Asus CEO Jerry Shen unveiled the all-new ZenFone 5 Series at a special event in the Italian Pavilion at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.
The lineup includes the ZenFone 5Z and the ZenFone 5, exciting high-performance 6.2-inch dual-camera smartphones that are the first ever ZenFone models to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI), and which feature all-screen displays with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in a remarkably compact size that’s comparable to a standard 5.5-inch smartphone. The ZenFone 5Z — which starts at just $499 — is a high-performance version of the ZenFone 5 powered by the latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE), featuring 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for breathtaking performance and accelerated AI experiences. The ZenFone 5 is the first smartphone available worldwide to be powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform.
The ZenFone 5Q (introduced onstage at MWC as the ZenFone 5 Lite, but available in the North America as the ZenFone 5Q) is a stylish 6-inch smartphone featuring a premium true four-camera system, with a high-resolution camera and a 120° wide-angle camera at both front and rear.
“We embarked on the ZenFone project four years ago with the idea to create empowering luxury for everyone to enjoy,” said Mr. Shen. “Today, the ZenFone 5 Series is the most intelligent ZenFone series ever, utilizing advanced AI algorithms and big-data analytics to provide users with a unique slate of intelligent camera, communication and convenience features.”
Joining Mr. Shen on-stage for the announcement, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon commented, “We are excited to continue to work with ASUS to bring the latest advancements in mobile to consumers with the ZenFone 5 Series. Powered by powerful Snapdragon Mobile Platforms, ZenFone 5Z (Snapdragon 845 with the AIE) and ZenFone 5 (Snapdragon 636) will support superior user experiences that include dual cameras and artificial intelligence.”
Following the press event, OK Go — a multi-award-winning rock band from the US, whose honors include a GRAMMY — performed live at the after party. OK Go has joined in partnership with ASUS to work on the ZenFone 5 marketing campaign.
In addition to the products unveiled on stage, the brand-new ZenFone Max M1 smartphone and the ASUS NovaGo always-connected laptop were also showcased in the demo area.
ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5
The ZenFone 5Z is an exciting next-generation 6.2-inch, dual-camera smartphone that comes with a beautiful all-screen display featuring a 90% screen-to-body ratio, packed in a 5.5-inch body size. It’s the first-ever ZenFone model to harness the power of the latest Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with AIE, featuring a 3rd Generation AI platform that includes the Hexagon 685 Vector DSP, Adreno 630 Graphics, and Kryo 385 CPU. The ZenFone 5Z also benefits from the Snapdragon X20 Gigabit LTE modem, delivering speeds that surpass the gigabit barrier for a ‘wireless fiber’ experience, as well as integrated 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® 5 for ultra-low-power wireless earbuds. The high-performance ZenFone 5Z comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, offering breathtaking performance combined with outstanding energy efficiency for long-lasting battery life.
The ZenFone 5 features an exquisitely crafted design, an amazing dual-camera system, and is powered by the latest Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform. Both the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z feature intelligent dual-camera systems that adapt and learn, delivering perfect photos every time. Equipped with the latest flagship Sony® IMX363 sensor with large 1.4µm pixels, an f/1.8 wide-aperture lens, a 120° wide-angle secondary camera, four-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and AI-enhanced camera features — including AI Scene Detection for 16 different scenes and objects, AI Photo Learning, Real-time Portrait and Real-time Beautification — the ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5 encourage creativity and free the user to concentrate on the subject rather than the camera.
The ZenFone 5Q is a stylish 6-inch smartphone featuring a premium true four-camera system with high-resolution and wide-angle cameras at both front and rear. The ZenFone 5Q removes the limits on photographic creativity, with a high-resolution main camera — 20MP Sony at the front, 16MP at the rear — and, uniquely, a secondary 120° wide-angle camera at both front and rear. Unlike rival systems, each camera works independently every time for perfect selfies, group selfies (wefies), landscapes, portraits or groups shots. The 6-inch Full HD+ IPS display has a Full View 18:9 aspect ratio and an ultraslim bezel, making the pocket-friendly ZenFone 5Q as compact as a standard-aspect-ratio 5.5-inch phone. Powered by the Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the ZenFone 5Q combines incredible performance, optimized power efficiency and a 3300mAh battery with advanced security and convenience features — including NFC, triple-slot SIM/microSD card holder, rapid face unlock and fingerprint recognition — for a complete smartphone experience.
ZenFone Max M1
The ZenFone Max M1 is the latest model in the new ZenFone Max Series — renowned for its high battery capacities. The ZenFone Max M1 has a 5.5-inch full-view display in an amazingly compact body that’s no larger than many standard 5-inch smartphones, yet comes packed with a high-capacity 4000mAh battery.
With its expanded viewing area, compact size, dual rear cameras (one wide-angle), and convenient fingerprint-based unlocking, the ZenFone Max M1 offers a class-leading combination of features designed to encompass all life’s adventures. The ZenFone Max M1 has the stamina to go the distance, and lets photo-lovers see the bigger picture with a wider range of creative options — all in a stylish metallic-finished design that’s ergonomic and comfortable to hold.
The ASUS NovaGo is the world’s first Gigabit LTE-capable laptop designed for truly connected mobility, providing users with an always-on, always-connected experience. This ultrathin and light convertible laptop is powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform, and features a Snapdragon X16 Gigabit LTE modem for download speeds up to 3-7 times faster than average broadband speeds, and has integrated 2×2 11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 support. It has up to a 22-hour battery life with over 30 days of modern standby. Quick-charge functionality gives the NovaGo up to five hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge.
The NovaGo is a new breed of laptop designed for the tech-savvy user who is aware of the new and exciting always on, always connected possibilities. It provides familiar Windows experiences plus new features such as Windows Ink, Windows Hello and Cortana with blazing-fast connectivity and exceptional on-the-go power efficiency.
Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon
On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.
Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.
“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.
Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion. In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.
A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.
David Noton advises:
- Download the right apps to be in-the-know
The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky. Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.
- Invest in a lens with optimal zoom
On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.
- Use a tripod to capture the intimate details
As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.
- Integrate the moon into your landscape
Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.
- Master the shutter speed for your subject
The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability. By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.
On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!
How Africa can embrace AI
Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.
To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.
These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.
Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed
AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.
According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.
It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.
Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.
It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.
Combining STEM with the arts
Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.
As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.
For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.
“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.
Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.
Revisiting laws and regulation
For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.
Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.
Preparing for the future
With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.
To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.
It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.