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Want new, fresh Apex Legends action? Then you’re going to have to wait. Respawn Entertainment, the developers behind the battle royale shooter, has doubled down on its plans to focus on seasonal update content for the game.
Following a saddening report about rival Epic Games’ developers working to brutal schedules in order to keep Fortnite’s constant flow of updates coming, Respawn is instead looking to deliver content in larger, more meaningful chunks with less frequency than its competition.
“We don’t want to overwork the team,” said Respawn Entertainment’s CEO Vince Zampella in an interview with Gamasutra:
"The thought was, 'Hey we kind of have something that's blowing up here, do we want to start trying to drop more content?' But I think you look at quality of life for the team. We don't want to overwork the team, and drop the quality of the assets we're putting out. We want to try and raise that."
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It’s a stance that’s been echoed by the game’s executive producer Drew McCoy, who wrote in a message to Apex Legends players:
"We know that, in addition to addressing issues with the game, everyone is hungry for us to add new content. The studio culture that we've worked hard to cultivate, and the health of our team are very important. We take those things into account when we discuss our content roadmap, the production schedule, and the frequency in which we can update the game.
"Our long-term goal is to ensure Apex Legends always feels alive and thriving, with a focus on quality of content over novelty or speed of release. At the same time, we want to maintain our culture as a development team and avoid crunch that can quickly lead to burnout or worse."
That’s not to say there aren’t big changes on the way for Apex Legends. McCoy also stated that the game’s Season 2 Battle Pass will be taking onboard all of the criticism levelled at the game’ first Battle Pass, and should deliver “more meaningful content”, including a new legend, map changes and a new weapon.
And if you’re a fan of Respawn’s other sci-fi shooter series, Titanfall? It’s not been forgotten. McCoy re-iterated that plans to release a new Titanfall game this year remain in place, with the studio set to push out plans “for future Titanfall games” in the near future. The EA Play conference in June will be one to watch.
The 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix is ready to roll at the Baku City Circuit where drama and excitement is on the cards. With Lewis Hamilton leading the pack for his team, Mercedes, and team-mate Bottas the only other winner this season, Ferrari and the rest have a lot of work to put in. Watching the Grand Prix is much easier however, and you're in the right place to see how to get an F1 live stream from absolutely anywhere.
The Baku City Circuit was home to its first Grand Prix in 2017 and last year saw one of the best races of the season with plenty of drama. Ultimately it was Hamilton who won the race. Crashes were plentiful with Daniel Ricciardo, the 2017 winner at this course, and Max Verstappen colliding despite both being Red Bull drivers. Then, behind the safety car, Romain Grosjean smashed into a wall head-on.
Debris from that madness led to Bottas ending the race early with just three laps left while Vettel had a flat tyre. But having set the lap record here it's Sebastian Vettel who could impress this year, presuming the 2017 winner Daniel Ricciardo doesn't get there first. All that said, Hamilton has won the last two races of the 2019 F1 season will want to continue that streak.
You can catch all the racing action live from anywhere you happen to be using this guide. Read on to find out how to live stream F1 action.
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To see how you can live stream the Azerbaijan Grand Prix action in the UK, Australia, the US, Canada and New Zealand, then scroll a little further down this page to see the broadcast options. But if you try and tune in to your native stream from outside your country, you'll quickly discover that it's geo-blocked.
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It’s been over a year since the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit Facebook, and the social media giant is definitely trying to do whatever it can to safeguard user information, announcing a new set of platform policies that developers will need to follow.
Under the new changes, frivolous apps like personality quizzes will receive more scrutiny before being allowed to go live on the platform, with Facebook’s product management director Eddie O’Neil stating that apps like personality quizzes “may not be permitted on the platform”.
Facebook has also published a list of APIs that will be removed from the platform. New apps will lose access to those APIs on April 30, while existing apps that utilize those APIs won’t be able to access them starting June 30.Which Game of Thrones character are you?
If you recall, it was through a quiz app that data firm Cambridge Analytica was able to get their hands on information of over 87 million users without permission. While these apps aren’t the problem themselves, the issue then was that Facebook let them collect user information for years without enforcing privacy policies.
While Facebook has promised to take a closer look at personality quizzes and the like, the company hasn’t elaborated on the criteria it will use to examine these apps. All we know for now is that apps won’t be allowed to collect user data if that information “doesn’t enrich in-app experience”.
Moreover, any app that does not use its data access permissions within 90 days will have its privileges revoked.
Facebook will also run periodic reviews and audits of apps and, if necessary, remove expired permissions.
In January this year, Nikon announced that it was working on firmware that would add new features to the Z7 and Z6 full-frame mirrorless cameras, including eye detection. That firmware is now ready and, Nikon says, will roll out on May 16.
The announcement was made via a 15-second video on Nikon’s European and Asian YouTube channels. The video is just a teaser, and doesn’t offer any information other than that eye autofocus (AF) is “coming soon for the Z7 and Z6”, while the date for the firmware release is mentioned below the video.
Hopefully eye AF won’t be the only new feature coming to the new Z series cameras. During the initial announcement in January, Nikon also promised that the full-frame mirrorless cameras will get support for RAW video output that will work with ATOMOS Ninja V monitor recorder using the ProRes RAW codec.
We were also told that support for next-gen CFexpress memory cards (which are the same size as the XQD cards the Z series cameras use) will also be added, but it’s as yet unclear whether these two features will arrive with the new firmware release in May.
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Microsoft has previously said that it expects to bring the new Chromium-powered version of Edge to other platforms outside of Windows, specifically mentioning the Mac, and freshly unearthed evidence indicates the browser will indeed be arriving on macOS – and possibly relatively soon.
This comes from a German tech website, Windows United, which was running Chromium-based Edge on Windows Server 2016, and received a message that the platform is not supported – with a clarification that the browser only currently supports Windows 10 version 1709 or better, and macOS 10.12 or newer.
This ‘platform not supported’ message mentions compatibility with macOS 10.12 or better (Image credit: Windows United)
So assuming this grab is legit, that would seem to suggest support for the Mac is now inbound, with macOS Sierra being the cut-off point (the version of Apple’s desktop operating system which was released in 2016).
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Windows United further speculates that Windows 7 or 8 aren’t even mentioned in the pop-up warning message, which could mean that support for macOS could go live even before those older versions of Microsoft’s OS – although that seems a bit of a stretch, perhaps.
