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VR’s first billion in 2016

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Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has predicted that virtual reality (VR) will have its first billion dollar year in 2016, with about US$700 million in hardware sales, and the remainder from content.

The 15th edition of Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions, a report by Deloitte Global, estimates sales of about 2.5 million VR headsets and 10 million game copies sold. Additionally, the report expects the majority of spending on VR to be by core users rather than casual gamers. This means that while anyone with a smartphone could try a variant of VR, the majority of VR’s revenues in 2016 will likely be driven by tens of millions of users rather than billions of users.

“While in 2016 virtual reality is expected to reach a major milestone―becoming a one billion dollar market—in the long term VR is likely to struggle to reach the scale or ubiquity of the smartphone, PC or the television set,” said Sharoda Rapeti, Deloitte TMT Director. “However, as the technology required to provide a total immersive experience improves, wider global adoption may ensue.

“We are seeing significant growth potential in cognitive technologies, such as computer vision, natural language processing and machine learning. This year 80 of the top 100 enterprise software companies are expected to be using cognitive technologies, unleashing the potential of the Internet of Things; this may even transform computing as we know it over time. While cognitive technologies may get less immediate attention from consumers than new virtual headsets, it is likely to be much more important over the long run for the enterprise and for consumers alike.”

Millennials may not be the post-PC generation

In addition to the predictions on virtual reality, the report suggests that while millennials are the smartphone generation, trailing millennials (those 18-24 years old) are anticipated to be the most pro-PC of all age groups of 2016. According to research by Deloitte member firms, an average of over 85 percent of trailing millennials in 13 developed world countries had access to a laptop in 2015. Further, laptop access for the trailing millennial demographic was either highest or second highest of the six age groups in the member firms’ surveys in all but two markets, Norway and Finland. This data suggests 18-24 year-olds see smartphones and PCs as complements, not substitutes, which may in part be due to the decreased costs of laptops (there are many devices for less than US$500 available on the market).

Additional findings from Deloitte Global’s 2016 TMT predictions include:

Technology

·         Women in IT jobs: it is about education, but also about more than just education – By the end of 2016 fewer than 25 percent of information technology (IT) jobs in developed countries are expected to be held by women, (i.e., women working in IT roles). This figure is about the same as 2015, and may even be down.

·         Cognitive technologies enhance enterprise software – In 2016 more than 80 of the world’s 100 biggest software companies will likely have integrated cognitive technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, or speech recognition, into their products. This represents a 25 percent increase from 2015 when 64 of the top 100 had launched products and services, which featured one or more cognitive technologies.

·         Touch Commerce: the mobile online checkout gets an express lane –The number of individuals who use a third party touch-based payment service to make a purchase on their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) is likely to increase by 150 percent to reach 50 million regular users in 2016. Touch commerce enables retailers to exploit shoppers’ increasing use of mobile devices to browse retail sites where transactions have remained scarce, due mostly to laborious payment processes.

·         Graphene: research now; reap next decade – While the total value of the graphene materials market in 2016 is likely to be in the low tens of millions of dollars, research and development spending for the year is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In the medium-term, graphene may be incorporated into products worth many billions of dollars of value per year– but it could be decades before this material’s potential is fully realized.

Media

·         Mobile ad-blockers: saved by the app? Only 0.3 percent of all mobile device owners are expected to use an ad-blocker by end 2016. This is likely to place less than US$100 million (0.1 percent) of the US$70 billion mobile advertising (smartphones and tablets) market at risk.

·         Mobile games: leading, but less lucrative – In 2016 mobile (smartphone and tablet) will likely become the leading games platform by software revenue, expected to generate US$35 billion in revenue up 20 percent from 2015. This compares to expected revenues of US$32 billion for PC games and US$28 billion for console games, up only five and six percent respectively from the previous year. However, average revenue per game by platform will likely vary significantly.

·         eSports: bigger and smaller than you think – eSports will likely generate global revenues of US$500 million in 2016, up 25 percent from about US$400 million in 2015, and will likely have an audience of regular and occasional viewers of close to 150 million people. This expected revenue is only a fraction of league revenues in major sports such as European football (soccer), U.S. football, basketball, baseball, or ice hockey, which range from US$4 billion up to US$30 billion.

·         European football scores US$30 billion – The European football market will likely reach US$30 billion for the first time for 2016/2017, an US$8 billion increase relative to 2011/2012, and a compound annual growth rate of seven percent.

·         The award for stable box office revenues in the face of digital media goes to … – In 2016 the value of movie theatre admissions in the US and Canada are expected to fall by about three percent to about US$10.6 billion, with about 1.3 billion tickets sold.

·         US TV: erosion, not implosion – In 2016 the US traditional television market, the world’s largest at what will likely be about US$170 billion in 2016, is expected to see erosion on at least five fronts: the number of pay-TV subscribers; pay-TV penetration as a percent of total population; average pay-TV monthly bill; consumers switching to antennas for watching TV; and live and time-shifted viewing by the overall population, and especially by trailing millennials 18-24 years old.

Telecommunications

·         The dawn of the Gigabit Internet age: every bit counts – The number of Gigabit per second (Gbit/s) Internet connections is expected to surge to ten million by year-end, a tenfold increase of which about 70 percent will likely be residential connections. Rising demand will likely be fueled by increasing availability and falling prices. It’s anticipated that about 600 million subscribers may be on networks that offer a Gigabit tariff as of 2020, representing the majority of connected homes in the world.

