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MediaTek debuts new mid-range phone chips

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MediaTek has announced the Helio P23 and P30, designed to deliver high performance LTE connections, power efficiency and support for next-generation dual-camera features.

MediaTek has introduced two new members to the Helio chipset family, the Helio P23 and Helio P30 system-on-chips (SoCs). The new chipsets, designed to deliver performance and power efficiency, dual camera photography, dual SIM and dual 4G VoLTE capabilities, support the explosion of innovation in mid-range smartphones.

“Reaching the mid-market means bringing people affordable devices that power and perform with the latest features, like dual-cameras and 4G LTE connectivity,” said TL Lee, General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communication business unit. “In the rapidly growing arena of new premium mid-range devices, mobile technology innovators know they need to stand out in a crowded field – P23 and P30 enable them to do that.”

For developed and emerging markets, P23 and P30, both 16nm chipsets, deliver powerful combinations of premium photography experiences with outstanding connectivity, power-savings with amazing performance, and simultaneous 4G on dual SIM cards.

MediaTek provided the following information:

Featuring Dual Camera Support

The P23 and P30 bring dual-camera support to the MediaTek Helio line, delivering software and hardware-backed dual-camera features that guarantee a superior photography experience. The MediaTek Helio P23 features support for 13+13 megapixel dual-camera setups, while MediaTek Helio P30 supports up to 16+16 megapixels.

Incorporating MediaTek’s Imagiq 2.0 technology suite, the chipsets are equipped to minimise aliasing, grain and noise, reduce chromatic aberration and more – resulting in clear, crisp, high-quality images across a number of lighting conditions. Additionally, a new hardware Camera Control Unit (CCU) – with auto exposure convergence speed up to twice as fast as competitors – ensures users never miss the moment they want to capture.

The P30 also features a new Vision Processing Unit (VPU), a dedicated 500MHz digital signal processor paired to the Image Signal Processors. This frees up system resources and delivers a number of key advantages including:

·         Programmability and Flexibility: The VPU provides a platform that allows original equipment manufacturers the ability to customise camera functionality and drive product differentiation.

·         Huge Power Reduction: The VPU is a dedicated camera-assisting hardware unit. It performs real-time processing functions that were typically assigned to the CPU or GPU, but at a tenth of the power usage.

·         Performance Boost: The VPU can be used in isolation or as part of a team with the CPU/GPU. This provides a true heterogeneous computing environment on the same memory subsystem for advanced multi-application or multi-function tasks.

·         With the VPU on board, combined with our Imagiq ISP, P30 can deliver real-time image and video both with ease.

Delivering Dual 4G VoLTE Connectivity

The MediaTek Helio P23 delivers the world’s first dual SIM, dual 4G VoLTE/ViLTE support. This allows faster, more consistent connectivity for users who use two SIM cards. The P23 and P30 feature MediaTek’s latest generation 4G LTE WorldMode modem, offering superior power efficiency and performance, with a unique combination of Cat-7/13 speeds at 300 Mbit/s download and 150Mbit/s upload. TAS 2.0 (Transmitting Antenna Switching) smart antenna technology further enhances performance and user experience, by using the best antenna combination to provide optimal signal quality.

High Performance Backed by MediaTek’s CorePilot Technology

Powered by MediaTek’s CorePilot technology, the P23 and P30 are built on eight Arm Cortex-A53 processors operating up to 2.3 GHz for sustained high performance and unparalleled user experience. Both chipsets feature the new Mali G71 MP2 GPU, clocked at 770MHz in the P23 and 950MHz in the P30, delivering high-end graphics performance.

MediaTek’s CorePilot 4.0 technology with power-aware scheduling, thermal management and UX monitoring enables sustained high-performance and reliably consistent user-experience. The P23 and P30 deliver fast performance and connectivity without sacrificing battery life.

In Q4 of 2017, the MediaTek Helio P23 will be available globally and the MediaTek Helio P30 will launch first in China. For more details, visit MediaTek and MediaTek Helio P23 and P30.

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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