That said, we could easily take this as an indication that Chromium-based Edge will be arriving on macOS in the near future. And seeing as Microsoft Build isn’t too far away, taking place in Seattle come May, perhaps we might see an initial reveal of the browser for the Mac at that developer conference? That could be an ideal opportunity for Microsoft to underline just how ‘open’ it will be with the new browser.Broader browser
Whatever happens, this seems to back up Joe Belfiore’s assertion in a December 2018 blog post that Microsoft intends to bring this new version of Edge not just to Windows 10, but to all supported versions of Windows (meaning Windows 7 and 8), and to “other platforms like macOS”.
Belfiore promised that Microsoft would evolve the code for the browser on a broader level, to be available on as many devices as possible, while still maintaining all the benefits of having a close integration with the Windows operating system.
Of course, that’s a very different stance to the original Edge, which was made exclusive to Windows 10, and wasn’t even available to those on other versions of Windows.
There are clear advantages for Microsoft in switching its browser to be based on the Chromium engine, not the least of which is a raft of Chrome extensions being available right off-the-bat, and better stability and overall compatibility with websites, which is where the original Edge struggled.
The counter-argument is that Microsoft throwing its lot in with Google is effectively giving the latter even more of a monopoly on the web, although to be honest, standalone Edge had made little impact anyway (and indeed had started to go backwards in terms of adoption as last year drew on).
If you want to know what all the fuss is about, preview builds of Chromium-based Edge are now available to download for Windows 10, so you can go ahead and give it a spin – but as ever with early work-in-progress software, expect a few bugs.
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Via The Register
When the FCC scrapped net neutrality legislation in 2017, many media outlets and analysts warned that it was only a matter of time until a company took advantage of the situation to create a so-called “fast lane” or an optimized internet connection.
And today’s the day it finally happened.
First reported by Brian Crecente at Variety, an American ISP called Cox is introducing a new package for subscribers called Cox Elite Gamer that will offer 34% less lag, 55% fewer ping spikes and 45% less jitter for its subscribers who play PC games like Fortnite, Overwatch and Apex Legends.
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The service, which is only available only for Cox subscribers in the state of Arizona for the next three months for a trial run, works by giving anyone who subscribes to it an “optimized path” to a game’s server using a white-labeled version of wtfast.
To join, you’ll have to subscribe to one of Cox’s internet service packages, which range in price from $59.99 to $119.99/month, and then tack on the Elite Gamer package for an extra $14.99/month.
According to a statement from Cox sent to TechRadar, subscribers to Cox Elite Gamer service then download software and log in to their preferred game through the software. The software routes the player via a more efficient internet path to the gaming servers, resulting in an enhanced experience for gamers.
According to information on Cox’s website, the service will connect you to “thousands of popular game servers” and includes images of Fortnite, Overwatch and Apex Legends - though the telecom says this lineup of games could change in the future.34% better for some or 34% worse for everyone else?
What Cox wanted to emphasize to TechRadar is that you're not paying for prioritized traffic or increased connection speeds – just a more optimized connection via the Elite Gamer software. According to Cox, that isn't illegal and would be permissible regardless of current regulatory laws.
But that raises the question: If a better connection to a game’s server is possible, why isn’t that the standard network path?
According to a Cox spokesperson, that's because "Cox Elite Gamer solves a problem with deficiencies in the public Internet, NOT our network. No customer’s experience is degraded as a result of any customers purchasing Cox Elite Gamer service as an add-on to their Internet service."
That said, we have a lingering concern that packages like Cox Elite Gamer set a dangerous precedent of paying extra for better access that could one day apply to all aspects of the internet, from social media to streaming video, all of which could have their own 'optimized connection.'
While proponents of fast lanes argue that less government regulation is a good thing and that fast lanes could promote competition among carriers, the general fear among consumers is that cable companies will take advantage of their oligopoly and use fast lanes as a wedge to drive up internet prices. Worse, it could force consumers to choose which parts of the internet they have access to.
While Cox isn't going as far as outright blocking or throttling connections to game servers, it is charging more for a service that could've been - and probably should've been - made available to all.
The security firm has dubbed the adware TsSdk because the term was found in the first version of the malicious apps that persistently display full screen ads and even try to convince users to install further apps.
The adware applications Avast discovered are linked together by the use of third-party Android libraries that bypass the background service restrictions present in newer versions of Android. While bypassing itself is not explicitly forbidden on the Play Store, apklab.io detects it as Android:Agent-SEB [PUB] because these libraries waste user's battery life and make their devices slower.
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The adware apps themselves, use the libraries to continuously display more and more ads to users which goes against the Play Store's rules.TsSdk
Through apklab.io, Avast found two versions of TsSdk on the Play Store that were linked together by the same code. The older of the two versions has been installed 3.6m times and was contained in gaming, fitness and photo editing apps most often installed in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Once installed, the apps containing the older version worked as intended but also created shortcuts on user's home screen with full screen ads shown when the screen is turned on and periodically when a user interacts with their Android smartphone. Some of the apps also contained code capable of downloading further applications, prompting users to install them.
Additionally, most of the older samples also added a shortcut to a “Game center” on the infected device's home screen which opens a page advertising different games.
The newer version of TsSdk has been installed almost 28m times through music and fitness apps. These apps were most installed in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and the UK. The new version's code is encrypted using the Tencent packer and this makes it harder for analysts to unpack.
Several checks are also carried out before full-screen ads are displayed. The most important of which is the adware is only triggered if the user installs the app by clicking on a Facebook ad. The apps can detect this by using a Facebook SDK feature called “deferred deep linking”.
To avoid falling victim to adware, Avast recommends that users exercise caution when downloading apps, carefully check app permissions and install an antivirus app.
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The recently-launched Samsung Galaxy A80 boasts a novel feature: three cameras in a slide-up panel which could rotate to face either the front or back.
Tri-cam rear setups are nothing new, with recent phones like the Huawei P30 Pro packing four snappers, but the Galaxy A80’s 'wow factor' was that its three cameras could spin around to the front and take selfies. We hadn’t seen a front-facing loadout with three cameras before, and weren’t sure how useful they’d be.
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But with the news that both LG and Xiaomi could be working on handsets with three front-facing cameras, it seems that some companies are making bigger tech leaps in their front – not rear – cameras, which marks a change from what we usually see. That raises the question: are we going to see phonemakers pivot their focus from rear-mounted cameras to front-facing snappers?Why three cameras?
The three cameras on the Samsung Galaxy A80 are a powerful main snapper joined by a 3D depth sensor and a camera with an ultra-wide lens.
