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IFA 2015: Huawei Watch timed for Android and IOS

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Huawei has unveiled the first smartwatch from a smartphone maker to be compatible with both IOS and Android.

Huawei this week officially introduced the new Huawei watch at a media event preceding the IFA trade show in Berlin.

The watch sports a “classic design inspired by Swiss timepieces” and is intended to bridge “the gap between fashion and technology”. It enables users to stay connected with notifications of calls, texts, instant messages and emails.

Huawei Consumer Business Group Watch

Huawei provided the following product information:

Crafted to meet the expectations of the fashion conscious user, including a fully circular 1.4-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED display, coated in scratch-proof sapphire crystal (the favoured choice among Swiss watch manufacturers) and a cold-forged stainless steel frame, its design embodies the space where fashion meets technology.

The watch is 42mm in diameter – the traditional dimension for wristwatches – with a unique design with its crown located at the two o’clock position.

The watch comes in a three different colours including rose gold, stainless steel and black and the ability to select from a variety of bespoke watch face designs, across a range of classic, luxury, business, feminine, modern and simple aesthetics.

There is also a choice of straps including stainless steel mesh, stainless steel links, rose gold, and black-plated stainless steel links, and brown and black leather. The straps are easy to change and users can fit any watch strap with 18mm width lug interface.

Sporting technology

The Huawei watch is a perfect exercise companion with a heart rate sensor to measures heart rate and the 6-axis motion sensor can track activities including walking, running, cycling and mountain climbing. It is also able to download music for offline playback via Bluetooth, which can also link up to wireless headphones.

The watch is powered by the latest version of Android Wear, which for the first time supports both Android and iOS devices. Music can be started with voice commands and users can search for destinations and navigate there using the same voice actions. Locating missing phones has never been easier than with the watch’s “find my phone” function.

While the watch sets the bar from a technology standpoint Huawei is teaming up with international fashion photographer, Mario Testino to produce a campaign featuring American supermodel Karlie Kloss and one of the world’s top male models, Sean O’Pry. This is the first time that Huawei has worked with these fashion icons to convey its vision of a world where fashion and technology converge.

Benjamin Norton, Wearable Design Expert at the Huawei Consumer BG, said: “Today, consumers are rarely content with just staying connected; they are looking for a premium smartwatch that is technologically innovative. When designing this watch, we were keen to combine the best in technology and innovation with premium materials and a classic look and feel. With the sapphire crystal and circular watch face, we feel that the Huawei watch has achieved this.”

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said: “Huawei is dedicated to continually innovating and creating new products to suit our consumers’ needs. This first smartwatch in our wearables family has been designed following extensive research and demonstrated consumer demand for smart wrist wear. The Huawei watch is unique within the market with its premium look and feel and classic design, combined with superior smart technology, which allows users to stay connected on the go. No doubt, wearable devices will remain one of the most significant trends in the device industry, and by leveraging Huawei’s technology and innovation, Huawei Consumer BG aims to be a leader in the wearable space.”

South African availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.

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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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