Date:28 February 2017
Sony gave reason for excitement again
Full disclosure: I’m at #MWC17 with Qualcomm. Now that’s out the way, let’s raise a glass to the Xperia XZ Premium as the first smartphone announced with Qualcomm’s current latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 processor on board. I say announced because the story is that Samsung hoarded all production chipsets for the Galaxy S8, which it will be launching in late March. I have interviews with Sony today and will report back in a separate post regarding availability in SA. So why are we excited? Because Snapdragon 835 enables 1 GB/s LTE, or Gigabit LTE. With all he talk about the future and 5G around the show, I’m happy to see an actual advance in data speed announced.
On camera duty is an all new Motion Eye system. First memory stack sensor in a smartphone. Up to 960 frames per second video recording for the slowest slow-mo on a smartphone. Five-axis stabilisation on both the front and rear cameras. Oh, and a 4K HDR screen with a content partnership courtesy of Amazon Prime video. Take a bow Sony, you certainly made a splash.
Bottom line: The phone probably won’t hit our shores before July, but that camera system might just be worth waiting for. On paper this is the device to beat. Your move, Samsung.
Cars take a seat at the mobile technology table
Roborace and the Peugeot Instinct. You know what those two have in common? Both are future concept cars that launched at #MWC17. Roborace is a race car, powered by AI on Nvidia’s PX2 open-source car computing platform. Computing power is capable of 24 trillion AI operations per second and the car sees the world through 5 LiDAR sensors, 18 ultrasonic sensors (sonar), 6 AI cameras and GPS/GNSS. It can reach speeds up to 320 km/h and integrates deep learning for 360 degree awareness. This is the jumpstart the autonomous car needs, and it’s glorious.
The Instinct connects to Samsung’s Artik IoT cloud service which can gather information from your connected devices to, for instance, adjust the interior lighting to calm you down as you’re driving to a big meeting – reading your heart rate and your schedule. It’s a futuristic saloon that seats for and switches between autonomous Soft and Sharp modes according to your mood.
But the most eye-catching connected car on the floor for me is a naturally aspirated, 5-litre V8 Bristol Bullet. The two-seat roadster is hand-built and delivers VNC Automotive software for car-to-x (buzzword alert!) communication and screen mirroring with all the popular services, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay included. VNC produces SDKs for all current connected car operating systems, chipsets and platforms.
Bottom line: Don’t buy a car this year that can’t at least connect your phone to it with more than just handsfree calling. Cars are gadgets now and should be evaluated as such.
Hisense brings the innovation
A phone with an e-ink screen on the back isn’t a new idea, but its a clever one. You can chose to use either screen, which results in power saving and is kinder on your eyes. There’s an earpiece and microphone on each side and the fingerprint sensor is integrated into the side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
That pretty much wraps up what the A2 brings to the table. It’s thoughtful design like this that will propel Hisense to the top of the budget handset pile, and rightly so.Well, that and the absolutely beautiful Rock. It’s the follow-up to last year’s KO and brings significant RAM, processor, camera and design upgrades. Would’ve preferred it with a fingerprint sensor, but at least the company has made the audio port water resistant.
Bottom line: Budget phones are high priority for emerging markets and they are getting very good. Soon consumers will get quality handsets at all price points. this is the dream and it’s coming true.