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IFA 2015: Sony unveils ‘vivid’ new Z5 smartphones

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At the IFA 2015 expo in Berlin this week, Sony Mobile unveiled its next-generation Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact, and the world’s first 4K smartphone, the Xperia Z5 Premium.

“Smartphones are part of people’s lives” said Hiroki Totoki, President and CEO at Sony Mobile Communications. ”Since users already create, share and enjoy most of their content on the go – we’ve set out to bring Sony’s latest innovations in camera, design and display to ensure the Xperia Z5 series is the best possible lifestyle and entertainment platform.”

Xperia Z5 features Sony’s brand new large 1/2.3 Exmor RS for mobile 23MP sensor and F2.0 G Lens – it’s Sony’s first completely re-imagined smartphone camera module since Xperia Z1, designed with Sony’s interchangeable lens camera α technology for clear,  vivid imagery every time.

The camera is capable of the fastest autofocus in a smartphone, a powerful blend of speed and accuracy to capture split-second moments with ease. It delivers a ground-breaking speed of just 0.03 seconds – faster than the blink of a human eye (average 0.1 – 0.4 s), so whether you’re jumping for the frisbee in the park or diving into the pool, you’ll have the power to preserve spontaneous action in real-time.

A combination of the large 23MP Exmor RS for mobile sensor and advanced processing software lets you get close to subjects; whether it be a landmark, architecture or other objects of interest, with 5x clear image zoom with minimum loss of quality. Advancements in low-light photography means you can capture clearer photos at night or in darker surroundings with less noise and blur – perfect for capturing the sunrise or night skyline.

With the continued popularity of content capture for social media, Xperia Z5 series brings significant advancements in the evolution of Sony’s SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode for video. Further improvements mean you’ll be able to continuously capture action smoothly, such as riding a bike or skateboard, free from jolts or shudders. It also features better low-light performance without blur.

Designed for life, with the same flagship experiences in a choice of form factor

Designed by leading creatives at Sony’s Creative Center studios in Sweden and Japan, Xperia Z5 presents a svelte continuous plate form, with a metal frame and frosted glass back. It’s striking, comfortable to hold and waterproof for everyday convenience. With a 5.2” display, sleek looks and 2015 fashion and interior design cues, colours range from elegant to expressive for any personal style or taste; White, Graphite Black, Gold and Green.

For those who prefer a compact smartphone, Xperia Z5 Compact brings the same great camera technology and features in a pocket-friendly compact device. It delivers uncompromised performance in a beautifully compact design with a 4.6” display, perfect for one-hand use. The Z5 Compact let’s you express personal style with fresh, vibrant colours including Yellow and Coral, in addition to White and Graphite Black.

Both devices represent iconic Sony craftsmanship with premium materials throughout, including frosted glass finishing to the rear and a subtly etched Xperia logo engraved on the side, as well as capless USB for quick efficient connection and charging.

On the side, a new integrated fingerprint sensor power button means each device is personal, protected and easily unlockable with a simple pick up and press in one natural movement. It will also support the FIDO standard; authentication via fingerprint for online payment services – with news on first partners shared closer to launch.

Powerful performance that meets demands

Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, featuring octa-core CPUs, 64 bit capabilities and ultra-fast 4G LTE speeds, letting you reach new levels of performance for video, photography and gaming. Whether you’re multi-tasking over Wi-Fi or the latest 4G network, both devices deliver the speed you need.

Download email with attachments in seconds and enjoy video streaming with no delays or unwanted buffering.

Powerful smartphone features demand smart power management, Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact are equipped with Sony’s incredible up to two-day battery stamina and innovative power-saving technology, which gives you superior long-lasting battery performance. With Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 enabled on the new devices, you can get 5.5 hours usage with just 10 minutes of charging with a certified Quick Charge 2.0 charger, such as the Quick Charger UCH10 (dependant on market variants).

Xperia Z5 Premium, the world’s first 4K smartphone

Xperia Z5 Premium is the world’s first 4K smartphone with a sharp, vivid 5.5” 4K TRILUMINOS Display for mobile and IPS, where breathtaking detail is depicted with pinpoint accuracy for the most natural images, at four times the resolution of Full HD.

Xperia Z5 Premium will upscale your favourite content to 4K, enhancing any native or third party videos or photos so you can view Netflix, YouTube or your holiday shots in rich, vibrant 4K detail. The Xperia Z5 Premium is built to allow you to get creative by capturing in 4K and immediately enjoying the content on your device, with the option of preserving any moment as an 8MP quality image.

Port the memory card from Sony’s 4K Action Cam FDR-X1000V to the Xperia Z5 Premium to enjoy your footage immediately – or simply connect to the big screen either wirelessly via DLNA or with MHL 3.0 to enjoy your content on a 4K TV.

Xperia Z5 Premium is designed from the ground up as a high-performance mobile device, powered by the Snapdragon 810 processor. A high capacity 3430 mAh battery lasting for up to two days, with quick charge capability, eliminates the need for regular charging.

Xperia Z5 Premium features a large 32GB internal memory, with the capability to take a 200GB external microSD card, which offers extra room for 4K videos and movies, and images too. Xperia Z5 Premium also features Sony’s innovative memory on display feature – the data transfer between processor and device is optimized so Xperia Z5’s display memory technology remembers the display of images seen on your smartphone and catches the image or video so that you don’t need to reload the full image each time you view it – preserving battery power in the process.

A flagship series powered by an entertainment and content ecosystem

Across the Xperia Z5 series, Sony’s rich expertise in audio technologies lets you enjoy sound in incredible detail and clarity. High-Res Audio reproduces high frequency sound for a studio quality experience. DSEE HX upscales the audio fidelity of your existing MP3, AAC or Spotify tracks to near High-Res Audio quality. And for high quality wireless music listening, Sony’s LDAC codec transmits data three times more efficiently than legacy codec over Bluetooth.

Now, for the first time, Sony’s new High-Resolution Audio Headset MDR-NC750 allows you to enjoy combined Hi-Res Audio music with Digital Noise Cancelling – so you will hear your tunes as they were intended to be heard, with ambient background noise reduced by up to 98%.

Keep playing your favourite PlayStation 4 (PS4) games wherever you are in the home with PS4 Remote Play. Simply connect your Xperia Z5 series device to your PS4 via home Wi-Fi and use the DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller to ensure you never miss a minute of the action.

To ensure you continue to enjoy the best experiences that Sony has to offer, all Xperia Z5 series users will benefit from access to Xperia Lounge Gold – delivering the world of Sony entertainment at your fingertips. Get access to exclusive competitions and offers; be among the first to try out new apps; and enjoy the latest movies, TV episodes and music included with your device.

“The latest Xperia Z5 series is able to offer unparalleled experiences to smartphone users in the areas that they are most interested in, superior long-lasting battery performance and quick charging, take calls in the rain or help you capture your most important memories in stunning detail fast, even when captured in low-light.” says Mark Fenzel, Country Manager Sony Mobile South Africa,

Smart style, with new accessories

A range of stylish and protective Style Cover Window cases will be available for each Xperia Z5 series model at launch, in respective corresponding device colours – each will let you access your favourite smartphone widgets through a smart window.

Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH54 is versatile headset with a doubling handset function, designed for users who want a convenient companion device to a large screen smartphone, allowing you to take and make calls, see messages, play music and enjoy FM radio.

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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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