The first two of these can be used to take great solo selfies – by sensing depth the main camera can take pictures with the perfect level of background blur. The latter camera is better at taking selfies with a larger frame, so if you’ve got a load of friends or are in a very scenic location you can capture a much wider field of view.
The Samsung Galaxy A80. Image credit: TechRadar
It’s likely other companies would pack snappers with roughly comparable roles in phones with three front facing cameras, as the Galaxy A80’s suite covers all the bases you’d need. Selfies taken with a setup like this could be second to none (although the specific post-processing processes play some part too, and an overabundance of filters of course).
Unlike rear-facing loadouts, you don’t need a flash for a front-facing camera on a phone. Many devices nowadays, like the Huawei P30, briefly illuminate the entire front screen in bright white to simulate a flash-effect in a dark environment.Who actually needs great selfies?
Not all smartphone users need breathtaking selfies. But then again most smartphone users don’t need quad-camera loadouts, super-fast processors or monumental battery lives, so the question of “who needs” any kind of luxury in a phone is a moot point.
There would be a large audience who’d find the functions of the three cameras useful, however – as much as some try to deny it, selfies are one of the most common ways people use their smartphones, to record a moment or mood whether or not the picture is destined for social media.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar
Selfies are used to create or define identity, and if a front-facing camera can give users different tools to hone a picture, it’ll therefore give them more ways to represent themselves.
The ultra-wide lens in particular may be useful to a lot of people. Imagine hiking to the top of a mountain, and taking a selfie to prove it, only for the narrow field of view to cut out the best sights. Or having a gathering of a lot of friends, and not being able to take a picture with all of them. An ultra-wide lens would solve these problems.What could it mean for smartphones?
The Samsung Galaxy A80 has its front-facing cameras positioned on a rotating block as part of a pop-up rear panel – that’s a lot of moving parts that need to survive countless uses, and it looks like the aforementioned Xiaomi patent make take inspiration from this, in part at least.
The Axon V. Image credit: Axon
This abundance of moving parts could bring interesting changes to one subsect of mobile phones right now – foldables. The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a durability problem, mostly because of its various mechanical elements, but pop-up camera sections like in the Galaxy A80 and future Xiaomi phone could prove a useful ‘baby steps first’ approach to moving parts in smartphones.
Another trend in smartphones is a reduction in phone screen complications to try and make a perfect unbroken screen – that’s why the Galaxy A80 has a pop-up section instead of a notch to house the cameras, and many other smartphone companies are trying to find places to put the camera and speaker that aren’t in a notch.
If the trends of unbroken screens and more front-facing cameras are going to peacefully coexist, companies are going to need to find ways to innovate where they place their front-facing cameras. The LG patent shows a notch that houses three snappers...and it’s big and ugly, like a device from several years ago. There have got to be better ways to hide the cameras.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom edition Image credit: TechRadar
Whether this means housing cameras in entire rotating sections like in the Galaxy A80, putting them in a slide-up shelf like the Oppo Find X, or cramming them in a smaller pop-up ear like what we’re expecting to see in the OnePlus 7, companies are going to have to find their own ways to innovate.
We’ve already seen some intriguing new ideas for front-facing cameras in patents and launched products. The Axon V could have its cameras mounted on a ‘wing’ to the side of the device, while the Oppo Reno has a pop-up ‘shark-fin’ that opens when you need to take a shot. A Xiaomi patent shows a selfie-cam at the bottom of the display, not the top, and a patent from Google, possibly for the Pixel 4, doesn’t have any apparent front snappers at all.
This all goes to show that front facing cameras are one of the most exciting ways different companies differentiate their phones from each other, and compared to aspects like cameras, screens, or processing speeds, which can often be rather similar on competitive devices, selfie-snappers are a field in which there’s still some zany ideas to be had.
Slack's original aim of killing email in the workplace may not have panned out since its launch five years ago but now the company has announced a slew of new features designed to help bridge the gap between email, calendars and enterprise chat.
The company has created a new bridge between its service and email. This means that if someone at your company is still refusing to use Slack or was recently hired, you'll soon be able to chat with them directly from within Slack.
In the next few months, you will be able to @-mention these people in channels or send them a direct message and the service will automatically route these messages to their email inbox. If a user replies to these messages via email, they'll come straight back into Slack and if they decide to sign up for the service, the back-and-forth exchange will then transform into a full Slack history.
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However, you won't be able to Slack just anyone by email just yet as this bridge will only be enabled if admins have provisioned these Slack users inside their organization. In the future though, the company could allow you to send emails to contacts outside your organization directly from the service.Calendars and search
Slack is also introducing a number of improvements into how it handles calendar integration. Users will soon be able to sync their Slack status with either their Outlook or Gmail calendars so that their colleagues will know when they're out of the office or in a meeting.
Slack will also be able to detect when users are discussing the idea of setting up a meeting and the service will underline words such as 'today' which users can click on to create a new meeting in Gmail or Outlook.
Video conferencing is also a big part of meetings which is why the company will allow its partners such as Zoom, Hangouts and Webex to show which team members are in a call within Slack with the ability to quickly join. This feature is slated to be available in Slack later this year.
The company is also changing how its platform allows users to search. Currently in Slack, you can either use the search box or quick commands to search but soon the two will be combined into a single universal search where users can find unread channels or direct messages. The new search interface will likely be available to all users in the coming weeks.
Via The Verge
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The New England Patriots may have dominated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 at Super Bowl LIII but a new NFL season is just around the corner and the real interest starts here - with an NFL draft live stream.
The 2019 NFL Draft is where the best college players across the country will be divided up amongst the league’s 32 teams. The draft begins on Thursday, April 25 and lasts until Saturday, April 27 with round one taking place on Thursday, rounds two and three on Friday and rounds four to seven on Saturday.
Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen are just a few of the players likely to be chosen in the first few picks of this year’s draft. The Oakland Raiders will have the most first round picks this year and the team will hopefully add three new rookies to its squad. However, the Arizona Cardinals will have the first pick in round one followed by the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets.
Whether you’re a college football fan waiting to see which of your favorite players gets picked or are just eager for the 2019-2020 NFL season to begin, don’t worry as we’ll show you exactly how to live stream the 2019 NFL Draft online from anywhere in the world.
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If you live in the US and have a television, then you’ll have plenty of options to watch this year’s draft as the event will be broadcast across a variety of networks including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network.
