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MWC: New Sony XZ phones more immersive

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Sony Mobile announced two new smartphones to its flagship range, the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact.

Sony says the devices are “built around the concept of bringing you the most immersive entertainment experiences yet”.

The flagship Xperia XZ2 has an extended 5.7” HDR Full HD+ 18:9 display. Viewers can watch existing HDR content, using Sony’s Bravia TV technology, X-reality for mobile, which will up-convert content to near High Dynamic Range (HDR).

The XZ2 incorporates a new haptic experience, adding the perceptual sense of touch so users can feel the viewing experience. It uses Sony’s new Dynamic Vibration System, which analyses audio data and lets users feel the action in their hands, bringing movies, games and videos to life. Videos can also be shared with friends, thanks to the XZ2’s powerful front facing stereo speakers. Featuring S-Force Front Surround, they’re the loudest Xperia speakers yet.

High quality audio is also provided, using Sony’s audio expertise with Hi-Resolution Audio together with DSEE HX technology for upscaling.

The Motion Eye camera gets a ground-breaking upgrade with the world’s first 4K HDR Movie recording in a smartphone. usersu can now capture video with greater contrast, detail and true-to-life colour and share or upload to a compatible HDR TV or YouTube. Super slow motion video recording is also upgraded, with 960fps now possible in Full HD. Motion Eye camera uses intelligent control features such as Predictive Capture with motion and smile detection, Autofocus burst and Predictive Autofocus, and Quick Launch and Capture.

The 3D Creator application launched last year is now available with greater flexibility for 3D scanning. Users can you create 3D scans of objects or faces in less than a minute using the main camera, as well as 3D selfies using the front camera.  Post-processing is now available to achieve greater quality of 3D scans. The 3D scan or selfie can now be posted directly to a Facebook timeline within 3D Creator.

A new design expression, with a fluid 3D glass surface that creates a seamless form, is contrasted with a tough exterior, built with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and metal frame to add extra durability and a premium feel.  Its four different finishes offer a reflection and shine from every angle, thanks to the glass and flow of light, available in Liquid Silver, Liquid Black, Deep Green and Ash Pink. Certified IP65/IP68, XZ2 is designed to withstand splashes and spills.

The Xperia XZ2 Compact (Left) and the Xperia XZ2 (Right)

The Xperia XZ2 Compact (Left) and the Xperia XZ2 (Right)

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE, XZ2 will provide immersive user experiences at connection speeds up to 1.2Gbps, with the second generation Gigabit LTE solution.

The XZ2 carries a large 3180mAh battery and power efficient control thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform. Xperia’s useful battery features are also included, such as Smart Stamina, STAMINA mode, Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging technology, which help the battery stay healthy for a longer lifespan. It supports a wireless charging dock (WCH20), and other compatible Qi chargers.

Xperia XZ2 Compact

The premium compact version of the phone, the XZ2 Compact, offers similar features in a smaller form factor, with a 5” HDR Full HD+ 18:9 extended display, intended to be “the ultimate compact entertainment device”.

It features many of premium updates found in its big brother, such as all the Motion Eye 2018 upgrades, including 3D Creator for selfie and Full HD Super slow motio.  It also uses Sony’s audio enhancing technologies, such as Hi-Res Audio and front facing stereo speakers, and is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

Its curved body offers comfort in the hand, while durability is ensured with a tough exterior, including Corning Gorilla Glass 5, anti-scratch hard-grade polycarbonate, IP65/IP68 and metal frame. It is finished in four colours with a smooth frosted finish: White Silver, Black, Moss Green and Coral Pink.

Accessories

A range of supporting accessories will be available, including covers Style Cover Touch and Style Cover Stand in corresponding colours for both models. Also available are charging accessories, the Wireless Charging Dock (WCH20)  and Quick Charger. The new 2-way Style USB Audio and Bluetooth Headset (SBH90C) allows users to enjoy music and talk wirelessly in high quality as well as via a wired USB Type-C Cable option that offers Hi-Res Audio with direct USB digital output.

The Open-ear Stereo Headset (STH40D) offers lightweight and comfortable dual listening, and Xperia Ear Duo utilises Sony’s acoustics leadership to deliver wireless ‘open-ear’ stereo headphones, so that one can listen or communicate while simultaneously hearing sounds around one. A USB Type-C 2-in-1 Cable (EC270) is also available for enjoying audio with non-Bluetooth headphones and simultaneously charging the phone.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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