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Sony announces Xperia XZ1

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Sony Mobile Communications has announced that the Xperia XZ1 and the Xperia XA1 are set to enter South Africa in October.

The product unveiling follows Sony Mobile’s recent Q1 2017 financial results, which saw operating income reach 3.6 Billion Yen (US$ 32.9 Million) for the first quarter of this year.

Sony provided the following information:

Harnessing the latest Sony innovation and audio technologies to offer immersive entertainment all wrapped up in a timeless premium design, Xperia XZ1 incorporates the latest Motion Eye camera for capturing detail beyond human eye capability, new ground-breaking technology for mobile with 3D scanning, class-leading display technologies for beautiful on-screen images including HDR display, and a premium listening experience with Hi-Res Audio.

Combining advanced processing power with super-fast download speeds, Xperia XZ1’s memory-stacked Exmor RS image sensor pushes motion capture to the next level and produces exceptional image quality. You can create sensational videos from your everyday moments by recording in 960 frames per second, providing stunning Super slow motion video playback. Plus, the 19 MP rear camera new Predictive Capture stays one step ahead and automatically starts buffering images when it detects action or even a smile, before you press the shutter button. So you can find a moment you have missed from a selection of up to four shots. Its new Autofocus burst intelligently follows your subject, adjusting the focus to make sure your action shots stay sharp. Rounding off the premium camera experience is the first-class 13-megapixel front camera with a 1/3” sensor and a display flash so you’ll get outstanding selfies in any light.

Showing a breakthrough in mobile creativity, 3D Creator is Sony’s unique, innovative in-house algorithm for fast and easy scanning of 3D objects, offering a new world of creative possibilities. For the first time ever in a smartphone, you can capture high quality 3D scans of objects in just one minute using the four scan modes; head scan, face scan, food scan and freeform scan. Each mode has its own custom guides for ease of use and after finishing your object scan there are various playful options.

Either share with your friends on messenger apps using 3D stickers or upload to the 3D community such as Sketchfab, make the scan come alive by using it to create an avatar for use in the camera AR effects options, third party apps or as a live wallpaper, or even send your scan to a 3D printer to make it into a memorable keepsake. Within the 3D Creator app you can also choose the ‘Find More’ button which takes you to even more possibilities available through Google Play, to explore a wider and ever growing 3D ecosystem.

Xperia XZ1 takes full advantage of Sony’s BRAVIA TV technology and it brings more colour and contrast to immerse yourself in your favourite shows and movies in stunning realism, by incorporating HDR (High Dynamic Range) in its 5.2” Full HD display. Further technologies, including TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, X-Reality for mobile and Dynamic Contrast Enhancer work together to give razor-sharp, detailed and brighter images on screen.

Sony audio expertise also lets you immerse yourself in the truly authentic sound of Hi-Resolution Audio with Xperia XZ1, enabling you to enjoy every nuance and detail in a track as if you’re right there with the artist. Thanks to Sony’s DSEE HX you can also enjoy more of your music in near Hi-Resolution with its upscaling capability. Enjoy your music and movies with or without headphones using the evolved stereo speakers with S-Force Front Surround, bringing you 50% more sound pressure than previous Xperia models. Plus the built in Digital Noise Cancelling (DNC) technology reduces exterior noise by up to 98% when paired with DNC headphones for undisturbed listening.

Xperia XZ1 is water resistant, dust-proof and reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the display so it’s tough enough to take on your day. For a personalised touch, the integrated fingerprint sensor recognises you intuitively, giving it that unique and secure assurance.  Wrapping up the premium design, each inspired by natural light and the beautiful arrival of the changing tones as morning arrives; Midnight Blue and Deep Sea Black. To enhance your lifestyle choice, Sony’s new h.ear (pronounced ‘hear’) headphones (h.ear on 2 Mini Wireless, h.ear on 2 Wireless NC and h.ear in 2 Wireless) will also be available in harmonised colours to complement your Xperia, which will be available in South Africa in 2018.

Xperia XZ1 is powered by the cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform with X16 LTE, designed to provide blazing fast Gigabit LTE downloads speeds (up to 1Gbps) and performance to enjoy a modern lifestyle whilst working or having fun. The Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform is engineered to support stunning graphics, smooth performance and enhanced battery efficiency. Perfect for smooth, responsive gameplay of your favourite PlayStation 4 games using PS4 Remote Play. File transfers are also super-charged thanks to the USB 3.1 connection which is 10 times quicker than USB 2.0 with a transfer speed of up to 5Gbps.

Moving onto the battery life and its charging technologies, Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging, help the battery stay healthy to give you a longer battery lifespan. On days when you’re using extra energy, Smart Stamina works ahead of time to keep you powered up by estimating how long your current battery will last based on how you normally use your phone. And if it thinks you’re going to run out, it will prompt you to activate Stamina mode which cuts energy consumption so your battery lasts longer.

