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MWC: LG G6 offers new 18:9 phone format

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At this year’s Mobile World Congress, LG unveiled its latest flagship smartphone – the G6. Among other features, the device offers a 5.7” QHD+ display with an 18:9 screen aspect ratio.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, LG Electronics revealed that its latest smartphone, the G6, has a new display format with an 18:9 screen aspect ratio.

“Designed in response to consumer feedback and user opinions, the G6is a back-to-basics approach to premium smartphones, with a focus on the features consumers want, most notably a big screen that actually fits in one hand,” the company said in a statement..

LG provided the following information:

The LG G6 comes with a 5.7-inch QHD+ (2,880×1,440 resolution) Full Vision display, and for the first time ever in a smartphone, an 18:9 screen aspect ratio. Compared to conventional 16:9 aspect ratio displays, the 18:9 format offers more viewing space and more immersive experience when streaming videos and playing games. In a G6 Game Collection promotion for G6 buyers, in-game content with a retail value of up to a total of US$200 for six games – Temple Run 2, Spider-Man Unlimited, Crossy Road, SimCity BuildIt, Cookie Jam and Genies & Gems – on Google Play, are offered for free. The games take full advantage of the G6’s immersive Full Vision display and single-handed ease of use.

Even with the large screen featured on the G6, the smartphone is easy to hold and unlike other phones with a similar screen size, the LG G6 fits comfortably in one hand, giving you a big screen experience without the inconvenience of a big phone. In fact, ergonomics research teams led by Dr. Andris Freivalds at Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Ji Yong-guat Yonsei University tested the LG G6 for stability when holding the phone, comfort in various postures and actions, as well as muscle fatigue when using the smartphone for long periods. The LG G6 received the highest marks in all test categories.

Sculpted from aluminum and glass, which comes in platinum, the LG G6 features a minimalist design that’s sleek all-round and perfectly smooth to the touch. The metal frame that wraps around the perimeter of the phone imparts solidity in style with a soft matte finish and the back is perfectly flat, with no camera bump to avoid or protect. Complimented by narrow bezels, the upper bezel was minimized by rearranging the camera, sensor and speaker in a row on the front upper side. The rounded corners of both the body and display not only unify the design but also dispersing the impact if the phone is dropped.                           

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The LG G6 is the first smartphone to feature Dolby Vision technology. But not only does it support Dolby Vision, the G6 also supports HDR 10, both of which are standards for High Dynamic Range (HDR), the picture quality technology which allows for a wider range of color and luminosity, wherein both the darkest and the brightest areas are more vivid, revealing greater detail for a truly immersive viewing experience.

With smartphone screen sizes getting bigger and the speed of the Internet becoming faster, LG decided to support two HDR standards for viewers to have access to as much content as possible. With HDR content from Netflix and Amazon on the rise, watch popular shows in stunning HDR quality on the LG G6. Amazon will also increasingly create 18:9 content for a cinematic viewing experience on the 18:9 QHD+ display.

With the LG G6, you don’t need to ask people in the picture to reposition, cram together or find another place to stand in order to get everything in, simply choose between standard and wide angle settings. And with dual 13MP rear cameras, including a 125-degreelens on the wide angle, the LG G6 captures panoramic shots that regular phones cameras can’t. The G6 delivers an outstanding and unique camera experience by creating seamless transitions when zooming in and out between the wide-angle and standard camera lenses even during 4K video capture. The G6 also comes with an expanded 100-degree field of view with its 5MP front camera, which means users can take selfies or wefies without the need for a selfie stick. Plus, the wide angle camera reduces edge distortion, which makes for more natural images.

Square Up and Share

And to view selfies, wefies, wide angle pictures and even the ones in the new Square Camera Mode, recent LG G6 photos appear in one window in film mode which means users don’t need to move to their gallery to review them. The G6 provides a Square Camera function which divides the 18:9 ratio display into two identical squares. The LG G6 can also take perfectly square photos in 1:1ratio, ideal for Instagram, Snapchat and other social media apps. Users can also choose other ratios such as 4:3, 16:9 and 18:9. Users can also take pictures in 1:1 ratio in one window, while checking, editing and uploading pictures in another window immediately after shooting. What’s more, users can create GIFs by combining between 2 and 100 photos from the gallery.

The LG G6 can go just about anywhere without worry thanks to its IP68 water and dust resistance that makes it safe to be immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes. You can worry less about accidental drops and other rough environments during everyday use because the LG G6 has been designed and built to be dependable even when the going gets rough.

And the LG G6 not only meets international testing standards but also endures further tests for high temperatures and nail penetration and uses a proprietary technology that dissipates heat via an internal heat pipe, the first in an LG smartphone. To further disperse heat inside the unit, LG engineers positioned the components most prone to overheating as far from each other as possible.

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“The LG G6 offers users new visual and manual experiences, as it marries an expanded screen with the convenience of one-handed use,” said Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “LG will continue to lead smartphone innovation with a focus on convenience and reliability in order to exceed consumer expectations.”

Key Specifications: 

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Processor
  • Display:5.7-inch 18:9 QHD+FullVision Display(2880 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 32GB or 64GB UFS 2.0 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP Wide (F2.2 / 100°)
    Rear Dual: 13MP Wide (F2.4 / 125°) / 13MP Standard OIS 2.0 (F1.8 / 71°)
  • Battery:3,300mAh (embedded)
  • Operating System:Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size:148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 163g
  • Network: LTE-A 3 Band CA
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 4.2 BLE / NFC /USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1compatible)
  • Colors: Astro Black / Ice Platinum /Mystic White
  • Other:Water and Dust Resistant /Fingerprint Sensor / UX 6.0 / Dolby Vision™/HDR10 / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 / 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC

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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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