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Samsung debuts affordable A8 with high-end features

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Samsung Electronics has announced the latest additions to the Galaxy A series, the Galaxy A8 smartphone.

The Galaxy A8 feature a Dual Front Camera, a large Infinity Display and stunning ergonomic design that draws on Samsung’s flagship design heritage and experience. With additional everyday features, the Galaxy A series is more stylish, practical and convenient than ever before.

“With the release of the Galaxy A8, we’re bringing our customers’ favourite features from our flagship smartphones, such as the Infinity Display and our first Dual Front Camera with Live Focus, to our Galaxy A series, which is already known for its premium design,” said Craige Fleischer, Vice President of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “The Galaxy A8 exemplify our continued dedication to meeting the needs of our consumers by providing them with greater choice and convenience.”

Samsung provided the following information:

Snap bright, clear selfies with the 16MP F1.7 rear camera and 16MP+8MP F1.9 Dual Front Camera, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. The Dual Front Camera is made up of two separate cameras so you can switch between the two to take the type of selfie you want – from close-ups with the background to portrait shots with a clear and crisp background. And with the advanced Live Focus feature, you can easily adjust the bokeh effect before or after you take the picture to create high-quality images.

From day to night, the advanced camera makes sure you capture sharp images, even in low-light conditions. The new devices also allow you to customize your photos with fun options, from adding stickers to your selfie or highlighting a culinary extravaganza with Food Mode.

Shaky video footage will be a thing of the past with video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, and with an added hyperlapse feature, you can now create time-lapse videos that let you record, tell and share even longer stories.

When watching movies or playing games, the latest Galaxy A devices set a new standard for uninterrupted, immersive viewing experiences. The Infinity Display goes beyond the bezel with an immersive 18.5:9 display ratio, so that you can view the whole scene across your screen for the ultimate cinematic experience. The large screen is supported with ergonomic curved glass on the back and front. Its sleek glass and metal frame, smooth curves and comfortable grip make it even easier to watch or interact with content on your phone. The Galaxy A8 are available in four colours including black, orchid grey, gold and blue to suit your personal style.

Both devices will continually keep you informed with the Always On Display, meaning you can get information at a glance without unlocking your phone. Offering IP68 water and dust resistance, the Galaxy A8 can withstand the elements, including sweat, rain, sand and dust, making it suitable for nearly any activity or situation. The Galaxy A8 support microSD cards so you can expand your storage capacity by as much as 256GB, and are the first in the A series to support Samsung’s Gear VR.

The Galaxy A8 will be available in early January 2018.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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