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Big future for kids’ wearables

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The wearable computer market is growing, with new categories like wearable computers for children starting to emerge and existing form factors such as smartwatches beginning to mature, writes ERNST WITTMANN, Regional Manager for Southern Africa at Alcatel.   

Ernst Wittmann, Regional Manager for Southern Africa at Alcatel, says that smart wearables are becoming more enticing to the market as their processing power and battery life improves. In addition, specialised form factors evolve and new target markets such as smartwatches for kids are helping to drive new opportunities for the wearables market.

According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), total wearable shipment volumes increased 67% to reach nearly 20 million units in 1Q16. IDC attributes the sharp growth to the launch of a number of new fitness trackers and smartwatches; price reductions; and the rise of new categories such as clothing and footwear.

“The kids’ market is one new category in which we see a great deal of potential,” says Wittmann. “For example, many parents would be interested in a smartwatch for kids with basic voice, messaging and tracking functionality. Such a device can help them stay in touch with their kids and track their whereabouts, giving them peace of mind that they’re safe.”

Parents could use an app to track the child in real-time and even set up an alert if the child leaves a safe zone. Though some parents already use smartphones and location-tracking apps, wearables offer a number of advantages that make them a better match for kids. A smartwatch or smartband is always worn, and is more difficult to lose or accidently drop on the floor, says Wittmann. In addition, a wearable might be less distracting at school than a smartphone which houses the latest mobile games.

Wittmann says that in future, we could see fitness and health trackers become as popular in the children’s market as they are for adults. With many parents concerned about their kids’ adopting a sedentary lifestyle of playing games or watching TV, wearables could be used to encourage kids to become more active.

They can give their older children a measure of independence, while still knowing that they can locate them if necessary. “Wearables are simple, robust, increasingly affordable, and fun,” he adds. “They’re a perfect match for kids who love gadgets.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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