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IFA 2015: Lenovo ‘redefines’ tablet – again

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Lenovo has announced a range of the new products, including the PHAB Plus, which it says will redefine tablets at this year’s IFA conference in Berlin.

The Lenovo PHAB Plus is a beautifully designed premium phablet, optimized for single-hand use. Targeted at today’s millennials, the Lenovo PHAB Plus promises to eliminate the dilemma of choosing between costly smartphones with big screens and underwhelming small tablets by offering a sweet-spot 6.8-inch device with best-in-class entertainment, speedy Internet, and all-day battery life.

“With today’s tech-savvy millennial generation in mind, Lenovo is addressing the popularity of larger-screen personal devices, while acknowledging the portability struggles associated with tablet computers. The new PHAB Plus conquers these boundaries, merging the fun of a tablet with the portability of a smartphone in a stylish metallic uni-body casing. Unlike other phablets on the market, the Lenovo PHAB Plus boasts a full HD display optimized for one-hand usage and provides an unrivaled viewing and sound experience, all within an attainable and very competitive US$299 price tag,” said Jeff Meredith, General Manager and Vice President, Tablet Business Unit, Lenovo.

New ThinkPad Yoga and ThinkCentre Tiny

Lenovo announced a broad redesign of its ThinkPad Yoga and ThinkCentre portfolios. A recent Lenovo survey of more than 6,000 businesses suggested that security, mobility and reliability were amongst the top pain points today and more than a quarter plan to introduce convertible devices. The latest generation of thinner and lighter ThinkPad Yoga 260 and 460 convertibles and faster than ever ThinkCentre desktops have been designed to provide customers with solutions to their critical needs.

·         ThinkPad Yoga 260 is the world’s lightest 12.5-inch convertible notebook for ultimate mobility starting at 2.9 pounds

·         ThinkPad Yoga 260 and 460 are world’s first convertible notebooks to incorporate an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) wireless WAN option

·         ThinkCentre M900 Tiny proves to be the most powerful desktop per cubic inch2

·         Lenovo also introduces new OneLink+ Dock and Pro WiDi adapter, designed to reduce or eliminate complex wired connections

·         New ThinkCentre desktops offer purposeful design and performance for end users with simple deployment and management tools

Lenovo Inspire PC refresh

Lenovo announced seven new desktops, laptops and tablets across its popular ideacentre and ideapad sub-brands, giving discerning shoppers multiple reasons to upgrade this holiday season. The fresh portfolio of devices include the new ideapad MIIX 700 2-in-1 tablet, new ideacentre AIO 700 desktop and five new laptops – ideapad 300 and 500 and their thinner and lighter cousins ideapad 100S, 300S and 500S.

The new ideacentre AIO 700 desktop delivers up to double the power, screen resolution and memory capacity from its three-year-old previous generation – ideal for watching videos and gaming. In addition to the performance leap, all the new devices boast state-of-the-art Lenovo design, significantly improved portability and the promise of intuitive, new technology like Windows 10 and Intel RealSense Cameras. The new trio of ideapad MIIX 700 2-in-1 tablet, ideacentre AI0 700 desktop and ideapad 500 laptop are all available with optional Intel RealSense Cameras so users can explore, discover and create new and intuitive ways to 3D game, video chat, scan and print through gesture-based computing.

The computing trifecta of Lenovo design, performance and the latest advancements in software and hardware offers consumers a completely refreshed computing experience.

·         New Lenovo design paired with Intel RealSense Cameras and Windows 10 deliver fresh PC performance

·         New ideapad MIIX 700 12-inch 2-in-1 tablet is recognizably different with a unique dual watchband hinge kickstand for those who value stylish design

·         New ideacentre AIO 700 desktop makes this holiday season twice as nice for music and movie lovers, with up to double the CPU performance, screen resolution and memory capacity than three years ago

·         New ideapad 300 and 500 laptops are thinner and lighter than three years ago – debuting with their even thinner and lighter cousins ideapad 100S, 300S and 500S for those on the move

Lenovo Y Series gaming PCs

Lenovo announced the company’s trio of new premium PCs and accessories designed exclusively for gamers: the Lenovo ideacentre Y900 and Y700 desktops and ideapad Y700 laptop with Windows 10. Crafted for the growing population of working gamers who now demand a powerful and stylish machine that can move with them through their life from day to play, the family of new Y series devices and accessories have been built from the ground up to serve mature gaming enthusiasts’ professional and social life. The new ideacentre Y900 and Y700 desktops look as distinct as their performance – an edgy design with internal and external red LEDs turns heads while inside the box includes extreme gaming performance and ample room for future upgrades. For the business traveler, the new ideapad Y700 provides the mobility of a laptop with plenty of horsepower to swap between spreadsheets and graphics-heavy game time.

·         New ideacentre Y900 and Y700 desktops offer a wide range of choice in a sleek, edgy design for busy gamers who demand hassle-free performance with Windows 10 and the latest Intel processors, but want the option to upgrade in the future.

·         New ideapad Y700 offers power and portability for gamers on-the-go, combining the latest Intel or AMD processors, discrete graphics and optional touch or Intel RealSense 3D camera (on the 15-inch laptop).

·         Five new ways to accessorize the gaming experience, including: Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset, Lenovo Y Gaming Mechanical Keyboard, Lenovo Y Gaming Precision Mouse, Lenovo Y Gaming Active Backpack and Lenovo Y Gaming Mouse Mat.

ThinkPad and Lenovo PCs

Lenovo announced its latest portfolio of laptops and desktops specifically designed for the small and medium business. Loaded with the latest technology and stylish designs, the portfolio includes the ThinkPad E Series, the updated Lenovo M, B and E line of laptops and S series desktops including elegant all-in-ones. Small and medium businesses are looking for PC solutions to reduce IT headaches and increase efficiency and collaboration between employees in the office and on the road. They need to keep business data safe and ensure critical data protection as they look towards expanding their business information and services to the cloud.

Lenovo Entertainment Tablets

Lenovo unveiled the latest line-up of its award-winning YOGA tablets, the YOGA Tab 3 Pro and YOGA Tab 3. Designed as the ultimate video tablets, the new series offers a best-in-class multimedia experience while retaining its signature multimode design.

The series premier offering – YOGA Tab 3 Pro – boasts a built-in 70” projector and is optimized for Netflix. The YOGA Tab 3 Pro features four front-facing powerful JBL speakers to reproduce high-octane sound, and for the first time ever, a virtualized Dolby Atmos experience over built-in speakers that creates a sensation of sound moving in all three dimensions around the listener. The tablet comes loaded with a Netflix app to deliver personalized recommendations and content, right from the home screen of the tablet, in high-quality optimized HD. The YOGA Tab 3 Pro also features Dolby Digital Plus, which Netflix streams with its HD content, allowing for crisper dialogue and immersive sound on Netflix.

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Where is the pickup truck emoji?

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With billions of emoji sent daily and nearly every mode of transportation including cars, scooters, boats, spaceships and ski lifts among the 3,000 approved icons available to emoji users, truck fans noticed a glaring omission: There is no pickup truck. Ford decided it was time to do something about this and is celebrating World Emoji Day with the debut of the pickup truck emoji.

“When customers started demanding a truck emoji, our drive for continuous innovation meant we knew we had to help make it happen,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Given F-Series’ status as America’s best-selling truck for 42 consecutive years, there’s no one better than Ford to help bring an all-new pickup truck emoji to hard-working texters around the globe.”

The Ford Ranger is one of the top three best-selling vehicles in South Africa having sold 12 784 units in the country in the first half of 2019.

In 2018, Ford submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium – the organization that reviews and approves proposals for new emoji – to add a truck to emoji keyboards everywhere. Now, the pickup truck emoji has been short-listed as a candidate for inclusion in a future version of Unicode.