If this sounds a bit too complicated don’t worry as you can watch all three days of the draft on ABC for the first time in the network’s history. The network will produce its own distinct telecast, separate from ESPN and the NFL Network, for the first two nights of coverage and it will simulcast ESPN’s presentation on the final day of the draft. While you can watch ABC on your television (even with a digital antenna), you can also watch the network’s coverage live on the ABC app from your mobile devices or on your computer and connected devices on ABC’s website. Just remember that you will have to provide your credentials from your cable provider to watch ABC online.
Don’t want to sign up for an expensive cable TV package just to watch the NFL draft? Don’t worry as a number of streaming services also give you access to the channels you’ll need to watch the event and often times, they are even cheaper that a traditional cable package. We’ve listed our favorite streaming sites with access to ABC, ESPN and NFL Network below to help you make your decision.
- Hulu with Live TV $44.99 per month - Hulu with Live TV gives you access to ESPN and ABC in most markets but the service doesn't include the NFL Network. Hulu with Live TV supports a wide variety of streaming devices and even includes its own Hulu Originals in case you want a break from watching sports.
- Playstation Vue starting at $44.99 per month - Playstation Vue has four plans: Access, Core, Elite and Ultra but you'll need to opt for the Core plan at $49.99 per month to watch the NFL Draft. The service's base plan gives you access to ESPN, NFL Network and ABC in most markets. There is also a 5-day free trial available.
- DirecTV Now $50 per month - DirecTV Now gives you access to ESPN and ABC in most markets. You can stream on up to three screens simultaneously and with the DirecTV Now app you can watch live TV on the go. New customers can take advantage of a 7-day trial but you'll have to purchase on of DirecTV Now's packages first.
- Sling TV starting at $15 per month - Sling TV's Sling Orange or Sling Blue packages each cost $15 or you can combine them for $25 per month. However, each package contains different channels so make sure the one you choose has the channels you want to watch. For instance, Sing Orange gives you access to ESPN and ESPN2 while Sling Blue gives you access to the NFL Network. If you want to watch ABC though, you’ll have to pay an extra $5 per month for the “Broadcast Extra” add-on package
- fuboTV $44.99 for the first month - fuboTV doesn't include ESPN but you do get access to the NFL Network. The service also includes Cloud DVR so you can record games to watch them later and if you forget to record a game, the company's 3-day replay allows you to replay nearly any game, show or movie that aired in the last three days. FuboTV even offers a free 7-day trial so you can test out the service.
- YouTube TV $49.99 per month - YouTube TV gives you access to ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC in most markets. With YouTube TV you get free unlimited DVR storage space to record games for later and you can stream the service on three devices simultaneously. A free 14-day trial is also available so you can test it out for yourself.
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If you're eager to watch but find yourself abroad while the draft takes place, you'll soon discover that access to watching is geo-blocked.
Annoying, but not the end of the world as you can override this by using a VPN. Pick one of the VPN providers listed below, download their software and you’ll be able to change your IP address to one back home so you can access a 2019 NFL Draft live stream from anywhere in the world.How to watch the NFL draft in the UK
American football fans in the UK will be able to watch the 2019 NFL Draft on Sky Sports. The network’s broadcast will begin at 12:30am GMT on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event in the early hours of Friday.
If you’re not yet a Sky Sports subscriber, you can get access to all eight Sky Sports channels for just £23 a month for 18 months. However, if you’re not interested in a commitment, you can always buy a Sky Sports Day Pass or Sky Sports Week Pass from NowTV for £8.99 or £14.99 respectively.
And don't forget that you can also use a VPN to change your IP address to one in the UK if you want to watch but are abroad this week.
Hot on the heels of its two bigger brothers - the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro - the Huawei P30 Lite is now available for pre-order. Unlike the other two devices however, P30 Lite deals are coming in at a comfortably low-budget price tag.
Where the two other two Huawei handsets we're shooting high, aiming to be the best phones on the market, the Huawei P30 Lite is here to secure the love of the budget buyers out there. It drops the size of both the battery and processor and removes the in-screen fingerprint scanner.
But considering you're still getting a triple camera set-up, tonnes of storage and a high-end design, all for a price on the lower end of the smartphone price spectrum - only £330 SIM-free - you're actually getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Topping it off, it looks like pretty much every retailer out there is also throwing in a free pair of its new headphones - the Huawei Freelace. Costing around £99 this is a pretty great add on to such a low priced phone, and is available during the pre-order period from the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Amazon.
You can see a collection of the best Huawei P30 Lite deals on pre-order so far below - you'll be sent the phone on its official release come May 10. Or check out guide to the best Huawei phone deals to see what else you can get from the emerging Chinese tech giant.
The 2019 Apple AirPods are getting a rare first-time discount today at Amazon. You can get the latest model AirPods and its charging case on sale for $139.99. That's a $19 price cut and the lowest price we've found for the truly wireless earbuds.
Since Apple launched it's first generation AirPods, it has made some improvements to its latest model. The charging case on the 2019 AirPods offers a further 20 hours of battery life and up to three hours of talk time on a single charge. The 2019 model also features faster pairing due to the improved connectivity because of Apple’s new H1 headphone chip. The H1 chip also allows you to use your voice to ask Siri questions. You can switch songs, turn the volume up and even place calls all hands-free.
Like we mentioned above, discounts on the 2019 Apple AirPods are extremely rare, and this is the lowest price we've found for the truly wireless earbuds. We aren't sure how long Amazon will have the AirPods on sale, so you should snag this deal before its gone.Apple AirPods deal:
See more Apple AirPod deals with the cheapest AirPod prices, sales and deals that are currently going on. Interested in other wireless headphones? We also have the best cheap wireless headphone deals and sales.
Learn more about Apple's wireless earbuds with our Apple AirPods (2019) review.
Looking for other Amazon deals? Check out our guide on Amazon Prime Day 2019: everything you need to know about deal day in July.
The wait for Samsung's massive Galaxy S10 5G is almost over in the US, as Verizon has opened up pre-orders for the phone, with in-store availability kicking off on May 16. Along with the opening of pre-orders, Verizon has announced the next 20 cities where it will deploy its 5G Ultra Wideband network.
The Galaxy S10 5G is Samung's biggest model in the new S10 family. It comes packing a mammoth 6.74-inch display that's likely to be one of the most enticing mobile phone displays for watching TV and movies. It houses not only powerful internals and the hardware necessary to support 5G, but also a 4,500mAh to keep that huge screen and demanding network connectivity powered on.
