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Huawei unveils P8 in SA

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Huawei unveiled its new flagship phone, the P8, in Johannesburg this week, with the aim of setting a new bar on features like usability and battery life.

Huawei this week introduced its latest flagship phone, the P8, to South Africa, at a launch event in Johannesburg. It is the latest stop in a worldwide tour that has included stops in Bangkok, Singapore, New York and London, with newly appointed GM of Huawei Consumer Business Group SA, Charlene Munilall, unveiling a smartphone that, she says, “flawlessly balances artistry and creativity”.

“The goal of the Huawei P8 is to become the most user-friendly smart phone for consumers globally,” she said. “Huawei seamlessly combines the best elements of style and durability in this device, delivering a revolutionary and premium user experience. The device symbolises our continuous commitment to provide customers with access to premium quality products.”

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According to Huawei, the P8 embodies classic yet inspiring design, class-leading technology and ease of use. It is aimed at the fashion-conscious, visually stimulated modern user. It will be available in South African stores and through all network operators from the second week of July.

“The P8’s outward appeal lies in its sleek, classical design that reflects its users’ sense of style and appreciation of performance and usability,” according to a Huawei statement. “Combining elegance, craftsmanship and durability, the P8 is manufactured using the latest Nano-injection moldings technology to deliver a one-piece aluminum body. The sleek design combines comfort and ease of use.”

The beveled body measures only 6,4mm in thickness, and weighs only 144g. It is available in silver, gold, black and grey.The P8 carries a 5.2’’ full HD display with a 1080p resolution.

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Huawei provided the following additional detail:

These physical attributes that perfectly blend human-machine design are enhanced by clarity of thought and ease of use in the user interface that delivers a new level of usability for applications impacting everyday life – at work and at play.

This is by virtue of Huawei’s Emotion UI 3.0 (EMUI) user interface that redefines the user experience. Built on top of the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, EMUI offers what can only be called a containerized solution: it’s a look, feel and set of features unique to Huawei.

Android Lollipop 5.0 on the P8 features a bold design that is responsive and allows for quick ways to view and respond to messages directly from the locked screen. It comes with automatic encryption to help protect data on the device if it is lost or stolen. The inclusion of SELinux running on all applications allows for protection against vulnerability and malware. Another great feature that comes part of the Operating System is when the screen is off, simply utter the words “OK Google” to access the full Google offering.

This attention to usability detail is taken a few steps further with the ability to increase the volume by up to 58 percent above normal level in noisy environments, as well as the ability to cut out 90 percent of wind noise when using a headset or earphones with a single mic.

Add to this the super hands-free functionality that enables clear hands-free speaker calls within two meters, and the built-in independent audio decoder chipset that doubles the music volume without sacrificing audio quality.

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All these features and functionality are powered by Kirin 930 Octa-Core 64-bit chipset, delivering outstanding performance that outpaces the smart phone market by 20 percent. The 2680mAh battery has been optimized through extensive research and development in the Huawei laboratories and offers 24 hours of standby power when only 10 percent battery power remains.

This has been achieved by also applying Huawei’s unique battery management technology that includes features such as balancing brightness and energy consumption that provides 20 percent higher efficiency than comparative phones.

The P8 is available with either 16GB or 64GB on-board memory, which can be supplemented with a micro SD card up to 128GB that fits into the dual SIM slot that alternatively accepts a second SIM card.

The Huawei P8 is optimized for 4G/LTE data connections as well as enhanced network roaming – which is performed nearly three times faster than competitor phone models.

By the same token, voice quality has been given a boost with Huawei’s Signal+ technology that provides seamless network connectivity, even when users are travelling on a train at a speed of up to 300 kilometers per hour.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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