The concept emoji’s capable styling has been tuned to meet current trends. “Our team spent a lot of time digging through message boards, texting influencers and watching social media feeds to really understand our customers’ needs,” said Eric Grenier, Ford social media manager. “People want a truck emoji that’s fresh, stylish, carries their ideas, and ‘tows’ the line on what a truck means. The end result is a modern icon that should give all truck fans a smiley face emoji.”

If the pickup truck emoji is approved in early 2020, the design will be customized for all mobile platforms to meet the needs of customers – from skilled tradespeople to active families and emoji lovers alike.

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How Africa tech meets Africa demands

By MVELASE PEPPETTA, freelance writer

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From Facebook to Google, the world’s largest tech companies are increasingly looking to Africa and other developing economies as key markets where to ensure the continued growth of their businesses. Policy makers in African governments are also making sure their economies are preparing for a tech-focused future.

For instance, in South Africa the government has indicated its goal of ensuring its economy is geared to answering the needs of the “fourth industrial revolution” and Malawi’s Reserve Bank announced a policy to have all local businesses offer at least one method of digital payment. But while much can still be untapped from the African tech ecosystem it is a very active scene. According to the 2018 venture investment report by WeeTracker, African startups raised a record US$725.6 million across 458 deals in 2018.

Imagining what is on the way is on the way is certainly exciting, it is also just as important that we keep an eye out for what already is out there in terms of African tech developed to provide solutions for uniquely African demands.

Abalobi Marketplace

A South African service, Abalobi Marketplace is a particularly unique service in that it is designed to ensure that small-scale fishers are supported within the fishing industry. The app which currently services 140 restaurants allows chefs to source fish directly from small-scale fisher who load what they have caught onto the app. Chefs can also place requests on the app for a particular catch. Launched in 2017 by Abalobi, a non-profit working to empower small-scale fishers, the app services restaurants primarily in the Cape Town region but has already started working with restaurants in Johannesburg. For chefs, it provides them with the ability to source far fresher fish than can traditionally be provided. But for the 200 odd fishing families who use the app, tackling decades of entrenched inequality in the South African fishing supply-chain, the app allows them to receive fair price for their catch. 

SweepSouth

Similar to Abalobi, while its most commonly referred to as a “Uber for domestic cleaners” SweepSouth is another service that also touts itself as looking to tackle decades of inequality in South Africa. At its most basic, SweepSouth is a service that allows people looking for domestic workers, whether for home or office, to book them using a mobile app. However, according to SweepSouth’s founder Aisha Pandor the service is also committed to the women finding work opportunities through the app. In that regard, SweepSouth not only provides them with benefits like accidental death and disability cover at no cost to the domestic worker but at a far more basic level, also pays domestic workers who find work through the app at a far higher rate than South Africa’s legislated minimum wage. While currently operating in South Africa only, SweepSouth has mentioned plans to scale their services into the rest of the continent. 

Mama Money

Using the internet and cell phone technology to answer the needs of immigrants working in South Africa, Mama Money looks to undercut traditional financial services by allowing its users to send money across borders at far lower rates. Described as Africa’s first completely cashless money transfer system, when answering why they launched the business, Mama Money’s founders Raphael Grojnowski and Mathieu Coquillon have said, “We wanted to get into business to help others and we knew that there were millions of migrant workers in South Africa who send money home to their families, but battle with the transfer fees. We thought this presented a perfect opportunity to disrupt and help people get more money home.”

Quicket

Established in 2011, Quicket has transformed how event organisers and ticket buyers engage with a range of events – from concerts and sports to yoga and fashion shows. Unlike traditional ticketing companies, Quicket allows organisers to create an event and start selling tickets without needing a website and imposing onerous contracts, or big fees. The company’s offerings have resulted in seven years’ of exponential growth with James Tagg, Quicket co-founder explaining that today the platform has widespread adoption from some of the continent’s largest festivals through to micro gatherings, and everything in between, including fundraising drives and school related events and funds collections.. What sets Quicket apart from its competitors is that it gives event organisers complete control, whether they are planning to host 10 or 10 000 people.  

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