At this year’s Mobile World Congress, HMD Global announced four new additions to its portfolio of Android smartphones, namely the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 6 and Nokia 1.
It has also “reloaded” the iconic Nokia 8110 feature phone, with 4G connectivity, apps including Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Search, Facebook and Twitter, and the return of the slider phone.
HMD Global also announced it is to become Google’s first global partner to have a full suite of devices selected into the Android One programme. “The unwavering commitment to deliver a pure, secure and up-to-date Android experience has ensured Nokia smartphones were a natural fit for the global programme,” said a company statement.
HMD Global provided the following information:
Three new Nokia smartphones – the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and the new Nokia 6 – join the Android One family, offering a high quality software experience designed by Google. Each phone will stay fresh over time with the latest AI powered innovations to the highest grade of security from Google. With a pure Android installation, Nokia smartphones come with no unnecessary UI changes or hidden processes that would eat up battery life or slow them down so you can enjoy your new phone for longer. Each of the new phones comes with a limited number of pre-installed apps so that you’ll get more storage space, as well as the latest innovations that help you stay ahead of the game every day.
By shipping with Android Oreo out of the box, you’ll be able to enjoy the latest features, including Picture-in-Picture for multitasking, Android Instant Apps to discover and run apps with minimal friction, 60 fantastic new emojis and battery-maximising features like limiting background app use.
Introducing four new Nokia Android smartphones and expansion of the portfolio:
Nokia 8 Sirocco: an ultra-compact powerhouse for the fans
Inspired by the rich design heritage of Nokia phones, the Nokia 8 Sirocco’s elegant design and compact style is the ideal blend of precise craftsmanship and purposeful innovation. Delivering powerful storytelling features including enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics and carefully tuned acoustics with Nokia spatial audio, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is an ultra-compact powerhouse, and our most beautiful smartphone to date.
Its curved glass finish envelops a precision-crafted stainless-steel frame to deliver a fusion of strength and beauty. Just 2mm thin at the edge, the Nokia 8 Sirocco combines a curved edge-to-edge pOLED 2K 5.5-inch display with smaller bezels and moulded body curves to create an ultra-compact profile.
Its stainless steel frame is 2.5 times stronger than 6000 series aluminium, and its 3D Corning® Gorilla Glass 5 is robust enough to endure life’s everyday knocks. Luxuriously weighted and perfectly balanced, it feels more secure in your hand thanks to the improved grip given by the dual diamond-polished stainless steel frame.
Now capture every detail thanks to the Nokia 8 Sirocco’s dual rear sensors with ZEISS optics that combine an ultra-sensitive, wide angle primary camera for impressive low-light performance and a secondary 13MP sensor with 2x optical zoom. And with Pro Camera mode you get full manual control over every picture you take, helping you capture photos like a pro.
Available from early April, the Nokia 8 Sirocco will retail for a global average retail price of €749, excluding taxes and subsidies.
Nokia 7 Plus: the flagship hero for everyone
Made for creators to deliver stunning content, the Nokia 7 Plus has the screen, power, design and features to make it a true hero in our smartphone range. Combining innovative optical hardware and imaging algorithms, the Nokia 7 Plus captures moments into photos that are true to life. With enhanced Dual-Sight, dual rear sensors with ZEISS optics combine an ultra-sensitive 12MP wide-angle primary camera for excellent performance in both low-light and extra bright conditions and a secondary 13MP camera that delivers 2x optical zoom for the moments when you wish you were closer.
To enable you to capture and enjoy more content for longer, the Nokia 7 Plus is backed by the powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 660 Mobile Platform. It’s been optimised and integrated for maximum performance and battery life, even when you are broadcasting your #Bothie videos live on Facebook or YouTube. Optimised to extract every bit of juice from the already powerful 3800 mAh battery, the Nokia 7 Plus delivers an amazing 2-day battery life.
Its gently curved back and slim edges give you a big-screen experience in a comfortable, neat package. The vivid 6-inch 18:9 Full HD+ display makes the Nokia 7 Plus perfect for browsing, social media consumption, gaming and entertainment with more content in the same width as a traditional 5.5-inch display device.
