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Huawei throws the book at P8

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This week, Huawei unveiled the latest addition to its P series of smartphones, the Huawei P8. The dual-SIM, unibody device is available in four colours and is designed to resemble the pages, bindings and hardcovers of books.

Huawei Consumer Business Group yesterday unveiled the Huawei P8 smartphone, which it describes as “a perfect blend of technology, sleek styling, usability and revolutionary low light camera features”.

It says the P8 is based on a deep understanding of human-machine design, delivering a new level of usability for applications impacting everyday life “at work and at play”.

Introduced in 2012, the Huawei P series has redefined the style of the company’s phones. The P6 introduced a new and elegant sleekness in 2015, as the thinnest smartphone in the world, and last year’s P7 maintained that positioning.

The Huawei P8 design, on the other hand, is described as being “deeply rooted in literary tradition, combining elements of ancient manuscripts, illuminated books and the essence of sunlight in stained glass library windows”.

The one-piece aluminium body with diamond shape blasting craftsmanship is intended to highlight the texture of the metal and, says the company, “the design details of the Huawei P8 are said to evoke the pages, bindings and hardcovers of traditional books”.

The phone comes with four colour options: silver, gold, black and grey. The devices come in a translucent package and the unboxing experience is intended to evoke the experience of taking a book from the shelf.

Highlights, as supplied by Huawei, include:

  • • The nano-injection moulding process results in an industry-leading seamless tight junction connecting a 1.5mm thin plastic bar with one of the industry’s largest screens.
  • • The phone is 6.4mm thin, with dual SIM cards, and works seamlessly with a 4G network (where the service is available).
  • • The triple-layer shark-gill design enhances the reliability and robustness of the device.
  • • Inside, the new Kirin 930 64-bit Octa-Core chipset boosts performance by approximately 20 percent compared with other phones with similar levels of battery life.
  • • The body’s sleek back cover is constructed of steel, for reinforced structural rigidity.

“The Huawei P8 is designed to have a natural connection to human nature, providing solutions to common pain points and meeting consumers’ needs – both simple and complex,” read a company statement. “The Huawei P8 has a revolutionary touch screen experience that is innate to consumers.”

Double-tapping a knuckle captures a full-length screen shot, while drawing a circle on the screen quickly captures content. Additionally, a “search phone by voice” function allows users to call out to their misplaced smartphone, which will respond through its speaker to identify.

Power management tools create a bridge between the Huawei P8’s slim design, power efficiently and stunning performance. The device contains a 2680mAh battery and, with Kirin 930 Octa-Core 64-bit chipset, delivering performance that outpaces the smartphone market.

In loud environments users can increase volume up to 58 percent above normal level. In a windy environment, the smartphone can eliminate 90 percent of the sound of wind when using a headset or earphones with a single microphone. Additionally, hands-free functionality supports hands-free speaker calls within a range of 2 meters, while a built-in independent audio decoder chipset enables music volume to double while maintaining the same quality.

Considering the user habits as well as upcoming trends, the Huawei P8 provides a comprehensive line-up of solutions:

  • • For 4G SIM card users, the device features dual 4G SIM card support with two flexible card slots.
  • • Once the Huawei P8 has identified and connected with a Bluetooth device such as the Huawei TalkBand B2, the phone can be remotely unlocked without entering a password.
  • • With network roaming performance optimized for 4G, the Huawei P8 connects with network roaming services approximately three times faster than average phone models.
  • • Additionally, with an optional E-ink screen on the back of the phone, the metal back cover can switch to an eBook in just seconds.

“The goal of Huawei P8 is to become the most user-friendly smartphone for consumers globally” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, “Through in-depth market research, Huawei has addressed the most pressing pain points for premium smartphone users today.

“Huawei seamlessly combines the best elements of style and durability in this device, delivering a revolutionary user experience – especially in terms of camera capabilities and network connectivity. Building on the outstanding market performance of Huawei’s P series, we fully believe the Huawei P8 will become one of the most popular smartphones of 2015.”

The following information was supplied by Huawei

The Huawei P8 introduces a new philosophy for camera design leveraging a combination of hardware, software and proprietary algorithms to help users capture beautiful photographs, even in the worst lighting conditions. Features include:

  • • Industry-leading Optical Image Stabilizer technology up to 1.2°, enabling high-quality photos and videos, and managing camera shake so images are consistently sharp.
  • • The world’s first four-color RGBW sensor enhances brightness by 32 percent in high contrast lighting situations, reduces it by 78 percent in low light environments. DSLR-level independent image processor enabling noise reduction when shooting and intelligent detection of a high-contrast lighting environment.
  • • Four professional quality low-light shooting modes giving users access to a virtual photo and video studio to capture artistic inspirations.

For example, the Light Painting mode, one of the four professional quality low-light shooting modes, leverages the Huawei P8’s manual camera shutter to capture broad swaths of light. Light Painting mode can capture a rolling ferris wheel at night, showing the circular streams of light in an artistic photo. Users can also “light paint” their own freehand pictures using a small torchlight in the dark. Another industry first low light technology is the light check and preview mode. By giving users a preview of what the shot will look like, the device makes it easier to experiment creatively with light sources in the dark.

The Huawei P8’s Director mode is the industry’s first professional-level video capture function on a smartphone. It allows consumers to direct and control up to three other Android phones when shooting a video scene from four angles simultaneously, while also synchronize video clip editing.

The Huawei P8 also introduces a powerful new Selfie mode, which allows preset image enhancement settings to capture and customize everyone’s unique beauty, enabling even more people to get in on the fun.

Setting New Standards for Mobile Connectivity

During the process of researching and listening to the needs of elite smartphone users, Huawei has addressed emerging pain points around dropped calls and signal degradation. Building on Huawei’s DNA of world-class communications technology, the Huawei P8 has re-defined the industry benchmark for seamless network connectivity.

The Huawei P8 has re-defined the industry benchmark for seamless network connectivity through proprietary Signal+ technology. The compact and powerful dual-antenna design plus rapid switching technology allows the smartphone to instantly switch between antennas, ensuring a continuous strong network connection. Additionally, the devices’ Signal+ enhances the call connection rate, even when users are travelling on a train at a speed of up to 300 kilometres per hour.

For consumers who travel by air, it takes quite a bit of time to connect when landing at an airport; the Huawei P8 increases the speed of connecting to a roaming network. Based on international roaming test data from more than 20 countries and regions across Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America with network roaming performance optimized for 4G, the Huawei P8 synchronizes with network roaming services approximately three times faster than an average phone.

Huawei’s extremely stylish P series has achieved great success around the world. Global sales of the Huawei P6 have totalled 5 million units in 60 countries and the Huawei P7 surpassed 4 million sales across more than 100 countries in just six months. The success of the Huawei P6 and P7 indicates a strong potential demand for the Huawei P8.

There are two versions of the Huawei P8; the standard device for €499 and the premium version for €599. It will initially be available in more than 30 countries including China, Columbia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, UAE and the United Kingdom.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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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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