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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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Online retail gets real

After decades of experience in selling online, retailers still seek out the secret of reaching the digital consumer, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s been 23 years since the first pizza and the first bunch of flowers was sold online. One would think, after all this time, that retailers would know exactly what works, and exactly how the digital consumer thinks.

Yet, in shopping-mad South Africa, only 4% of adults regularly shop online. One could blame high data costs, low levels of tech-savviness, or lack of trust. However, that doesn’t explain why a population where more than a quarter of people have a debit or credit card and almost 40% of people use the Internet is staying away.

The new Online Retail in South Africa 2019 study, conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Visa and Platinum Seed, reveals that growth is in fact healthy, but is still coming off a low base. This year, the total sale of retail products online is expected to pass the R14-billion mark, making up 1.4% of total retail.

This figure represents 25% growth over 2017, and comes after the same rate of growth was seen in 2017. At this rate, it is clear that online retail is going mainstream, driven by aggressive marketing, and new shopping channels like mobile shopping. 

But it is equally clear that not all retailers are getting it right. According to the study, the unwillingness of business to reinvest revenue in developing their online presence is one of the main barriers to long-term success. Only one in five companies surveyed invested more than 20% of their online turnover back into their online store. Over half invested less than 10% back.

On the surface, the industry looks healthy, as a surprisingly high 71% of online retailers surveyed say they are profitable. But this brings to mind the early days of Amazon.com, in 1996, when founder Jeff Bezos was asked when it would become profitable.

He declared that it would not be profitable for at least another five years. And if it did, he said, it would be in big trouble. He meant that it was so important for long-term sustainability that Amazon reinvest all its revenues in customer systems, that it could not afford to look for short-term profits.

According to the South African study, the single most critical factor in the success of online retail activities is customer service. A vast majority, 98% of respondents, regarded it as important. This positions customer service as the very heart of online retail. For Amazon, investment back into systems that would streamline customer service became the key to the world’s digital wallets.

In South Africa online still make up a small proportion of overall retail, but for the first time we see the promise of a broader range of businesses in terms of category, size, turnover and employee numbers. This is a sign that our local market is beginning to mature. 

Clothing and apparel is the fastest growing sector, but is also the sector with the highest turnover of businesses. It illustrates the dangers of a low barrier to entry: the survival rate of online stores in this sector is probably directly opposite to the ease of setting up an online apparel store.

A fast-growing category that was fairly low on the agenda in the past, alcohol, tobacco and vaping, has benefited from the increased online supply of vapes, juices and accessories. It also suggests that smoking bans, and the change in the legal status of marijuana during the survey, may have boosted demand. 

In the coming weeks, we can expect online retail to fall under the spotlight as never before. Black Friday, a shopping tradition imported “wholesale” from the United States, is expected to become the biggest online shopping day of the year in South Africa, as it is in the USA.

Initially, it was just a gimmick in South Africa, attempting to cash in on what was a purely American tradition of insane sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, which occurs on the third Thursday of November every year. It is followed by Cyber Monday, making the entire weekend one of major promotions and great bargains.

It has grown every year in South Africa since its first introduction about six years ago, and last year it broke into the mainstream, with numerous high profile retailers embracing it, and many consumers experiencing it for the first time. 

It is now positioned as the prime bargain day of the year for consumers, and many wait in anticipation for it, as they do in the USA. Along with Cyber Monday, it provides an excuse for retailers to go all out in their marketing, and for consumers to storm the display shelves or web pages. South African shoppers, clearly, are easily enticed by bargains.

Word of mouth around Black Friday has also grown massively in the past two years, driven by both media and shoppers who have found ridiculous bargains. As news spreads that the most ridiculous of the bargains are to be had online, even those who were reticent of digital shopping will be tempted to convert.

The Online Retail in SA 2019 report has shown over the years that, as people become more experienced in using the Internet, their propensity to shop online increases. This is part of the World Wide Worx model known as the Digital Participation Curve. The key missing factor in the Curve is that most retailers do not know how to convert that propensity into actual online shopping behaviour. Black Friday will be one of the keys to conversion.

Carry on reading to find out about the online retailers of the year.

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Reliable satellite Internet?

MzansiSat, a satellite-Internet business, aims to beam Internet connections to places in South Africa which don’t have access to cabled and mobile network infrastructure, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Stellenbosch-based MzansiSat promises to provide cheap wholesale Internet to Internet Service Providers for as little as R25 per Gigabyte. Providers who offer more expensive Internet services could benefit greatly from partnering with MzansiSat, says the company. 

“Using MzansiSat, we hope that we can carry over cost-savings benefits to the consumer,” says Victor Stephanopoli, MzansiSat chief operating officer.

The company, which has been spun off from StellSat, has been looking to increase its investor portfolio while it waits for spectrum approval. The additional investment will allow MzansiSat’s satellite to operate in more regions across Africa.

The MzansiSat satellite is being built by Thales Alenia Space, a French company which is also acting as technical partner to MzansiSat. In addition to building the satellite, Thales Alenia Space will also be assisting MzansiSat in coordinating the launch. The company intends to launch the satellite into the 56°E orbital slot in a geostationary orbit, which enables communication almost anywhere in Africa. The launch is expected to happen in 2022. 

The satellite will have 76 transponders, 48 of which will be Ku-band and 28 C-band. Ku-band is all about high-speed performance, while C-band deals with weather-resistance. The design intention is for customers of MzansiSat to choose between very cheap, reliable data and very fast, power-efficient data. 

C-band is an older technology, which makes bandwidth cheaper and almost never affected by rain but requires bigger dishes and slower bandwidth compared to Ku-band connections. On the other hand, Ku-band is faster, experiences less microwave interference, and requires less power to run – but is less reliable with bad weather conditions.

MzansiSat’s potential military applications are significant, due to the nature of the military being mobile and possibly in remote areas without connectivity.  Connectivity everywhere would be potentially be life-saving.

Consumers in remote areas will benefit, even though satellite is higher in latency than fibre and LTE connections. While this level of latency is high (a fifth of a second in theory), satellite connections are still adequate for browsing the Internet and watching online content. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) may see the benefits of satellite Internet before consumers do. The applications of IoT in agriculture are vast, from hydration sensors to soil nutrient testers, and can be realised with an Internet connection which is available in a remote area.

Stephanopoli says that e-learning in remote areas can also benefit from MzansiSat’s presence, as many school resources are becoming readily available online. 

“Through our network, the learning experience can be beamed into classrooms across the country to substitute or complement local resources within the South African schooling system.”

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