Hisense and Skyworth have both signalled their intentions to join the 8K TV technology race, but at a far more affordable level than the high-end names in TV.
Both showcased their TV tech at the IFA global press conference in Andalusia, Spain, where the organisers gave media a taste of a few companies that were ready to show off some of their technologies before the official expo.
Last month, Samsung showed off its 8K quantum dot TVs in Johannesburg.
The question still stands: How is 8K going to take off when 4K barely has traction?
The answer lies in innovation and early release. As 8K overtakes 4K as the new “wow” TV technology, film-makers and content distributors will have to start creating 4K content to remain competitive.
Ten years ago, it was difficult to find 1080p content online because content creators were releasing their video in standard definition or 720p. Now, 1080p content is standard online and the less common 1080i standard is used in DSTV’s satellite broadcasting.
The key to getting these technologies off the ground is matching pricing to quality. Chinese manufacturers like Hisense and Skyworth are particularly good at getting this balance right in their TVs. That said, the 8K TV sets that will be offered soon are likely to be just out of the typical consumer’s price range.
Hisense had a strong presence at the press conference, showcasing its 74U9E 8K TV that is expected to launch in China by the end of the year. The company said it expected to release it to the global market by the beginning of next year.
The 74U9E is a 75” LED panel, which boasts improved contrast and more vivid colours over the previous Hisense U range TV. The company also drew attention to its integrated sound, which embeds the subwoofer into the stand of the TV.
Unfortunately, the speaker was not connected because the TV is still in its design phase, but the 8K display panel was fully functional and dynamically upscaled 4K content in real time. The result was nothing short of visually fantastic.
Skyworth took a slightly different approach to showcasing TV at the IFA event, by partnering with German TV brand Metz. Metz Blue, a premium-affordable sub-brand of Metz, showed off its 8K TV. The S9A Series is an 8K OLED-panel, Android TV, which combines very vivid picture colour with Android TV functionality. Witnessing the 8K and OLED combination was incredible and felt like getting a new set of glasses. Once you go Metz Blue/Skyworth, it’s unlikely you’ll go back.
Again, the integrated sound technology got a lot of attention and features DTS TruSurround and Dolby surround technology to emulate a surround sound experience from the built-in soundbar.
Android TV, a popular TV operating system that’s gaining traction in South Africa, is also part of Metz Blue’s S9A TV, and supports the latest streaming apps. It also can be controlled via Google Assistant, a tried-and-trusted voice assistant that’s also present in many Android phones.
Overall, 8K TV is being fast-tracked to appear in more living rooms, whether it be Samsung, Hisense, Metz Blue, or Skyworth
Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets
Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds
Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.
South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.
Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact.
The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users.
These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person.
- Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school.
- Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides.
- People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services.
- There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education.
- Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information.
These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report.
Nokia to be first with Android 10
Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.
Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range.
“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”
HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.