October 30, 2015

MS Surface Pro 4 – A New Breed

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:08 am

We are witnessing some interesting mating rituals in mobile technology. There have been smartphones hooking up with tablets to become phablets. Tablets and laptops getting cosy… and Lenovo’s Yoga series of laptops made things really interesting by being able to assume various positions, with its rotating and bending screen.

Manufacturers are also becoming very competitive and protective of their products, guarding their own turf. It is a virtual survival of the fittest, as new concepts and hybrids attract the attention of consumers around the world.

Many of the companies at the cutting edge, like Microsoft and Lenovo have relationships on the one hand, and yet compete aggressively at other levels. Terms like “frenemy” and “coopetition” are used in the industry for such relationships. Marriages have quickly become open relationships.

Microsoft is a big player in the industry and has been quietly and efficiently going about its perceived role as the world’s largest software marker, with products such as Windows, Office and Explorer. But it had something else going on…

In June 2012 Microsoft entered the PC market for the first time with the introduction of the Microsoft Surface line of tablet computers, and that’s when things really started to heat up.



The Surface was originally pitched as Microsoft’s ultimate companion piece for Windows 8, taking full advantage of that operating system’s touch-friendly interface.

The hybrid took an Intel Core i-series slate and added a magnetic clip-on keyboard cover to create a device that could work as a full-time tablet and part-time laptop.

The device ruffled the feathers of some of Windows tablet makers, such as Lenovo who suddenly saw Microsoft as a competitor and no longer just a partner.

While the first and second generations of the Surface Pro, launched in 2013, were variations on the theme, it was not until 2014 with the release of the Surface Pro 3 that Microsoft finally created a worthwhile flagship.

Able to transform between a tablet and a laptop via an attachable keyboard, the Surface Pro 3 has been popular among consumers, with the Surface tablet division generating more than $1 billion in sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The size of the market was enough to encourage Microsoft to develop the product even further. While Surface Pro 3 was popular, it did have some room for improvement.

Surface Pro 3 slimmed down the thick body of the earlier Surface models, increased the screen size and resolution, and improved the tablet’s built-in kickstand, all while maintaining performance and battery life on par with similarly priced mainstream slim laptops.

The mechanical keyboard cover remained its most impressive design feature, but rather than being packed in with the system, it was sold separately, making a full Surface setup more expensive than its starting price would indicate.



The introduction of Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has been seen by many commentators as the latest incarnation of a new breed of device that has evolved from and has the potential to make both the tablet and the laptop computer obsolete.

This is what Microsoft says about its latest product, launched earlier this month:

“Surface Pro 4 has the proportions of a sheet of paper so that it feels familiar in your hands. It goes from tablet to laptop in a snap with the multi-position kickstand and improved keyboard. Powered by Windows 10, Surface Pro 4 turns from a tablet into a full powered laptop while running all of your desktop software.”

In the Surface Pro 4, the biggest upgrade is in the new processors, part of Intel’s sixth generation of Core chips. These processors offer improved performance and battery life, and in the case of the Surface Pro 4, it’s an especially important upgrade as the Surface Pro 3 was already two CPU generations behind. Microsoft says the new Surface Pro 4’s new processor makes it 30 percent faster than the Surface Pro 3, and up to 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air.

Laptop mode: Surface Pro 4 with attachable keyboard and stylus

Laptop mode: Surface Pro 4 with attachable keyboard and stylus

The display jumps from 12 inches to 12.3 inches diagonally in size, and ups the screen resolution to 2,736×1,824 (267 pixels per inch) without making the magnesium alloy frame any larger. In fact, it’s slightly thinner at 8.4mm, compared to the Surface Pro 3’s 9.1mm chassis, and it weighs in at only 766 grams.

Microsoft’s optional keyboard cover has also been redesigned, offering more separation between the individual keys. It looks and feels more like a standard island-style laptop keyboard now, whereas before, the keys were very tightly packed together.

The keyboard is also thinner now, with a new type of key, “ProSet,” that offers 1.3mm of travel. The backlit keyboard cover also has a 40 percent larger glass precision touchpad with five-point multitouch, and an optional fingerprint sensor that’s compatible with Windows Hello’s one-touch log-in system.

