Fitbit Ionic, a new Sam­sung Galaxy S8, Acer Preda­tor PCs, Asus Zen­fone 4 se­ries

Business World - - TECHNOLOGY -

HERE’s a roundup of gad­get re­leases in the past week.

FITBIT SMART­WATCH

Fitbit, Inc. des­per­ately needs a hit. The com­pany un­veiled its first smart­watch on Aug. 29, hop­ing that the health­fo­cused fea­tures of the de­vice will re­verse the hard­ware maker’s de­clin­ing in­flu­ence in the wear­ables mar­ket.

The smart­watch, called the Fitbit Ionic, costs $299.95. It has a square touch­screen sim­i­lar to the one on the Ap­ple Watch. It in­cludes a heart-rate mon­i­tor, GPS track­ing and four-day bat­tery life. The watch, which is wa­ter re­sis­tant up to 50 me­ters, can make wire­less pay­ments and store mu­sic off­line from Pan­dora Me­dia, Inc.

The smart­watch is the com­pany’s first de­vice to in­clude a sen­sor that can es­ti­mate blood oxy­gen lev­els, called a rel­a­tive SpO sen­sor. The Ionic will be pre-loaded with the apps for weather, pay­ments, fit­ness, Star­bucks Corp. and Pan­dora.

The com­pany has started us­ing the Fitbit Ionic to work with clin­i­cal re­searchers to mea­sure sleep ap­nea. In the next sev­eral years, Fitbit aims to even­tu­ally de­liver con­sumer sub­scrip­tions that pre­dict health out­comes to move be­yond hard­ware and into a re­cur­ring rev­enue stream, ac­cord­ing to Joe Wit­tine, an an­a­lyst at Long­bow research.

SAM­SUNG’S FLAME-FREE NOTE8

The stakes are high for Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co.’s roll­out of the Note8, af­ter the pre­vi­ous model’s ex­plod­ing bat­tery fi­asco last year.

Like the Note7, which was scrapped and cost the South Korean com­pany an es­ti­mated $6 bil­lion, the new smart­phone sports a big screen and ad­vanced fea­tures to make it a more ver­sa­tile de­vice com­pared with Sam­sung’s main Galaxy S8 flag­ship prod­uct. Like its pre­de­ces­sors, it in­cludes a sty­lus.

By keep­ing the same brand name, Sam­sung is mak­ing clear that the Note8 is an it­er­a­tive (and bet­ter) de­vice, and sig­nals that it thinks it’s fixed the prob­lems with the pre­vi­ous ver­sion. While the Note doesn’t com­mand as wide an ap­peal as the Galaxy S line, both are pre­mium de­vices in Sam­sung’s ef­forts against Ap­ple, Inc. in the bat­tle for global smart­phone supremacy. The Note also helps the Su­won-based man­u­fac­turer keep pres­sure on its ri­val just be­fore the re­lease of three new iPhone mod­els in Septem­ber.

The most sig­nif­i­cant change in the Note8 is a larger dis­play that curves at the edges like the S8. The 6.3-inch AMOLED screen, a vari­ant of the or­ganic light-emit­ting diode dis­play used on many re­cent high-end smart­phones, is no­tice­ably big­ger than the Note7’s 5.7-inch touch­screen and slightly larger than the Galaxy S8+’s 6.2-inch dis­play. Al­though many phone mak­ers are work­ing on ways to get a fingerprint scan­ner built into the dis­play, the Note8 — like many other mod­els — will have one in the back.

The longer screen on the new phone lets users view more con­tent, such as text mes­sages and e-mails, with­out hav­ing to scroll, Sam­sung said in a demon­stra­tion. The Note8 also has new fea­tures for the sty­lus: users can write notes with­out un­lock­ing the de­vice, draw an­i­mated pic­tures that can be shared with con­tacts and words can be high­lighted to be trans­lated into dif­fer­ent lan­guages. The big­ger screen also lets users

swipe from the dis­play’s edge to launch two paired apps at a time in a split view.

