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Fitbit launches Charge 3

Fitbit has announced the Charge 3, the latest in its Charge family of devices. Charge 3 features an elevated, premium swimproof design with a touchscreen display, 15+ goal-based exercise modes and essential smart features to stay connected.

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Fitbit’s Charge family of products is the most popular of Fitbit’s lineup, with 35 million devices sold to date. According to Fitbit research, of adult consumers who considered buying a wearable in the last year, 42% wanted a tracker versus 36% who wanted a smartwatch – due to the slimmer design, easy-to-use features, streamlined experience and price point. Further, IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates shipments of fitness trackers will continue to comprise a significant portion of the overall wearables category for the next several years. Trackers also make up the majority of wearable sales in major global markets like Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore and Spain.  

“With Charge 3, we are building on the success of our best-selling Charge franchise and delivering our most innovative tracker, offering an extremely slim, comfortable and premium design, along with the advanced health and fitness features our users want. Charge 3 gives existing users a compelling reason to upgrade, while also allowing us to reach new users who want a sleeker, more affordable wearable in a tracker form factor,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “Our commitment to consumer choice and ability to meet the demand of millions of users by offering a range of products, from trackers to smartwatches, will enable us to expand our share of the overall wearables market.”

Premium design, intelligently crafted

Charge 3 is crafted from premium, lightweight materials, including an aerospace grade aluminum case and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 display for a slimmer, modern silhouette, increased durability and more comfortable fit for men and women. It features a crisp, touchscreen OLED display that is nearly 40 percent larger and brighter than its predecessor, offering a more intuitive experience with easy access to your most important information. 

Fitbit Charge 3 is the first wearable with an inductive button, which includes new patent-pending technology that provides a streamlined, swimproof design, increased space in the device to add more sensors plus a larger battery with up to 7 days of use, and more effortless interaction while maintaining the performance expected from our most advanced fitness tracker.

To complement the elevated hardware, the interactive software experience was redesigned to more deeply engage and motivate users to reach their goals each day. The high-resolution touchscreen display brilliantly showcases crisp, grayscale graphics with new playful animations and expressive graphics which surprise and delight, creating fun moments to help you celebrate milestones and stay focused on hitting your next goal. 

Superior health & fitness experience

Charge 3 also delivers the most advanced health and fitness features found on a Fitbit tracker to date. With more than nine trillion minutes of heart rate data tracked, Fitbit has enhanced its 24/7 PurePulse® heart rate technology for even greater accuracy during exercise compared to Charge 2, and provides a better measure of calorie burn and resting heart rate to optimise workouts and help uncover health trends. The addition of a relative SpO2 sensor – a first for a Fitbit tracker – allows for the potential to estimate changes in blood oxygen levels and help track new health indicators, like sleep apnea. 

Additional health and fitness features include: 

  • Goal-based exercise modes: Choose from 15+ exercise modes like bike, swim, run, weights and yoga; set a goal for calories burned, distance or duration, and see real-time stats, progress and celebrations on device when you reach your goal. 
  • Water resistant to 50M: Wear in the shower, rain, pool or ocean. See real-time duration on your wrist with Swim Mode, or use SmartTrack® automatic exercise recognition to see laps and pace in the Fitbit® app post-swim.
  • Go the distance: Stay motivated with Connected GPS from your phone for real-time pace and distance on device, plus Run Detect with auto pause and auto stop (coming soon).
  • Female health tracking: Gain a deeper understanding of your menstrual cycle by using the Fitbit app to log your period and ovulation (coming soon), record symptoms and compare cycle trends over time. With all your health and fitness stats in one place, you can better manage your health; easily see where you are in your cycle in the on-device dashboard.
  • Information at a glance: Easily navigate the new personalised, on-device dashboard to see daily activity stats and health metrics like female health tracking; hydration, sleep and weight (coming soon).
  • Personalised insights: Know yourself to improve your health with new dynamic insights about your activity, heart rate, nutrition and sleep to help you reach your goals with positive reinforcement and tips to course correct when needed (coming soon in the Fitbit app). 
  • Social motivation: Connect to one of the largest health and fitness social networks in the world, with more than 25 million active users for added motivation to reach your goals when you engage with friends, family and others through Feed, Groups and Challenges in the Fitbit app.
  • 24/7 guidance and motivation: Stay on top of all your daily activity and get a more complete picture of your overall health with features like automatic exercise recognition, Reminders to Move, Relax guided breathing, sleep tracking with Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights, and more.

Advancements in Sleep Tracking & Analysis

Fitbit helps millions of users better understand their sleep patterns and the lifestyle habits than can impact them. Fitbit started tracking sleep in 2009and has built one of the largest databases of sleep over the past nine years with more than 7.5 billion nights tracked. Fitbit also introduced Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights based on heart rate variability to give you an even more in-depth understanding of sleep quality.