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It's no surprise that a phone like the Galaxy S10 5G is coming at a sky-high price. All of Samsung's new S10 models are expensive, and this model tops all of them. The Galaxy S10 5G price starts at $1,299 with 256GB of storage, and that goes up to $1,399 for the 512GB model.
Verizon has some incentives to make that price a bit more bearable. For one, the price can already be split over 24 monthly payments. Customers can also trade in their current phone for up to $450 of trade-in value through monthly credits. Customers switching to Verizon can also get a $200 prepaid MasterCard.
And, as is now typical for early orders new Samsung flagships, customers can also get some freebies with the new phone. This time around, the S10 5G will come with a VIP Kit comprised of Samsung Galaxy Buds and Samsung's Wireless Charging Battery Pack.
For now, the Galaxy S10 5G is exclusive to Verizon, but that's just for a limited time. it's due to come to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the second half of 2019.But the 5G though
There are some caveats to the 5G aspect, though.
Firstly, Verizon's 5G network is currently only available in Chicago and Minneapolis. And, it's only available to customers on Verizon's Above Unlimited or Beyond Unlimited data plans with an added $10 fee (currently the fee is being waived).
Verizon has announced the new 20 cities that will get its high-end 5G connectivity, but it's not clear yet when in 2019 they'll receive it. Here's the list of those cities:
Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City and Washington DC.
Verizon plans to announce more cities later in 2019.
It's worth noting that this rollout is just for Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband, and Verizon may have additional plans for rolling out wider 5G coverage using different bandwidths .
- Here are the best Galaxy S10 deals right now.
Expensive, expendable rockets are history. Humanity's future is to take its heavy industry into space to protect Earth, and travel to space safely, reliably and affordably. That's what Blue Origin is all about.
What was once a secretive research company now has proven rocket launch systems and advanced plans to take commercial paying payloads and space tourists into space. Open for business, rapidly growing and quickly gaining commercial contracts, is Blue Origin on course to become the next Amazon.com of space?
Blue Origin is owned by Jeff Bezos (Image credit: Blue Origin)What is Blue Origin and who owns it?
Blue Origin is an aerospace manufacturer founded in 2000 that's 100% privately funded by the richest man in the world. Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, and owner of The Washington Post newspaper, and so far most of the accomplishments by Blue Origin have been funded by his own personal investment. According to the New York Times he sells $1 billion (about £800 million, AU$1.4 billion) of his own Amazon stock each year to finance Blue Origin.
Jeff Bezos got divorced from his wife MacKenzie in early 2019 and he was granted all of her interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, so there are no ownership issues.
Besides, Blue Origin is now rapidly gaining commercial contracts, so will be less dependent on the private investment of Bezos in the future. It’s also quickly expanding.
Blue Origin’s suborbital launch and engine test site is in West Texas (Image credit: Blue Origin)Where is Blue Origin based?
Blue Origin has a new HQ and R&D facility in Kent, Washington. However, its engineers oversee launches from a private suborbital launch and engine test site on Bezos' ranch just north of Van Horn, West Texas. However, it's now constructing an orbital launch facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, with a rocket construction facility close by, and a $200 million (about £150, AU$300) rocket engine production facility in Huntsville, Alabama.
In April 2019 a deal was signed with NASA to allow Blue Origin to test its BE-3U and BE-4 liquefied natural gas rocket engines at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center also in Huntsville. The 300-foot-tall, vertical firing test stand 4670 was used by NASA in the 1960s to test the massive Saturn V rockets that took the Apollo spacecraft to the moon, as well as engines for the space shuttle.
A commitment by the US Air Force to use its super-rocket of the future called New Glenn (see below) means Blue Origin is looking into building a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Blue Origin is going large and getting big, though it's got some way to go to reach the size of SpaceX.
The name 'Blue Origin' is a reference to planet Earth (Image credit: Harrison H Schmitt (Apollo 17)/NASA)What are Blue Origin's long-term goals?
Blue Origin's motto is gradatim ferociter, Latin for "step by step, ferociously", but a clue to the company's long-term goals is in its name. The point of Blue Origin is to develop "technologies to enable human access to space at a dramatically lower cost and increased reliability," though Bezos has always been very clear that he doesn't think humanity should abandon Earth to go looking for a better home. Instead, he wants to see millions of people living and working in space, getting heavy industry and power generation off Earth, so that Earth can be preserved.
“We can harvest resources from asteroids, from Near-Earth Objects, and harvest solar energy from a much broader surface area – and continue to do amazing things,” he said in 2017. The alternative, he said, was an era of stasis and stagnation on Earth, where we are forced to control the population and limit energy usage per capita.
“I don’t think stasis is compatible with freedom or liberty, and I sure as hell think it’s going to be a very boring world – I want my grandchildren’s grandchildren to be in a world of pioneering, exploration and expansion throughout the solar system.”
Blue Origin is also interested in moon missions and is involved with the Moon Race project to boost the movement around Moon exploration.
The New Shepard reusable rocket engine also lands (Image credit: Blue Origin)Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard suborbital system
Blue Origin is a rocket-making company, and for now, it makes rockets that can reach space, but not orbit the Earth. That makes them ideal to take astronauts and research payloads past the internationally recognised boundary of space
A 60-foot. reusable sub-orbital rocket, New Shepard (named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space) is powered by a BE-3PM rocket engine. First flown in April 2015, New Shepard launches from a conventional launchpad, and a 12 ft. diameter crew capsule detaches and travels past the Kármán Line (62 miles/100km). It then parachutes back to Earth to be refurbished and reused.
'Mannequin Skywalker' in Blue Origin's crew capsule (Image credit: Blue Origin)Blue Origin and human spaceflight
It's important to appreciate that Blue Origin, as well as SpaceX and even Virgin Galactic, are not specifically space tourism companies, but it's probably going to be a good way to raise revenue for their bigger, off-planet ambitions.
So far Blue Origin has only sent 'Mannequin Skywalker' into space in New Shepard, but it has big and advanced plans for human spaceflight. In fact, its crew capsule is custom-made for observing Earth, with 43x29-inch windows alongside six reclining leather chairs.
Blue Origin now looks to be close to going live on space tourism after 10 missions, including a successful escape test in July 2018, when it fired the crew capsule escape motor at the highest altitude ever.
The entire spaceflight experience will last just 11 minutes (Image credit: Blue Origin)What will Blue Origin astronauts experience?
