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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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Appdate: No wallet? No problem?

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights VodaPay Masterpass, Charge Running, South African App Integrator Directory, uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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VodaPay Masterpass

Digital mobility is now a way of life and most are using smartphones to pay bills. 

To meet this need Vodacom and Mastercard have launched VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet, downloaded as an app on their smartphone. Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering card details each time they make a purchase.

Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime and SMS, or voice bundles, directly through the app. They can also select the Pay Bills menu option to settle their DStv accounts, pay a utility bill or take care of a traffic fine.

With the app’s Scan to Pay functionality, users can scan a QR code to pay for goods and services wherever Masterpass is accepted, including all SnapScan and Zapper merchants. Once a QR code is scanned, users select the card they wish to use, and enter their bank PIN number on their own device to complete the transaction.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download and users will not be charged for any transaction fees.

Stockists:  Download VodaPay Masterpass for iOS here and for Android here.

Charge Running

Most running apps track data like pace and distance and, in some cases play audio designed to motivate you, but don’t give you the push you get when you run with a friend. Charge Running is an app that lets you run alongside other runners, virtually, as well as giving live coaching to help you go the distance.

The app includes features such as:

·       Unlimited access to live running classes and virtual races  

·       The ability to compete with runners anywhere in the world in real-time

·       A live leaderboard that shows where you are in the pack to keep you pushing

·       Live, personalised feedback from professional trainers 

·       Group chats with coaches and fellow runners throughout the run

·       On-demand runs for times when you can’t join the live groups 

·       A choice of difficulty levels and race types 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free seven-day trial; thereafter R150 per month

Stockists: Visit the Charge Running site here for downloading instructions.

South African App Integrator Directory

The South African App Integrator Directory from Xero is designed to solve the complexity of choosing apps for small business owners.

The directory is now available in South Africa with six partners, including Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. According to Xero, these are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. There are also currently over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace worldwide, 21 of which are South African born.

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they need to know exactly which apps to install on their devices and how the apps will help them. They also need to be able to install these apps from a trusted integrator so they know for what they are paying. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A one month trial version is offered, after which the App Integrator ranges from R125 to R245 per month, depending on the company’s needs.

Stockists: Visit Xero here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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Prize offered for drone films

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DJI and SkyPixel, the world’s most popular aerial photography community, have announced the first short film contest inviting users to submit cinematic stories shot with camera and gimbal products. The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest will accept entries until 14 October 2019. It welcomes submissions from all creators, ranging from hobbyists to social media users and professional videographers. around the globe.

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The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest consists of three storytelling categories—‘Big Moments Start Small,’ ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Adventure Starts With You.’ There is no restriction on the type or brand of equipment participants use, and they can submit as many videos as they wish.

A total of 100 winners can win a range of prizes totaling $48,600 USD in categories including Recommended Films, Best Editing, Best Story, Nominated Entries, People’s Choice Prize as well as This Week’s Most Popular, sponsored by the partner SanDisk and WD brand from Western Digital Corp. This year’s Best Short Video winners will each receive the new Ronin-SC Pro Combo, Osmo Action as well as WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD.

Winning entries will also be showcased on the SkyPixel website as well as to DJI’s millions of fans and followers across its social media platforms.

“DJI has redefined how people capture stable video for all of life’s moments. The compact size, portability and powerful imaging system of our Osmo and Ronin series have also made it possible for anyone to take their creativity and inspirations to the next level,” said Basile David, Director of Brand and Content Partnerships at DJI. “With this contest, we hope to encourage more people to embrace and share their own creative way of storytelling.”

Since 2014, the SkyPixel online community has attracted 16 million professional aerial photographers and content creators from more than 140 countries, growing into the largest aerial photography community today. Over the past five years, SkyPixel has received over 150,000 submissions, becoming a go-to platform for original aerial masterpieces and extraordinary footage powered by other gimbal products focusing on various themes.

Details of the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest

The short film contest consists of three categories:

Big Moments Start Small: Create a video showcasing the small, lightweight design of your camera device and your best cinematic scenes. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Pocket or other devices.

Make Your Move: Create a video showcasing the stabilized footage from your device. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Series or other devices.

Adventure Starts With You: Create a short, cinematic narrative film to showcase your creative skills and visual effects. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Ronin Series or other devices.

*Video submissions should not be longer than three minutes in length.

Submission Details

Submission Start Date: August 15, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Submission End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Award Announcement: October 31, 2019

Interested participants can visit the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest website for more information on contest rules and guidelines. For more information, contact: Skypixel.campaign@dji.com

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