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MWC: New Sony XZ phones more immersive

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Sony Mobile announced two new smartphones to its flagship range, the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact.

Sony says the devices are “built around the concept of bringing you the most immersive entertainment experiences yet”.

The flagship Xperia XZ2 has an extended 5.7” HDR Full HD+ 18:9 display. Viewers can watch existing HDR content, using Sony’s Bravia TV technology, X-reality for mobile, which will up-convert content to near High Dynamic Range (HDR).

The XZ2 incorporates a new haptic experience, adding the perceptual sense of touch so users can feel the viewing experience. It uses Sony’s new Dynamic Vibration System, which analyses audio data and lets users feel the action in their hands, bringing movies, games and videos to life. Videos can also be shared with friends, thanks to the XZ2’s powerful front facing stereo speakers. Featuring S-Force Front Surround, they’re the loudest Xperia speakers yet.

High quality audio is also provided, using Sony’s audio expertise with Hi-Resolution Audio together with DSEE HX technology for upscaling.

The Motion Eye camera gets a ground-breaking upgrade with the world’s first 4K HDR Movie recording in a smartphone. usersu can now capture video with greater contrast, detail and true-to-life colour and share or upload to a compatible HDR TV or YouTube. Super slow motion video recording is also upgraded, with 960fps now possible in Full HD. Motion Eye camera uses intelligent control features such as Predictive Capture with motion and smile detection, Autofocus burst and Predictive Autofocus, and Quick Launch and Capture.

The 3D Creator application launched last year is now available with greater flexibility for 3D scanning. Users can you create 3D scans of objects or faces in less than a minute using the main camera, as well as 3D selfies using the front camera.  Post-processing is now available to achieve greater quality of 3D scans. The 3D scan or selfie can now be posted directly to a Facebook timeline within 3D Creator.

A new design expression, with a fluid 3D glass surface that creates a seamless form, is contrasted with a tough exterior, built with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and metal frame to add extra durability and a premium feel.  Its four different finishes offer a reflection and shine from every angle, thanks to the glass and flow of light, available in Liquid Silver, Liquid Black, Deep Green and Ash Pink. Certified IP65/IP68, XZ2 is designed to withstand splashes and spills.

The Xperia XZ2 Compact (Left) and the Xperia XZ2 (Right)

The Xperia XZ2 Compact (Left) and the Xperia XZ2 (Right)

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE, XZ2 will provide immersive user experiences at connection speeds up to 1.2Gbps, with the second generation Gigabit LTE solution.

The XZ2 carries a large 3180mAh battery and power efficient control thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform. Xperia’s useful battery features are also included, such as Smart Stamina, STAMINA mode, Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging technology, which help the battery stay healthy for a longer lifespan. It supports a wireless charging dock (WCH20), and other compatible Qi chargers.

Xperia XZ2 Compact

The premium compact version of the phone, the XZ2 Compact, offers similar features in a smaller form factor, with a 5” HDR Full HD+ 18:9 extended display, intended to be “the ultimate compact entertainment device”.

It features many of premium updates found in its big brother, such as all the Motion Eye 2018 upgrades, including 3D Creator for selfie and Full HD Super slow motio.  It also uses Sony’s audio enhancing technologies, such as Hi-Res Audio and front facing stereo speakers, and is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

Its curved body offers comfort in the hand, while durability is ensured with a tough exterior, including Corning Gorilla Glass 5, anti-scratch hard-grade polycarbonate, IP65/IP68 and metal frame. It is finished in four colours with a smooth frosted finish: White Silver, Black, Moss Green and Coral Pink.

Accessories

A range of supporting accessories will be available, including covers Style Cover Touch and Style Cover Stand in corresponding colours for both models. Also available are charging accessories, the Wireless Charging Dock (WCH20)  and Quick Charger. The new 2-way Style USB Audio and Bluetooth Headset (SBH90C) allows users to enjoy music and talk wirelessly in high quality as well as via a wired USB Type-C Cable option that offers Hi-Res Audio with direct USB digital output.

The Open-ear Stereo Headset (STH40D) offers lightweight and comfortable dual listening, and Xperia Ear Duo utilises Sony’s acoustics leadership to deliver wireless ‘open-ear’ stereo headphones, so that one can listen or communicate while simultaneously hearing sounds around one. A USB Type-C 2-in-1 Cable (EC270) is also available for enjoying audio with non-Bluetooth headphones and simultaneously charging the phone.