The 11-minute Blue Origin trip to the edge of space is going to be something akin to what Apollo astronauts experienced in the 1960s and 1970s on their missions to the moon. Six paying passengers will sit in the crew capsule on top of a New Shepard rocket. After a vertical launch, the engines will burn for two-and-a-half minutes and reach three times the speed of sound before the rockets and crew capsule detach from one another.
Those six passengers will keep going until they reach space, where they will enjoy three minutes of weightlessness while looking at the curvature of the Earth from space. They will then plummet to Earth before parachutes unfurl to take them slowly and safely back to the surface.
Blue Origin's Apollo-like vertical take-off, short-duration spaceflight trips makes it drastically different from what space tourists will experience with Virgin Galactic.
The crew capsule parachutes back to Earth (Image credit: Blue Origin)Does Blue Origin have any commercial contracts?
Yes – and they're coming in fast. After a long period as a secretive, privately funded research company with only a few small development contracts from NASA, Blue Origin is fully now out in the open, pitching for and winning large commercial contracts in the rocket launch business. That's a big deal for a company that needs to rapidly grow if it's going to achieve its goal of dramatically lowering launch costs.
In January 2019 it also worked under NASA's Flight Opportunities program, taking a cabin full of NASA payloads to space on its New Shepard mission (NS-10). In August 2018 Blue Origin signed a $10 million (about £8 million, AU$14 million) contract with NASA on developing a system for landing on the moon. Blue Origin will work on cryogenic liquid propulsion for a lunar lander-scaled integrated propulsion system; it could eventually mean a Blue Origin moon landing.
Blue Origin has also snagged a $500 million (about £400 million, AU$700 million) contract to develop its next-generation New Glenn rocket for the US Air Force. And in a further boost for development costs, two of its BE-4 rocket engines, now being designed for New Glenn, have been selected to power United Launch Alliance’s upcoming Vulcan rocket, due to fly in 2021.
An artist’s rendering depicts Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket in flight (Image credit: Blue Origin)Blue Origin's New Glenn orbital rocket
This is the big one designed to take people and payloads into orbit – and it’s already helping Blue Origin challenge the likes of SpaceX. A heavy-lift rocket due in 2021, the US$2.5 billion New Glenn (named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1962) will be a reusable rocket powered by seven BE-4 engines. With a combined thrust of nearly four million pounds, Blue Origin claims that New Glenn will carry twice as much cargo into space as any other launch provider in the market.
Despite it not even existing yet, the space industry is clearly interested. In January 2019 it was announced that New Glenn rockets will be used to launch Telesat’s broadband internet satellites into space, which will involve multiple rocket launches, while in October 2018 the US Air Force committed to using it (and Vulcan) for national security space (NSS) missions. Blue Origin also has launch deals with OneWeb, Eutelsat and muSpace on its books.What's next for Blue Origin?
Though human spaceflight may soon begin on its New Shepard vehicle, the space race will truly begin when New Glenn starts flying. It's already a new era for Blue Origin. Now on the cusp of offering human spaceflight trips, getting more involved with NASA, and with money in the bank to expand and develop the next generation of heavy-lift orbital rockets, Blue Origin is ready to go places.
The relatively new movement of cord-cutting services are promising some pretty exciting prospects when it comes to TV. Say goodbye to your traditional cable company, say hello to PlayStation Vue. The gaming company has entered the live TV streaming industry and has brought its A-game.
While PlayStation Vue has a whole host of benefits, HD channels and an impressive selection of viewing options, it is let down by one factor - the price. This isn't such a problem with the company's most recent offer however, 20% off the first two months of a subscription. That means for the first two months you pay $10 less, a pretty significant drop in price.
You can see all of the details of this offer below but don't wait around too long. This deal comes to an end on May 6 so you will have to act quite fast. Or if you want to see what other prices are available with Vue check out our guide to PlayStation Vue prices.
- See where Vue features in our best TV streaming service guide
When you think of Live TV streaming services, PlayStation is unlikely to be the first name to come to mind, and yet, it's one of the best options out there. With a variety of packages offering everything from BBC America to SYFY, CNN, National Geographic and a whole range of sports channels.
Discover more about this service with our PlayStation Vue review.
Garmin has launched its Vivosmart 4 activity tracker in India. The Vivosmart series by Garmin is meant for fitness enthusiasts who want to keep a regular track of their workout activities. A bunch of key features of the Garmin Vivosmart 4 includes advanced sleep monitoring via Rapid Eye Movement (REM), Pulse OX sensor which assists in measuring blood oxygen levels and upto 7 days of battery life on a single charge.
Garmin Vivosmart 4 is constructed entirely out of silicone with an aluminum accent around 6.6 mm x 17.7 mm OLED display that has a 128 x 48 pixels resolution and supports touch input. The small and medium sizes will be available in five color options- Black with Midnight accents, Merlot with Rose Gold, Gray with Rose Gold, Blue with silver. Additionally, the large size Vivosmart 4 is available in just a single color- Black with Midnight accents.
With a slew of sensors such as the Elevate heart rate monitor, Pulse Ox, barometer, accelerometer and ambient light sensor, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 can be used during walks, runs, workouts, yoga, swimming, among other activities. The activity tracker can be paired up with a smartphone to get alerts for notifications, calls, text, weather and even control music playback.
One of the highlights of the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is its Pulse OX sensor which gauges the rate of oxygen absorbed by the body. While the tracker can be configured to measure SpO2 during the night, users can take spot measurements at any time. The Vivosmart 4 is also capable of tracking three stages of sleep- light, deep and REM, in addition to being capable of tracking sleep movements. The sleep pattern data combined with the data from Pulse OX sensor can provide a deeper insight into the user's health.
The Vivosmart 4 is also resistant to usual splashes of water, rain and snow which is why it can be used in the shower, while swimming or diving into the water, snorkeling among others. However, Garmin recommends users to not wear Vivosmart 4 while participating in watersports.Garmin Vivosmart 4 price and availability
Garmin Vivosmart 4 is priced at Rs 12,990 and is available at Garmin Brand Store in Bengaluru and Helios Watch Stores across India.
While you can now purchase pretty much anything online, from groceries to home cinema systems, the car industry has lagged behind, with a limited number of options available.
But with consumers increasingly confident about buying online, and with some dealers seeing a huge increase in online users and out of hours enquires, Volvo feels the time is right to launch a complete, end-to-end, vehicle purchasing service.