The new smart­phone from Sam­sung will also fea­ture an up­graded cam­era sys­tem that sports two lenses on the back for the first time. Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the ad­vanced op­tics let users take pic­tures that can de­ter­mine depth so that the back­ground be­hind a per­son’s pro­file can ap­pear blurred. The Note8 will also sup­port Gi­ga­bit LTE, a faster net­work­ing tech­nol­ogy for brows­ing the Web and down­load­ing con­tent, which the next iPhone won’t have, Bloomberg News has re­ported.

ACER PCS FOR GAMERS

Acer an­nounced on Aug. 30 at the IFA 2017 in Ber­lin new ad­di­tions to its pre­mium Preda­tor gam­ing line, which in­clude the Preda­tor Orion 9000 se­ries gam­ing desk­tops with Win­dows 10, its most pow­er­ful to date.

De­signed to in­spire game play, the com­mand­ing aes­thet­ics of the Preda­tor Orion 9000 se­ries fea­ture a black-and-sil­ver space­craft-like ex­te­rior with cus­tom­iz­a­ble RGB light­ing along the sides of the front bezel. A mas­sive side win­dow panel show­cases the strik­ing and pow­er­ful in­te­rior with a de­sign that keeps elec­tro­mag­netic in­ter­fer­ence (EMI) lev­els in check de­spite the size of the open­ing. Op­tional fans with cus­tom­iz­a­ble RGB light­ing cre­ate a vir­tual light show for an even more ar­rest­ing ap­pear­ance. Out­fit­ted with two han­dles and wheels cov­ered with a car­bon fiber pat­tern, the new rigs can be eas­ily moved from one lo­ca­tion to an­other. Tool­less side pan­els make com­po­nent up­grades easy and the push-open top gives users a quick way to switch fans. A front-ac­cess head­set cra­dle and ca­ble man­age­ment help keep the game area tidy.

The Preda­tor Orion 9000 will of­fer up to a cut­ting-edge In­tel® CoreTM i9 Ex­treme Edi­tion 18-core pro­ces­sor and up to 128-GB quad-chan­nel DDR4 mem­ory, al­low­ing it to han­dle com­pute-in­ten­sive tasks with ease while pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional per­for­mance.

ZEN­FONE 4 MAX

ASUS PHILIP­PINES un­veiled last Aug. 19 its lat­est smart­phones un­der the Zen­fone 4 se­ries, which in­cluded Zen­fone 4 , Zen­fone 4 Pro, Zen­fone 4 Selfie Pro, Zen­fone 4 Selfie, and Zen­fone 4 MAX. All fea­ture a dual-cam­era sys­tem.

The pre­mium mod­els, the Zen­fone 4 and 4 Pro, target mo­bile pho­tog­ra­phy en­thu­si­asts with im­proved rear cam­era specs such as 2x op­ti­cal zoom (Zen­fone 4 Pro), and big­ger stor­age (Zen­fone 4 at 4 GB RAM; 4 PRO at 6 GB RAM) com­pared to Asus’ pre­vi­ous flag­ship, the Asus Zen­fone 3 (4 GB RAM).

The two Zen­fone 4 Selfie se­ries, on the other hand, comes with Asus’ “beau­ti­fi­ca­tion” ap­pli­ca­tion called SelfieMaster. Its front-fac­ing cam­era cap­tures wide-an­gle shots and can be used when cap­tur­ing videos, pho­tos, as well as live stream­ing.

Lastly, the Zen­fone 4 MAX fea­tures a 5000-mAh bat­tery that Asus claims can last up to 46 days on stand-by. It dou­bles as a power­bank and charge other de­vices — oth­er­wise known as “Re­verse Charg­ing.” For the lat­est it­er­a­tion, how­ever, the ASUS prom­ises 2x faster re­verse — which means what­ever is be­ing charged will gain 100% bat­tery life in no-time. —

ACER Preda­tor Orion 9000

FITBIT IONIC

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