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Huawei unveils P8 in SA

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Huawei unveiled its new flagship phone, the P8, in Johannesburg this week, with the aim of setting a new bar on features like usability and battery life.

Huawei this week introduced its latest flagship phone, the P8, to South Africa, at a launch event in Johannesburg. It is the latest stop in a worldwide tour that has included stops in Bangkok, Singapore, New York and London, with newly appointed GM of Huawei Consumer Business Group SA, Charlene Munilall, unveiling a smartphone that, she says, “flawlessly balances artistry and creativity”.

“The goal of the Huawei P8 is to become the most user-friendly smart phone for consumers globally,” she said. “Huawei seamlessly combines the best elements of style and durability in this device, delivering a revolutionary and premium user experience. The device symbolises our continuous commitment to provide customers with access to premium quality products.”

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According to Huawei, the P8 embodies classic yet inspiring design, class-leading technology and ease of use. It is aimed at the fashion-conscious, visually stimulated modern user. It will be available in South African stores and through all network operators from the second week of July.

“The P8’s outward appeal lies in its sleek, classical design that reflects its users’ sense of style and appreciation of performance and usability,” according to a Huawei statement. “Combining elegance, craftsmanship and durability, the P8 is manufactured using the latest Nano-injection moldings technology to deliver a one-piece aluminum body. The sleek design combines comfort and ease of use.”

The beveled body measures only 6,4mm in thickness, and weighs only 144g. It is available in silver, gold, black and grey.The P8 carries a 5.2’’ full HD display with a 1080p resolution.

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Huawei provided the following additional detail:

These physical attributes that perfectly blend human-machine design are enhanced by clarity of thought and ease of use in the user interface that delivers a new level of usability for applications impacting everyday life – at work and at play.

This is by virtue of Huawei’s Emotion UI 3.0 (EMUI) user interface that redefines the user experience. Built on top of the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, EMUI offers what can only be called a containerized solution: it’s a look, feel and set of features unique to Huawei.

Android Lollipop 5.0 on the P8 features a bold design that is responsive and allows for quick ways to view and respond to messages directly from the locked screen. It comes with automatic encryption to help protect data on the device if it is lost or stolen. The inclusion of SELinux running on all applications allows for protection against vulnerability and malware. Another great feature that comes part of the Operating System is when the screen is off, simply utter the words “OK Google” to access the full Google offering.

This attention to usability detail is taken a few steps further with the ability to increase the volume by up to 58 percent above normal level in noisy environments, as well as the ability to cut out 90 percent of wind noise when using a headset or earphones with a single mic.

Add to this the super hands-free functionality that enables clear hands-free speaker calls within two meters, and the built-in independent audio decoder chipset that doubles the music volume without sacrificing audio quality.

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All these features and functionality are powered by Kirin 930 Octa-Core 64-bit chipset, delivering outstanding performance that outpaces the smart phone market by 20 percent. The 2680mAh battery has been optimized through extensive research and development in the Huawei laboratories and offers 24 hours of standby power when only 10 percent battery power remains.

This has been achieved by also applying Huawei’s unique battery management technology that includes features such as balancing brightness and energy consumption that provides 20 percent higher efficiency than comparative phones.

The P8 is available with either 16GB or 64GB on-board memory, which can be supplemented with a micro SD card up to 128GB that fits into the dual SIM slot that alternatively accepts a second SIM card.

The Huawei P8 is optimized for 4G/LTE data connections as well as enhanced network roaming – which is performed nearly three times faster than competitor phone models.

By the same token, voice quality has been given a boost with Huawei’s Signal+ technology that provides seamless network connectivity, even when users are travelling on a train at a speed of up to 300 kilometers per hour.

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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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