It may not be the first company to offer the ability to buy a car completely online, with rival brands like Tesla offering this already, but Volvo believes its new premium service will be the most comprehensive, especially as it will offer a guaranteed part-exchange price and all finance options.How does it work?
Rather than being in competition with Volvo's dealer network, the new online service works with its retailers. So, once you’ve created an account, you can find your nearest dealer, and this is who you’ll carry out the transaction with.
With the retailer selected, you then choose your preferred finance option; while you can pay cash, 91% of Volvos are purchased with some kind of finance.
Once this is selected, it’s on to the valuation of your part exchange (if you have one). Along with entering you license plate, there’s a range of other details to enter, including the car's condition and the amount of miles you do annually. This last bit is important, as should you order a car direct from the factory rather than retailer stock you could have to wait a few months, so the price is automatically adjusted depending on the lead time.
Volvo says you could be picking up your new car as soon as two days after completing the online ordering process. Image credit: Volvo
It’s then time to configure your car, from powertrain and color choices, to equipment options and even accessories. As changes are made and options selected, the price is updated (including the monthly amount if you’re financing the car).
Once you’re happy with the spec and price of your new Volvo, you can reserve the car and apply for finance. Volvo says the whole process can take as little as 20 minutes, but it expects most users to want to speak with their local dealer at some point; the system has been designed so that it can be started in the showroom and finished at home, or vice versa.
In fact, Volvo expects many potential buyers will still want to touch, sit in and test-drive the car, so a physical showroom presence is important.
The service is now live in the UK – it's initially only available for the Volvo XC40, with other models becoming available on May 3. If the service is a success – and we see no reason why it shouldn’t be – we'd expect Volvo to roll it out in other regions.
Rad Power Bikes' RadWagon is a beast of a machine, but in a good way. It’s the end product of a business that was started up in Seattle by two childhood friends. Their love of bikes has resulted in a growing company that has its headquarters in the Pacific North West city. Unsurprisingly, however, Rad Power Bikes also has an office in Utrecht, Holland.
The European base is an obvious one as Holland is bike central on this side of the pond. It’s also a country where you’ll see all manner of bicycles. But even Dutch people, who think they’ve seen it all when it comes to two-wheelers, do a double-take when they clap eyes on the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon. What we have here, says the company, is an electric cargo bike.
14Ah lithium-ion battery (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
Which is where the 'beast' bit of the equation comes in. Rad Power Bikes says in its promotional blurb that this is a bike that’s designed to replace your car. That’s a bold claim, but in some ways it’s kinda true. The RadWagon boasts a longtail frame, which although being a similar width to a conventional bike, means that it’s able to carry adults, kids and cargo happily, and in equal measure.
The other not-so-secret weapon in the specification of the RadWagon is its muscular e-bike credentials. This two-wheeler comes with a beefier battery than you get on a normal e-bike, due in part to the extra weight and load capacity it has to move from A to B. What’s more, once you get on and use it you soon realise that the RadWagon isn’t so much a bicycle as an electric scooter. Yep, it’s got a twist-grip throttle on the handlebars. This allows you to take off and get the wind whistling through your hair without pedalling. It’s a revelation.Serious carrying power
Rad Power Bikes' RadWagon falls under the L1e-A electric bike category, which puts it in a very good place. Indeed, the Rad Power Bikes website explains: L1e-A 'powered cycles' are defined as cycles designed to pedal, equipped with an auxiliary propulsion with the primary aim to aid pedaling. The propulsion should be limited at a speed of 25kmph and its maximum continuous rated power should not exceed 1,000W. L1e-A includes two-, three- and four-wheel vehicles.
750W direct drive hub motor (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
So what’s the deal, we wondered, with having what is effectively an electric scooter at your disposal. Does it need a licence? The back end of the frame has a licence plate mounting point, which suggests so, but after checking rules and regulations, we found that the bike doesn't have to be licensed in the UK (where we tested it). That isn’t necessarily the case in other territories, but is surprising when you’ve got a powerful 750W 48V power system at your disposal via a direct drive hub that also benefits from regenerative braking.
The boost in power is substantial, as most standard EU-based e-bikes fall into the 250W category. Sure, the RadWagon is bulkier and a lot heavier – over 33kg in fact – but Rad Power Bikes insists that’s because it’s designed to replace your car rather than your road bike. We can actually see their point about its potential for making you decide to leave the car at home.
180mm mechanical disc brakes (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
For example, the RadWagon makes it easy to nip to the store, buy a bunch of groceries and load them onto the back of the two-wheeler without breaking into a sweat. And you’ll have done it all in the time that normally you’d still be looking for a parking space in the car.
Amazingly, it can also carry an adult and a couple of small children using child seats correctly mounted on the back. Even in its standard guise there is a long wooden flat seat along with twin running boards that allows passengers to climb on board and enjoy the ride. It’s quirky, and it gets heads turning, but the RadWagon is much more capable than those lesser 250W e-machines. In fact, the only real downside is you’ll be held up on your travels as people stop to ask you what it is.A lot of bike for your money
We recently got to try a Rad Power Bikes RadWagon, and the giant-sized bike is quite a thing. This substantial two-wheeler costs €1,799 all-in (about $2,000, £1,500, AU$3,000), which seems like a pretty good price, though spare/replacement battery packs are a considerable €599 (about $650, £500, AU$1,000) should you ever need one.
Nevertheless, you certainly get a lot for your money because the bike sports a strong design, good build quality and lots of quality components. The chainset, for example, is Shimano and that means you get silky smooth gear changes and dependability.
Kenda K-Shield puncture-resistant tires (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
Other areas, like the beefy road tires with their K-Shield puncture-resistant linings that are made to handle heavy-duty scenarios add another level of comfort, while the front and rear disc brakes are great at stopping you and your weighty cargo. Handy when you’ve got a couple of kids and a bunch of shopping on board, for sure. Even the saddle is kind to your behind if you’re on the bike for any amount of time, while the overall riding position is upright, relaxed and really very enjoyable.
There’s some work to be done when the bike arrives however. While most of it is assembled, you’ll need to use the supplied toolkit to adjust the handlebars, add the pedals and also the running boards. You also need to put the front mudguard and headlight into position, and make all the other usual adjustments to ensure the ride height is right and so on. The front wheel, incidentally, is of the quick-release variety.