Available in a choice of two colour blends, Black/Copper and White/Copper, the Nokia 7 Plus will go on sale from early April and will retail for a global average retail price of €399, excluding taxes and subsidies.
The New Nokia 6: our award-winning phone just got even better
Building on the success of its predecessor, the New Nokia 6 packs even more powerful performance and great new features in a more compact, durable body. Over 60% faster than its award-winning predecessor, it now offers enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, a more compact screen-to-body ratio, Nokia spatial audio and pure, secure and up-to-date Android Oreo.
The New Nokia 6 takes the original’s precision craftsmanship to the next level by combining a unibody, made from a solid block of 6000 series aluminium, with an 11-hour two-tone anodising and polishing process. And by uniting a sculpted 2.5D display with damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, the New Nokia 6’s compact and refined body is built to last.
Our engineers have integrated the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 630 Mobile Platform to deliver fast and smooth performance alongside great day-long battery life.
Available in three slick colour blends: Black/Copper, White/Iron and Blue/Gold, as well as two configurations of 3GB RAM/32GB ROM, which will be available in early April, or 4GB RAM/64GB ROM coming later, the New Nokia 6[ii] will go on sale in early April and will retail for a global average retail price of €279 excluding taxes and subsidies.
Nokia 1: a complete Nokia smartphone experience, accessible to everyone
The Nokia 1 is a breakthrough in accessible technology, delivering smartphone essentials with the reassuring quality you expect of a Nokia phone and a refreshingly familiar design to fans around the world. Giving more people access to technology, it comes with Android Oreo™ (Go edition), a version of Android optimized for devices with 1GB RAM or less. The Nokia 1 is designed to be smooth and responsive, with full access to the Google Play™ Store so you can find all your favourite apps from WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram to mobile banking while also highlighting apps that are optimised for Android Oreo (Go edition).
Featuring the iconic ‘Nokia smile’ in a fresh new package, you can give your Nokia 1 a makeover thanks to the popular Xpress-on covers, available in a range of vibrant colours. Simply click on and off in seconds to express your personal style with these exchangeable covers. Each cover has been built with the same precision and attention to detail as the phone’s original cover. Inherently coloured, the tough two-tone polycarbonate cover is ready to take on every day knocks and bumps with its durable design.
Available from early April in Warm Red and Dark Blue to fans around the world, the Nokia 1 will retail for a global average retail price of $85, excluding taxes and subsidies. Xpress-on covers, sold separately, are available from $7.99 in Azure, Grey, Yellow and Pink.
For the Originals: Reloading Nokia 8110
Reloading the legendary Nokia 8110, this 4G feature phone comes complete with the iconic curved slider design. Giving you the chance to switch off, have fun and relax with the knowledge that all your smartphone essentials are there when you need them.
With a familiar and easy to use interface, it features intuitive tactile mechanics, with slide to answer and end calls, as well as an addictive helicopter style spin on its axis. Nokia 8110 comes with the craftsmanship you expect from a Nokia phone, delivering durability and reliability as standard. Nokia 8110 delivers crystal-clear VoLTE calling and is perfect for anyone who wants an iconic 4G feature phone or a companion phone. With access to an app store, for favourites like Google Assistant, Google Search, Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter, send and receive emails or import your contacts and sync your calendar with Outlook and Gmail. To keep it running flawlessly, the Nokia 8110 features the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform. And yes, it comes with a revamped version of Snake.
With two vibrant colours to choose from, Traditional Black and Banana Yellow, the Nokia 8110 will be available from May and will retail for a global average retail price of €79, excluding taxes and subsidies.
Florian Seiche, CEO of HMD Global, said:
“This time last year, we started our journey with huge expectations from fans and a massive responsibility to deliver on the legacy of one of the most innovative brands in our space. Since then we have reintroduced well-loved icons, forged partnerships with friends old and new and delivered our pure, secure and up-to-date Android experience across our smartphone portfolio. Last year we shipped over 70 million Nokia phones.
