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MWC: Huawei P10 ‘puts studio in your pocket’

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Huawei launched its new flagship smartphones, the P10 and P10+, with the promise to “make every shot a cover shot”.

Huawei launched two new flagship smartphones during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. The Huawei Consumer Business Group announced the P10 and P10+, co-engineered with Leica, promising to “bring professional studio-like effects to enhance your portrait photography”, and claiming these to be the most advanced photography smartphones available.

For the first time in a smartphone, Huawei P10 and P10+ feature a Leica front camera, to complement their Leica Dual rear camera. By utilising the world’s most advanced photographic technology to create modern artistic portraits in Leica’s signature image style, Huawei says “the P10 and P10+ put all the tools of an artistic studio in your pocket”. With features including studio-like re-lighting and 3D facial detection technology, it says, users are able to produce beautiful photography results in any environment.

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Huawei provided the following information:

The new front camera allows anyone to capture perfect portrait photography in Leica image style whilst the rear camera captures facial features with incredible detail, bringing your photos vividly to life. Whichever way your lens is pointed you will be able to make every shot a cover shot, and professional lighting effects make your subject stand out, whatever the conditions. Huawei’s Hybrid Zoom, is an additional feature that allows users to focus in on specific areas of an image while still keeping the sharpness of image quality.

Further, through a special partnership with Pantone Color Institute, the world’s pre-eminent thought leader on colour, the devices are introduced in the latest on-trend colours, optimised for the phone’s Hyper Diamond-Cut finish.

As well as redefining portrait photography through the latest photographic technologies, the P10 and P10+ set a new standard in colour and design. Co-created with Pantone Color Institute, the devices launch in two specially selected Pantone colours: Pantone Greenery*, the official Pantone Colour of the Year 2017, and a captivating deep blue shade which Huawei is offering as Dazzling Blue. By combining Huawei’s advanced industry design expertise and leading metal craftsmanship with the trusted colour thought leadership and direction of Pantone Color Institute, the P10 and P10+ embody the personalities of the contemporary consumer.

The result of hours of careful craftsmanship and cross-collaboration between Huawei and Pantone Color Institute, both colourways have been specially optimised for the surface and texture of the P10 and P10+ to deliver smartphones that are as beautiful to look at as they are to use. Greenery delivers a clean and stylish sandblast finish, whilst the unique Hyper Diamond-Cut in Dazzling Blue is brought to life through a stunning glow effect. To complement these unique colourways, the P10 and P10+ are also available in a selection of striking colours including Ceramic White, Dazzling Gold, Prestige Gold, Graphite Black, Rose Gold and Mystic Silver.

As part of the Huawei P series, the P10 and P10+ feature an ultra slim, minimalistic form with rounded curves. The high-quality design extends to its high-performance functions which include super-fast charging, thanks to Huawei’s proprietary SuperCharge technology, an operating system that will always stay just as fast as they day you purchased it and superior connectivity that ensures wherever you are you’ll stay connected.

Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group, said: “With Huawei P10 and P10+ we have created a smartphone that revolutionises and redefines portrait photography. Thanks to the evolution of our partnership with Leica Camera users now have an incredible Leica front camera on their Huawei device in addition to the rear. To match this innovation inside, Huawei’s partnership with Pantone Color Institute ensures that the devices are equally as beautiful on the outside. The Huawei P10 and P10+ are smartphones that are as fashionable as they are functional.”

Laurie Pressman, VP of Pantone Color Institute added: “With consumers increasingly comfortable using colour as a form of expression, we are seeing more experimentation and creative uses of colour. Colour is truly a medium through which individuals can express themselves to the world around them. Huawei recognises this evolving consumer dynamic and through our partnership we’re looking forward to providing Huawei customers with the ability to make a bold colour statement.”

Huawei has harnessed its relationship with Saatchi Gallery and Leica Camera to redefine portrait photography. Seven renowned photographers recommended by these iconic institutions have created a collection of stunning, artistic works using the Huawei P10 smartphone. Focusing attention on the evolution of portraiture, the photographers have created their own interpretation of portrait photography, using the handset.

Oliver Kaltner, CEO Leica Camera said: “Our partnership with Huawei allows us to demonstrate to millions of customers that amazing and professional imagery can be achieved on a smartphone and that our expertise in lenses and optics can help them achieve fantastic portraits. Huawei P10 and P10+ give users all the tools of an artistic portrait studio in their pocket, allowing them to achieve stunning results every time they take a shot.”

These artists’ work debuted for the first time at a special pop-up exhibition in Barcelona, from 26 February – 28 February 2017. And selected works will be included in the ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’ exhibition at Saatchi Gallery London from 30 March.

Huawei has also partnered with Chinese designer Ricostru to develop a new aesthetic for a new collection of P10 and P10+ accessories. The collection features the mini smartphone bag; the perfect partner for the new devices. Small but stylish, the bag fuses retro and oriental elements throughout weaving textures and a sculpted architectural aesthetic. To ensure that your new Huawei smartphone never runs out of power in the most fashionable way possible, Ricostru also introduces a unique, fashionable bracelet that can quickly transform from a chic braided band, into a mobile phone charging cable.

Huawei P10 key Portraiture Features:

  • 3D Facial Detection An all-new intelligent facial detection system features over 190 detailed identification nodes for accurate recognition for perfect selfies.
  • Leica Dual-Camera 2.0: The Leica Dual-Camera 2.0 on the P10 features a 12MP RGB + 20MP monochrome sensor that captures detailed facial features. The 2.0 Pro Edition carries SUMMILUX-H Leica lenses, with a larger F/1.8 aperture to capture more light in low-light situations
  • Hybrid Zoom: An additional new feature that allows users to focus in on specific areas of an image while still keeping the sharpness of image quality
  • Embedded ISP: The Kirin 960 with embedded ISP enables real-time viewing of depth-of-field changes and facial features.
  • Studio-like Portrait Enhancements: The artistic imaging algorithm in the Huawei P10 and P10+ is based on the extensive research of various different face shapes and skin colors. By understanding the relative position of each facial feature and the uniqueness of skin type, the portrait enhancements can be applied in a customized and more natural way.
  • Dynamic Illumination: Huawei P10 and P10+ include an auto-sensing algorithm that tracks environment lighting changes and automatically adjusts the shooting configuration, including the AWB, shutter speed and more
  • Front Camera Sensor: All-new front camera sensor that captures more light to improve picture quality in low-light conditions.

The Huawei P10 and P10+ are available in Europe and China from March, 2017, followed shortly after by Asia, Latin America, South Africa and Russia in April, 2017. Priced at: P10 €649, P10+ (64GB + 4GB) €699, P10+ (128GB + 6GB) €799.

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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