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HTC unveils One A9

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HTC has unveiled the latest addition to the HTC One family – the A9 – featuring the HTC Sense skin on top of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. 

The company announced: “Built for people who want a better choice, the HTC One A9 is a smartphone that combines striking design on the outside with the newest features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow with HTC Sense on the inside to create an unrivaled smartphone experience.”

HTC provided the following information:

An evolution of the iconic HTC One family design, the HTC One A9 draws on the natural beauty around us, by using rich, striking colors and unique finishes – an approach called “metalmorphics.” New curves, refined edges, and precision-cut ridges on the power button flawlessly combine with the super-thin metal frame giving the phone a natural and lightweight feel. The elegant dual finish, available in a Carbon Gray, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold and Deep Garnet, is painstakingly brushed with hairline detail and bead-blasted before the sides are polished, giving additional depth and richness that is unique to the smartphone market. Finally, in a stunning fusion of metal and glass, a 5-inch, edge-to-edge, 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Full HD AMOLED screen cascades into the metal frame, giving you brighter and more vivid colors for brilliant graphics and gaming, even in direct sunlight.

Your best camera is the one you use whenever the moment strikes, so it should be able to capture stunning shots in any situation. The HTC One A9’s front and rear cameras, coupled with powerful yet simple editing tools, mean epic photos and videos are only a tap away. Its main 13MP rear camera features Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which automatically minimises hand shake and corrects vibrations to give you a crystal-clear picture every time. Meanwhile, the front UltraPixel camera delivers the best self-portraits in any lighting condition, using HTC’s UltraPixel sensor to capture 300% more light than conventional smartphone cameras.

With the HTC One A9, no detail is too small. Offering an optional Pro mode to capture the perfect photo without being a photography expert, you can also save photos using RAW capture – a tool used by professional photographers – for an unmatched level of detail and post-shot editing flexibility. Or you can keep things simple with Photo Editor’s one-button enhancement feature, which automatically brightens colors and sharpens edges for unbelievably clear and crisp photos.

Sometimes a still photo just isn’t enough. With the HTC One A9’s Hyperlapse editing tool you can speed up your videos to 12 times as fast for a dramatic time-lapse effect, creating an immersive video that perfectly captures the moments that matter. Speed through your video or use capture mode to edit in slow motion, highlighting those unforgettable memories. Or use HTC Zoe to easily and automatically mix your best shots and videos into one professional-looking highlight reel that can be shared with friends and family to tell the story of any moment from every angle.

Game changing audio has always been core to the HTC One family – the HTC One A9 delivers amazing sound quality, with HTC BoomSound integrated into the headset combined with Dolby Audio surround technology, delivering immersive, vibrant sound that matches a live experience in your headphones by taking high-resolution audio to the next level. With a built-in DAC that delivers audio at 24-bit, 192KHz quality – better than CD quality – it provides a richness and depth like you’ve never before heard from your music collection. A powerful high-output headphone amplifier, with double the output of other handsets, provides more power and dynamic range so you can hear every nuance of your favorite music, videos and games. Optional high-resolution audio certified HTC Pro Studio Earphones deliver both noise isolation and truly immersive sound.

Cutting-edge software: Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The first non-Nexus smartphone powered by Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the HTC One A9 brings Google’s latest innovations and the simplicity of HTC Sense right out of the box. Combined with a multi-directional fingerprint scanner, Android Pay makes purchasing items as secure and as easy as “tap, pay, done.” Google’s Now on Tap feature also intuitively provides contextual information about whatever is on your screen – look up reviews for a movie from a text, hear a song mentioned in a blog post, or book seats at a restaurant from an email, all at the press of the home button.

With so many new features, the HTC One A9 has also been designed with all new power-saving capabilities to maximize battery life. Doze automatically turns off power hungry applications when your phone is left idle, such as when charging overnight, while App Standby knows when an app open in the background isn’t being used and shuts it down until you need it again. In addition, the phone’s new processor, AMOLED screen and support for the optional HTC Rapid Charger 2.0, for up to 75% faster charging are all optimized to maximize battery life throughout the day. In real terms this means, for example, that you can play 12 hours of HD video on one charge.

Featuring the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor with integrated X8 LTE and 64-bit octa-core CPUs, the HTC One A9 is designed to deliver a perfect balance of powerful performance, fast connectivity and better battery life. With support for epic LTE wireless speeds through next-generation carrier aggregation technology, it delivers more high-definition streaming videos, more pulse-pounding high-resolution audio and more storage in the cloud to hold everything your heart desires. The phone is available in both 16 and 32GB configurations and features expandable memory, supporting up to 2TB in SD card storage, perfect for storing all your apps, games, photos, music and videos.

To protect your smartphone, pair it with the HTC Dot View II case, available in Obsidian, Deep Garnet, Sea Coral and Turquoise Blue. Its retro-inspired dot matrix cover reveals instant notifications, weather updates, caller ID and more, even while closed, and simple gesture controls bring music, flashlight, radio and voice recording tools closer than ever.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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