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HP unveils new consumer line-up

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HP has unveiled its latest generation premium consumer PCs, which are thinner and lighter with better battery life.

HP provided the following information:

The premium portfolio is built to address customers’ need for devices that inspire and excite. Whether for within the home or on the go, the HP Premium products have become the gold standard for what customers expect from their computing experience. New products debuting today include:

·       HP Spectre x360, the second generation of HP’s revolutionary x360 convertible now features a near zero border display in a design that is 13 percent thinner and 11 percent lighter.

·       HP ENVY laptop offers a sophisticated design offering up to 14 hours of battery life,, four more than the previous model.

·       HP ENVY AIO 27 combines computing power with media experiences that feature a near borderless Technicolor Colour Certified HD display that floats over an integrated four speaker sound bar tuned by Bang & Olufsen.

“Premium customers have high expectations around device performance and quality for consuming media and productivity whether at home, work or on the go,”  said Anne-Sophie Hadberg, head of consumer personal systems EMEA, HP Inc. “We are strengthening our leadership in premium with our redesigned PC portfolio to deliver big power in thin and light designs to be even more portable and revolutionize our all-in-one to bring amazing sound into the home.”

HP Spectre x360 delivers powerful performance in sleek package

HP has taken its most successful premium laptop PC and made it even better. The Spectre x360 now achieves 25 percent more hours of battery life with up to 15 hours. This was accomplished by optimizing the PC for the latest 7th Generation Intel Core processors and fitting a larger 57.8W battery in the thinner design. The new micro-edge display bezel design reduces the overall footprint by eliminating almost 10mm from each side of the screen to provide a beautiful viewing experience for improved portability. With a new hinge design, it is 13.8mm thin, over 2mm thinner than the previous generation and is lighter at 1.29kg compared to 1.45kg. The PC now includes four speakers instead of two to deliver crisp audio. Thanks to tuning by Bang & Olufsen plus HP Audio Boost, the two forward facing speakers in addition to two on the bottom provide superb sound in every mode.

The new Spectre x360 features great connectivity with two USB-Type C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support and a USB-Type A 3.0 port allowing users to connect the latest peripherals both today and tomorrow. The bright display boasts a 13.3-inch (33.78cm) diagonal FHD IPS panel that delivers great viewing experiences. The Natural Silver colour with polished accents on the hinges creates the sleek profile customers crave.

Other features include:

·       The new dual fan design optimizes thermals to ensure the device runs cool during demanding activities

·       7th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors

·       Options with up to a 1TB PCIe SSD for fast performance and plenty of space to store high resolution videos and photos

·       HP Truevision FHD Webcam with 12% wider field of view, great for web chats.

·       A FHD IR camera supports Windows Hello Facial Log-In for secure, easy log in without typing a password.

·        HP Fast Charge to recharge the batteries to 90 percent capacity in just 90 minutes

 

HP ENVY Laptop is powerful in a thin and light design

Designed for the customer who wants premium laptop at an affordable price, the HP ENVY combines beauty and power with refined metal materials and slim lines offered in Natural Silver. The new 13.3” (33.78cm) diagonal HP ENVY laptop packs four more hours of battery life up to 14 hours compared to last year’s model. At only 14mm and 1.42kg, the new HP ENVY is slightly thicker and heavier than the previous generation, but now boasts a larger battery and the latest generation Intel Core processors for big power on the go.

An elevated hinge design provides a more comfortable typing experience coupled with a backlit keyboard for working in low light and an extra-wide glass touchpad for less resistance. The optional edge-to-edge flush glass display offers vivid visuals for movies and games with a QHD+, UHD or FHD panel. Dual firing speakers, with audio expertly tuned by Bang & Olufsen plus HP Audio Boost Technology offer amazing sound to amplify movies and music.

