The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is now available in South Africa. The new quadricopter features a high-definition camera, the ability to share recorded images and videos and an option for users to perform stunts.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, the new generation of Parrot’s high-tech quadricopter that can be controlled by Wi-Fi using a smartphone or tablet, will land in South Africa in August 2012.
The new AR.Drone features a high-definition camera to take photos or record videos and the ability to easily share them. Users will also experience a new piloting mode, increased stability and a brand-new look.
Whilst in flight, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0’s front camera transmits what the quadricopter sees in real-time on the pilot’s device screen.
For the first time the AR.Drone 2.0 camera, with a 1280×720 resolution, shows a view from the sky in high definition with smooth and unbelievable images.
Thanks to the new AR.FreeFlight 2.0 piloting application, players can record their own HD flight videos and pictures on the device’s memory and share them with the AR.Drone community using YouTube or Picasa.
The pilot can also save images or videos on a USB key (not included) using the dedicated USB port located under the hull.
After the AR.FreeFlight 2.0 pilot application has been loaded onto an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 connects to the device via Wi-Fi. After connection, all the on-board instruments appear on the device’s screen.
Press the Take Off button briefly and the four brushless motors turn on and the AR.Drone 2.0 takes off.
Flying is very simple. With your thumbs placed on either side of the screen, a control button automatically forms beneath:
¬∑ Press and hold the left button and the AR.Drone 2.0 follows the movement of the pilot’s device: it moves forward, backwards or sideways when you tilt the device forward, towards you or to the left or right.
¬∑ Slide your finger over the right button, and the quadricopter rises, descends or rotates right or left.
Thanks to Parrot’s new patented ‚’Absolute Control’ mode, the player has access to an even more intuitive piloting system.
With a 3D magnetometer, the AR.Drone 2.0 knows its precise orientation with respect to the device, which becomes the reference point. The pilot no longer needs to think about the orientation of the AR.Drone 2.0 and it will continue to accurately track the device’s motion and tilt, regardless of which way the AR.Drone 2.0 is facing e.g. if you tilt your device to the left, the AR.Drone will always fly to the left, making piloting extremely easy.
Experienced players will select ‚’Relative Flight’ mode, which is the conventional flight mode. This disables the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0’s magnetometer allowing the pilot to manage the quadricopter’s orientation with no assistance.
For exciting flights, the AR.Drone 2.0 is equipped with a ‚’Flip’ feature.
Double tap the button on the right side of the piloting device screen and the AR.Drone 2.0 will perform a loop. Both experts and novices can now be a stunt pilot.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is distributed in South Africa by SMAC. The AR.Drone 2.0 can be purchased online at www.smac.co.za or at leading IT stores for R3 499.
Fitbit Pay moves into 7 transit systems globally
Wristband’s payments will now be accepted in New York, Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, and Taiwan.
Fitbit has announced that Fitbit Pay is available for consumers to use at seven major transit systems around the world.
Fitbit also announced it will be part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) One Metro New York (OMNY) contactless fare payment pilot program. Any user in New York with Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition, Fitbit Versa Special Edition and Fitbit Ionic devices will be able to securely and easily tap and pay-per-ride directly from their wrist on select MTA busses and subway lines, providing the convenience to keep their smartphones and wallets tucked away.
Starting May 31, Fitbit users with Fitbit Pay-enabled smartwatches and trackers can tap and pay to board all Staten Island buses, and all stops on the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. This pilot program marks the beginning of a long-term relationship with the MTA, with plans to extend the organization’s OMNY program to the entire subway and bus system by 2021.
“We’re excited to work with Fitbit and others to help us provide added value and everyday convenience to our customers,” said Al Putre, OMNY Executive Director at the MTA. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the transit experience and help New Yorkers and visitors alike get to their destination faster and make payment more convenient, and now they can do so with any Fitbit wearable that supports Fitbit Pay with a simple tap of the wrist.”
In addition to bringing Fitbit Pay to one of the largest and busiest public transit systems in the world with the MTA, Fitbit continues to expand its global transit system capabilities to serve commuters and travelers from all over. Fitbit Pay can now be used across seven open and closed loop transit systems, including Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA), Sydney transport for New South Wales (NSW) train, ferry and light rail services, Taiwan iPASS, TransLink in Vancouver and Transport for London (TfL), with plans to bring Fitbit Pay to more global transit systems in the future.
“In addition to helping our users get healthier and more active, we’re committed to delivering holistic experiences on our trackers and smartwatches that help keep our 27 million active users engaged,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “As we expand the use of Fitbit Pay to work with the MTA and other major transit systems around the globe, we are enabling our on-the-go customers to safely and easily pay for transit with devices that are broadly compatible and have long battery life – all making it easier to go about their day.”
In less than two years, Fitbit Pay is now available in 42 countries and supported by more than 300 of the world’s leading banks and credit unions through American Express,1Mastercard and Visa networks. Through a few quick and easy steps, Fitbit users can add up to six credit or debit cards to their Fitbit Wallet in the Fitbit app on Android or iOS mobile devices. Using the NFC chip built-into select Fitbit smartwatches and trackers, Fitbit Pay users can easily pay for items at millions of stores worldwide wherever contactless payments are accepted.
