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MWC: Asus unveils AI ZenFone

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Asus CEO Jerry Shen unveiled the all-new ZenFone 5 Series at a special event in the Italian Pavilion at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.

The lineup includes the ZenFone 5Z and the ZenFone 5, exciting high-performance 6.2-inch dual-camera smartphones that are the first ever ZenFone models to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI), and which feature all-screen displays with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in a remarkably compact size that’s comparable to a standard 5.5-inch smartphone. The ZenFone 5Z — which starts at just $499 — is a high-performance version of the ZenFone 5 powered by the latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE), featuring 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for breathtaking performance and accelerated AI experiences. The ZenFone 5 is the first smartphone available worldwide to be powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform.

The ZenFone 5Q (introduced onstage at MWC as the ZenFone 5 Lite, but available in the North America as the ZenFone 5Q) is a stylish 6-inch smartphone featuring a premium true four-camera system, with a high-resolution camera and a 120° wide-angle camera at both front and rear.

“We embarked on the ZenFone project four years ago with the idea to create empowering luxury for everyone to enjoy,” said Mr. Shen. “Today, the ZenFone 5 Series is the most intelligent ZenFone series ever, utilizing advanced AI algorithms and big-data analytics to provide users with a unique slate of intelligent camera, communication and convenience features.”

Joining Mr. Shen on-stage for the announcement, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon commented, “We are excited to continue to work with ASUS to bring the latest advancements in mobile to consumers with the ZenFone 5 Series. Powered by powerful Snapdragon Mobile Platforms, ZenFone 5Z (Snapdragon 845 with the AIE) and ZenFone 5 (Snapdragon 636) will support superior user experiences that include dual cameras and artificial intelligence.”

Following the press event, OK Go — a multi-award-winning rock band from the US, whose honors include a GRAMMY — performed live at the after party. OK Go has joined in partnership with ASUS to work on the ZenFone 5 marketing campaign.

In addition to the products unveiled on stage, the brand-new ZenFone Max M1 smartphone and the ASUS NovaGo always-connected laptop were also showcased in the demo area.

ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5

The ZenFone 5Z is an exciting next-generation 6.2-inch, dual-camera smartphone that comes with a beautiful all-screen display featuring a 90% screen-to-body ratio, packed in a 5.5-inch body size. It’s the first-ever ZenFone model to harness the power of the latest Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with AIE, featuring a 3rd Generation AI platform that includes the Hexagon 685 Vector DSP, Adreno 630 Graphics, and Kryo 385 CPU. The ZenFone 5Z also benefits from the Snapdragon X20 Gigabit LTE modem, delivering speeds that surpass the gigabit barrier for a ‘wireless fiber’ experience, as well as integrated 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® 5 for ultra-low-power wireless earbuds. The high-performance ZenFone 5Z comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, offering breathtaking performance combined with outstanding energy efficiency for long-lasting battery life.

The ZenFone 5 features an exquisitely crafted design, an amazing dual-camera system, and is powered by the latest Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform. Both the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z feature intelligent dual-camera systems that adapt and learn, delivering perfect photos every time. Equipped with the latest flagship Sony® IMX363 sensor with large 1.4µm pixels, an f/1.8 wide-aperture lens, a 120° wide-angle secondary camera, four-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and AI-enhanced camera features — including AI Scene Detection for 16 different scenes and objects, AI Photo Learning, Real-time Portrait and Real-time Beautification — the ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5 encourage creativity and free the user to concentrate on the subject rather than the camera.

ZenFone 5Q

The ZenFone 5Q is a stylish 6-inch smartphone featuring a premium true four-camera system with high-resolution and wide-angle cameras at both front and rear. The ZenFone 5Q removes the limits on photographic creativity, with a high-resolution main camera — 20MP Sony at the front, 16MP at the rear — and, uniquely, a secondary 120° wide-angle camera at both front and rear. Unlike rival systems, each camera works independently every time for perfect selfies, group selfies (wefies), landscapes, portraits or groups shots. The 6-inch Full HD+ IPS display has a Full View 18:9 aspect ratio and an ultraslim bezel, making the pocket-friendly ZenFone 5Q as compact as a standard-aspect-ratio 5.5-inch phone. Powered by the Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the ZenFone 5Q combines incredible performance, optimized power efficiency and a 3300mAh battery with advanced security and convenience features — including NFC, triple-slot SIM/microSD card holder, rapid face unlock and fingerprint recognition — for a complete smartphone experience.

ZenFone Max M1

The ZenFone Max M1 is the latest model in the new ZenFone Max Series — renowned for its high battery capacities. The ZenFone Max M1 has a 5.5-inch full-view display in an amazingly compact body that’s no larger than many standard 5-inch smartphones, yet comes packed with a high-capacity 4000mAh battery.

With its expanded viewing area, compact size, dual rear cameras (one wide-angle), and convenient fingerprint-based unlocking, the ZenFone Max M1 offers a class-leading combination of features designed to encompass all life’s adventures. The ZenFone Max M1 has the stamina to go the distance, and lets photo-lovers see the bigger picture with a wider range of creative options — all in a stylish metallic-finished design that’s ergonomic and comfortable to hold.

ASUS NovaGo

The ASUS NovaGo is the world’s first Gigabit LTE-capable laptop designed for truly connected mobility, providing users with an always-on, always-connected experience. This ultrathin and light convertible laptop is powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform, and features a Snapdragon X16 Gigabit LTE modem for download speeds up to 3-7 times faster than average broadband speeds, and has integrated 2×2 11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 support. It has up to a 22-hour battery life with over 30 days of modern standby. Quick-charge functionality gives the NovaGo up to five hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge.

The NovaGo is a new breed of laptop designed for the tech-savvy user who is aware of the new and exciting always on, always connected possibilities. It provides familiar Windows experiences plus new features such as Windows Ink, Windows Hello and Cortana with blazing-fast connectivity and exceptional on-the-go power efficiency.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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