There is now a stylus included with the Surface Pro 4, and is integrated with Windows 10. Click and hold the eraser button on the top and you’ll activate Cortana, the Windows digital assistant. The stylus has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and Microsoft claims the battery will last a full year. Microsoft is also talking up the speed and accuracy of the new stylus, thanks in part to a dedicated Pen and Touch chipset inside the device, and an extremely thin 0.4mm Gorilla Glass 4 screen cover glass.


Tablet mode: Surface Pro 4 with stylus

The new Surface Pro 4 also includes two cameras: a front-facing 5-megapixel camera with Windows Hello facial recognition, and an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Ports include a SurfaceConnect cable for power and docking, a Mini DisplayPort, a headset jack, a full-size USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader.

With its latest offering, Microsoft has jumped the fence from software to hardware, and given birth to a product that is a generation beyond both its tablet and laptop parentage.

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October 16, 2015

Smartphones – Meizu Rising

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:22 am

The smartphone market is not all about Galaxy, Sony and iPhone. There are many new and sensible alternatives for those that are either on a tight budget or simply don’t want to pay to be part of the marketing hype surrounding new gadgets.

Samsung Galaxy originates out of South Korea; Sony out of Japan and Apple iPhone out of the United States.

China has products that are now well-established such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Meizu. These products have been originally developed for the local Chinese market that is huge in itself. It is a market that demands efficient technology at an affordable price.

So although some of the new Chinese smartphone names might be new and sound strange to us, they are in fact very well-established within their home country and they have gone through similar product cycles, research and development to the more established smartphone brands.

Chinese smartphone manufacturers have also had the advantage of being able to cherry-pick the best operating systems, cameras and power options from local and overseas suppliers.

The growth of China-based mobile phone companies has been driven by the sheer size of the domestic market, which is the biggest in the world.

According to the website We Are Social, the mobile phone market within China itself has reached a peak of about 675 million unique mobile users, but there are still an average of three new subscribers every second attributing to an annual growth of 94 million.

The demands of the Chinese market are very similar to those of Papua New Guinea. Many people simply cannot afford top-end smartphones, and they are seeking products that are just as good at a much more affordable price.



Meizu is a great example of a Chinese home-grown company that has risen and developed off the back of the domestic market – by the demand for affordable products and, as it states on its website, “the durability needed to survive the human experience.” Having achieved domestic acceptance, Meizu is now positioned to take on the world.

The company was founded in 2003 as a manufacturer of MP3 and MP4 players. In 2008 Meizu moved in to smartphones to target the local Chinese market. By 2012 Meizu had started selling products outside of mainland China with releases in Hong Kong, Russia and other parts of Europe.

Within only a few years the company had progressed on a massive scale. Within the first half of 2015 alone, it sold 8.9 million units worldwide.

Meizu’s current flagship device is the MX5, a smartphone with an all-metal body, an octa-core 2, 2GHz MediaTek Helio X10 turbo processor, Fly me OS 4.5, and a Sony 20.7 megapixel 4K camera that has a 6P lens, laser-aided focusing and FotoNation 2.0.

Meizu is located in Zhuhai, Guangdong province in China. To give you an idea of the landscape in which the company has evolved, the province of Guangdong has over a one hundred million residents. Guangdong’s capital is Guangzhou and its other economic hub is Shenzhen (home of Huawei), located over near the border of Hong Kong.

For many Chinese products, like Meizu, Shenzhen has provided an entry point to Hong Kong and the west. The economy of Guangdong itself is worth over US$1 trillion – bigger than most countries – and it contributes over 10% of China’s GDP, which is worth over $10 trillion.



1Meizu is pronounced may-zoo. That’s the first hurdle you will need to overcome when welcoming the product to PNG. Master this and your friends will be impressed – they will think you are now speaking fluent Chinese.

If you become an early adopter of Meizu in Papua New Guinea then, chances are, none of your friends are going to have the same device.

You can then further impress your friends by telling them that you bought your smart phone for less than K700 – probably about a third of what they paid for their Galaxy or iPhone. Smart phone, smart choice, and not just a smartphone, but a tablet – a phablet.

The Meizu m2 Note is an attractively designed handset, and at first glance looks like the iPhone 3G, with the rounded back and edges, and rather minimalist front.

