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IFA 2015: Samsung gears up with S2 smartwatch

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At this year’s IFA conference, Samsung showcased two versions of the S2 smartwatch which are designed to offer smartwatch features in devices that look like a standard wrist-watches.

At the IFA trade show in Berlin this weekend, Samsung Electronics  announced the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, the company’s latest offering from what it calls “progressive innovation in the wearables category”.

The company provided the following information on the device:

The Samsung Gear S2 comes in a circular design with a custom UX and advanced features that enable users to enhance, personalise and bring more fun to their mobile experience.

The Gear S2’s rotating bezel, along with the Home and Back buttons, ensures users will have a quicker, more precise method to access notifications and applications.

Introduced in two different options – the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic – Samsung designed the Gear S2 to appeal to two distinct consumer preferences. The Gear S2 classic is made for users who prefer a more timeless watch design, offering a black finish with a matching leather band. The Gear S2 is ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for a minimal and modern design.

“For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Business. “The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s most progressive innovation. It is a great complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout—and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun.”

A mere 11.4-millimeter thin, the Samsung Gear S2 brings a light and compact design to your wrist. It offers a vibrant viewing experience for a smartwatch, thanks to its 1.2” circular screen and its 360 x 360 resolution (302 ppi). With the latest Tizen OS and an optimised 1-GHz dual core processor, the Samsung Gear S2 can perform tasks easily and efficiently.

Users can stay connected with at-a-glance notifications to check calendars, e-mails, news and can even send important texts directly from their wrist. Users can choose the Gear S2 with 3G connectivity which incorporates the first-ever e-SIM with voice capability, to perform quick functions without being closely tethered to their phone.

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New fitness functions on the Samsung Gear S2 will encourage consumers to stay healthy and active. The 24-hour activity log lets users view daily activity progress and patterns at a glance. It will also send reminder updates to motivate users to stay on track with their fitness goals.

For the ultimate convenience, the Samsung Gear S2 comes with NFC technology which will enable mobile payments without the need for a wallet. Samsung is working with a wide selection of partners across different industries to expand the usability of wearables and streamline consumers’ mobile lives in a variety of ways, including smart car keys, residential room keys, and remote controls to manage a connected home.

All of these connected features will be supported by a battery that can last up to 2-3 days, allowing consumers to stay connected without the hassle of constantly having to recharge. To charge, simply place the Samsung Gear S2 on the wireless charging dock right out of the box.

The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s commitment to openly collaborate with developers and partners to bring increased customization and applications to its devices. Samsung is working closely with partners to offer a range of watch faces and watch bands so that users can have a variety of ways to express their personal style and mood. Users can easily change the band with one click, and change the watch face for a more personalized and sophisticated Gear experience depending on the time, place or occasion.

A variety of apps optimized for the Gear S2’s circular user interface will be available at launch. Through open collaboration with developers and partners, Samsung is continuing to enrich its wearable ecosystem and provide users with a more optimized and unique smart wearable experience.

The Samsung Gear S2 will be available in a Dark Gray case with a Dark Gray band and Silver case with a White band. The Samsung Gear S2 classic will be available in a Black case with a Leather band.

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Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic Product Specifications:
Display :1.2”, Circular Super AMOLED, 360×360, 302ppi

AP :Dual core 1.0 GHz

OS :Tizen based wearable platform

Audio :Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG

Memory :Storage: 4GB Internal Memory / RAM: 512MB

Features :Communications:
– Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Email, – Preset text, Voice Input, Emoticons, Keypads

Features :Health & Fitness:
– S Health, Nike+ Running

Features :Information:
– Schedule, News, Maps & Navigation, Weather

Features :Media:
– Music Player, Gallery

Features :Others:
– Voice, Voice Memo, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode, Safety assistance, Privacy lock

Features :IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant

Samsung Services :Samsung Gear Apps

Connectivity :Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC

Sensor :Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer

Dimension :Gear S2 : 42.3×49.8×11.4mm (47g)
Gear S2 classic : 39.9×43.6×11.4mm (42g)

Battery :Wireless Charging
250mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2~3days

Samsung Gear S2 3G Version Product Specifications:
Display :1.2”, Circular Super AMOLED, 360×360, 302ppi

AP :Dual core 1.0 GHz

OS :Tizen based wearable platform

Audio :Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG

Memory :Storage: 4GB Internal Memory / RAM: 512MB

Features :Communications:
– Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Email, – Preset text, Voice Input, Emoticons, Keypads

Features :Health & Fitness:
– S Health, Nike+ Running

Features :Information:
– Schedule, News, Maps & Navigation, Weather

Features :Media:
– Music Player, Gallery

Features :Others:
– S Voice, Voice Memo, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode, Safety assistance, Privacy lock

Features :IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant

Samsung Services :Samsung Gear Apps

Connectivity :Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC

Sensor :Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer

Dimension :44.0 x 51.8 x 13.4mm (51g)

Battery :Wireless Charging
300mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2 days

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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