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CES 2017: LG to unveil new smartphone range

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LG will unveil its K Series of smartphones at CES 2017 in Las Vegas as it plans to bring some of the high-end features found on its premium phones to the mid-level market.

LG Electronics (LG) will unveil four new mass-tier K Series smartphones and a new Stylus 3 at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, as the mid-range segment continues its strong growth as the market matures. The new mid-range devices are designed to bring popular technologies from LG’s more premium flagship smartphones, such as the 120-degree wide angle front camera lens and the rear fingerprint scanner.

LG’s updated K Series carries over a philosophy that all customers do not want the same things in a smartphone, rather than offering one main smartphone model and expecting customers to adapt.

The K10 delivers a “best-in-class” 5.3-inch HD In-cell Touch Display for both indoor and outdoor use. Its 5MP front camera with 120-degree wide angle selfie lens complements a premium, 13MP rear camera that has been employed in LG flagship G series devices. Other advanced features not usually available in smartphones in this category include a fingerprint scanner, a metallic U-frame for a sturdy but slim 7.9mm profile and 2.5D Arc Glass design.

The K8 features a 5-inch HD In-cell Touch display and delivers high-quality camera performance with 5MP in the front and 13M on the rear. These are enhanced by LG’s intelligent UX features, such as Auto Shot and Gesture Shot for selfies. Auto Shot automatically triggers the front camera’s shutter when a face is detected and Gesture Shot takes a selfie in response to a hand signal, eliminating the need to press the shutter button and shaking the phone at the most critical moment.

The K4 is equipped with a sensitive 5-inch In-cell Touch display and 5MP front and rear cameras as well as the popular Auto Shot and Gesture Shot features found in the K8. The K4 offers a slim 7.9mm profile and removable 2,500mAh battery as well as a microSD slot for additional storage.

The smallest in the series, the K3 comes with a 4.5-inch On-cell Touch display, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP lens in the front supported by Gesture Shot. With a microSD slot and 2,100mAh removable battery, the K3 offers many features unavailable on other competing smartphones in this category.

LG will also debut the third generation Stylus 3, the latest version of its mid-range Stylus smartphone (Stylo in the United States). The Stylus 3 delivers an improved writing experience with a 1.8mm diameter fiber-tip stylus to provide the feel and feedback of an actual pen when writing on the screen. The Stylus 3 also features a fingerprint scanner and enhanced UX with Pen Pop 2.0 as well as the popular Pen Keeper and Screen-off Memo. With Pen Pop 2.0, your memos are never out of sight and can be set to display on the screen whenever the stylus is removed. Pen Keeper displays a warning when the stylus strays too far from the phone, and Screen-off Memo enables note-taking directly on the screen even when the display is off.

“Our 2017 mass-tier, mid-range smartphones focus on giving our customers a wide variety of options and choices for their smartphone lifestyles,” said Juno Cho, president of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “What’s consistent in all our K Series and Stylus 3 devices is that they look and feel premium, offer replaceable batteries and all come with expandable memory slots, what customers consider key factors when buying smartphones in this category.”

* Information regarding launch dates and markets will be announced locally in the weeks to come. The company’s newest mobile products will be on display at LG’s stand at CES, in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #11100, Central Hall.

K10 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MT6750 1.5 GHz Octa-Core
  • Display: 5.3-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 277ppi)
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM / 32GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP (Wide) / Rear 13MP (Standard)
  • Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 148.7 x 75.3 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 142g
  • Network:  LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0 / NFC
  • Color: Black / Titan / Gold
  • Other: Fingerprint Scanner

K8 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8917 1.4 Quad-Core
  • Display: 5.0-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 294ppi)
  • Memory: 1.5GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP / Rear 13MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 144.8 x 72.1 x 8.09mm
  • Weight: 142g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0 / NFC
  • Color: Silver / Titan / Gold / Dark Blue

K4 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8909 1.1GHz Quad-Core
  • Display: 5.0-inch FWVGA In-cell Touch (854 x 480 / 196ppi)
  • Memory: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP / Rear 5MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Size: 144.76 x 72.6 x 7.94mm
  • Weight: 135g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Black / Titan

K3 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8909 1.1GHz Quad-Core
  • Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA On-cell Touch (854 x 480 / 218ppi)
  • Memory: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 2MP / Rear 5MP
  • Battery: 2,100mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Size: 133.9 x 69.75 x 9.44mm
  • Weight: 132g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Black

Stylus 3 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MT6750 Octa-Core
  • Display: 5.7-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 258ppi)
  • Memory: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 8MP / Rear 13MP
  • Battery: 3,200mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 155.6 x 79.8 x 7.4mm
  • Weight: 149g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Metallic Titan / Pink Gold
  • Other: Stylus Pen / FM Radio / Fingerprint Scanner

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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