New arrivals: HTC Desire EYE phablet and RE camera

November 24th, 2014

HTC hopes to reinvent mobile photography and imaging with the HTC Desire EYE “double exposure” smartphone, the RE fun camera, EYE Experience imaging software, and enhanced Zoe video editor.

The HTC Desire EYE will be available in Singapore from 27 November at SITEX 2014 at S$728 S$628, through StarHub and M1.

Errattum:

HTC has updated that the price of the HTC Desire EYE in Singapore during SITEX 2014 to S$728 from the S$628 in the original press release.

HTC Desire EYE (left, in White and Coral Red duotone) phablet and HTC RE (in green) camera.

HTC Desire EYE (left, in White and Coral Red duotone) phablet and HTC RE (in green) camera.

HTC has announced two new innovative gadgets which I had the chance to preview last week – the RE fun camera and Desire EYE Android phablet – both of which are water proof.

HTC RE camera

The RE camera will be available from late December onwards. HTC has yet to announce its price tag in Singapore.

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N.E.mation! 9: Introduction to the Elemonators (#NE9CO5)

November 23rd, 2014

The Elemonators is one of three teams from CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls’ School that made it into the Top 10 Teams in this year’s installment of the N.E.mation! competition. The storyline for their animation is both heartwarming and inspiring.

“We are the Elemonators! We eliminate the sourness and bring sweetness to your day!”

The Elemonators registered for N.E.mation! 9 back in August and have not looked back since.

Comprising four sprightly young ladies in the second year of CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, the Elemonators were among a staggering 11 teams from the school that made it into the Top 100.

Team leader Melissa Anne Lim performed the mesh-up during the pitching stages with her guitar and sang in the final recording as well.

Team leader Melissa Anne Lim performed the mesh-up during the pitching stages with her guitar and sang in the final recording as well.

For those familiar with N.E.mation!, you may be aware that CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School is a powerhouse in the series of competitions, regularly boasting multiple teams that make it to the Top 10 and frequently represented in the eventual Top 3 winners.

While some schools field teams from their IT clubs/CCA, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School opens the participation to all students in the school.

Which was how Melissa, Esther, Leanne and Sabrina came to form the Elemonators.

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N.E.mation! 9: Introduction to wasd (#NE9C10)

November 22nd, 2014

wasd is the team from Commonwealth Secondary School that never expected to make it to the Top 10. But made it they did and they’ve got an exciting animation story idea to vie for the top prize.

wasd is one of two teams from Commonwealth Secondary School that entered this year’s installment of the N.E.mation! competition, and the lucky one to make it to the Top 10.

wasd is one of two teams from Commonwealth Secondary School that entered this year’s installment of the N.E.mation! competition, and the lucky one to make it to the Top 10. The fourth member, Niger Lim is not in this photo as he was not present during the visit.

The N.E.mation! competition is a yearly inter-school animation competition for students from secondary schools, junior colleges and centralised institutes to express their thoughts on Total Defence.

Lim Xun Yi from wasd. The team's motto is

Lim Xun Yi from wasd. The team’s motto is “Expect the unexpected”.

This year’s competition is the ninth iteration since the inauguration of the series in 2007.

More than 11,500 students have participated in N.E.mation! thus far with participants comprising mostly secondary school students aged between 13 to 16 years old.

These students form teams of 3-4 members and have to go through multiple rounds of pitching and selection to beat hundreds of teams from other schools to make it into the Top 10.

wasd registered for N.E.mation! 9 some three months ago in August and it has been an incredible journey for them ever since.

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Events: Intel Future Showcase at Singapore Carlton Hotel

November 21st, 2014

The Intel Future Showcase puts Asian innovation in the spotlight and offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at Asia’s role in driving the company’s innovation and technology development.

The Intel Education 2 in 1 Reference Design, offering the flexibility and mobility of a tablet plus the performance and productivity of a laptop - offering versatile learning for students. The ruggedised device is drop, water and dust resistant - suitable for outdoor learning as well as within the classroom. I first saw this design in Singapore during the Intel Solutions Summit back in April this year.

