Harman has introduced the Harman Kardon Astra intelligent speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Service.
By combining a superior listening experience with a premium look and feel, as well as Alexa’s smart voice technology, the Astra brings music lovers a rich, first-class listening experience. Incorporating three 1.75” full-range transducers, three .75” dome tweeters and two passive radiators, the Astra delivers full-bandwidth room filling sound. Whether placed in the kitchen to create a relaxing soundtrack while cooking or retrieving the latest news in a home office, Astra fills any room of the home with beautiful, 360-degree Harman Kardon performance.
“The Harman Kardon Astra is the latest voice agent product from HARMAN and solidifies our leadership in the space,” said David Owens, Vice President Business Development at Harman. “Launching this as a Brightstar exclusive gives Harman the opportunity to reach new channels and customers around the globe.”
For those looking to listen to the latest podcast, receive an updated weather report, or control smart home enabled devices including lights, thermostats, and more, the Astra’s hands-free voice commands are ideal. Proprietary far-field voice technology allows the speaker to hear commands effortlessly whether at home, in a hotel or at the office, even in noisy environments.
“We’re delighted to continue bringing exclusive and innovative products, such as the Harman Kardon Astra with Amazon Alexa,” said Khalid Zitouni, Vice President, Global Gear at Brightstar. “With our channel partners we’re reaching global markets and a large customer base expanding the HARMAN brand.”
- Powered by Amazon Alexa Voice Service: Connect to Alexa through dual-band Wi-Fi, just ask and Alexa will provide information, place an order, play music and more. It’s always getting smarter and adding new features with more than 20,000 Alexa skills.
- Far-field Voice Recognition: Built-in 4-microphone array with advanced noise cancellation technology allows for hands-free voice control from across the room.
- 360-Degree Sound: With three x 1.75” drivers, three .75” tweeters, and 2 passive radiators, the Astra produces 360-degrees of beautiful sound that fills up every corner of the room.
- Wireless Bluetooth Streaming: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 2.4 and 5 GHz networks with up to 96kHz/24bits of Wi-Fi audio to stream room-filling music from any mobile device via Bluetooth.
Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser
Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.
A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.
The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.
“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.
When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.
The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.
“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”
According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.
The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.
“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”
Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.
The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.
Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.
Future of the car is here
Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.
The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.
Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.
The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.
Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.
And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.
The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.
Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:
- All-wheel drive
- Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
- 0-100km/h in 4.8s
- 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
- Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
- Two-year/34 000km service intervals
Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.