LG Has A Different Approach in Folding Phone

Samsung excites the world with its Galaxy Fold but Huawei steals the stage with its Huawei Mate X, the most expensive foldable phone. Both phones have foldable screens and that shocks the global tech community, but LG seems to have a different way to fold the phone. Simple, put 2 screens on a same device. LG Electronics (LG) introduced its first 5G phone, LG V50ThinQ 5G.


LG V50ThinQ 5G. Source: LG Singapore

Dual Screens for Richer 5G Experience

To take user immersion and convenience to new heights with its first 5G smartphone, LG developed Dual Screen as an optional accessory for the LG V50ThinQ 5G. Designed to resemble a cover case, Dual Screen opens up to give LG V50ThinQ 5G owners a second 6.2-inch OLED display for double the viewing, gaming and multitasking experience. The Dual Screen display and the LG V50ThinQ 5G can be used independently, allowing for many interesting usage scenarios. For example, users can watch a movie on one screen while simultaneously searching IMDB on the other.

With Dual Screen attached, an icon appears on the display of the LG V50ThinQ 5G which can be tapped to power on the second display or switch effortlessly between the two screens. A multi-window feature divides each screen in two, making it possible to display and use multiple applications at the same time. In select games, the Dual Screen can be used as a dedicated controller, resolving the age old problem of thumbs getting in the way of the action. The Dual Screen can be positioned in two convenient angles – 104 and 180 degrees – and because it runs off the phone’s battery, there’s no need to charge it separately.

The Perfect Smartphone for the 5G Era

Giving consumers the ability to enjoy all 5G has to offer as soon as service becomes available, the groundbreaking LG V50ThinQ 5G has been carefully crafted to provide an exceptional user experience. LG’s first 5G handset will exceed expectations, offering uncompromising reliability and allowing users to experience high-quality content at 5G speeds, expected to deliver up to 20 times the speed of 4G.

LG has gone all out to boost the display and audio performance of LG V50ThinQ 5G. A 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED FullVision Display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio offers users a heightened sense of immersion whether they’re viewing a video or enjoying a game.

Audio has been upgraded to produce a superb stereo performance that can be enjoyed with or without headphones. With DTS:X technology onboard, LG V50ThinQ 5G allows users to experience surround sound that enhances the quality of any content to create a realistic soundscape with suburb clarity and depth. The phone also supports Qualcomm® aptX™ and aptX HD audio technology for premium Bluetooth audio quality and low latency ideal for immersive listening experiences over headphones or earbuds.

LG’s 5G smartphone features optical innovations that enable users to take extraordinary pictures and videos of the highest quality. Looking beyond still images, LG implemented Video Depth Control in both the front and rear cameras to ensure that moving subjects remain in focus. By analyzing distance and depth with Dual FOV technology, users can capture exactly what they see making it possible to produce videos that look incredibly polished and professional.

LG’s first 5G device is powered by the newest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem and LG’s optimized software to deliver the advanced processing power required for 5G. The phone is also equipped with a 4,000mAh battery, 20 percent larger than in the V40ThinQ, and a new Vapor Chamber heat-dissipation system which is more effective than conventional heat pipes to keep internal temperatures low and support sustained apps processing performance even when multitasking.

Inheriting the V series’ thin, stylish design, the LG V50ThinQ 5G is only 8.3 millimeters in thickness and weighs only 183 grams. To maintain its sleek profile with uninterrupted lines, the rear lens housing on the new V smartphone are completely flush with the back of the phone. All this is achieved without sacrificing the durability of the LG V50ThinQ 5G, which continues to comply with 14 U.S. military MIL-STD 810G standards.

In preparation of the rollout of its first 5G phone, LG is partnering with 10 major carriers in markets where 5G service will be launched this year, including the United States, South Korea, Australia as well as a number of European countries.

Source: LG Singapore

Key Specifications:

LG V50ThinQ 5G

  • Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X50 5G Modem
  • Display: 6.4-inch 19.5:9 QHD+ OLED FullVision (3120 x 1440 / 538ppi)
  • Memory: 6GB RAM / 128GB / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:

–  Rear    16MP Super Wide (F1.9 / 1.0μm / 107˚)

              12MP Standard (F1.5 / 1.4μm / 78˚)

              12MP Telephoto (F2.4 / 1.0μm / 45˚)

–  Front   8MP Standard (F1.9 / 1.12μm / 80˚)

              5MP Wide (F2.2 / 1.12μm / 90˚)

  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Size: 159.2 x 76.1 x 8.3mm
  • Weight: 183g
  • Network: 3G / 4G LTE-A / 5G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5 / NFC /

    USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Compatible)

  • Colors: Astro Black
  • Other: Full-range Stereo Speakers / Boombox Speaker / AI CAM / Google Lens / Google Assistant / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 Technology / MIL-STD 810G Compliance / FM Radio

Dual Screen for LG V50ThinQ 5G

  • Display: 6.2-inch FHD+ OLED FullVision (2160 x 1080)
  • Size: 161.6 x 83.4 x 15.5mm
  • Weight: 131g
  • Contact Type: Pogo Pin (3)
  • Colors: New Aurora Black

Press Release – Huawei Launches HUAWEI Mate X, the World’s Fastest 5G Foldable Phone

BARCELONA, Spain—February 24, 2019—At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) unveiled the the World’s Fastest 5G Foldable Phone, HUAWEI Mate X, redefining smartphone design with a foldable form factor. Reflecting the innovative DNA of the HUAWEI Mate Series, the HUAWEI Mate X features the Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge, 7nm multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, a high-capacity 4500mAh battery supporting the world’s fastest 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge and the brand new Interstellar Blue finish. When folded, the device is a huge display smartphone with a 6.6-inch screen, and when opened, it turns into a slim tablet with an 8-inch screen. The new multi-form factor revolutionizes both productivity and entertainment experiences on a mobile device. 

