At the IFA 2016 expo in Berlin this week, Acer unveiled its new Swift series of ultra-thin and lightweight notebook PCs.
Comprised of four lines, namely the Swift 7, Swift 5, Swift 3 and Swift 1, the new ultra-thin models feature Windows 10 and cater for a range of budgets and lifestyles.
“We are thrilled to announce the new Swift series, a complete ultra-thin laptop line-up with something for everyone,” said Jerry Hou, General Manager, Consumer Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “Front and centre is the flagship Swift 7 with an all-aluminium chassis that’s less than one centimetre thin, while still packing in performance and stamina for all-day productivity.”
Chris Walker, Vice President of the Client Computing Group and General Manager of Mobility Client Platforms, Intel Corp, said: “The new 7th Generation Intel Core processors set a new bar for performance and efficiency enabling amazingly fast, responsive designs that are also incredibly thin and light. Intel and Acer’s strong collaboration is on full display with the new Swift series which delivers great performance in a beautiful package.”
Acer provided the following information:
Swift 7 – Ultra-Slim with All-Day Battery Life
The Swift 7 weighs in at just 2.48 pounds (1.1 kg) and measures a mere 0.39 inches (9.98 mm) thin, making it the world’s first laptop to measure less than 1 cm thin. Its black-and-gold dual tone design brings a touch of elegance to its durable all-aluminium uni-body, while tough Corning Gorilla Glass adds superior scratch resistance to the 13.3-inch Full HD IPS display with a micro-bezel. With up to 9 hours of battery life, it is the perfect notebook for those on the go.
Small and speedy, top-of-the-line performance is delivered through a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, fast 256GB SSD and up to 8GB of memory. The latest wireless technology (2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO) delivers reliable and up to three times faster connections, while dual USB 3.1 Type-C ports are included for quick data transfer, connection to an external display, and to charge the notebook. An HD webcam with HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging support provides clear, bright and detailed images.
Swift 5 – High-End Features without the Weight
Just 0.57 inches (14.58 mm) in height and weighing 3 pounds (1.36 kg), the Swift 5 manages to fit a 14-inch Full HD IPS display into a 13-inch frame, making it the ultimate in portability and usability. Available in Pearl White with gold trimming or Obsidian Black with silver trimming, it cuts an impressive figure combining brushed metal surfaces and diamond cut accents.
7th Generation Intel Core processors coupled with fast SSDs (256 or 512 SATA or PCIe), up to 8GB of memory and the latest wireless technology deliver big results in a small package. Rounding out this strong feature set is up to 13 hours3 of battery life, a backlit keyboard, a reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port and options for a touch display and fingerprint reader.
Swift 3 – Essential Features at a Compelling Price
Just 0.7 inches (17.95 mm) in height and weighing 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg), the Swift 3’s svelte and lightweight design features a sturdy brushed aluminium chassis. It offers up to 12 hours3 of battery life and a collection of indispensable features for great productivity, mobility and security.
The Swift 3 models pair a 14-inch HD or Full HD IPS anti-glare display with 6th or 7th Generation Intel Core processors, fast 512GB SSDs, up to 8GB memory and 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac wireless technology for fast and reliable internet connectivity.
Additional must-have features include a USB 3.1 Type-C port (for fast data transfers, connection to an external display, and to charge the notebook), and an HD webcam with High Dynamic Range. Lastly, the optional backlit keyboard is paired with a large 72mm touchpad, providing ample room to navigate and manoeuvre.
A built-in fingerprint scanner is located at the upper right-hand corner of the palm rest and works in conjunction with Windows Hello for enhanced security. It takes less than one second from scanning a fingertip to accessing the desktop. It can also recognize specific people, linking actions to approved individuals, deterring inappropriate behaviour and helping to eliminate fraudulent activity.
Swift 1 – Light and Budget-Friendly
Lightweight and priced right for a student or others on a budget, the Swift 1 is highly portable and includes the essentials, making them a great value. Just 0.7 inches in height (17.9 mm) and weighing 3.5 pounds (1.6 kgs), the cover features a brushed-metal-like finish that minimizes fingerprints and scratches, while the diamond-cut edges around the power button and touchpad provide nice design touches. With up to 12 hours3 of battery life, they will last a student an entire school day, with a few extra hours to spare for late night studying or web-surfing. The Swift 1 features a 14-inch HD display, an Intel Pentium® or Celeron® processor, 4GB of memory and either 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage.
The Acer Swift 7, 5 and 3 will be available in South Africa in Q4 2016.
Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android
Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.
Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone.
In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.
Example how you can get infected by downloading #Fortnite Android app from YouTube video with 130K+ views.
This one send SMS to premium rate number and downloads another fake app. pic.twitter.com/pYj8GZoqoZ
— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) June 21, 2018
While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms.
The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company.
The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware.
Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution.
That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed.
This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.
From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.
How to take on IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.
Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.
The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.
Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.
The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.
Processing at the edge
For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.
A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.
The work of wearables
The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.
Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.
The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.