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IFA 2015: Samsung gears up with S2 smartwatch

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At this year’s IFA conference, Samsung showcased two versions of the S2 smartwatch which are designed to offer smartwatch features in devices that look like a standard wrist-watches.

At the IFA trade show in Berlin this weekend, Samsung Electronics  announced the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, the company’s latest offering from what it calls “progressive innovation in the wearables category”.

The company provided the following information on the device:

The Samsung Gear S2 comes in a circular design with a custom UX and advanced features that enable users to enhance, personalise and bring more fun to their mobile experience.

The Gear S2’s rotating bezel, along with the Home and Back buttons, ensures users will have a quicker, more precise method to access notifications and applications.

Introduced in two different options – the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic – Samsung designed the Gear S2 to appeal to two distinct consumer preferences. The Gear S2 classic is made for users who prefer a more timeless watch design, offering a black finish with a matching leather band. The Gear S2 is ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for a minimal and modern design.

“For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Business. “The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s most progressive innovation. It is a great complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout—and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun.”

A mere 11.4-millimeter thin, the Samsung Gear S2 brings a light and compact design to your wrist. It offers a vibrant viewing experience for a smartwatch, thanks to its 1.2” circular screen and its 360 x 360 resolution (302 ppi). With the latest Tizen OS and an optimised 1-GHz dual core processor, the Samsung Gear S2 can perform tasks easily and efficiently.

Users can stay connected with at-a-glance notifications to check calendars, e-mails, news and can even send important texts directly from their wrist. Users can choose the Gear S2 with 3G connectivity which incorporates the first-ever e-SIM with voice capability, to perform quick functions without being closely tethered to their phone.

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New fitness functions on the Samsung Gear S2 will encourage consumers to stay healthy and active. The 24-hour activity log lets users view daily activity progress and patterns at a glance. It will also send reminder updates to motivate users to stay on track with their fitness goals.

For the ultimate convenience, the Samsung Gear S2 comes with NFC technology which will enable mobile payments without the need for a wallet. Samsung is working with a wide selection of partners across different industries to expand the usability of wearables and streamline consumers’ mobile lives in a variety of ways, including smart car keys, residential room keys, and remote controls to manage a connected home.

All of these connected features will be supported by a battery that can last up to 2-3 days, allowing consumers to stay connected without the hassle of constantly having to recharge. To charge, simply place the Samsung Gear S2 on the wireless charging dock right out of the box.

The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s commitment to openly collaborate with developers and partners to bring increased customization and applications to its devices. Samsung is working closely with partners to offer a range of watch faces and watch bands so that users can have a variety of ways to express their personal style and mood. Users can easily change the band with one click, and change the watch face for a more personalized and sophisticated Gear experience depending on the time, place or occasion.

A variety of apps optimized for the Gear S2’s circular user interface will be available at launch. Through open collaboration with developers and partners, Samsung is continuing to enrich its wearable ecosystem and provide users with a more optimized and unique smart wearable experience.

The Samsung Gear S2 will be available in a Dark Gray case with a Dark Gray band and Silver case with a White band. The Samsung Gear S2 classic will be available in a Black case with a Leather band.

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Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic Product Specifications:
Display :1.2”, Circular Super AMOLED, 360×360, 302ppi

AP :Dual core 1.0 GHz

OS :Tizen based wearable platform

Audio :Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG

Memory :Storage: 4GB Internal Memory / RAM: 512MB

Features :Communications:
– Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Email, – Preset text, Voice Input, Emoticons, Keypads

Features :Health & Fitness:
– S Health, Nike+ Running

Features :Information:
– Schedule, News, Maps & Navigation, Weather

Features :Media:
– Music Player, Gallery

Features :Others:
– Voice, Voice Memo, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode, Safety assistance, Privacy lock

Features :IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant

Samsung Services :Samsung Gear Apps

Connectivity :Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC

Sensor :Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer

Dimension :Gear S2 : 42.3×49.8×11.4mm (47g)
Gear S2 classic : 39.9×43.6×11.4mm (42g)

Battery :Wireless Charging
250mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2~3days

Samsung Gear S2 3G Version Product Specifications:
Display :1.2”, Circular Super AMOLED, 360×360, 302ppi

AP :Dual core 1.0 GHz

OS :Tizen based wearable platform

Audio :Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG

Memory :Storage: 4GB Internal Memory / RAM: 512MB

Features :Communications:
– Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Email, – Preset text, Voice Input, Emoticons, Keypads

Features :Health & Fitness:
– S Health, Nike+ Running

Features :Information:
– Schedule, News, Maps & Navigation, Weather

Features :Media:
– Music Player, Gallery

Features :Others:
– S Voice, Voice Memo, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode, Safety assistance, Privacy lock

Features :IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant

Samsung Services :Samsung Gear Apps

Connectivity :Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC

Sensor :Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer

Dimension :44.0 x 51.8 x 13.4mm (51g)

Battery :Wireless Charging
300mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2 days

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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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