The Intel Education 2 in 1 Reference Design, offering the flexibility and mobility of a tablet plus the performance and productivity of a laptop – offering versatile learning for students. The ruggedised device is drop, water and dust resistant – suitable for outdoor learning as well as within the classroom. I first saw this design in Singapore during the Intel Solutions Summit back in April this year.

The Intel Future Showcase is being held in Singapore for the first time, offering a glimpse into the innovation that goes on inside Intel’s Asian and global operations.

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Research: GlobalWebIndex finds mobile networking booming with WeChat users

November 20th, 2014

WeChat has the youngest demographic out of all competing social communications apps, with one third of its global users aged 16 to 24. Andrew Ng attended the media brief for tech4tea.com.

Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex, briefing on major trends of the social media scene. To the left is Jowie Law, Director of Global Communications at Tencent, the parent company of WeChat. Photo credit: Andrew Ng.

Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex, briefing on major trends of the social media scene. To the left is Jowie Law, Director of Global Communications at Tencent, the parent company of WeChat. Photo credit: Andrew Ng.

A recent research by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), a market research company specialising in online consumer behaviour claims that 80% of WeChat’s young users said it was critical for them to be contactable at all times.

“WeChat has witnessed a remarkable growth rate during this period especially among the youth generation, with WeChat’s efficient and entertaining platform continuing to attract users on a massive scale. We are excited about WeChat’s strong growth momentum both globally and throughout Singapore, and expect to see it adding more users in the coming quarters,” said Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GlobalWebIndex.

GWI is a multi-market research company, covering 32 markets and representing 89% of the global Internet population.

Focusing on Singapore specifically, WeChat is most popular with 16 to 34 year olds, with this age group dominating nearly half of the WeChat user base.

According to GWI, WeChat had experienced significant growth with an active user base increase of 156% globally, and a staggering 499% in Singapore between Q1 2013 to Q3 2014.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of the world’s Internet users and 39% within the APAC region now actively use the app.

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Events: Salesforce Essentials in Singapore Marina Bay Sands

November 18th, 2014

Simon Davies – Vice President for ASEAN, Greater China and Korea, Salesforce – brought the latest updates and insights from one of the leading companies in cloud computing and CRM.

Salesforce Essentials was held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Photo: Andrew Ng.

Salesforce Essentials was held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Photo: Andrew Ng.

Newly launched solutions were also showcased during a Cloud Expo tour, while local Asian customers shared how Salesforce had transformed their business and helped them connect with their customers in new ways.

“It was great to hear some of the latest updates on CRM and their customised “Wealth Management” module. What I found interesting was when Simon Davies briefly chatted about some innovations where Siam Bank used their cloud to bring financial apps direct to the end customers,” recalls Andrew Ng – tech4tea.com – who attended the media briefing.

Talking points included updates, innovations and initiatives from Dreamforce 2014, as well as how Salesforce had grown exponentially to become one of the top 10 fastest growing software companies in the world.

Also discussed were tech trends that Salesforce saw affecting businesses in the future, including the internet of customers, wearables and increased mobility.

The company also shared how Singapore and Asia as a whole was important to Salesforce’s global business, and what Singapore/Asia customers look for in their cloud, social and mobile solutions.

For reference, at the end of this post is the press release for Dreamforce 2014 last month in San Francisco, US.

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Video Boost debuts in new Opera Mini 9 for iOS

November 6th, 2014

Opera claims that its Video Boost is a first for mobile web browsers, offering faster loading time and money savings from data reduction (compression). Available now FREE from Apple App Store.

The new Opera Mini 9 for iOS comes with video boost feature that compresses video before delivering to your mobile phone, saving you from staring at the video-buffering wheel, as well as data savings.

The new Opera Mini 9 for iOS comes with video boost feature that compresses video before delivering to your mobile phone, saving you from staring at the video-buffering wheel, as well as data savings.

iPhone and iPad users will see less of the dreaded video-buffering wheel, using the new video boost feature in the Opera Mini 9 web browser.

“This is the first time video optimization has been integrated into a web browser, so your browser can now take pride of place as your favorite video app. Video snags are a small problem, but an annoying one — a pothole on the internet highway. And Opera fixed it,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software.

