Technology News

Sony phone adds rumble to games and films

Sony's latest top-end smartphone vibrates in time with movie and TV action scenes and video games.

The Xperia XZ2's rumble tech adapts a feature originally developed for the firm's PlayStation controllers.

It also records "super-slow-mo" videos at a higher resolution than Samsung's Galaxy S9.

Sony has, however, pioneered other phone innovations in the past - including a 4K screen and waterproofing - only to see its sales still struggle.

In 2017, it was only ranked the 15th best-selling smartphone manufacturer, according to research firm IDC, with a 0.94% share of the market.

"It is very frustrating when we bring something out to the market first, and maybe the competition comes a year later and does kind of the same thing and gets more buzz around it," acknowledged Sony's senior manager Adam Marsh.

"We will definitely be improving how we go to market with the product this time to really ensure the consumers understand the experiences that we can offer."

But analysts question both the appeal of the new features and also whether the firm is willing to spend enough to market them.

"The rumble tech is a bit of a gimmick," commented Ben Stanton from the consultancy Canalys.

"I've tried it. It does make gaming more immersive, but I don't think it works very well in a video context.

"And I don't think it adds the value that consumers are looking for in a smartphone these days"

CCS Insight's Ben Wood added that he thought the phone's new industrial design was a major improvement on the past, but that he also had doubts about the new flagship's prospects.

"Success often comes down to marketing dollars and brand," he said.

"Taking on Apple and Samsung requires eye-watering investment that Sony is always going to struggle with."

Higher-def slow-mo

The XZ2's other new features centre on its camera.

Last year's model was the first phone to be able to stretch out 0.2 seconds' worth of action to create six seconds of footage, in 720p resolution.

How can intelligent technology benefit mankind? Ping An Technology rolls out a new prototype for a smart city

ZHUHAI, China, March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An" or "the Group"), a key member of the China Smart City Development Alliance, has made significant progress in the establishment of smart cities. The Group recently inked a strategic cooperation agreement with the Management Committee of Hengqin New District, Zhuhai city, Guangdong province. Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties plan to initiate a close collaboration in several fields, including the building of smart cities and innovation in the financial sector. Hengqin New District party committee secretary Niu Jing, Zhuhai Municipal Government deputy secretary-general Zhou Xichuan, TAN Sin Yin, Executive Vice President of Ping An Group,and Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology attended the signing ceremony. Ericson Chan, on behalf of Ping An, inked the agreement with the representative of Hengqin New District.

Fitbit takes a second swing at smartwatches with the $199 Versa

Fitbit’s first “real” smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic, didn’t sell as well as the company had hoped, but that isn’t stopping it from releasing yet another smartwatch. The new Fitbit Versa ditches Ionic’s severe-looking, hard-edged design for a gently-rounded square (Fitbit calls it “Squircle”) with reduced bezels.

At a more entry-level price point of $199, the Versa is aimed at mainstream users who aren’t looking for a plethora of apps or LTE capability. It also will replace the Fitbit Blaze, the GPS-less modular watch Fitbit launched two years ago. Unlike the Ionic, the Versa won’t include a built-in GPS, and it boasts a four-day battery life instead of five.

Citizens can make voices heard through better use of technology

In February, the Open Gov Foundation, an “apolitical nonprofit dedicated to serving those who serve the people in America’s legislatures,” released a report called “From Voicemails to Votes,” which examines the systems, tools and constraints on how Congress engages with constituent input.

Chinese moviegoers think Black Panther is just too black

Marvel’s first black superhero film Black Panther made a strong debut in China, taking in more than $63 million this weekend and helping it cross the billion-dollar mark globally.

BP: Technology Could Lower Oil Production Costs By 30 Percent

Better technology could reduce the average production costs of all oil and gas resource classes by around 30 percent per barrel of oil equivalent by 2050, oil and gas supermajor BP said in its Technology Outlook 2018 published on Thursday.

The resources with the greatest scope for cost reduction are the most capital intensive, such as deep and ultra-deep water, and those requiring large numbers of wells, such as shale, BP noted. Improved rig and platform design, plus subsea and flow-line development, could cut costs for deepwater resources, while in shale drilling and production, a standardized, repetitive manufacturing-style approach could reduce costs, BP reckons.

Shalom Moringa Products