Other features include:

  • Two USB 3.0 ports, including one dedicated to sleep and charge, and one USB Type-C port
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors
  • Up to a 1TB SSD PCIe provides fast response times when opening or moving large files
  • Up to 16GB RAM
  • HP Fast Charge up to 90 percent in 90 minutes

 

HP ENVY AIO 27 looks great in any room, delivers cinematic experiences

The HP ENVY AIO 27 offers a simple yet sophisticated design that makes it look great in any room in the house. By moving the computing power into the base, the two volume design reduces the display thickness by 44 percent for a 15mm thin, beautiful 27-inch (68.58cm) diagonal QHD or UHD display. The base includes an innovative sound bar with four speakers expertly tuned by Bang & Olufsen to provide theatre-like sound quality and an audio dial that allows for easy touch control. The 3.6 million pixel screen resolution with Technicolor Colour Certification helps ensure high accuracy colours when watching videos or creating and editing content. This is HP’s first all-in-one display to feature low blue light mode for improved eye comfort and a better night’s sleep. To safeguard privacy, the ENVY AIO 27 offers a HP Privacy Camera with IR support and a microphone that is hidden when not in use.

Other features include:

·       Powerful processing options available, including 6th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 quad-core desktop

·       Optional discrete NVIDIA GTX 950M graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 video for blazing fast 3D gaming performance

·       Hybrid storage options include up to a 256GB SSD and 2TB HDD to give customers faster performance and plenty of storage for digital media collections

·       USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt support

·       HDMI-out to connect to a second monitor or to project to a TV

·       HDMI-in port for connecting a laptop to take advantage of the ENYV AIO 27’s beautiful display

 

Pricing and Availability

·       The HP ENVY All-In-One 27 is expected to be available in SA in December with a starting price of R27 999,00.

·       The HP Spectre x360 is expected to be available in SA in November with a starting price of R24 999,00.

·       The HP ENVY Laptop with QHD+ or FHD panel options is expected to be available in SA in November with a starting price of R19 999,00 The HP ENVY Laptop with UHD panel option is expected to be available in January 2017.

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Smart home arrives in SA

The smart home is no longer a distant vision confined to advanced economies, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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The smart home is a wonderful vision for controlling every aspect of one’s living environment via remote control, apps and sensors. But, because it is both complex and expensive, there has been little appetite for it in South Africa.

The two main routes for smart home installation are both fraught with peril – financial and technical.

The first is to call on a specialist installation company. Surprisingly, there are many in South Africa. Google “smart home” +”South Africa”, and thousands of results appear. The problem is that, because the industry is so new, few have built up solid track records and reputations. Costs vary wildly, few standards exist, and the cost of after-sales service will turn out to be more important than the upfront price.

The second route is to assemble the components of a smart home, and attempt self-installation. For the non-technical, this is often a non-starter. Not only does one need a fairly good knowledge of Wi-Fi configuration, but also a broad understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the ability for devices to sense their environment, connect to each other, and share information.

The good news, though, is that it is getting easier and more cost effective all the time.

My first efforts in this direction started a few years ago with finding smart plugs on Amazon.com. These are power adaptors that turn regular sockets into “smart sockets” by adding Wi-Fi and an on-off switch, among other. A smart lightbulb was sourced from Gearbest in China. At the time, these were the cheapest and most basic elements for a starter smart home environment.

Via a smartphone app, the light could be switched on from the other side of the world. It sounds trivial and silly, but on such basic functions the future is slowly built.

Fast forward a year or two, and these components are available from hundreds of outlets, they have plummeted in cost, and the range of options is bewildering. That, of course, makes the quest even more bewildering. Who can be trusted for quality, fulfilment and after-sales support? Which products will be obsolete in the next year or two as technology advances even more rapidly?

These are some of the challenges that a leading South African technology distributor, Syntech, decided to address in adding smart home products to its portfolio. It selected LifeSmart, a global brand with proven expertise in both IoT and smart home products.

Equally significantly, LifeSmart combines IoT with artificial intelligence and machine learning, meaning that the devices “learn” the best ways of connecting, sharing and integrating new elements. Because they all fall under the same brand, they are designed to integrate with the LifeSmart app, which is available for Android and iOS phones, as well as Android TV.

Click here to read about how LifeSmart makes installing smart home devices easier.

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.

Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.

With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.

Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.

Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist. 

So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?

For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.

In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.

This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.

In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.

As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.

This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.

The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.

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