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Will foldable screens converge all device formats?

Over the past 10 years, smartphones have absorbed the functionality of many standalone devices. Could computers be next?

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By ERNST WITTMANN, global account director MEA & country manager – Southern Africa, at TCL

Over the past 10 years, smartphones have eased dedicated personal navigation devices, standalone cameras, and alarm clocks out of most of our lives.  Could notebook and desktop computers be next? Don’t bet against it—a combination of our changing habits and new technologies could one day turn the standalone computer into a niche device, in much the same way as SLR cameras are today

At MWC Barcelona 2019, we saw another importance milestone on a road that may one day lead us to the convergence of tablets, PCs and smartphones in one device. Foldable displays were the hot news at the event, with consumers getting a glimpse of futuristic devices that can be folded down to smartwatch size to wear on your wrist or rolled out to the size of a tablet.

The appeal is easy to understand:  wouldn’t it be convenient to a have a single device that fits in your pocket that you can use for everything from watching your favourite Netflix series on a decent-sized, high-resolution screen to working in your company financials to writing up a blog post and editing the images you will use?

As of now, we are doing more and more tasks on our smartphones—from email to online banking to comparative shopping to catching up on social media to running presentations— but there are still many tasks where the PC reigns supreme. Though there are pocket versions of most of our favourite productivity apps, there are still some tasks were a computer offers a better user experience.

This includes most apps were a larger screen and keyboard enable you to get your task done faster or more enjoyably—word processing, Excel spreadsheets and video streaming, for example. We still face the choice of watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones on a small display or taking a notebook with us wherever we go.

The future of the tablet?

Many people once thought media tablets would close this gap, but not every mainstream user wants to carry more than one device around with them. Tablets have some great use cases—for instance, as low-cost computing devices in emerging markets, as educational tools, or as media consumption devices for children—but many people can’t justify owning a tablet, a notebook and a smartphone.

A foldable phone that is as compact as a smartphone with the screen real-estate of a tablet may thus be more appealing than many cynics think. From there, who knows what may happen? Given that tablets have meet up with notebooks in two-in-one form factors, it is not farfetched to think that notebooks and smartphones will also start to move closer together in the next decade.

For now, PC manufacturers can  breathe easy. Strategy Analytics forecasts global sales of just 1.2 million foldable phones this year, which will rise to around 64.9 million phones in 2023, or a mere 3.5% of projected global smartphone sales that year. In other words, the foldable phone will be a specialist device for a while yet.

But in the longer term, advancements in battery life and processing power, coupled with more elegant voice-based user interfaces and cheaper, better foldables could mean that there won’t be much your PC can do better than your smartphone any more. Imagine how great it will be to have only one compact device in your life that you can take everywhere you go.

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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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