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Walkman gets a facelift

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Sony has expanded its Walkman collection with the launch of the new Walkman NWZ-E450 video MP3 player.

Available in gold, pink, blue, red and black ‚ the E450 delivers 50 hours of continuous music playback. In addition, Sony’s proprietary sound technologies deliver a richer audio performance with clarity and precision, as well as an improved user interface that helps users navigate their music quickly and effortlessly.

Music and movies are transferred easily from Windows Media Player or iTunes, and new SensMe channels let the Walkman act as a personal DJ, analysing the music library to find songs that go well together and then categorizing them into various SensMe channels, so users can listen to music that matches their mood.

‚Sony strives to deliver innovative products that combine fun, form and function to enrich the music listening experience of our customers,‚ says Mr. Sydney Lee, Assistant General Manager, Personal Audio Division, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific. ‚Besides new SensMe channels, the new Walkman E450 has a new user interface with features such as Album Scroll and Scene Search, that lets users easily navigate their music and videos. ‚

Extended Battery Life, Easy Content Transfers

With the Walkman E450 series, users will be constantly entertained as the player offers up to 50 hours of audio and 10 hours of video playback time on a single charge. The Walkman also lets users conveniently drag and drop music and movies from a computer’s media folder to the player. The supplied Content Transfer Software makes transferring media files from Windows Media Player or iTunes 9.0 directly to the Walkman simple as well.

New SensMe channels automatically analyse and categorise the music library of the NWZ-E450 with Sony’s 12 Tone Analysis technology, creating a series of themed play lists. With this feature, users can simply pick a music channel to suit his current mood, be it upbeat or mellow. Chic music lovers will also instantly stand out from the crowd with any of the fun and vivid colours the Walkman NWZ-E450 is available in ‚ pink, blue, red and black.

Superior Audio Experience, Effortless Music Navigation

Five of Sony’s proprietary sound technologies have been included in the NWZ-E450, for crisp and clear sound quality. Newly integrated is Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), an audio bandwidth enhancement technology that restores high frequencies that is usually lost when original CD-quality audio tracks are compressed in MP3 format. This creates more natural tones that stay true to the original recording. In addition, the new Virtual Phones Technology (VPT) engine adds the acoustic effect of varying spaces, from an intimate studio setting to that of a large arena, allowing users to enjoy the raw, acoustic effects in their music with finer audio detail. The new Walkman is also equipped with Clear Audio Technologies (Clear Bass and Clear Stereo), as well as Dynamic Normalizer, delivering true-to-recording audio quality.

The new Walkman E450 sports an improved user interface, making it easier for users to navigate and enjoy music and videos. Scroll through music albums simply with large views of album artwork on its clear 2.0-inch QVGA LCD screen. Users can also customise the background wallpaper on the E450 with their personal photos or a selection of pre-installed designs. Scene Search allows users to search and playback a particular moment in their favourite videos by scrolling through a series of thumbnail images. The NWZ-E450 also comes with a handy Bookmark function which lets users create, add to or edit up to five personalized play lists on the Walkman itself.

Synchronised Lyrics Display, Karaoke Mode and Language Learning feature

The new synchronised lyrics display automatically syncs lyrics with the current song played, so users can sing along to their favourite songs anytime and anywhere. Complementing this feature is the Karaoke Mode which automatically reduces the volume of original performer’s vocals, allowing users to hear the backing audio easily. The key of the song can also be adjusted to match their natural pitch without affecting playback speed.

Not just a jukebox, the Walkman NWZ-E450 is also a helpful tool for students to learn a language on the move. The popular Language Learning function is included in the Walkman, and allows audio clips to be played at slower speeds without affecting audio tonality, letting users easily learn the proper enunciation of a foreign language. The voice recorder function is also ideal for recording lectures, meetings or interviews.

Compatible with popular music, photo and video file formats such as MP3, WMA, AAC-LC, Linear PCM, JPEG, AVC (H.264), MPEG4 and WMV9, the new Walkman features enhanced compatibility with Windows 7. An easy-to-use media management function allows users to browse files stored on Walkman in Windows Explorer and export media files from the PC directly into the player. DivX and AVCHD video files stored on users’ hard drive are also easily converted to playable formats for viewing on the Walkman NWZ-E450.

Available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities, the new Walkman®NWZ-E450 is now available in South Africa at a RRP of R899,99.

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Google Home and Amazon Echo come to South Africa

The devices are directly imported from the USA by Cellucity, but are ICASA-approved and carry a local warranty

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The Cellucity retail chain has announced that it will bring a wide range of Google and Amazon gadgets into South Africa for the festive season. It will be launching the Google home range of smart speakers, as well as Google’s Chromecast smart TV device and a range of Amazon products.

The company said in a statement: “Smart home speakers are all the rage right now – not only fun and entertaining; they are also useful at helping you plan your day. Set the alarm – no problem, check the weather – no problem. Check the traffic; yes, you probably guessed it – no problem! And, with the festive period around the corner, they make the ideal gift whether you are tech-savvy or a newbie to the world of IoT.

“We are not ones to shy away from trends and are excited to be able to offer a range of smart speakers. For our Google lovers, we are happy to be launching the Google Home range.”

The Google Home Mini is a stylish compact speaker with all the functionality of Google Assistant. Users can ask it questions or give it commands, hands-free. Although the Google Mini offers exceptional clarity of sound, those looking for a bit of oomph will probably look to the Google Home Assistant Smart Speaker. As with the Google Mini, the Google Home offers Google Assistant but offers enhanced sound, bass and far-field voice recognition.

“If you are looking for more than just a smart speaker, check out the Smart Home Hub,” advises Cellucity. “With all the functionality of the Google Smart Mini and Home, the Home Hub doubles as a digital photo frame and offers the advantage of video playback. 

The following Google Home products can be purchased either upfront or added on to selected Vodacom contracts at Cellucity:

  • Google Home Mini at R899, or from R40 per month as an add-on to selected Vodacom contract packages.
  • Google Home Smart at R2499
  • Google Home Hub from R2499, or R90 per month as an add-on to selected Vodacom contract packages.

For TV viewers, Cellucity has launched Google Chromecast, which connects to any smart TV. It’s compact and mobile so can br taken with on holiday. The Chromecast, which is ideal for bringing Netflix or Showmax to a smart TV, will be available from R849.

For those looking to Amazon products, Cellucity is launching the Amazon Echo speakers 2nd and 3rd Gen at R999 and R1499 respectively. It is also offering the Amazon Firestick 4K, allowing users to stream shows and content in 4K. The Firestick will be available from R1299.

 All the Google Home and Amazon products are easy to pair with both Android and iOS. 

It is important to note that all features may not yet be available in South Africa, particularly with Amazon products, but Cellucity says it is working on it. The devices have been imported directly from the USA, but have been ICASA approved and will carry a local warranty. 

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Fitbit Pay moves into 7 transit systems globally

Wristband’s payments will now be accepted in New York, Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, and Taiwan.

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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.

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