“As we’ve expanded our portfolio we’ve always maintained one vision: to deliver great Nokia phones that live up to the values that our fans expect. It has been an exhilarating time and as we look ahead, we plan to build on our success by expanding our portfolio and giving consumers a wide range of Nokia phones they can love, trust and rely on.”
Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer of HMD Global, said:
“Today, we are delighted to announce the expansion of our range with the introduction of five new devices, setting new benchmarks in smartphone design with Nokia 8 Sirocco and delivering our most accessible smartphone to date in Nokia 1.
“Through these new devices, you’ll see our innovative approach to engineering and our strong legacy in imaging coming to the forefront in collaboration with ZEISS. And you will recognise our best in class materials led design and the distinctive finish throughout the portfolio which delivers all the reliability and durability expected of a Nokia phone.
“We pride ourselves on making smartphones that address real-world needs. Our commitment to pure, secure and up-to-date Android is core to our strategy and is loved by consumers. Today, we take that commitment to a deeper level by becoming the lead partner for the Android One programme globally, delivering an experience that is endorsed by Google.”
Pekka Rantala, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of HMD Global, said:
“A smartphone is an everyday partner and something people need to know they can rely on. Last year we promised that we would deliver on all the hallmarks of a true Nokia phone experience and that we would live up to the trust people have in the Nokia brand. This year, we are delighted to join the Android One programme that reinforces our commitment to pure, secure and up-to-date Android and makes us a natural choice. Today, with our expanded portfolio, we feel every consumer can pick a Nokia phone they can truly rely on.”
Jamie Rosenberg, VP, Business & Operations, Android & Google Play:
“Android One is our flagship partner programme, and this comprehensive line-up of new Nokia smartphones represents our biggest partnership to date. Now, users around the world can find the perfect device to fit their needs and know they’re getting a high-quality hardware and software experience that’s smart, secure, and simply amazing.”
Smart home arrives in SA
The smart home is no longer a distant vision confined to advanced economies, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
The smart home is a wonderful vision for controlling every aspect of one’s living environment via remote control, apps and sensors. But, because it is both complex and expensive, there has been little appetite for it in South Africa.
The two main routes for smart home installation are both fraught with peril – financial and technical.
The first is to call on a specialist installation company. Surprisingly, there are many in South Africa. Google “smart home” +”South Africa”, and thousands of results appear. The problem is that, because the industry is so new, few have built up solid track records and reputations. Costs vary wildly, few standards exist, and the cost of after-sales service will turn out to be more important than the upfront price.
The second route is to assemble the components of a smart home, and attempt self-installation. For the non-technical, this is often a non-starter. Not only does one need a fairly good knowledge of Wi-Fi configuration, but also a broad understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the ability for devices to sense their environment, connect to each other, and share information.
The good news, though, is that it is getting easier and more cost effective all the time.
My first efforts in this direction started a few years ago with finding smart plugs on Amazon.com. These are power adaptors that turn regular sockets into “smart sockets” by adding Wi-Fi and an on-off switch, among other. A smart lightbulb was sourced from Gearbest in China. At the time, these were the cheapest and most basic elements for a starter smart home environment.
Via a smartphone app, the light could be switched on from the other side of the world. It sounds trivial and silly, but on such basic functions the future is slowly built.
Fast forward a year or two, and these components are available from hundreds of outlets, they have plummeted in cost, and the range of options is bewildering. That, of course, makes the quest even more bewildering. Who can be trusted for quality, fulfilment and after-sales support? Which products will be obsolete in the next year or two as technology advances even more rapidly?
These are some of the challenges that a leading South African technology distributor, Syntech, decided to address in adding smart home products to its portfolio. It selected LifeSmart, a global brand with proven expertise in both IoT and smart home products.
Equally significantly, LifeSmart combines IoT with artificial intelligence and machine learning, meaning that the devices “learn” the best ways of connecting, sharing and integrating new elements. Because they all fall under the same brand, they are designed to integrate with the LifeSmart app, which is available for Android and iOS phones, as well as Android TV.
Click here to read about how LifeSmart makes installing smart home devices easier.
Matrics must prepare for AI
By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.
Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.
With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.
Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.
Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist.
So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?
For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.
In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.
This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.
In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.
As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.
This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.
The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.