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.
“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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”