·         Used smartphones: the US$17 billion market you may never have heard of – In 2016 consumers are expected to sell outright or trade-in approximately 120 million used smartphones, generating more than US$17 billion for their owners. This is a marked increase from the 80 million smartphones traded in 2015 with a value of US$11 billion. Moreover, 10 percent of premium smartphones (US$500 or higher) purchased new in 2016 will likely end up having three or more owners before being retired.

·         Photo sharing: trillions and rising – In 2016, 2.5 trillion photos are expected to be shared or stored online, a 15 percent increase on the prior year. Over 90 percent of these photos will likely have been taken over a smartphone; digital SLRs, compact cameras, tablets and laptops are estimated to collectively contribute the remainder. This estimate does not include the trillions of photos that remain on devices’ memory.

·         The rise of the “data exclusive” – About 26 percent of smartphone users in developed markets are expected to not make any traditional phone calls in a given week in 2016. These individuals, known as ‘data exclusives’, have not stopped communicating, but are rather substituting traditional voice calls for a combination of messaging including SMS, voice and video services delivered ‘over the top’.

·         VoLTE / VoWiFi: capacity, reach and capability – 100 mobile operators worldwide will likely be offering at least one packet-based voice service at the end of 2016, double the amount year-on-year, and six times higher than at the beginning of 2015.  The report estimates that approximately 300 million customers will be using Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) and / or Voice over LTE (VoLTE), double the number at the start of the year and five times higher than at the beginning of 2015.

Now in its 15th year, Deloitte Global’s annual TMT Predictions provides a 12-18 month outlook on key trends in the technology, media and telecommunications industry sectors worldwide. Full details about the global TMT Predictions are available here: www.deloitte.com/tmtpredictions

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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.

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Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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LG G7 arrives in SA

LG this week introduced South Africa to its latest premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, focused on bringing useful and convenient AI features to the smartphone experience.

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Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the LG G7 ThinQ offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage to run demanding tasks and apps with. It is equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Bright Display, but the LG G7 ThinQ remains compact enough to use with one hand.

Sporting a new design aesthetic for the G series, the polished metal rim gives the LG G7 ThinQ a sleeker, more refined look, complemented by Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back for enhanced durability. Rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the LG G7 ThinQ is also awarded MIL-STD 810 c certification, having been subjected to a range of extreme temperature and environment tests designed by the United States military.

The LG G7 ThinQ has an 8MP camera up front, rendering clear and natural selfies, with two 16MP cameras at the back that deliver higher resolution photos with more detail, as well as a Super Wide Angle configuration.

As with other leading brands, LG has evolved its signature camera by including AI functionality. The AI CAM offers 19 shooting modes for intelligence-optimised shots. Users can also improve their photos by choosing from an additional three effect options should the AI CAM recommendation not suit their taste.

The new Super Bright Camera captures images that are up to four times brighter than typical photos shot in dim light. Through the combination of pixel binning and software processing, the AI algorithm adjusts the camera settings automatically when shooting in low light.

Live Photo Mode records one second before and after the shutter is pressed for snippets of unexpected moments or expressions that would normally be missed. Stickers uses face recognition to generate fun 2D and 3D overlays, such as sunglasses and headbands, that can be viewed directly on the display.

New to the G series is Portrait Mode, which generates professional-looking shots with out-of-focus backgrounds. This effect can be generated using both front and rear standard lenses as well as the rear Super Wide Angle lens.

LG G7 ThinQ offers further AI functionality with the inclusion of Google Lens features. Google Lens is a new way to search using the AI and computer vision. Google Assistant and Google Photos allow users to access more information on objects such as landmarks, plants, animals, and books. It can identify text or visit websites, add business cards to contacts, events to the calendar or look up an item on a restaurant menu.

A button just below the volume keys launches the AI functionality. A single tap of this button launches the Google Assistant, while two quick taps launches Google Lens. Users can also hold down the button to start talking to the Google Assistant without the repetition of the OK Google command.

With Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) and the highly-sensitive G7ThinQ microphone, the Google Assistant can recognise voice commands from up to five meters away. SFFVR is able to separate commands from background noise, making the LG G7 ThinQ an alternative to a home AI speaker, even when the TV is on. Commands for the Google Assistant have been increased in the LG G7 ThinQ so users can get more done with their voice alone.

“The LG G7 ThinQ is strongly focused on the fundamentals and its launch marks a new chapter for our company,” said Deon Prinsloo, General Manager for Mobile Communication, LG Electronics S.A Pty Ltd. “Through the combination of personalised and useful AI functionalities with meaningful smartphone features, this is LG’s most convenient and in the moment smartphone yet.”

Key Specifications

  • Mobile Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.1-inch QHD+ 19.5:9 FullVision Super Bright Display (3120 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:
    • LG G7 ThinQ: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM / 64GB UFS 2.1 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:
    • Rear Dual: 16MP Super Wide Angle (F1.9 / 107°) / 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°)
    • Front: 8MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 80°)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Size: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 162g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Colours: New Aurora Black
  • Others: Super Bright Display / New Second Screen / AI CAM / Super Bright Camera / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / Boombox Speaker / Google Lens / AI Haptic / Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Google Assistant Key / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / FM Radio
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