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Samsung S8 pushes the edge again

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The Galaxy S8 delivers on expectations with a stunning Infinity Display, connected ecosystem of services and an interface built on artificial intelligence.

Samsung Electronics yesterday unveiled the Galaxy S8, a smartphone that it says pushes the boundaries of traditional smartphones with its seamless hardware design and a variety of new service offerings.

“The Samsung Galaxy S8 ushers in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The Galaxy S8 is our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy.”

In an acknowledgement of the reputational damage caused by the recall of the Galaxy Note 7 last year, Koh added: “We must be bold enough to stare into the unknown and humble enough to learn from our mistakes.”

The Galaxy S8 largely delivered on expectations, and was met by widespread enthusiasm. It builds on Samsung’s heritage of combining powerful aesthetic design with highly functional devices, but adds a few surprises. Available in 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, the Infinity Display and bezel-less design form a smooth, continuous surface with no buttons or harsh angles. The result is a truly immersive viewing experience without distractions and makes multi-tasking more convenient. The Galaxy S8’s compact design enables comfortable one-handed operation and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back for durability and a high-quality finish.

Samsung provided the following information:

In addition to the new design innovations, Samsung continues to deliver cutting-edge technology including an advanced camera, enhanced performance and more to the devices that users love, including:

  • Premium Camera: The Galaxy S8 is equipped with an advanced 8MP F1.7 Smart autofocus front camera and 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera for the best low-light, zoom and anti-blur photos with enhanced image processing.
  • Powerful Performance: Packing powerful performance and connectivity, the Galaxy S8 features the industry’s first 10nm processor, enabling heightened speed and efficiency. It is also gigabit LTE and gigabit Wi-Fi ready with support for up to 1 Gbps so users can quickly download files, regardless of the file size.
  • Robust Entertainment: As the world’s first mobile device certified by the UHD Alliance as MOBILE HDR PREMIUM, Galaxy S8 lets you see the same vibrant colors and contrasts that the filmmakers intended while watching your favorite shows. In addition, the Galaxy S8 offers next-level gaming experiences with vivid and superior graphic technology, as well as Game Pack, featuring top game titles, including select titles supported by the Vulkan API.
  • Global Standard in Mobile Security: The Galaxy S8 is built on Samsung Knox, a defense-grade security platform. In addition, the Galaxy S8 will offer a wide selection of biometric technologies including a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner and facial recognition so users can select a secure biometric authentication method that works best for them.

The Galaxy S8 will also come with the foundational Galaxy features that our customers have come to love, including:

  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • MicroSD support up to 256GB
  • Always-on display
  • Fast and wireless charging capabilities

New Way to Interact with Your Phone

Bixby is an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch, vision and text commands. At launch, Bixby’s Voice function will integrate with several Samsung native apps and features including Camera, Contacts, Gallery, Messages and Settings, with the plan to expand its capabilities to include more Samsung and third-party apps in the near future. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location.

Users can also shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, it will connect across devices, apps and services as a ubiquitous interface, and open up new experiences and scenarios to simplify life.

Beyond the Phone Experiences

The Galaxy S8 offers a robust portfolio of products and services, elevating the Galaxy S8 experience for premiere mobile productivity and connectivity.

The Galaxy S8 unlocks the new Gear VR with Controller, powered by Oculus. Enabling convenient one-handed control and navigation, the controller provides better motion interaction when accessing interactive VR content. The Galaxy S8 will also connect to the new Gear 360 to create 4K 360-degree videos and photos.

Leveraging the processing power of the Galaxy S8 for enhanced productivity, Samsung DeX is a unique solution that transforms your smartphone into a desktop by providing a secure desktop-like experience. With Samsung DeX, users can easily display and edit data from their phone, making working from a smartphone faster and smarter.

In addition, as more IoT devices enter the market and the connected network becomes more complex, Samsung Connect simplifies smart device management. With Samsung Connect, users can easily activate IoT-enabled devices through a quick three-step configuration process and manage all connected devices through one integrated app.

The Galaxy S8 also comes with the enhanced Samsung Health service, expanding one of Samsung’s most widely used services with 60 million monthly active users and 11 million daily active users worldwide. Samsung Health includes personal coaching, social capabilities that redefine traditional health and fitness.

Users can leave their physical wallet behind with Samsung Pay, turning their Galaxy S8 into a digital wallet they can use almost anywhere they’d use a credit or debit card. With more than 870 worldwide banking partnerships, Samsung Pay has processed more than 240 million transactions to date.

New high-performance earphones tuned by AKG by Harman, offering uncompromised audio for unbeatable sound quality, will come as an in-box accessory. These earphones will have a comfortable hybrid canal fit for better noise cancellation and will be made from anti-tangle metal-fabric material.

The Galaxy S8 will be available starting on 5 May 2017 and will be offered in a rich color palette including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Maple Gold with more colours to be launched later in the year.

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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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