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Acer debuts big-screen flexibility in 15″ Chrome

At its annual global press conference in New York last week, Acer introduced the industry’s first convertible Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display. The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (CP315-1H) has a large touchscreen display with a convertible 360-degree design.

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In addition, Acer is launching a new Chromebook 15 (CB315-1H/1HT) line that pairs a large 15-inch display and long 14-hour battery life at a budget-friendly price.

“Acer has led the Chromebook market with a wide range of form factors, sizes and designs to meet the needs of our customers, and we’re expanding our line with new exciting 15-inch models today,” said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer. “Acer’s new Chromebooks with large 15-inch Full HD displays are ideal for collaborating on projects for work and school, enjoying streaming media and running the latest apps. Plus, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is the company’s first to combine a large 15.6-inch display with a convertible design, so customers can use the device in different modes.”

Both the new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (CP315-1H) and Chromebook 15 (CB315-1H/1HT) fully support Android apps via Google Play, joining the performance, security and simplicity of Chrome with the more than two million Android apps that consumers know and love.

Chromebook Spin 15 Provides Big Entertainment

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s large 1080p display is ideal for people who want an affordable computer that can also be used for entertainment in homes, apartments or dorm rooms. The 1920×1080 resolution delivers sharp visuals while IPS technology provides wide viewing angles for sharing streaming video. Plus, the display supports 10-finger touch for responsive website browsing and running the latest apps. The large FHD IPS display is complemented by two full-sized upward-facing speakers that deliver enhanced volume and audio range for an excellent HD entertainment experience. The large display boosts productivity with the additional screen real estate for apps and tabs. This also makes room for a comfortable full-sized keyboard and a large Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad that provides smooth navigation through sites and apps.

Flexible Design That Looks Great

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s 360-degree hinges allow the touchscreen display to be rotated a full 360°until it becomes completely open and ready for use as a large tablet for reading online content, enjoying video and staying in touch on social media. This convertible design means that the keyboard can be quickly manoeuvred back for use in traditional notebook mode. In addition, customers can stand it up in display mode to get closer to the screen, or use it in tent-mode for constrained spaces like airplane cabins.

The Chromebook Spin 15 has a silver cross-hairline pattern on the top cover that looks great in any setting. This unique silky texture provides a premium look that’s professional enough for the office and stylish enough for the home. The Chromebook Spin 15 can easily be moved around the home or office since it weighs only 2.1kg (4.63 pounds). 

Performance and All-Day Battery Life

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 can be used for a full day of work or school, plus streaming and fun since it delivers industry-leading battery life of up to 13 hours1. The fanless design allows it to run quietly, making it great for shared spaces such as a family room, library or coffee shop.

It provides solid everyday performance, since it’s powered by the quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor, Intel Celeron N3450 processor, or the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 processor. It comes with 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4 memory and either 32GB or 64GB of on–board eMMC storage.

Staying Connected

Fast and reliable 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi keeps customers connected, while Bluetooth 4.2 provides a convenient connection to peripherals. The Acer 720p HD webcam has high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide field of view for accommodating groups in video conferences and Google Hangouts.

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 has two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 ports for quick transfer of data, connecting to an HD display as well as charging the device or other products. In addition, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 includes two USB 3.0 ports and a MicroSD card reader.

New Value-Oriented Chromebook 15 Model

Acer is also introducing a new model in its popular Chromebook 15 line that delivers the same large 15.6-inch display and long 14-hour battery life at a budget-friendly price. The Chromebook 15 has a vibrant Full HD 15.6-inch display in both touch (CB315-1HT) and non-touch (CB315-1H) displays that both provide a Full HD 1920×1080 resolution ideal for enjoying Android apps and viewing multiple tabs and apps. The Chromebook 15 is powered by the quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor, the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 processor, or quad-core Intel Celeron N3450 processor and comes with two full-sized upward-facing speakers that support high-definition audio. It can be connected to a wireless network via Intel® Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11ac 2×2 MIMO) WiFi and to other devices with its two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and two USB 3.0 ports. It will be available with up to 8MB dual-channel LPDDR4 memory and 64GB of on–board eMMC storage.

Chrome OS Provides Speed, Simplicity and Security

Both new Acer Chromebooks are easy to use and can be easily shared between multiple users. Customers simply log into their own Google account to access their Gmail, Google Docs, apps, extensions, bookmarks and other information. Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS platform, which provides automatic updates and multiple levels of security to guard users against ever-changing online threats.

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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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