“Fitbit continues to harness its data to give users actionable insights into their health and wellness. For example, we’ve found that 1 in 4 people get significantly more sleep on weekends than weekdays, which implies they are trying to make up for reduced sleep during the week. We can deliver insights to these users through the Fitbit app to make them aware of how this behavior affects their well-being and suggest how to set up a sleep schedule,” said Shelten Yuen, VP of Research at Fitbit. “In the future, we hope to provide more guidance to our users to reduce the risk of disease so they can become the healthiest versions of themselves.”

Fitbit continues to make advancements in sleep and is announcing a new Sleep Score beta from Fitbit Labs that will be available to Fitbit users later this year. Using key metrics tracked by any Fitbit device with advanced 24/7 PurePulse heart rate tracking, Sleep Score will provide a nightly score to help give you a more complete picture of your overall sleep quality and what factors affect it. 

In addition, for devices with a relative SpO2 sensor, including Charge 3, Fitbit Ionic™ and Fitbit Versa™, Fitbit will test the tracking of breathing disruptions, which can be indicators of health issues such as allergies, asthma or sleep apnea. 

“With the Fitbit Labs Sleep Score beta, we’re pioneering an intuitive way for people to understand their sleep. It’s an example of how we are continually evolving the health experience for our users,” Yuen added.  

Separately, Fitbit will continue to develop and clinically validate FDA ((U.S. Food & Drug Administration) regulated software as a medical device for various health conditions including sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation. Fitbit is one of nine companies in the FDA’s digital health software precertification pilot program, which is designed to streamline the approval process for software as a medical device.

Stay connected with the right mix of smart features

Along with its advanced health and fitness features, Charge 3 is Fitbit’s smartest tracker yet, offering the best smart features to stay connected to what matters most without overwhelming you with technology or distractions you don’t want or need. 

  • Expanded smart features: Easily customise and view call, calendar, text and smartphone app notifications (like Facebook and Uber), plus accept or reject calls and respond on the go with pre-populated or custom quick replies for Android users (coming soon).
  • Essential apps: Make the most of your day with top-requested convenient apps like Alarms, Timer and Weather; plus Calendar and Fitbit Leaderboard coming soon with future updates.
  • Popular brand apps: A select number of popular brand apps will be added on device in the future, similar to those offered on Ionic and Versa.
  • Easy and secure payments: Leave your wallet at home and use Charge 3 Special Edition devices to make easy and secure payments with Fitbit Pay™ contactless payments; supported by more than 100 financial institutions in 18 countries.  In South Africa, Fitbit Pay is available to all existing FNB/RMB Private Bank cardholders, who have a Fitbit Charge 3™ Special Edition, Fitbit Ionic™ and Fitbit Versa™ smartwatches, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
  • Broad compatibility: Compatible across most Android and iOS devices, with Windows coming soon, so you can choose the wearable you want, regardless of your phone.

Accessories, Pricing & Availability

Customise your Charge 3 day and night with a redesigned, easier-than-ever band attach and a range of accessory options. These feature premium materials like refined polygonal-textured and stain-resistant classic bands, breathable perforated silicone sports bands, fashionable woven bands and premium Horween hand-crafted leather bands. Charge 3 Special Edition with NFC features an exclusive, white silicone sports band with a graphite aluminum case or lavender woven band with a rose gold aluminium case, and offers two looks in one with the inclusion of an additional black classic accessory band in-box. 

Charge 3 will become available for R2,599 in black with a graphite aluminum case or blue gray with a rose gold aluminum case; accessories range from R349 – R549. Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition with Fitbit Pay will be available at local retailers for R3,099. 

Charge 3 will be available in stores starting with October 2018. 

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Here is 2019’s tech

From AI to flexible displays, this is the tech that will shape 2019, writes CY KIM, MD of LG SA

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2018 was incredibly exciting for the technology sector which has seen myriad advancements. These include the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) being established, robots helping around the house and consumer electronic innovations such as TVs that are so thin, they might be mistaken for windows, or paintings.

2019 promises to be another significant year as people’s attitudes are changing and technology becomes embedded in our lives. Smart electronics manufacturers will ensure their plans for the future match evolving consumer needs with suitable technology.

We take a look at the biggest innovations for 2019 from AI to lightning-fast internet speeds and flexible viewing surfaces, and we shed some light on how these evolving technologies will impact on how we live and work.

AI will come of age

AI has experienced a marked increase in investments and according to Forbes, 80% of enterprises are investing in AI while 30% are planning to expand their AI investments in the next three years. It’s estimated that during 2017, venture, corporate and seed investors put about $3.6-billion into AI and machine learning companies.

This investment trend has given rise to innovation in deep learning products that have the potential to change the world for the better.

Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its consumer benefits weren’t visible until recently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to really take off and become a necessity, not just in the home, but in every facet of our lives.

The potential of AI is endless as this technology goes into everything from small watches to cars and even gigantic, connected smart cities. AI is also starting to find its way into TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, mobile phones and even air cons as products adapt to human behaviour.

Lightning-fast internet speeds

Faster internet speeds enable quicker response times for business tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will increase the efficiency of workers and will provide reliable communication tools for companies that rely on remote workers.

Given that the so-called gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, the expectation is that the evolving workforce will contain a higher percentage of employees, or contractors who do not work in a central office.

5G has the potential to change the world the way the internet did a few decades ago. The fifth generation of wireless technology will take internet connectivity to a new level as the internet of things (IoT), will bring about the potential for everything to be connected to everything.

However, 5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It will create new possibilities in numerous sectors, including medicine, transportation and manufacturing.

A smarter world through IoT and AI isn’t possible without 5G’s speed and capacity as the system is able to carry large numbers of connections simultaneously, and is therefore crucial to the development of smart cities, autonomous cars and smart homes.

Life-enriching smart technology

Much like technological innovations, consumer habits and preferences are changing drastically when it comes to home appliances and particularly, home entertainment.

Most consumers believe that advancements in home entertainment tech is life-enriching and that their life is better with the latest tech at their fingertips as it allows them to stay indoors and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

The value of home entertainment tech lies in how it allows loved ones to share experiences, thereby bringing them closer together, particularly during big events such as major sporting events and holiday celebrations.

The potential of flexible viewing surfaces will not only change home entertainment, but also marketing techniques in shopping malls, city centres and shop fronts. With the ability to curve around any environment, this technology creates the perfect platform for signage and consumer engagement that stands out from the crowd.

LG Electronics is an established market leader in innovation and has already started to incorporate these futuristic technologies into its products, which are designed to make consumers lives more convenient. We will continue to release amazing products that utilise smart tech to connect with consumers while staying ahead of the evolutionary curve.

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AI will power IoT

A simple gesture. A world built from accessible assets that drive human convenience and interaction. This is the future that’s powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), two of the planet’s hottest topic trends right now for a very good reason. They work, says PHATHIZWE MALINGA, managing director of SqwidNet.

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They are also the fuel driving digital transformation in 2019. These are the technologies revolutionising performance, process and productivity. They are also transforming industry challenges across agriculture, retail, health and the public sector and are set to continue on this path well into 2019.

IoT has become the central nervous system of technology, allowing users to make intelligent decisions without feeling overwhelmed by choice or technology. Its ability to make life easier on every level – business, consumer, public sector – is the next step of the IoT evolution as it improves quality of life using AI and machine learning to analyse past behaviour and the insights it gleans to change the future.

This is the vision of the perfect IoT and AI future. The two technologies so intertwined and connected that they are influencing one another’s growth, development and adoption. IoT provides the ability to generate data from the changing circumstances of an asset and the infrastructure required to transport that data to where it can be accessed and analysed. Considering the sheer volume of data generated, it is impossible for a human being to analyse it at the speed required for real-time decision making. And this is why AI has become so important.

Today, it is possible to write code that can read the data generated by IoT and identify meaningful patterns at the right speed. This code can also be written in such a way that it can learn from the results it found the last time it ran. It is code that can learn, an algorithm that can self-educate. In this way, AI requires the power of IoT to generate the data it needs to learn and IoT needs AI to ensure that this data can be made meaningful, in time.

Over the next six to 12 months, it is very likely that the potential of IoT will see numerous small players emerge across all industries. They will be focused on servicing those who have yet to experience the full benefits of IoT and they will use technology to deliver solutions that are just ‘good enough’. This could potentially see the more established players being disrupted but most will likely be using the same technology to innovate and to create solutions that don’t just meet customer expectations but transcend them.  Of course, there will be some companies that will remain complacent and they will be the ones battling for customer attention out on the IoT playing field with the small, fresh players.

While on the topic of the customer, the next year is likely to introduce a lot more variety and scalability. The consistent drop in the cost of technology will allow for more choice in solution and capability and this will have a knock-on effect with regards to quality of life and the choices customers make when it comes to solution and service provider.

On the business frontier, the growth of IoT and AI offer an interesting bouquet of choices and opportunities. They allow for investment into solutions that generate better insights that, in turn, generate better products and services. Organisations that ignore this potential or think they can sidle on past what IoT and AI bring to the business are likely to be the ones that are left behind. It’s a cliché for a reason. A single look back at the companies that have emerged as big players in industries previously perceived as impenetrable proves the point. Innovation isn’t optional, it’s an essential part of business DNA and both IoT and AI are critical parts of the ability to innovate at speed, with relevance, and on time.

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