Xperia XA1 ‘Perfect Pictures with 23MP’

Offering best in class entertainment in the palm of your hand, it features a 23MP camera, 5” Full HD display. Bringing a vibrant choice of two colours to express your individual style – Black Single Sim and Gold Dual Sim – Xperia XA1 features a beautiful borderless design to create the illusion of a seamlessly never-ending surface whose curvature aids the perfect fit for your hand. The edge-to-edge HD (720p) 5” screen on the XA1 is supported by display technologies to deliver a crisp, sharp viewing experience.

Camera expertise are taken from Sony’s digital camera division to deliver a leading rear camera that offers 23MP high resolution with a large 1/2.3” Exmoor RS for mobile sensor.  It features a bright F2.0 lens to offer stunning high resolution images even in low-light, accurate Hybrid Autofocus so even the most spontaneous moments are always in focus, and you’re guaranteed a superfast journey from launch to capture in 0.6s. Xperia XA1 also features a 8MP, 23mm front camera wide-angle lens that will let you capture all the action even in a group selfie without missing anyone out.

With their power-efficient Mediatek octa-core processors you get a quick and smooth experience, whether you browse the web, watch a video or play your favourite game.

The Xperia XA1 is designed to ensure a longer lasting performance over the smartphone’s lifetime. Qnovo Adpative Charging monitors the battery’s health and adjusts charging current accordingly to avoid damage and maximise lifespan whilst Stamina Mode keeps your battery going for longer when you really need it the most by disabling some of the functions and extending the lifetime. Sony’s Smart Cleaner cleverly manages the performance and memory of your device by clearing the cache and unused apps automatically in order to attain the best speed and performance without degradation over time. Additionally, both models support quick charging to give you hours of power in just a few minutes charging.

Availability

Xperia XZ1 will be available locally from October 1st 2017 at a recommended retail price of R10,999 at selected operators nationwide, with complimentary Made for Xperia cover. It will ship with Android 8.0, Oreo.

Xperia XA1 will be available locally from October 1st 2017 at a recommended retail price of R3,999.00.

The Xperia XZ1 will come in Midnight Blue and Deep Sea Black. The Xperia XA1 comes in Black Single Sim and Gold Dual Sim.

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SA startups in Visa final

Leading fintech companies from the Sub-Sahara Africa technology startup community have made it to the finals of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative.

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Among the 12 chosen, from the 238 total entries, South African startups Howler and FinChatBot will compete against innovators from across Sub Sahara Africa for a chance to secure funding of up to US$50,000 to develop their ideas when the initiative concludes in Johannesburg on July 24. 

Fintechs in Africa are making incredible strides; not only to bring more convenience to consumers, but also to enable people who would not otherwise have access to financial services or even a way to connect to the formal banking system. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017 and fintech in Africa is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years as it continues to disrupt the traditional financial sector. With a clear goal of reducing reliance on cash, building digital payment based economies and increasing financial inclusion, Visa is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and driving innovation in its payments landscape. 

The Sub Saharan Africa edition of the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative challenged local fintech startup to deliver solutions based around three real life business challenges: 

  • How can startups leverage Visa Developer APIs to either:  Enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?
  • How can startups use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach and social media partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments? 
  • How can startups leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?. 

Entrants were asked to submit ideas to leverage Visa’s network and technologies to resolve against at least one of the challenges. One winner per brief will be selected, with each receiving funding of US$25,000. Winners will be invited to a working meeting with Visa and may be presented with the opportunity to create a prototype. Visa will then select one overall winner to receive an additional US$25,000.

Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director – Digital Solutions, Sub-Sahara Africa, Visa, said: “We are delighted with the response to our Visa’s Everywhere Initiative and the quality of submissions we received is an indication of the region’s rich talent pool and innovative spirit.”

“Launching this innovation program in the region has been an exciting time for the Visa SSA team, and the takeup reflects Africa’s enthusiasm to develop and pioneer solutions to the continent’s challenge – particularly in the payments technology space. I would like to congratulate the finalists and  wish them luck as they enter the final stretch.  When they come together for the final, they will not only have the chance to turn their ideas into reality, but also potentially help shape the future of payments in the region.”  

Howler which enables cashless transactions and end-to-end ticket handling for consumers and event organisers is competing in the first challenge and FinChatBot, which aims to automate part of customer services for financial service providers through AI-powered conversations is competing in the third challenge. 

The SSA edition of the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative will wrap up on July 24 in Johannesburg, with each finalist having an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges from Visa and the payments industry. 

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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