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Vodacom launches VoLTE in SA

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Owners of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as well as other compatible handsets will now be able to make Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls.

Owners of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are now able to make voice calls over Vodacom’s 4G/LTE network. A commercial first in South Africa, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) users will experience faster call set-up times (the amount of time it takes between dialling a number and the phone ringing at the recipient’s end), better voice quality, and additional capabilities such as being able to continue browsing the web or using apps while simultaneously making a call.

VoLTE technology, which enables mobile voice traffic to be carried natively over a data network, was originally demonstrated by Vodacom in September last year. However, until now the service has been limited by a lack of compatible devices.

Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “VoLTE is now officially up and running in SA thanks to these new handsets. Within the next month VoLTE functionality will be added to additional devices, and we expect usage will grow rapidly as more and more handset manufacturers include the functionality.”

At present the VoLTE service is available to contract customers who have compatible handsets. There is no additional charge to use this service.

The launch of VoLTE follows on from Vodacom’s roll-out of Enhanced Voice service last year. Available country-wide, Enhanced Voice is comprised of HD voice which significantly increases the clarity of voice calls, Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) which removes the echo that sometimes occurs when making calls and Noise Reduction (NR) technology which eliminates background noise. HD voice is supported by the majority of smart devices while AEC and NR technology is in use by every device on the network.

“The implementation of Enhanced Voice last September signalled a step change in call quality for South Africa. Moving forward our next milestone is to include video calling and media sharing as part of the VoLTE service,” said Delport.

How to enable VoLTE

Customers with compatible handsets will need to run a software update to enable the service. The update will be available from 11 April 2015.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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