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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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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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