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Samsung unveils Note5, S6 edge+, Pay ecosystem

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Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced the global launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

Both devices, says the company, represent Samsung’s commitment to the big screen smartphone market, which Samsung pioneered in 2011 with the original Galaxy Note.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 “blend form and function with industry leading features, including: the best screen technology, the most advanced camera for high quality photos and videos, the latest fast wireless and wired charging, and an incredibly powerful processor”.

With increased 4GB RAM, both smartphones offer the most powerful capacity and processing power on the market, enabling more seamless multi-tasking, faster posting of updates to social networks, and better performance with graphic-heavy games.

With its curved 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S6 edge+ makes the edge experience even bigger to provide a more immersive multimedia experience. The newly-designed Galaxy Note5 provides a productivity tools such as SideSync, along with a more refined 5th generation S Pen capabilities to better serve the major multitasker.

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“At Samsung, we believed in the promise that large screen smartphones could actively address some  consumer needs by providing users with a better viewing experience and more productivity on-the-go,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “With the launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5, we’re re-emphasising our ongoing commitment to bold, fearless innovation that meets the needs of our consumers.”

Galaxy Note5 perfect for multi-taskers 

The Galaxy Note5 is an upgrade to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note range – more powerful and more personalised than ever. Inspired by the design legacy of the Galaxy S6, it ergonomically fits in one hand with a narrower bezel and curved back. The flat screen is great to write on and the curved shape makes it easier to use the phone with one hand.

Engineered to help people get more done faster, the Galaxy Note5 includes an all new S Pen that feels more solid and balanced in the user’s hand, offering improved writing capabilities and a variety of practical applications. A unique clicking mechanism makes the S Pen pop out with just one quick click. Users can now quickly jot down ideas or information when the screen is off without even unlocking the phone. The ‘Air Command’ feature has become more intuitive and practical as well; now the icon hovers for instant access to all of S Pen uses from any screen at any time. Users can also annotate on PDF files and capture lengthy web articles or long images simultaneously via ‘Scroll capture’.

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Powerful Core Galaxy Features

Both the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature multimedia capabilities with deeper screen contrast and details thanks to Samsung’s industry-leading 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display.

As social networking becomes more ubiquitous, consumers expect to share the moments of their lives through photos and video and Samsung is enabling that desire with improved video capabilities. 

These include Steady Video, which provides Video Digital Image Stabilisation on both the front and rear cameras for sharp, crisp video on-the-go, and Video Collage Mode, which allows users to record and edit short videos easily in various frames and effects. The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 also feature 4K(UHD) video filming and Live Broadcast, which let users instantly live stream Full HD video straight from the phone to any individual, group of contacts, or even the public through YouTube Live. Anyone who receives the YouTube link from a Galaxy S6 edge+ or Note5 user is able to enjoy a live stream video from his or her smartphone, tablet, PC or Smart TV with YouTube connectivity.

Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 users will also benefit from Samsung’s advanced camera system, including Quick Launch (double click the home button to launch the camera in less than one second), Auto Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Smart Optical Image Stabilisation(OIS) and brand-new filters.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature Samsung’s fast wired and wireless charging technology and the embedded wireless charging technology is compatible with virtually any wireless pad available today. With wired charging, both devices can be fully charged in approximately 90 minutes, and through Samsung’s latest wireless charger, each device can be fully charged in approximately 120 minutes.

Samsung’s newest devices are further upgraded to support SideSync, which offers both wireless and wired PC-smartphone integration for seamless connections across devices. Thanks to auto-detection and an ultra-quick setup, users can instantly connect their Samsung device to their PC or tablet for easy access to files and data across all platforms and operating systems.

In addition, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 display enhanced security features with KNOX Active Protection (built into devices / out of the box) and My KNOX (app with simple/fast setup) to further protect sensitive personal and work data.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ will be available in South Africa from September 2015 and the Note5 from November 2015. Both have 32GB or 64GB storage options and are available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium depending on market and carrier.

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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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By 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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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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