The m2 Note comes in white, blue, pink and grey. Weighing only 149g, being 8.7mm slim and with its R-angle curved design, it is comfortable to hold, and has a large 5.5 inch high-resolution screen. The power and volume buttons are on the left-side of the body, which is a common design choice in China.

Everything else is roughly where you’d expect them to be, with a headphone port at the top and a micro USB port on the bottom.

On the right-hand side is a singular tray which allows you to add two SIM cards, or a SIM card and a microSD card up to 128GB. It’s a nice system that keeps the body of the device looking uncluttered.


2The oval home button is located at the bottom bezel underneath the screen and comes with some interesting innovations.

Dubbed the Mback, the oblong home button’s main aim is to make the Meizu m2 Note easier to use with one hand, despite its large screen size.

This means the back, home and app drawer icons of stock Android are gone from the m2 Note’s custom version of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Instead you can use the home button to replicate the tasks those onscreen buttons used to cover.

Tapping the button takes you to the home screen, while swiping from left to right works as the ‘back’ button. The Mback has its own haptic feedback, which lets you know what you’re doing via discrete vibrations.


The Meizu m2 Note comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop straight out of the box, so you’re getting Google’s latest and greatest mobile operating system without having to wait.

It also comes with Meizu’s excellent custom overlay, known as Flyme OS, with elements of Android Lollipop’s material design working well with the overall minimalist aesthetic of the interface.

It has some nice touches as well; you can swipe down from anywhere on the screen to bring down the notifications and options screen (not just from the top like standard Android), and if you flick up from the bottom of the screen, a quick launch menu lets you quickly open your recently used apps.

Again these little touches help make the m2 Note more comfortable to use with one hand, and prove that Meizu has put more thought into its custom Android interface than other manufacturers.

Meizu m2 Note’s battery is non-removable and the larger capacity 3100mAh battery does a great job overpowering the m2 Note, meaning the m2 Note can easily go for more than a day without needing a charge, and with medium to high usage (such as calling, texting, surfing the internet and taking photos) you will probably go for a day and a half without having to recharge.

Meizu m2 note is equipped with a Samsung 13 megapixel CMOS camera, which produces rich, sharp and extremely detailed pictures. The premium dual-tone flash delivers an accurate white balance, even in low-light environments.

The upgraded FotoNation beautifying system in the 5 megapixel front camera was upgraded to accelerate the process, meaning that your pictures can be shared without waiting.

Many people in Papua New Guinea will find Meizu m2 Note a perfect and very attractive choice. The device has received very favorable reviews around the world as one of the best budget smartphones on the market.

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October 2, 2015

iPhone 6s Changes Everything

Filed under: News — csadm @ 1:44 am



When we first laid our hands on the new iPhone 6s it felt no different to previous models. Visually the only real change is the introduction of a new color called rose gold, alongside space gray, silver and gold.

Appearances can be deceiving. Deep down there have been revolutionary changes that now put iPhone 6s at the forefront of mobile technology.

For starters, Apple have taken positive measures to toughen-up their new iPhone. The enclosure is made from a new alloy of 7000 Series aluminum – the same grade used in the aerospace industry. The cover glass is the strongest, most durable glass used in any smartphone. No more damaging claims of bending phones.

Apart from this, Apple seem content with the look and feel of their product. The new iPhone 6s is consistent with the company’s emphasis on hardware upgrades over design development.

And the hardware upgrades are exactly what changes everything. A new form of pressure-sensitive navigation called 3D touch, a faster processor and significant updates to iPhone’s camera technology are stand-out features of the new model.



The new iPhone 6s has a pressure-sensitive capability that allows you to call up menus, switch apps or examine photos. Another use is to access shortcuts from the home screen for your most frequent actions, such as messaging a friend. If you are in your email inbox, applying fingertip pressure to an element in the message will surface more information. Apple called it “peeking in” at the launch demo.

Pressing harder on an app will likewise generate more options. In the context of a game, pressing harder could zoom you in to get closer to the action.

If someone sends you a link to a website, you can Peek at it without leaving the screen you’re on. Press the link lightly and the top of the page appears just as it would in Safari. Stop pressing and you’re back in your message. If you want to open the full page in Safari, press the link a little more deeply to Pop into it.

