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Land Rover smartphone: smart car accessory

When Land Rover allowed its brand to be used on a smartphone, was it just a gimmick? ARTHIUR GOLDSTUCK makes a great discovery.

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(All images by Arthur Goldstuck.)

The brand is iconic, but does it work on a phone? That is the first question most Land Rover drivers and fans ask when they hear about the Land Rover Explore “outdoor phone”. Even if it is a great phone, does it make sense both as a brand extension and as an accessory to the vehicle?

The best way to test the phone is, of course, in the natural habitat of the vehicle, namely the great outdoors. It so happens that Land Rover also launched its most high-tech vehicle yet, the new Discovery, in South Africa in the past year.

And it turns out the two make a beautiful pair. It helps that the vehicle comes with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, as long as the owner inserts an appropriate SIM card in the vehicle. 

It is also a forerunner to self-driving cars of the future, but with a neat off-road twist: the new Discovery comes with a feature called All-Terrain Progress Control, which allows the driver to hand control over to the vehicle when the terrain is difficult. The driver steers, but ATPC takes over all other functions, maintaining vehicle speed, managing braking, and applying torque to each wheel for  maximum traction. 

In this way it automatically optimises all vehicle control activities related to getting over the terrain in question. In future, such abilities will extend to steering as well, and suddenly that doesn’t seem to be such a great leap.

The styling of the phone evokes the LandRover design heritage.

On regular roads, as with most advanced vehicles today, Land Rover’s Autonomous Emergency Braking system spots potential collisions and applies brakes automatically if an accident is anticipated. In short, a smart car.

Other advanced features include active lane control and adaptive cruise control, both predecessors to the full autonomy that self-driving cars will have in future. But Land Rover adds its typical edge to such feature sets, with Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control reminding one that the car is designed for more than just the regular tar road.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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