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CES 2016: Withings trackers advance to Go with E Ink

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Withings has expanded its line of activity trackers with Withings Go, which it says is one of the most affordable, versatile and fully featured activity trackers available.

Priced at $69, it is a highly intuitive tracker with always-on E Ink multiscreen display and ability to automatically track steps, distance, running, swimming and sleep features, usually only offered on more expensive devices.

Dashing E Ink display 

Withings Go features a sophisticated always-on E Ink display, extending the “at a glance” attribute Withings pioneered with its Activité line.  Information is always available, even in bright sunlight or in water thanks to the screen’s 88 graphic segments that transform at a simple touch to create different displays for various situations. The main screen provides the user’s level of activity – shown as a dial depicting the percentage of progress achieved towards a specific day’s activity goal. As this goal is met, the central icon changes to display a reward in recognition of the day’s achievement.  The Withings Go will also transform to tell the time, creating an analog watch face.

The very low power requirement of the E Ink display means the Withings Go can operate continuously for up to 8 months.  There is no charging required as the device uses a button cell battery (CR2032).

Automatic activity recognition

Withings Go automatically recognizes a variety of daily activities, which allows the user to wear it all day and track everything without having to push a button. For walking and running, the device analyzes number of steps, distance covered, calories burned as well as the duration of the running session. Go is also water-resistant (5 ATM) and automatically recognizes when the user starts swimming, providing the time of the session and the calories burned. At night, Go analyzes and can distinguish between light and deep sleep cycles to give users a full understanding of their sleep patterns.

Withings Go connects to the free Withings Health Mate iOS and Android application, named as one of Apple’s Best Apps of 2014. Health Mate acts as a personal coach to track and motivate users to achieve their own activity goals as well as advanced food logging capabilities, thanks to a proprietary integration with MyFitnessPal. The app provides a timeline of daily reports and contextual advice to help achieve goals.  It also includes an interactive leaderboard, personal “data insights,” smart reminders, and achievement badges for added motivation through gamification strategies.  In addition, Health Mate integrates with over 150 partners whose services add to the 360° wellness experience (GPS running, food logging, etc.).

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Wide wearable appeal 

The Withings Go is designed to expand the appeal of activity trackers to wider audiences, helping people of all fitness levels achieve their health goals. Available in 5 vibrant colors (black, blue, green, red, yellow), it can be worn in multiple ways to suit individual styles or social settings. Whether placed on the wrist, clipped to a belt, carried on a keychain, or in a pocket, it is with you wherever you go.

Withings Go expands the Withings portfolio of trackers that currently includes the Pulse Ox activity, heart rate, and blood oxygen level tracker ($99.95) and three distinct models of the Activité line of highly stylized analog watch activity and sleep trackers.  These include the luxury Swiss made Activité ($450), the premium Activité Steel ($169.95) and the versatile Activité Pop ($149.95).

“We are delighted to introduce Withings Go which rounds out our portfolio of stylish, advanced activity and sleep trackers that meet the needs of people from all walks of life,” says Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings. “Sporting a number of industry firsts, from always-on multiple displays to dynamic activity recognition, we have once again released a product that will make activity tracking accessible for everyone.”

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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