According to Apple, what’s happening underneath the surface of the device is a sophisticated process. To provide the nuanced effect of force being gradually applied and removed, 3D Touch detects a dynamic range of pressure to a microscopic degree.

Designed to measure microscopic changes in pressure, capacitive sensors are integrated into the backlight of the display. These measurements are then combined with signals from the touch sensor and accelerometer to provide fast, accurate, and continuous responses.

iPhone 6s gives you real time feedback both onscreen and in the form of subtle taps from the new Taptic Engine. These responses correspond to how deeply you’re pressing the display, and they let you know what actions you’re performing and what you can expect to happen.



One of the most compelling features of the new iPhone 6s is “under the hood” – the operating system that makes the innovations and improvements possible.

Announced in June this year, iOS9 was released earlier this month on September 16 and it focuses less on new features, and more on under-the-hood optimisations, and big improvements in battery life.

Apple call iOS 9 is the most advanced, intelligent, and secure mobile operating system in the world. Powerful new built-in apps, advanced features in Siri, and enhancements throughout the system make it smarter and more essential than ever. Deep integration with Apple hardware makes everything work together beautifully. And the App Store is full of incredible apps that have been tailored to take advantage of what iPhone 6s is capable of.

Battery life is improved by up to an hour, and there is new and improved security using advanced encryption and new 6-digit passcodes for Touch ID enabled devices such as iPhone 6s. A new low-power mode has been added, which is said to increase battery life by up to three hours.

iPhone 6s is powered by the custom-designed 64-bit A9 chip. It delivers performance once found only in desktop computers. You’ll experience up to 70 percent faster CPU performance, and up to 90 percent faster GPU performance for all your favorite graphics-intensive games and apps.

The M9 motion coprocessor is integrated directly into the A9 chip so you can do more, for longer periods of time, with great performance and battery life. The M9 connects to the accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and barometer for a wide range of fitness tracking capabilities. With iPhone 6s, you can now measure your running or walking pace in addition to your steps, distance, and elevation changes. The integrated M9 works so efficiently and intelligently that Siri is always on and waiting for your voice commands. You can easily activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri” whenever your iPhone 6s is nearby.

Because Apple makes both the hardware and the operating system for iPhone 6s, everything is designed to work together. So apps take full advantage of hardware features such as the A9 chip, enhanced cameras, Touch ID sensor, and more. iOS learns when you like to use your apps and updates the content in them at power-efficient times, like when your device is already in use and connected to Wi-Fi. So the content in your favorite apps stays up to date without a major drain on your battery.

iOS 9 comes with all the essential apps and features you need. And they’re already installed on your iPhone, so you can get started right away. These apps include Photos app; Messages; Music; Siri, Maps; FaceTime; Safari; AirDrop; News; Notes; AirPlay; and CarPlay.

If that’s not enough, Apple claims that their App Store has over a million and a half apps and you can download them to your new iPhone 6s with a simple tap.



iPhone 6s introduces a next-generation, Apple-designed image signal processor that works with iOS 9 to provide better temporal and spatial noise reduction as well as third-generation local tone mapping. A new 12MP sensor uses advanced pixel technology. iPhone 6s Plus also features optical image stabilization for videos in addition to photos, so you can get great shots in low light. And the front-facing 5MP FaceTime HD camera also includes Retina Flash to achieve perfectly lit selfies. When you use Retina Flash, a custom display chip drives the display to flash three times brighter than usual. Combined with True Tone technology, Retina Flash provides the perfect lighting for whatever environment you’re shooting in.

A new feature you’ll see in the camera, Live Photos is a default mode that turns stills into a video or GIF, basically, images that move. It’s an automatic thing; all you have to do is take the picture like normal and the iPhone will seamlessly add Live Photo motion and sound.

With Live Photos you can also set your favorite shot as your Lock screen wallpaper, and press to watch it come alive. You can choose any of your Live Photos or select from the Dynamic Wallpapers that come with iOS 9.

iPhone 6s and the larger iPhone 6s Plus come in 16GB; 64GB and 128GB hard drive storage capacities and are now available to order in Papua New Guinea. World-wide first weekend sales recently toppled last year’s figure of 10 million units.

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