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IFA: All the winners

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This year’s IFA event saw some innovative and exciting products being exhibited ranging from new developments in virtual reality to personal trackers to drones and robots. These are the winners.

Analytics company IHS Markit has announced the winners of the IHS Markit Innovation Awards. Presented at the ShowStoppers press event in Berlin on the eve of the IFA expo, the awards showcased the most innovative technology products submitted by event exhibitors.

Winners and runners up by category are:

Augmented Reality (A/R), Virtual Reality (V/R) and Gaming

  • Winner: Nuheara Ltd IQbuds, the world’s most intelligent wireless earbuds that allow users to hear what they want to hear around them and connect with their digital devices.
  • Runner-up: Pixie Technology, a technology leader in the emerging Location of Things (LoT) sector, whose Baggage Claim service allows users to be alerted to the proximity of luggage and bags in real-time.

Fitness/Wearables/Health Devices

  • Winner: ReSound LiNX 3D from ReSound GN, the third generation of the first hearing aid made for the iPhone. This product offers clear speech understanding, 360-degree sound location, the most modern control options and more.
  • Runner-up: Nuheara Ltd IQbuds

Mobile Accessories

  • Winner (Tie): Rugged Messenger Keyboard for new 9.7-inch iPad from ZAGG International. The keyboard is designed to give users total versatility when it comes to being productive and on the go.
  • Winner (Tie): Presidio CLEAR for Macbook from Speck Products, the first drop-protective laptop case designed to protect against drops from up to 1.2 meters. It features a transparent, durable design without the bulk of the traditional protective cases on the market.

Mobile Computing

  • Winner: Tempow Audio Profile, a software-only solution for hardware and chipset manufacturers that lets existing Bluetooth speakers, of any brand, work together in perfect sync.
  • Runner-up: CatS41 Smartphone, a rugged, waterproof device with great battery power, built to handle the extreme conditions that users face every day at work and play.

Personal Entertainment

  • Winner: Libratone ZIPP, speakers that create a 360-degree, full-room sound experience in any space. These speakers feature a pleasant-looking exterior, great battery power and are carefully designed to follow users around the home.
  • Runner-up: Jooki, the jukebox for kids, from Muuse Labs. Users can link the Jooki music player’s playlist on a figurine (song, story, album or internet radio station), place it on top of Jooki and let the magic happen.

Robotics & Drones

  • Winner: Astrobot Kit from UBTECH Robotics, the first Jimu robot kit that builds three distinct form categories: humanoid, anthropomorphic wheeled vehicle and treaded mobile robot with grab and lift action.
  • Runner-up: Cruzr from UBTECH Robotics. Cruzr is the first customized service robot adaptable to a variety of business needs, optimizing human resources and improving work efficiency.

Smart Home & Appliances

  • Winner: The Neato Botvac D7 Connected from Neato Robotics, a Wi-Fi enabled robot lets users control their vacuum from wherever they are. The Neato app allows the user to set a vacuum schedule, stop or pause the robot, and get instant notification about the status of the vacuuming run.
  • Runner-up: VELUX ACTIVE and Netatmo from VELUX Deutschland, roof windows controlled by sensor technology. Smart sensors measure the temperature, light, humidity and air quality to automatically open or close roof windows, blinds and shutters.

Judges for the awards were technology industry research analysts at IHS Markit as well as prominent journalists who cover the gamut of technology sectors related to each ShowStoppers event:

IHS Markit Judges

Journalist Judges

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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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.

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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.

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.

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