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IFA 2015: Acer gets a refresh

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At this year’s IFA conference in Berlin, Acer announced refreshes to its Aspire V Nitro Series notebooks and the Aspire V 13 notebook, all of which incorporate 6th generation Intel Core processors.

The refreshed Aspire V Nitro Series notebooks and Aspire V 13 support the latest USB 3.1 Type-C port, while “Black Edition” Aspire V Nitro models support Thunderbolt 3, which brings Thunderbolt to USB Type-C at speeds up to 40Gbpup. All models include Qualcomm VIVE 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Qualcomm MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology, allowing up to three times faster downloads compared to other 802.11ac products. MU-MIMO networks serve multiple devices simultaneously, so that higher efficacy can be achieved with multiple devices.

“Sophisticated consumers want the most powerful and efficient notebooks for applications such as gaming, 4k video streaming, downloading, and more,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With the inclusion of Qualcomm MU-MIMO technology, Acer’s V Nitro Series has the top-notch Wi-Fi connectivity option to ensure performance.”

Aspire V Nitro Series- Life in the Fast Lane

The Aspire V Nitro Series notebooks are designed for those seeking an immersive sensory experience and serious computing power. Powered by 6th generation Intel Core processors, the 2015 Aspire V Nitro Series support up to 32GB DDR4 system memory, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, and SATA III SSD/SSHD/HDD storage options. “Black Edition” models support NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M graphics with up to 4GB GDDR5 graphics RAM, and lightning-fast NVMe PCIe SSDs which are typically only available in enterprise servers.

“The Acer Aspire notebook series powered by the new 6th Gen Intel Core processors provides consumers with powerful performance and a long battery life for the best computing experience today,” said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group.  “Intel and Acer have a long history of innovation together, bringing new technologies to market that delight consumers.”

The 2015 refreshes for both the 17-inch and 15-inch Aspire V Nitro models include a neat-cut corner design and a breakthrough slot-antenna design. The antenna is discretely positioned on one corner of the display ensuring 360-degree WiFi coverage with no dead zones. Acer TrueHarmony Plus with Dolby Audio technology help the four built-in speakers pump out powerful surround sound for gaming, film, and music playback. The premium “Black Edition” models include a distinctive light bar alongside the hinge, 4K 100% Adobe RGB options, and hand-assembled Acer DustDefender thermal exhausts with the world’s thinnest metallic blades of just 0.1mm thin, which are stronger and quieter.

Aspire V 13 Series – A Blend of Style and Performance

The new Aspire V 13 notebooks are powered by 6th generation Intel Core processors, Intel HD graphics, and up to 16GB DDR3L system memory. The notebooks come in two stylish colors – Steel Black and Platinum White.At just 19.65 mm thin and 1.5 kg light, they are designed to slip into a bag easily, while 8 hours of battery life lets users stay unplugged for a full workday.

The Aspire V 13 feature Acer CrystalEye HD webcams, and are Skype for Business certified for smooth audio and visuals without gaps or lags, while also allowing a smooth experience for Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant. Four USB ports provide plentiful connectivity, while two powerful speakers with Dolby Audio technology provide cinematic sound on the go, and thanks to the built-in Precision Touchpad (PTP), the Aspire V 13 enables accurate navigation and full support of Windows 10 gestures across touch and non-touch models.

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ConceptD: Creatives get a tech brand of their own

The unveiling of a new brand by Acer recognises the massive computing power needed in creative professions, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It’s a crisp Spring morning in Brooklyn. The regular water taxi from Manhattan pulls up at Duggal Greenhouse on the edge of the East River. It’s a building that symbolises the rejuvenation of Brooklyn as a hub of artistic and creative expression.

Inside the vast structure, global computer brand Acer is about to unveil its own tribute to creativity. Company CEO Jason Chen takes to the stage in faded blue jeans and brown t-shirt, underlining the connection of the event to the informality of the area.

“Brooklyn is become more and more diverse,” he tells a gathering of press from around the world, attending the Next@Acer media event. “It’s an area that is up and coming. It represents new lifestyles. And our theme today is turning a new chapter for creativity.”

Every year, Next@Acer is a parade of the cutting edge in gaming and educational laptops and computers. New devices from sub-brands like Predator, Helios and Nitro have gamers salivating. This year is no different, but there is a surprise in store, hinted in Chen’s introduction.

As a grand finale, he calls on stage Angelica Davila, whose day job is senior marketing manager for Acer Latin America. But she also happens to have a Masters degree in computer and electric engineering. A stint at Intel, where she joined a sales and marketing programme for engineers, set her on a new path.

Angelica Davila, marketing manager for Acer Latin America

For the last few months, she has been helping write Acer’s next chapter. She has shepherded into being nothing less than a new brand: ConceptD.

Click here to read more about ConceptD.

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Which voice assistant wins battle of translators?

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Take the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.

OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  (See chart). All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.

OHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard. 

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