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Huawei ships 100m phones

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Huawei has announced that it has shipped over 100 million smartphones worldwide in 2015, position it as one of the top consumer device companies in the world.

Over the last five years, shipments of Huawei’s smartphones have increased more than 3,000 percent, from 3 million in 2010 to 100 million in 2015. This year’s performance represents an important achievement as Huawei continues to grow and launch several global flagship devices each year that are focused on the premium market and integrate the best in creativity, design, fashion, photography and performance.

“Huawei’s success is not accidental. These results directly reflect the consumer demand for our products, and we’re proud to deliver premium smartphone devices to people around the world,” said  Kevin Ho,

President, Huawei Consumer Business Group Handset product line. “The smartphone landscape is constantly changing as people look for devices that let them extend the boundaries of what’s possible. We look forward to continued growth in 2016 as we expand our product portfolio and partner with some of the world’s top brands to bring the best devices to market.”

In 2015 Huawei recorded a 30 percent increase in its mid-to-high-end smartphone shipments, including:

  • Through September, 4 million P8 smartphone shipments, 7.5 million P7 smartphone shipments, and 6.5 million Mate 7 smartphone shipments.
  • The launch of Huawei’s Mate S smartphone, which was sold in 48 countries across Asia and Europe and Europe.
  • Huawei’s Nexus 6P smartphone made in collaboration with Google, which made headway in North America.
  • The Mate 8 smartphone, which was launched in China in November.

This success is a result of Huawei’s extensive research and development efforts, diversification across markets, omni-channel strategy and the brand loyalty inspired by its products.

Research and Development:

Huawei’s expansive R&D efforts set the standard for the most unique and innovative consumer devices to hit the market in 2014. Last year Huawei invested 14.2 percent ($6.3 billion USD) of its annual revenue in R&D while securing 76,687 patents, 18,000 of which apply to Huawei devices.

Huawei has established 16 research laboratories in various countries including China, Germany, Sweden, Russia and India. Each R&D center is chosen for a strategic purpose. For example, Huawei’s research institute in Japan focuses on materials and technology, utilizing Japan’s spirit of pursuing perfection. In Paris, Huawei collaborates with the Paris Aesthetics Center to consult French luxury designers to ensure its smartphones reflect the most cutting-edge fashion trends. With R&D as its foundation, Huawei has achieved an important balance constantly improving its product concept, hardware architecture and EMUI user interface.

Diversification and Omni-channel Strategy:

2015 marked a significant shift in Huawei’s market strategy. While Huawei experienced excellent results in the mid-to-low-end market, this year it launched a series of premium smartphone to expand its portfolio into the high-end market, attracting attention from consumers across the globe. To meet the growing demand for Huawei devices, Huawei established over ten thousand experience centers and franchised stores in China and will open 1,000 additional stores in 2016. By leveraging brick-and-mortar establishments where consumers can hold and try using the devices, quality online and offline retailers and streamlined distribution channels, Huawei is expanding the reach of its devices to people everywhere.

Looking Forward:

Huawei employs the world’s most elite engineers and developers to deliver exceptional results. Driven by their passion for perfection, the Huawei team works tirelessly to provide consumers with the best experience and develop products that are truly worth pursuing.

2015 signifies an important milestone for Huawei, with its record-breaking domestic smartphone shipments and recognition as a top-three smartphone brand worldwide. Huawei is confident that it will continue to disrupt the global smartphone market in 2016.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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