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IFA 2019: LG to unveil new affordable handsets in Berlin

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LG Electronics (LG) will unveil its new K50S and K40S smartphones at IFA 2019 in Berlin, Germany to complement its competitive line of affordable smartphones. The upgraded K series models are equipped with improved cameras, better displays and larger batteries among other improvements for a more premium multimedia experience without the premium price.

Like LG’s flagship G and V series, LG K50S sports three rear cameras: 13MP with PDAF, 5MP Super Wide Angle, and 2MP lens with Depth Sensor. The Depth Sensor produces clearer separation between subject and background when shooting portraits for more realistic depth of field. LG K40S offer two rear cameras: 13MP lens with PDAF and 5MP Super Wide Angle. As the first K series devices to offer Super Wide Angle, both smartphones are now perfect for large group photos and immersive landscapes. Delivering 13 million pixels with both the front and the rear cameras, scenes and subjects shot with either the LG K50S or LG K40S look fantastic cropped or zoomed in.

These attractively-priced handsets were designed for a superior gaming and content consumption experience, boasting displays more typical of premium handsets. The K50S comes with an immense 6.5-inch FullVision display while the K40S offers an equally generous 6.1-inch HD+ screen. With minimal bezels interrupted only by an attractive, unobtrusive front camera opening, both devices deliver subtle, modern styling and a more immersive user experience. And because great content can only be truly enjoyed with great sound, both smartphones deliver realistic and dynamic audio with DTS:X 3D Surround Sound.

The enhanced features of LG’s latest K models are backed by the solid fundamentals common to all LG smartphones. Guaranteed to stand up to the rigors of daily use, both K50S and K40S are to meet the U.S. military MIL-STD-810G standard for durability and come equipped with optimised batteriesthat ensure lengthy sessions of multimedia enjoyment between charges and the helpful Google Assistant is only a single button press away.

“These new K series devices offer an optimised multimedia experience that competes with the best smartphones in its price range,” said Morris Lee, senior vice president at LG Electronics Mobile division. “With enhanced screens and more versatile cameras, the K50S and K40S represent exceptional value that demonstrate LG’s commitment to putting consumers’ needs first.”

The new K series will be available in Europe, Latin America and Asia starting this October in two signature colors – New Aurora Black and New Moroccan Blue. Visitors to IFA 2019 will get to experience the new K series smartphones from LG. Follow LG’s IFA activities on social media with the hashtag #LGIFA2019.

Key Specifications:

LG K50S

·     Chipset: 2.0 GHz Octa-Core

·     Display: 6.5-inch 19.5:9 HD+ FullVision Display

·     Memory: 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)

·     Camera:

       – Rear: 13MP with PDAF / 2MP with Depth Sensor / 5MP with Super Wide Angle

       – Front: 13MP

·     Battery: 4,000mAh

·       Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie

·     Size: 165.8 x 77.5 x 8.2mm

·     Network: LTE / 3G / 2G

·       Color: New Aurora Black and New Moroccan Blue

·     Others: DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / AI CAM / MIL-STD 810G Compliance / Fingerprint Sensor / Google Assistant Button

LG K40S

·     Chipset: 2.0 GHz Octa-Core

·     Display: 6.1-inch 19.5:9 HD+ FullVision Display

·     Memory: 2GB, 3GB RAM* / 32GB ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)

·     Camera:

       – Rear: 13MP with PDAF / 5MP with Super Wide Angle

       – Front: 13MP Standard

·       Battery: 3,500mAh

·       Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie

·     Size: 156.3 x 73.9 x 8.6mm

·     Network: LTE / 3G / 2G

·       Color: New Aurora Black and New Moroccan Blue

·     Others: DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / AI CAM / MIL-STD 810G Compliance / Fingerprint Sensor / Google Assistant Button

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SA’s Internet goes down again

South Africa is about to experience a small repeat of the lower speeds and loss of Internet connectivity suffered in January, thanks to a new undersea cable break, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Internet service provider Afrihost has notified customers that there are major outages across all South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as a result of a break in the WACS undersea cable between Portugal and England 

The cause of the cable break along the cable is unclear. it marks the second major breakage event along the West African Internet sea cables this year, and comes at the worst possible time: as South Africans grow heavily dependent on their Internet connections during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

As a result of the break, the use of international websites and services, which include VPNs (virtual private networks), may result in latency – decreased speeds and response times.  

WACS runs from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, up the West Coast of Africa, and terminates in the United Kingdom. It makes a stop in Portugal before it reaches the UK, and the breakage is reportedly somewhere between these two countries. 

The cable is owned in portions by several companies, and the portion where the breakage has occurred belongs to Tata Communications. 

The alternate routes are:  

  • SAT3, which runs from Melkbosstrand also in the Western Cape, up the West Coast and terminates in Portugal and Spain. This cable runs nearly parallel to WACS and has less Internet capacity than WACS. 
  • ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), which also runs up the West Coast.  
  • The SEACOM cable runs from South Africa, up the East Coast of Africa, terminating in both London and Dubai.  
  • The EASSy cable also runs from South Africa, up the East Coast, terminating in Sudan, from where it connects to other cables. 

The routes most ISPs in South Africa use are WACS and SAT3, due to cost reasons. 

The impact will not be as severe as in January, though. All international traffic is being redirected via alternative cable routes. This may be a viable method for connecting users to the Internet but might not be suitable for latency-sensitive applications like International video conferencing. 

Read more about the first Internet connectivity breakage which happened on the same cable, earlier this year. 

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SA cellphones to be tracked to fight coronavirus

Several countries are tracking cellphones to understand who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected people. South Africa is about to follow suit, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From Israel to South Korea, governments and cell networks have been implementing measures to trace the cellphones of coronavirus-infected citizens, and who they’ve been around. The mechanisms countries have used have varied.  

In Iran, citizens were encouraged to download an app that claimed to diagnose COVID-19 with a series of yes or no questions. The app also tracked real-time location with a very high level of accuracy, provided by the GPS sensor. 

In Germany, all cellphones on Deutsche Telekom are being tracked through cell tower connections, providing a much coarser location, but a less invasive method of tracking. The data is being handled by the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In Taiwan, those quarantined at home are tracked via an “electronic fence”, which determines if users leave their homes.  

In South Africa, preparations have started to track cellphones based on cell tower connections. The choice of this method is understandable, as many South Africans may either feel an app is too intrusive to have installed, or may not have the data to install the app. This method also allows more cellphones, including basic feature phones, to be tracked. 

This means that users can be tracked on a fairly anonymised basis, because these locations can be accurate to about 2 square kilometers. Clearly, this method of tracking is not meant to monitor individual movements, but rather gain a sense of who’s been around which general area.  

This data could be used to find lockdown violators, if one considers that a phone connecting in Hillbrow for the first 11 days of lockdown, and then connecting in Morningside for the next 5, likely indicates a person has moved for an extended period of time. 

The distance between Hillbrow and Morningside is 17km. One would pass through several zones covered by different towers.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that South African network providers have agreed to provide government with location data to help fight COVID-19. 

Details on how the data will be used, and what it will used to determine, are still unclear. 

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