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MWC: ZTE claims 5G lead

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ZTE showcased its latest achievements in 5G commercialisation, 5G connectivity, cloud services, IoT applications and new terminal products at Mobile World Congress.

In early 2017, ZTE released a full range of pre-5G solutions for both high and low frequency bands in addition to the initiation of a wide array of 5G field tests. ZTE plans to deploy commercially viable pre-5G solutions by the end of 2018 followed by 5G products in commercial networks in the first half of 2019, and is already prepared to help operators deploy 5G networks.

At MWC 2018, ZTE showcases how the company is working with partners in rolling out 5G commercialization solutions and key technologies verification, including the most commercially viable 5G field test network currently available, the first 3GPP standards-based multi-vendor IoDT test, and the industry’s first carrier grade 5G end-to-end commercial network slicing.

Qualcomm, China Mobile and ZTE are scheduled to jointly demonstrate what’s being described as the world’s first 5G New Radio (NR) Interoperability Data Testing (IoDT) system (3.5 GHz) with a data connection based on 3GPP Release 15. Successful data connection represents an important milestone for large-scale fast verification of 5G NR technologies and commercialization, supporting in-time deployment of 5G commercial networks.

ZTE also showcases its 4G and 5G hybrid networking solutions and products that can help operators quickly incorporate and deploy 5G solutions on their existing 4G network infrastructure, as well as the latest Pre 5G products that have incorporated elements of commercialization. Integrated Pre 5G solutions can build complete 5G networks, enabling 5G network functionalities, 5G network architectures and 5G business applications. ZTE’s 5G Flexhaul solution, featuring ultra-high clock accuracy and ultra-low time delay, in addition to having passed backhaul and fronthaul testing on the operators’ networks, as well as TITAN, a centralized routing and signalling platform that provides 5G Fronthaul and FMC (fixed–mobile convergence) and fully supports network reconfiguration on the access layer, will allow operators to quickly incorporate and deploy 5G networks.

As the day when most businesses are cloud-enabled will quickly be upon us, ZTE’s innovative 5G cloud infrastructure, cloud network and services, as well as cloud-enabled business solutions, are all displayed at the MWC 2018. ZTE’s SDN-based IP +optical vPIPE solution including a few illustrative business use cases in addition to the carrier-class basic computing platform are also highlighted at the event.

In addition, ZTE’s network intelligence solutions combining artificial intelligence and big data, as well as key businesses including big video and IoT will help operators succeed commercially in the 5G era.

Turning to ZTE’s work in Internet of Everything solutions, ZTE’s IoT “Chip, Network, Cloud” strategy will soon be implemented on the telecommunications solutions providers’ global platforms. Furthermore, ZTE’s new IoT platform created in association with multinational operators around the world makes its debut at the show. The company also displays business applications including smart street lighting, parking, meter reading, and air quality monitoring, with a demonstration setup at the Shanghai World Expo Museum as a prototype.

ZTE is an industry leader in 5G next-generation networks that will provide incredible connectivity for consumers and enable an entirely new ecosystem of products and services. Its leadership in 5G enables ZTE to understand the future of connectivity and design mobile devices with both the consumer experience and future network dynamics in mind. This year at MWC 2018, ZTE Mobile Devices announced the ZTE 1.2 Gbps smartphone, which will become the industry benchmark for 5G devices. ZTE will launch 5G mobile devices in late 2018 or early 2019. 5G tablets, CPE, and smartphones are all under development and will be launched as leading carriers around the world provide 5G service to consumers.

“Ready for commercialization, ZTE’s 5G solutions are going to be launched soon.” As a pioneer in the 5G era, ZTE has made the roll out of its 5G solutions the core goal. In the past year, research and development teams at ZTE worked assiduously through the creative process during which they came up with the ideas and the proposed solutions, followed by the R&D stage with tests and verification as well as cooperation with industry partners to complete proofs of concept in terms of commercialization.

ZTE sees itself moving towards a digital society and intelligent transformation in the very foreseeable future by joining hands with operators and customers to deliver 5G commercially viable solutions that benefit businesses and consumers alike.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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