People love watching video on their mobiles and tablets.

Unfortunately, this can eat up a data plan quickly, and stalled videos waste time and create frustration.

Opera Mini boasts that it can address this problem with video boost.

Video boost brings down buffering time for eager video viewers, by reducing the size of video data.

Using the Rocket Optimizer engine from Opera’s Skyfire division, video boost can also save users on their data bills.

Optimising videos is becoming increasingly important, as video viewing explodes on mobile phones.

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Jawbone expands UP family with UP MOVE & UP3 fitness bands

November 5th, 2014

Jawbone announced today that they will be releasing two brand new activity trackers in the coming weeks – the UP MOVE (S$85) and the UP3 (S$288) wristbands.

Jawbone UP MOVE (left) and Jawbone UP3 (right) activity tracking fitness bands.

Jawbone UP MOVE (left) and Jawbone UP3 (right) activity tracking fitness bands.

The UP MOVE will be available in November before Christmas this year, while the UP3 will be made available by early next year in three colors.

“美国消费者电子零件制造商 Jawbone 宣布了两款新的健康手环:Jawbone UP MOVE(十一月起: S$85新元) 以及 Jawbone UP3(明年初开始: S$288新元)。” – 科技点心(微薄)

The UP by Jawbone App for UP MOVE will be available on iOS and Android devices as free download from the App Store and Google Play.

The UP by Jawbone App for UP3 will be available on iOS soon as a free download from the App Store. A compatible Android app for UP3 will be available early next year.

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VMware expands vCloud Air to new service location in Australia

November 4th, 2014

The company also announced the general availability of its Hybrid Cloud Service in Japan.

VMware to continue vCloud Air global expansion to new service location in Australia.

VMware to continue vCloud Air global expansion to new service location in Australia.

VMware, a global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, has announced that it will extend VMware vCloud Air (previously VMware vCloud Hybrid Service) to Australia.

“VMware vCloud Air, combined with the VMware vCloud Air Network of service providers makes VMware the largest hybrid cloud network in the Asia Pacific region with more than 40 service locations in Asia,” said Bill Fathers, executive vice president and general manager, Cloud Services Business Unit, VMware.

Complementing the VMware vCloud Air Network of service provider options, the new Australian service location will provide customers with a hybrid cloud option operated by VMware that addresses local compliance and data protection concerns.

The service is expected to be available in Australia in the first half of 2015.

Additionally, the company announced vCloud Air will be generally available in Japan in the coming weeks, after completing a successful beta program that began in July of this year.

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Review: ASUS PadFone S Android smartphone cum tablet combo

November 1st, 2014

As a pioneer of 2-in-1 mobile devices, ASUS offers with the PadFone S the portability of the smartphone and the larger screen of a tablet by selling both at the price of one device.

Two colours are available for the ASUS PadFone S - Dark Ruby (shown above) and Pure White.

Two colours are available for the ASUS PadFone S – Dark Ruby (shown above) and Pure White. Photo: ASUS Singapore.

The PadFone S was launched in Singapore on 14 October, 2014 together with 11 other new mobile and computing products.

The PadFone S is a 5-inch Android smartphone that comes with a PadFone S Station.

The PadFone S I reviewed was the Pure White version. Normal retail price: S$449.

The PadFone S I reviewed was the Pure White version. Normal retail price: S$449.

You can use the PadFone S on its own like any smartphone or you can slot it into the back of the PadFone S Station and use the combination as an 8.9-inch tablet, leveraging the larger backlit Super IPS display of the Station.

You can’t use the PadFone S Station on its own though, because it is simply a dumb display with no computer processors within.

Actually, the Station has more – it also includes a 4990mAh Li-Polymer (non-removable) battery to provide the larger energy demands of powering a larger display.

The larger battery can also be used to charge the PadFone S to extend its battery life from 22 hours talk-time (3G) to 64 hours.

The combined PadFone S in the Station felt a little bit hefty though, at a combined weight of 664g.

My view:
I found the ASUS PadFone S provided me with the portability of a smartphone and – only when I need it – a truely larger display and usability of a tablet –> all at the price of a single device (or less).

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