an improved 13 megapixel CMOS sensor.

Building off of the success of its first generation Polaroid Snap, Polaroid  took the wraps off of the new Polaroid Snap+ instant print camera at CES 2016. Bringing a number of new features to the table, the Polaroid Snap+ will add even more fun and versatility to the instant print photography experience – an experience that is unmistakably Polaroid.

“Our brand’s renewed focus on product design has allowed us to bring new and exciting products – such as the Polaroid Snap+ –  to market that evoke an emotional connection with our consumers,” said Scott W. Hardy, President and CEO of Polaroid.  “Above all things, our brand is known for being fun and for the nostalgic instant photography experience which is our legacy. Now that we’ve reinvigorated that experience with digital technologies, its allowing Polaroid to reintroduce the idea of ‘click and print’ photography to a new generation of consumers.”

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Click, Print and Share
Taking the Polaroid Snap to the next level, the new Polaroid Snap+ instant print camera incorporates a wide range of updated features for a traditional and instant digital camera experience. Updates include the addition of a 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD for framing shots and navigating the camera’s menu, a new and improved 13 megapixel CMOS sensor for higher-quality images as well as 1080p full HD video recording capability. All images and video are stored on a micro SD card (up to 128GB).

Perhaps the most exciting addition to the new Polaroid Snap+ is remote connectivity through Bluetooth to the Polaroid print app that will allow the camera to connect to and print from other devices such as smartphones and tablets. The app, available free for iOS and Android, will give users the ability to edit and enhance their prints with a number of creative filters, digital stickers, effects and controls. Now, consumers will have an all-in-one solution for capturing and sharing images on the go. No matter what device their images are taken with, they’ll be able to share the fun.

Like the Polaroid Snap instant print camera, at the heart of the new Polaroid Snap+ is an integrated printer using ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology, which gives users the ability to print full color, 2×3″ prints automatically when an image is captured. With the new Polaroid Snap+, up to ten images can be queued to print at any time, so that photos can still be taken while prints are in progress. Of course the new Polaroid Snap+ is ideal for today’s selfie shooters thanks to a self-timer and the addition of a pop-up selfie mirror that ensures the user is framed perfectly in the shot. Additionally, the Polaroid Snap+ has three color modes—black and white, color, and vintage sepia—with the option to print with or without the Polaroid Classic Border Logo.

The Polaroid Snap+ was designed in partnership with renowned design firm, Ammunition, the studio that was also behind the Polaroid Zip instant photoprinter and Polaroid Cube and Polaroid Cube+ lifestyle action cameras. With the Polaroid Snap family of instant print cameras, Ammunition created a sense of continuity between classic Polaroid cameras and current Polaroid products. Led by industrial designer Robert Brunner, Ammunition is the design studio behind award-winning consumer brands including Adobe, Beats by Dre, Square, Lyft, and Williams-Sonoma.

ZINK Zero Ink Printing
The Polaroid Snap+ instant print camera uses the revolutionary ink-free Zero Ink® Printing technology developed by ZINK. The ZINK-enabled printer uses heat to activate and colorize cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals embedded in the paper. The result is full-color, high quality, long-lasting and smudge-proof images without ink cartridges, ribbons or toner.

The 2X3″ photo prints in just under a minute so consumers can instantly share the photo with their friends and family. Additionally, because ZINK Paper® is adhesive backed the photo can be used as a sticker as well.

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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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