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MWC: Huawei’s MateBook matches up to MS Surface

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At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Huawei launched the MateBook, a 2-in-1 device that seems to be in direct competition with the Microsoft Surface but which is backed by Microsoft as it runs Windows 10.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Huawei launched its new MateBook, a 2-in-1 device that appears to compete directly with Microsoft’s Surface. However, Microsoft is backing the device fully, since it also runs on Windows 10. Huawei defines it as “a mobile productivity tool that seamlessly integrates mobility, high efficiency, work and entertainment”.

“With this landmark device, Huawei is demonstrating our industry-leading design and manufacturing expertise by bringing a beautifully crafted flagship product to market that is redefining the new style of business – connected computing across all devices in almost every scenario,” said Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group. “Huawei has successfully channeled its comprehensive experience and excellence in building premium mobile products into the needs of the modern business environment by introducing a highly efficient device, seamlessly capable of integrating work and entertainment functions.”

Huawei provided the following information:

Starting at $699/€799, the MateBook is answering the demand for portable, stylish smart devices that allow users to stay connected in any setting. Designed as a total solution for consumers who enjoy the flexibility of a convertible device, the MateBook is a premium product that perfectly balances mobility, productivity and design.

With the MateBook, Huawei is continuing its strategy of partnering with the most innovative market leaders.

Built to operate on Windows 10, the MateBook also delivers the best of the legendary productivity tools and features offered by Microsoft Corp., including its latest browser, Microsoft Edge and the Cortana digital personal assistant.

“Our collaboration with Huawei offers consumers a new way to experience Windows 10 on a beautifully designed device,” said Peter Han, Vice President, Worldwide OEM Marketing, Microsoft Corp. “Huawei appreciates how consumers want to interact with devices, and is bringing a fresh perspective to this space. Our relationship with Huawei is a great example of the growing ecosystem of premium portable Windows 10 devices.”

The device features a 6th Generation Intel Core m-series processor to handle the most rigorous business demands in a stylish, thin and lightweight fanless design.

“This is an exciting time for Huawei to enter the market with its powerful new MateBook,” said Kirk Skaugen, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group, Intel Corporation. “By designing with the Intel Core m processor, Huawei is delivering a premium 2-in-1 experience that offers a compelling combination of mobility combined with full PC productivity. We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Huawei in this growing 2-in-1 market.”

Combining the mobility of a smartphone with the power and productivity of a laptop, the MateBook is designed with simplicity in mind. With minimal embellishment and a sleek appearance, the device is made of high-quality aluminum unibody that is both elegant and sophisticated. The MateBook features a strong protective body to withstand the rigors of an on-the-go lifestyle, and its slim profile and ultra-low weight of just 640g makes it ideal to take anywhere.

The MateBook keyboard case is made of environmentally friendly, soft PU leather, the perfect choice to match style with functionality. The durability of the keyboard case also provides an ideal level of protection. The keyboard features a 1.5mm keystroke and a chiclet keycap design, which allows for larger key surfaces to minimize typing errors. The built-in touchpad uses multi-touch technology that supports smooth and precise finger movements, combining comfort and utility.

The MateBook’s 12-inch IPS multi-touch screen is further enhanced by an ultra-narrow frame and a screen-to-body ratio of 84 percent. The screen boasts a resolution of 2160×1440 and a 160-degree wide angle for an immersive experience. The color gamut reaches an impressive 85 percent, capable of displaying true-to-life colors.

To ensure the MateBook delivers optimal performance as a mobile device, battery life and power were a top priority throughout the design process. Its 33.7Wh high-density Lithium battery provides enough power for nine hours of work, nine consecutive hours of Internet use and 29 hours of music playback. The device also features Huawei’s exclusive power-saving technology to meet the needs of business users. The MateBook’s battery can attain a full charge in just two-and-a-half hours. When there is not enough time for a full charge, the device can power up to 60 percent battery strength in just one hour.

When only a hand-written note will do, the accompanying MatePen stylus offers 2,048 levels of sensitivity, perfectly capturing users’ subtle and diverse pen-tip actions with zero delay. For advanced business functions, MatePen supports graphics and mathematic functions, and can be used as a laser pointer for delivering presentations.

The MateBook provides security while maintaining quick access through the fingerprint recognition feature that supports 360-degree sensitive identification for fewer authentication failures. It takes only one touch to unlock the MateBook’s screen – the fastest fingerprint recognition in the industry.

Additionally, the MateBook features a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot for users to stay connected when a traditional Internet connection is not available. Other features that ensure an efficient mobile experience include a seamless data transfer capability that allows drag-and-drop document transfer to and from Android smartphones.

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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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