Integrated tail light with brake lights (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
Oh, and there’s also a neat feature in the shape of the deflopilator spring. This is basically a spring that runs between the frame and the forks. It makes sense as cargo bikes carry heavier loads and the deflopilator stops your front wheel from turning too far and running out from underneath you if you’re stopped or are parking it up.
The double stand is another neat touch that means that bike really is secure when this has been dropped down. Another cool feature are the lights, with an LED rear brake strip that illuminates when you pull on either brake leaver. Brake lights on a pushbike!Range and charging
Powering up the bike is easy enough, after you’ve charged the frame-mounted battery via the mains. You turn a key on the battery pack and then start the handlebar-mounted LCD display. This shows your speed, watts and there’s an odometer too so you can keep track of your mileage.
Power is shown with a bar/block design. Rad Power Bikes reckons you can expect between 40 and 72km on a charge, although that depends what you’re hauling around and which mode you’re in. Eco is obviously the way to go if you want ultimate battery economy. You even get USB power charging for good measure.
Long tail rear cargo rack (Image credit: Rad Power Bikes)
Don’t forget that the RadWagon is a regular bike too, so that seven-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain lets you do plain old pedalling if you prefer. That in itself is a good workout as you notice the extra weight of the bike. One thing you do notice is the length of the chain, which is lengthier than on a normal bike due to the long-wheelbase frame. We did wonder if this would be prone to stretching over time, although it’s too early to say. As for recharging, the battery took on average around five or six hours to get back to 100%.
Overall, we found the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon to be a great little (or should that be big) bike. While we got the impression that some of the component parts had been sourced from cheaper outlets in China, the overall feel is that this is a decent quality cargo bike. The price certainly reflects that. It’s a lot of fun too, handles surprisingly well even when you’ve got people or cargo on board and works well as just a pushbike if you’ve managed to drain the battery.
The RadWagon also comes in either bright orange or pearl white, and either incarnation is easy to spot, which is another bonus for any bicycle rider. Just be prepared for all the attention you’ll get when you rock up to your local supermarket.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), the parent company of du, is expecting a 60% increase in capital expenditure (capex) this year to AED 1.6 billion compared to AED 1 billion last year.
The Dubai-based telecom operator has invested AED 181 million in the first three months of this year, witnessing a 74% growth compared to a year ago. Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of EITC and du, told TechRadar Middle East that du is ramping up preparations for the launch of 5G and to help drive digital transformation.
“Our network is ready for 5G and it is happening much sooner than expected. [However], the handsets and CPE (customer-premises equipment), wireless routers for broadband services, are not available commercially.” he said.
Mr. Sultan believes that at start, speed is going to be the key differentiator for 5G, which will be targeted more towards outdoor coverage rather than indoor. The lower latency part will come at a later stage.
In this quarter, we will have significant 5G coverage in DubaiOsman Sultan, CEO of EITC and du
With the likely introduction of 5G in the UAE, Sukhdev Singh, Executive Director at research and consulting services provider Kantar, said that it is expected that service providers would look at new avenues of business growth, which could be driven more by enterprise solutions to begin with.
The operator has signed partnerships with Nokia, Affirmed Networks and MediaTek to launch next-generation Narrow-Band IoT services, which is critical to the successful adoption of 5G technology.
“We are creating a new track of revenue streams by forming alliances, as it will enable devices to deliver a wealth of smart city applications ranging from smart metering, smart parking, trackers, smart health, industrial and agriculture use cases,” Sultan said.5G holds the key
On the industrial front, Francis Sideco, Vice-President for technology at IHS Markit, said in a statement that 5G will be a key to expanding and realising the full promise of the internet of things (IoT), with the technology’s impact to be felt in smart homes, smart cities and smart industries.
“The world is moving towards digital whether we like or not and we, as a telco, are at the heart of digital transformation. The strategy for this year will be to monetize data usage on the connectivity business, specifically on the pre-paid side, by offering more incentives, and on the enterprise segments,” Sultan said.
According to GSMA Intelligence, publisher of industry reports and research for GSMA, which represents the interests of more than 750 mobile operators globally and over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, 83 per cent of the 9.6 million population in the UAE was pre-paid subscribers in 2018.
The UAE has 18.6 million mobile connections in 2018 with a 194% SIM penetration rate and with an 84% mobile broadband connection.
“We take a long-term view and remain focused on implementing our strategy to drive more efficiency in our core business while capturing new areas of growth through ICT, as we reposition our company for the future of the telecom business,” he said.
Looking for a portrait lens but torn between focal lengths? The Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043) looks like it might save you the hassle of making a decision.
Described by its manufacturer as a portrait zoom, the new full-frame-friendly optic takes in all the focal lengths commonly called upon by portrait photographers.
These run from the 35-50mm range that's suited to environmental portraiture, through to the 60-85mm range for classic head-and-shoulder framing, and culminating in the low three-figure focal length region that's ideal for tighter crops.
While its maximum f/2.8-4 aperture may be a little narrower than portrait photographers might prefer for good background separation and pleasing rendition of out-of-focus areas, Tamron promises that the nine aperture blades will help to keep the diaphragm "almost perfectly circular" for up to two stops down from the maximum aperture.
Optically, the 19-element, 14-group lens employs three Low Dispersion elements and three hybrid aspherical lenses to help banish various aberrations, while the company's BBAR (Broad-Brand Anti-Reflection) coating is also applied to keep light transmission high, reflections low and contrast pleasing.
Tamron also states that the optics have been optimized for exceptional performance around the 85mm focal length, which is arguably the most desirable length for standard portraiture.Fast and quiet focusing
As the name indicates, the optic also employs an OSD focusing motor, and this is said to reduce drive noise significantly over previous DC-equipped lenses, while also being fast enough to provide better focus tracking when the subject is moving.
The new lens also employs a Vibration Compensation (VC) system to help keep things stable. According to CIPA testing, this works to the tune of a maximum five stops of compensation over an non-stabilized lens, and both this and the autofocus system are driven by a High-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system.
The barrel has been crafted with a moisture-resistant design, and this is augmented by a fluorine coating on the front element to help repel water and grease. The lens is also compatible with the Tamron TAP-In console for performance adjustment and firmware upgrades.
Other features include a minimum object distance of 17.7 inches across the whole focal range and a filter diameter of 77mm. A petal-shaped hood will ship with the lens as standard.
The lens will be available in May for Nikon F-mount users, before a Canon EF-fit option follows in June. Tamron expects the lens to retail at around $800 in the US; pricing for other territories is yet to be confirmed, but that US price converts to around £620 or AU$1,140.