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AppDate: Reserve Bank to choose fintech winner

This week, SEAN BACHER highlights the Global Fintech Hackcelerator, Fortnite’s skin for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Standard Bank and iiDENTIFii’s partnership, WRAPP and Zulzi’s latest expansion.

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Image by Andre Gunawan: Tech in Asia - https://www.techinasia.com

SARB to choose Global Fintech Hackcelerator winner

The South African Reserve Bank will host a Fintech Demo Day on 29 October 2019 to select two winners from 12 innovative and sustainable fintech solutions shortlisted for the Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa.

In August, SARB joined forces with KPMG Matchi to run the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa, an acceleration programme that creates a platform for fintech firms to demonstrate their innovative solutions to complex financial challenges in the Southern African region. Fintech firms from all over the world were invited to submit an application in response to problem statements constructed in collaboration with SARB. 

The regional hackcelerator received 95 entries from interested fintech firms located across the globe.  The 12 shortlisted respondents will showcase their solutions at the Fintech Demo Day at the end of this month in Johannesburg. 

Each Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa 2019 winner will receive the following:

  • A stipend towards travel expenses to attend the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival
  • An opportunity to pitch their solution live during the Hackcelerator Demo Day at the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival and engage with industry experts
  • Funding to develop a contextualised proof of concept, to be deployed within a year from the demo day
  • An opportunity to work with high-value corporates to contextualise a solution to their needs, while obtaining market entry into the Singapore and Asia-Pacific region.

The top three winners at the Singapore Fintech Festival will each receive a cash prize.

For more information on the Global Fintech Hackcelerator click here.

Click here to read about a Fortnite exclusive for Samsung Galaxy Note 10 users, and Standard Bank’s new way of identifying its customers.

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PC market grows again

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Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, reached 70.4 million units in the third quarter of 2019 (3Q19), according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Demand in the commercial segment combined with trade tensions between the United States and China to drive the market forward, resulting in a second consecutive quarter of growth with shipments increasing by 3% over the third quarter of 2018.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, says: “With higher tariffs on the horizon PC makers once again began to push additional inventory during the quarter though the process was a bit more difficult as many faced supply constraints from Intel, leaving AMD with more room to grow. The trade tensions are also leading to changes in the supply chain as most notebook manufacturers are now prepared to move production to other countries in Asia, such as Taiwan and Vietnam.”

“Commercial demand should accelerate as enterprises work through the remainder of their Windows 10 migration,” says Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices & Displays. “The number of months until the end of service (EOS) date of Windows 7 can be counted on one hand. With January 14, 2020 drawing nigh, the commercial market should be able to digest the extra inventory over the next several quarters. Supply constraints may loom in subsequent quarters, so excess may not be a bad position for channel inventory through the remainder of the year.”

Regional Highlights

Traditional PC shipments in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) posted a year-over-year decline but the market performed above expectations. Back-to-school demand drove the consumer market in China, while online sales and preparations for the Diwali festive season supported consumer shipments in India, as two of the largest countries in the region surpassed the previous forecast. Meanwhile, the commercial market in China recorded a decline in line with expectations, impacted by macroeconomic pressures.

Coming in slightly above forecast, the Canadian traditional PC market delivered its 13th consecutive quarter of growth. The market is becoming increasingly solidified as the top 5 vendors now capture more than 85% of all shipments.

In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the traditional PC market achieved stable growth in 3Q19 with both desktops and notebooks performing relatively well. A strong pipeline of deals ahead of the ongoing Windows 10 transition continued to translate into commercial strength, offsetting the softness in the consumer market and the overall negative impact of the component shortage.

In Japan, both the commercial and consumer markets largely outperformed forecast, driven by Windows 10 migration and the consumption tax increase respectively. Commercial shipments established a new third quarter record beating the mark set in 2013 when Windows XP EOS created similar momentum in the commercial PC market.

The traditional PC market in Latin America was very much in line with previous expectations of a 4.1% year-over-year decline. During this period desktop shipments were better than expected mainly due to the large enterprise segment and verticals such as banking, retail, and manufacturing. Notebook shipments also declined during the quarter due to a weak consumer market and delays in some education deals.

The United States saw low single-digit growth in the third quarter with both desktop and notebooks seeing continued year-over-year growth. Inventory pull-in continued to be supported by Windows 7 EOS and continued tensions in the trade war. As most List 4 tariffs have been delayed until the end of the year, inventory pull-in overall was slightly weaker compared to the previous quarter. According to a recent survey among IT decision makers in the USA, more than 60% of businesses have transitioned their Windows-deployed PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Another 13% plan to do so by the Windows EOS date in January 2020.

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