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PC monitors rise and fall

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The worldwide market for PC monitors experienced an overall year-over-year decline of 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q18). However, quarterly growth remained unchanged with worldwide monitor shipments totaling 31.4 million units in 4Q18, according to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker.

“After four consecutive quarters of annual growth, the monitor market contracted slightly in the fourth quarter,” said Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices & Displays at IDC. “Yet, the moderate global decline could be misleading given that seven of the top nine country markets by shipments grew 4.7% in aggregate, while the largest country market (China) and the fifth largest (India) declined 10.3% in aggregate. India is expected to recover sooner given that inventory has been a major drag there. In China, continued poor macroeconomic trends are projected to keep the monitor market soft there.”

IDC currently forecasts 118 million PC monitor units will be shipped for the full year 2019, resulting in a year-over-year decline of 2.7% in worldwide shipments to 30.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019. By 2020, worldwide shipments are expected to be roughly 114 million units as the adoption of mobile devices at lower price points is expected to continue.

Technology Highlights

  • Curved monitors grew 15.4% quarter over quarter and 27.1% year over year in 4Q18 with 6.2% market share in 4Q18. This positive growth trend will continue as more vendors enter the curved space.
  • 21.5-inch and 23.8-inch wide monitors continue to dominate the worldwide market with 21.7% and 17.8% market share respectively in 4Q18. Of the top 10 screen sizes, 23.8-inch and 27-inch wide saw the largest year-over-year growth at 40.6% and 17.2%, respectively, in 4Q18.
  • Monitors with TV tuners held 3.0% market share in 4Q18, down from 4.8% in 4Q17, led by LG and Samsung with a combined market share of 99.3% in this category.

Vendor Highlights

  • Dell retained the top position in 4Q18 with a worldwide market share of 21.6% on shipments of over 6.7 million units. The vendor posted strong year-over-year growth in Japan (33.4%), Central & Eastern Europe (26.7%), and Western Europe (23.6%). The largest growing screen sizes year-over-year included 31.5-inch and 37.5-inch wide.
  • HP saw more than 4.5 million units shipped resulting in 14.6% share in 4Q18. Substantial year-over-year unit increases were posted in Japan (9.3%) and Latin America (24.7%), which contributed to a total year-over-year increase of 1.5%.
  • Lenovo maintained its top 3 position with solid quarter-over-quarter growth of 4.3% and nearly 4 million units shipped. This was largely due to significant quarter-over-quarter growth in Latin America (52.9%) and Canada (16.5%). In terms of screen size growth, 27-inch & 23.8-inch wide monitors dominated with 141.4% & 115% year-over-year growth, respectively.
  • TPV experienced both year-over-year (-5.6%) and quarter-over-quarter (-13.2%) declines in 4Q18. However, noteworthy gains were made in their second best-selling region, Western Europe, with 2.4% year-over-year growth and 33.1% quarter-over-quarter growth.
  • LG Electronics rounded out the Top 5 in 4Q18 with 2.5 million units shipped. Despite a year-over-year decline of 8.5%, the vendor witnessed year-over-year gains in the United States, Canada, and Central & Eastern Europe.

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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