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LG to unveil luxury smartwatch

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LG Electronics (LG) will unveil its first all-metal luxury Android Wear device, the LG Watch Urbane, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015.

As its name suggests, the smartwatch is designed for a sophisticated and cosmopolitan wearer that delivers unparalleled technology and performance. LG Watch Urbane is the perfect device for wearers looking to add both style and high-tech flare to their everyday lives.

The LG Watch Urbane follows closely in the footsteps of the LG G Watch R, the first smartwatch with a full circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display, which LG launched in October 2014. While the LG G Watch R was designed with the active user in mind, the LG Watch Urbane is more formal with a thinner profile making it perfect for either men or women. Resembling a luxury timepiece, LG combined a classic design and innovative features to add style and convenience to everyday life while raising the already high standards set by its predecessor.

The LG Watch Urbane is crafted around the same 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display as the LG G Watch R but features a narrower bezel that gives it sleeker lines. The LG Watch Urbane has all of the hallmarks of a fine watch, making it the perfect fashion accessory. Its stainless steel body is available in polished silver and gold finish and is complemented by a beautifully stitched natural leather strap for a more classic look. The strap can be replaced with any 22mm wide band to suit the occasion or the wearer’s mood. Powering all of this is an intuitive touch-based user interface that makes the LG Watch Urbane compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above.

Like the G Watch R, LG’s latest Android Wear device includes a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that can measure a wearer’s heart rate and average pulse during exercise. Always-On ambient mode shows the time on the display at all times in dimmed mode, saving battery life.

The LG Watch Urbane’s classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets.

Additional details including price will be announced in local markets at the time of availability.

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Qualcomm Audio Amplifer Chip for lower tier products

Qualcomm has announced its CSRA6640: a flexible, highly integrated single-chip amplifier solution with Qualcomm Digital Direct Feedback Amplifier (DDFA) technology. This single-chip technology can enable better sound quality in lower tier products.

Click here to read about how this chip can transform sound.

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The chip promises a new level of integration to make superior class-D amplification more commercially viable on smaller form factors and lower tier products, helping manufacturers to create portable and power-efficient speakers that offer truly differentiated audio quality.

Rob Saunders, director of product marketing at Qualcomm Technologies. said: “CSRA6640 enhances our product portfolio with our proven DDFA technology to help bring high-end amplification to lower power applications. It makes the integration of complex, premium amp technology more commercially viable for the first time in small form-factor speakers, sound bars and amplifiers. This solution opens the door for OEMs to help them bring more power efficient amplification capabilities to more compact, cost-effective devices.”

Audio quality is becoming more important to the everyday consumer. According to Qualcomm’s State of Play audio consumer insights report, sound quality was by far the highest ranked buying consideration when choosing wireless headphones or speakers, with 76% of respondents noting it as the most important factor in their buying decision. In addition, almost half of consumers surveyed would like the ability to take a voice-enabled speaker outside and use it on-the-go, indicating a shift in consumer interest towards portability. 

Bringing premium amplifier technology to more portable devices may help manufacturers to address consumer desires for loud audio and sound quality while also looking to meet needs for extended battery life and connectivity.

The chip is also designed to allow audio OEMs to optimize their materials costs by reducing the need for additional external components.

“This new amplifier offering builds on the rich legacy DDFA technology has with premium and high-end audio brands and we hope it will serve as a catalyst to propel audio performance forward in coming years,” said Saunders. “Building on more than ten years of R&D and proven solutions, this product is designed to almost perfectly balance the power efficiency of Class D devices alongside the high-performance audio output of traditional, linear amplifiers.”

Qualcomm produces chips for major brands like Samsung, LG, and Motorola handsets, so it is likely that this audio technology will be coming to the handsets of these companies.

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MWC: How Huawei claims the lead in foldable handsets

The new Huawei Mate X, which unfolds into a tablet, is an attempt to claim the future, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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When Huawei announced its answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona on Sunday, it invoked the language of science fiction and space travel to emphasise the futuristic approach of the new Mate X.

The handset is a two-in one smartphone and tablet, using 5G connectivity for speed, a foldable screen for versatility, artificial intelligence for anticipating user needs, and a new mode of interfacing for an enhanced user experience.

Bruce Lee, VP of Handset Business at Huawei Consumer Business Group, with the Mate X unfolded.
Pic by Arthur Goldstuck.

The key to the foldable screen is a Mechanical Hinge called the Falcon Wing, simultaneously invoking the iconic Millennium Falcon and X-Wing spacecraft from Star Wars. The very colour of the device was invented for Huawei, which describes it as an “Interstellar Blue colour wave”. It says it “epitomises the beauty of technology and sets a higher bar for future smartphones”.

And then there is the positioning of the phone: It represents a voyage into the uncharted,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, at the launch, echoing the classic Star Trek slogan, “to boldly go where no phone has gone before”.

Can it be all that? Star Wars, Star Trek and the very future of space travel, all in one device? Of course not, but then this is not science fiction. It is the practical reality of flexible and foldable displays finally entering the mainstream.  The challenge is to convince the public to pay a premium price and, as with the Galaxy Fold, that is unlikely with the first generation of foldables.

What it does do, however, is confirm that Samsung has not been able to take a clear lead in foldables, having beaten Huawei by a mere four days with its announcement, and with a format more clunky than that of the Mate X.

The Samsung Fold has a 4.6-inch front display, and opens up to a 7.3-inch mini-tablet. In dramatic contrast, the Mate X has a massive front display measuring 6.6-inches, folding out into a 8-inch tablet. The fundamental difference is that the Fold display is on the inside of the device, separate from the cover display, while the Mate X is on the outside, allowing the cover screen to transform directly into the tablet display.

This has also allowed the Mate X to follow a more elegant design, with the two halves clipping neatly into the frame of the device. The Fold looks like two phones on top of each other. The result is that the Mate X is two thirds the thickness of the Fold, at 11cm compared to 17cm, when folded. That makes for a far bigger device in fact being far more compact.

Click here to watch the Gadget exclusive Huawei Mate X demo, recorded by Arthur Goldstuck.

Click here to see where Samsung leads, and pricing of the foldable handsets.

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