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IFA 2015: Acer gaming tablet

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Acer has released the Predator 8 GT-810 gaming tablet, one of several new gaming devices in its “high-octane Predator gaming series”.

The sleek brushed aluminium GT-810 is powered by the newest Intel Atom x7 processor, Android 5.1 and the latest 2×2 MIMO wireless technology, taking portable gaming to a new level of fun and immersion.

Making games, movies and videos thrilling and immersive, the Predator 8 GT 810 includes a high-quality FHD display (1920 x 1200) for crystal clear viewing and incredible graphics, while Predator Quadio, four array front-facing speakers with virtual surround sound and red stainless steel mesh, deliver exceptionally realistic stereo audio. In addition, Predator TacSense makes gaming more enjoyable and memorable, enhancing game play with tactile feedback.

Thin and lightweight, the Predator 8 is just 8.7mm thin (11⁄32 inches) and weighs only 350 grams (12.35 ounces), making it highly portable and easy to hold with either one or two hands. In addition, soft texturized panels on the back make it comfortable to hold and carry.

High-Octane Performance Keeps it Real

Gamers will appreciate the raw power found on the Predator 8. The newest generation Intel Atom x7-z8700 Processor with Intel HD Graphics (Gen 8 –LP) deliver extraordinary graphics and performance, while 802.11a/b/g/n wireless with 2×2 MIMO supports fast connection speeds, processing data at up to twice the speed of traditional 1×1 solutions. Predator TacSense provides tactile feedback which makes the gaming experience more engaging and enjoyable with a real sense of vibration. And with up to 64GB of on-board storage and expansion capabilities via a microSD card of up to 128GB, gamers have room to take their games, videos and music with them wherever they go.

Designed For Gaming

Acer has collaborated with Gameloft since the design stage of the Predator 8 to fine-tune the gaming experience. As a result, Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 racing game works seamlessly with Predator TacSense to bring a realistic and immersive experience for gamers. The Predator 8 GT 810 will be preloaded with Asphalt 8 and 320,000 game credits (approximately US$50 value).

Top-Notch Visuals and Audio Engage the Senses

In addition to the tablet’s 8-inch full high-definition display (1920 x 1200), it uses Zero Air Gap and IPS technology to deliver superior color saturation, making details easily seen from all angles, and movies crisp and clear. Taking the visuals up a notch even further, Predator ColorBlast technology brings high-quality color from professional monitors to the tablet, supporting 100% of the NTSC color gamut.

Extraordinarily powerful sound is delivered via Predator Quadio — four front-facing speakers that deliver virtual surround sound and amazingly realistic and dynamic audio and accurate tones that are never distorted. Quadio’s special algorithm distributes sound intelligently between each of the speakers for maximum clarity and volume, resulting in an audio experience that’s perfect for personal enjoyment or can easily fill a room for larger gatherings or social events. In addition, Dolby Audio greatly enhances the overall sound quality by intelligently optimizing the audio for various situations — streaming a movie or playing music, connected to external speakers or listening through headphones, it delivers clear dialogue, clean highs, solid midrange tones and powerful bass.

Lastly, Predator MediaMaster is a unique Acer application that allows the audio and video set up to be customized for standard, album, movie and game use. For example, in game mode the radius of the surround sound, color saturation, and global contrast are increased, while in movie mode the bass is set to median level and the dark levels of the display are enhanced for more detail.

Highly Precise Touchscreen plays well with Fingertip, Pencil or Stylus

Providing one of the best touch experiences available, the Predator 8 features Predator Precision Plus technology, which incorporates touch sensors that are smaller and more densely arranged than the industry standard. With a higher density of touch sensors, greater control accuracy can be achieved, which is especially beneficial in FPS games. Also ideal for sketching or writing, the tablet can be used with any 2mm fine tip writing implement such as a graphite pencil or an optional Acer Accurate Stylus.

Accessories

Acer will offer a number of optional accessories for its Predator 8 gaming tablet, including covers, carrying cases, a stylus, travel adapter, SlimPort adapter dongle and gaming headset.

Availability

Availability will vary by region. To find out about availability, product specifications and prices in specific markets, please contact your nearest Acer office or retailer via www.acer.com.

 

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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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