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IFA: New smartphones and TVs from Hisense

At the recently held IFA in Berlin, Hisense introduced three new smartphones and three TVs.

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Hisense provided the following information:

Phones

Among the phones unveiled at the event was the new Hisense A6, which comes equipped with two screens – one in the front and one in the back. The front screen features a bright and 6.01 inch FHD+ AMOLED display, while the one on the back has a 5.61 inch HD+ e-ink display with eye-care front light – ideal for reading e-books and performing tasks that do not need a colour display, like energy efficient internet browsing. The phone also combines a 12MP rear camera with a 16MP front camera for serious selfie fun.

Elegantly designed with 3D glass on the back and curved on four sides for a comfortable grip, the Hisense Infinity H12 Pro has an 84 inch X-Infinity Display and a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2280. It is also decked out with a dual camera, offering 12MP and 5MP rear cameras as well as a 20MP front camera with multiple shooting modes including night, indoor, snow, smiling face and panorama modes. For security, the phone can be unlocked using fingerprint identification and Face Unlock.

With a 6.19 inch HD+ X-Infinity Display, for maximum comfort while watching series or playing games on the go, the Hisense Infinity H12 is also the ideal phone for amateur photographers thanks to its dual camera with a 12MP Big Pixel and a secondary 5MP sensor. Other features include 4GB RAM and 32GB ROM which can be extended with MicroSD cards with a capacity of up to 128GB.

TVs

Visitors to IFA Berlin got to see Hisense’s new 75 inch U9D TV.  Its 4K Quantum Dot Display, which is divided into over 5,000 local dimming zones, combined with premium backlighting (Prime Array Backlight), produces exquisite images with very deep black and bright white for an exceptional viewing experience. The U9D also has a contrast ratio of 150,000:1 and a luminance of 2,500 nits to deliver brilliant and colourful images with high-contrast that almost seem real.

Equally as impressive is the U8A which, with its Elite Backlight technology, delivers brilliant contrast values and images in a wide colour spectrum. The frameless and super slim TV also features a 4K-Quantum Dot-Display with a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Hisense introduced three of its new 4K Laser-TV models at IFA Berlin which give customers a home cinema experience thanks to their massive screens that range from 80 to 100 inches. These connect wirelessly to a console that receives, processes and displays broadcast signals via an integrated TV tuner and delivers streaming content thanks to its Smart TV platform. These TVs can be used in all lighting conditions and offer an image brightness of up to 3,000 lumens.

All of the TVs feature a smart VIDAA U user interface that can be easily personalised – giving viewers extra fast access to their preferred TV station or films from their favourite streaming service.  It also comes with a remote control for easy use.

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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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