All Fitbit Pay transactions use an industry standard tokenization platform, ensuring users’ card information is never revealed or shared with merchants or Fitbit. For added security, a protected PIN is chosen by the user during device set-up. Users are also covered by their bank’s fraud protection and continue to enjoy the advantages conferred by their bank or credit card, including guarantees, insurance coverage, points and miles, without having to take out their wallets. For more information about Fitbit Pay, supported banks and transit systems, visit Fitbit.com/Fitbit-Pay.
Race to 8K TV is on
TV brands are all rolling-out 8K displays. Even if you don’t want it, the race is real, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
It’s the most near-perfect technology ever for watching TV, but there is almost no reason for the average consumer to invest in it. It’s called 8K, and it offers double the resolution of the current high-end, known as 4K, which itself offers twice the resolution of regular high-definition TV.
It sounds incredible, and it is. One has to step right up to an 8K screen, with ones nose almost to the glass, before one can see the tiny grid that makes up the display pattern. Where HD has 1920 horizontal lines down the TV screen, 4K has 3840, and 8K 7680 lines. When multiplied by vertical lines – HD at 1080, 4k at 2160 and 8K at 4320 – one sees an exponential increase in the number of pixels. These light elements that make up the picture leap from 2-million in HD to 33-million in 8K.
There is one fundamental problem with this dramatic leap in display technology: the world of content has yet to catch up with it. So, unless one has money to burn and an appetite for showing off, there is little point in buying an 8K set – for now.
What it really represents is the TV manufacturing industry demonstrating both its readiness for the content revolution, and its ability to lead in technology. This means that, because a Samsung or LG unveils an 8K unit, consumers will have their perception of that company’s technology leadership reinforced, and feel more compelled to buy one of their lower-end TVs.
The further reality is that the new cutting edge technology that gets announced today is the mainstream technology three years from now and the entry-level in five to ten years. When the first OLED display was unveiled by Sony at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a decade ago, a tablet-sized screen would have cost $20 000, or nearly R300 000 in today’s money. Yet, the same technology is now available in large-screen TVs for less than R10,000. A few years on, Samsung and LG unveiled the next big thing, Quantum Dot TV screens, at well over R50,000. Now Samsung’s version, called QLED, and HiSense, with ULED, are available for under R10 000.
In other words, the price of the cutting edge keeps coming down, and each new cutting edge drops in price faster than the one before.
So, when Samsung announced recently that it’s new QLED 4K and 8K TV models will be available at select retailers in South Africa from this month, it wasn’t mere hype.
Samsung argued that the 2019 editions of the Q80 and Q90 feature “Ultra Viewing Angle technology, which restructures the TV’s panels so the backlight passes through the panel with lights evenly onto the screen”.
The Q70, Q80, and Q90 models offer “Direct Full Array technology that uses a panel featuring concentrated zones of precision-controlled LEDs”. These adjust automatically to display deeper blacks and purer whites, delivering dramatically improved contrast.
Users of the Q900 model series won’t have to wait for content to be made in 8K format either. It uses the company’s Quantum Processor 8K to “up-scale” lower resolution content to 8K and optimises audio and video to the specific content on the screen.
In the same way, the QLED 4K models feature Quantum Processor 4K, which up-scales HD to improve brightness, picture quality and sound, based on each individual scene.
Meanwhile, at a Global Press Conference in Andalusia, Spain, last month, the organisers of the annual IFA tech fest in Berlin gave the media a sneak preview of what to expect at the event in September. Top of the list was 8K TV.
Hisense and Skyworth both signalled their intentions to join the 8K TV technology race, but at a far more affordable level than the industry leaders.
Hisense showcased the 74U9E 8K TV, a 75-inch monster that is due to be launched in China this year, and is likely to come to South Africa early next year.
It offers improved contrast and more vivid colours over the previous Hisense U range TV, while sound is integrated, with a subwoofer embedded into the stand of the TV. Like the Samsung 8K machines, the display dynamically upscales 4K content in real time.
At the IFA press conference, Skyworth showcased its 8K TVs via German TV brand Metz, which it acquired last year. The company offers a “premium-affordable” sub-brand called Metz Blue and, startlingly, this low-cost brand was chosen to showcase 8K TV, meaning it will reach the mass market even more quickly than previous high-end technologies.
With Skyworth having brought the first Android-based TV to South Africa last year, it came as no surprise that its new S9A 8K OLED is an Android TV, combining vivid picture colour with Android TV functionality. As Gadget’s Bryan Turner, who attended the event, put it: “Witnessing the 8K and OLED combination was incredible and felt like getting a new set of glasses.”
It supports the latest streaming apps, and can be controlled via the voice-controlled Google Assistant, which is available on most Android phones.
In short, 8K is on a fast-track to our living rooms, at a speed never seen before in cutting edge TV.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee