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Why children are driving touch screen sales

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One of Lenovo’s biggest growth segments is in the eight to 12-year-old segment and this has to do with children’s demand for touch devices. GRAHAM BRAUM, General Manager of Lenovo Africa explores why children are so drawn to these devices.

Renowned educator, Maria Montessori once said, “The hands are the instruments of a man’s intelligence.” Given that she lived around the turn of the 20th Century, it’s safe to assume she wasn’t referring to using one’s hands as the instruments with which to operate touch screens. However, as touch technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, and even more so in the lives of our children, it is worth exploring why children are so drawn to it and the impact it has on their intelligence – both academic and social – as well as their safety.

At Lenovo, one of our biggest growth has been among the eight to 12-year-old segment and I believe this is driven by children’s demand for touch screens. Michael Cohen of UK research consultancy, the Michael Cohen Group says the rise of the touch screen has been incredible – the most rapid introduction of a technology he has witnessed. His research found that in the UK more than two thirds of children live in homes with smartphones, and just over half have access to tablets. They also increasingly have their own device. Of course, African figures are likely to differ slightly, but given the significant mobile penetration and the constant development of affordable technology across the continent, it makes sense that we will follow this trend.

The question is why children are so drawn to this technology. Besides that as digital natives they incorporate digital technologies into their lives with ease, the answer is that touch screens in particular are intuitive. Using a mouse or a remote control is a symbolic action and young children might need to be shown the connection between what they are doing with their hands and what is happening on the screen. A touch screen makes this connection obvious – a gesture results in logical action; swipe to the right and whatever is on the screen moves in the same direction.

The ease with which children use touch screens means they enjoy a variety of online activities, from watching videos and playing games, to searching for information, doing their homework and socialising. A study by the London School of Economics and Political Science quotes research which found that apart from the obvious enjoyment children experience will partaking in these activities, this engagement also helps to develop digital literacy, as well as support future academic achievement and social interaction.

Of course, there is some trepidation among parents related to their children’s lack of skills to assess the risk associated with interacting online, and what they may be exposed to. There is also the fear that children may become addicted to the virtual worlds they interact with, impacting on how they function as part of a family, with their peers or in broader society.

However, authors of “Tech-Savvy Parenting”, Nikki Bush and Arthur Goldstuck believe that these risks can be curbed by active parenting, which starts by learning about the technology your children are using and how to keep them safe. It also involves thinking about how to assimilate this technology into family life while keeping the family at the centre. She suggests that technology shouldn’t be an alternative to family time, but is instead a useful tool to up skill our children to be resourceful and resilient in the future.

There is no denying that children’s lives are filled with media and technology at younger and younger ages and the uptake is rapidly increasing. The growth of the eight- to 12-year-old segment in our business is evident of that. With this in mind, it makes sense to think about what technology like touch screens can offer them and how to mediate screen time not to cut it down as much as leverage its benefits.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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