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Huawei enters foldable race

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Huawei became the third brand to launch a smartphone with a foldable display.

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At Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona today, Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) unveiled the World’s Fastest 5G Foldable Phone, the HUAWEI Mate X. When folded, the device is a huge display smartphone with a 6.6-inch screen. When opened, it turns into a slim tablet with an 8-inch screen. 

Thus compares with the Samsung Fold, unveiled four days earlier, having only a 4.6-inch front display, and 7.3-inch when opened up,

“The HuaweiMate X’s revolutionary form factor is achieved by Huawei’s relentless effort in R&D,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, at the launch. “It represents a voyage into the uncharted. As a new breed of smartphones, Huawei Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and an all-new mode of interfacing to provide consumers with an unprecedented user experience.”

It features a Falcon Wing mechanical hinge, 7nm multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, a high-capacity 4500mAh battery, and the world’s fastest charging, with a 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge. 

Likun Zhao, President of Huawei CBG for Southern Africa, said: “In terms of technology,  Huawei has taken another leap in innovation. We will continue to bring the latest innovation to our local consumers and we intend on bringing Mate X to South Africa later this year.”

On the front, the 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet features a high strength, flexible OLED 6.6-inch dual display panel using FullView, edge-to-edge display. When unfolded, it transforms into an 8-inch tablet measuring 5.4mm thick. Folded, it measures 11cm, compared to the Fold’s 17cm. Unlike the Fold, which looks like two phones on top of each other when folded, the two halves of the Mate X screen fit into a frame.

The expansive viewing area lends well to both productivity and entertainment scenarios, said Huawei in a a statement today: “Everything from editing a document to reading feels better on a larger screen. In addition, consumers are able to drag images from their photo gallery to their emails in split-screen mode. The larger screen allows consumers to do more with their time.”

The foldable design makes it possible for the Leica camera system to play the role of both front and rear cameras. When folded, the Mate X shows a view finder on both sides, so the subjects in the frame can contribute to the creative process.

The Mate X also comes with an integrated Fingerprint Power Button that enables users to power up the device with one tap.

Equipped with the world’s first 7nm 5G multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, the chipset has unprecedented 5G download speeds, at 4.6Gps on the Sub-6GHz band (theoretical). Balong 5000 is also the world’s first chipset to support both SA and NSA architectures. A dual SIM feature supports both 4G and 5G.

A purpose-designed 4500mAh battery is packed in the Mate X’s body, using AI-based smart power-saving technology. The 55W SuperCharge charging plug is able to charge the battery back to 85 percent In 30 minutes.

At MWC 2019, Huawei also launched an updated HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, new mainstream notebook PCs, the  HUAWEI MateBook 13 and HUAWEI MateBook 14, as well as the HUAWEI 5G CPE Pro router.

Click here to watch the Gadget exclusive Huawei Mate X demo, recorded by Arthur Goldstuck.

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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget spent two days at Netflix studios last week, and ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read about Netflix’s international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Google announces its ‘Netflix for gaming’

The new gaming platform, Stadia, promises high-definition gaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Google has announced that it has moved into the gaming space, and it focuses on two big aspects of gaming: streaming of games for gamers, which will allow gamers to game anywhere with a fast, low-latency Internet connection; and audiences that watch gamers in-game.

This is a big move in making gaming accessible to more gamers, as it reduces hardware costs, by utilising the benefits of low-latency cloud computing. This will be achieved by using a globally connected network of Google data centres. Gamers who stream games are most likely already using a high-speed, low-latency Internet connection, so access to the Stadia platform will be an added expense.

Through the Stadia platform, gamers will be able to access a large library of games at all times, with no installation time, on virtually any screen. Scaling of hardware like CPU, GPU, memory, and storage is also possible, as one would for cloud server resources.

Google will be leveraging its other platforms, like YouTube, with Stadia streaming. It claims that 200-million people are watching game-related content daily on YouTube. This allows, for example, Stadia players to jump in with other Stadia players – no downloads, no updates, no patches, and no installs.

For console players, Google has designed a custom controller.

The controller was designed to establish a direct connection from the Stadia controller to Google’s data centre through Wi-Fi for the best possible gaming performance. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving, and sharing gameplay in 4K resolution. It sports a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as many Google products do, for voice control. 

The device is expected to be released later this year, pending FCC approval.

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