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, said, “The HUAWEI Mate X’s revolutionary form factor is achieved by Huawei’s relentless effort in R&D. It represents a voyage into the uncharted. As a new breed of smartphones, HUAWEI Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and an all-new mode of interfacing to provide consumers with an unprecedented user experience. The HUAWEI Mate X will be the first key for consumers to open the door to 5G smart living.”

Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge Strikes a Balance Between Technology and Aesthetics

A result of Huawei’s bold testing with novel smartphone form factors, the 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet HUAWEI Mate X features a high strength flexible OLED panel and a falcon wing mechanical hinge. 

The 6.6-inch dual display panel equipped on the HUAWEI Mate X is a true FullView display. When unfolded, it transforms into an 8-inch tablet only 5.4mm thick. Images are displayed with great clarity and detail, and the panel itself is safe, durable and features outstanding cooling performance. As light as it is appealing, the foldable smartphone comes in a new Interstellar Blue that epitomizes the beauty of technology and sets a higher bar for future smartphones.

With an exemplary design that blends style with technology, the revolutionary Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge supports movement, balancing between the overall aesthetics and technology. When unfolded, the screen is a perfectly flat surface; and when folded, the two halves of the screen fit snugly to the frame. The two modes—smartphone and tablet modes—transition seamlessly from one to another. 

5G Smart Living with a Bigger Screen

HUAWEI Mate X is a multi-form factor that unlocks a new page of 5G interfacing era to reinvent productivity and entertainment. The innovative flexible OLED foldable FullView display, unique falcon wing mechanical hinge and the industry’s best  5G modem chipset Balong 5000 combine to deliver a new mode of interfacing, in which the large-screen experience and portability co-exist in harmony.

The expansive viewing area lends well to both productivity and entertainment scenarios—everything from editing a document to reading feels better on a larger screen. In addition, consumers are able to drag images from their photo gallery to their emails in split-screen mode. The larger screen allows consumers to do more with their time. 

Huawei’s flagship smartphones have always come with powerful cameras, and the HUAWEI Mate X is no different. Inside the smartphone’s slim body is the latest Leica cameras, supporting the most advanced imaging features to date. The foldable design makes it possible for the camera system to play the role of both front and rear cameras. When folded, the HUAWEI Mate X shows a view finder on both sides, so even the subjects in the frame can contribute to the creative process. 

Moreover, the HUAWEI Mate X comes with an integrated Fingerprint Power Button that enables users to power up the device with one tap, offering a secure and convenient experience.

Powered by Next-Generation 5G Modem Chipset

Equipped with the world’s first 7nm 5G multi-mode modem chipset Balong 5000, the chipset has unprecedented 5G download speeds, at 4.6Gps on the Sub-6GHz band (theoretical). Balong 5000 is also the world’s first chipset to support both SA and NSA architectures, users will not need a device upgrade to continue enjoying 5G connectivity. The HUAWEI Mate X’s dual SIM feature supports both 4G and 5G. 

Massive Battery Supporting HUAWEI SuperCharge

A new, purpose-designed 4,500mAh battery is packed in HUAWEI Mate X’s 5.4mm-thick body, combined with the AI smart power saving technology, fulfilling the demand for greater battery performance in the 5G era. 55W HUAWEI SuperCharge tops the battery up quickly to minimize downtime for those who prefer a fast-paced lifestyle. In just 30 minutes, HUAWEI SuperCharge is able to charge the battery back to 85 percent.

At MWC 2019, Huawei launched a series of new products, including the an updated HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, new mainstream notebook PCs HUAWEI MateBook 13 and HUAWEI MateBook 14, as well as the HUAWEI 5G CPE Pro. At the advent of the 5G era, Huawei is committed to delivering new all-scenario smart living experiences to consumers.

Source: Huawei Singapore

Samsung Galaxy S10 – More Choices For Consumers

The wait of the new Galaxy S10 is over. This year, Samsung is doing a little different from the past. Instead of introducing 2 variations of Galaxy S10 (standard S10 and S10+), they are launching another a more affordable S10e.   

The Galaxy S10 is designed for those who want a premium smartphone with powerful performance and sets the stage for the next generation of mobile experiences. For consumers looking for a supercharged device, Galaxy S10+ takes every spec – from display, to camera, to performance – to the next level. Galaxy S10e is built for those who want all the premium essentials in a compact package on a flat screen. Anticipating the implementation of 5G network this year, Samsung also introduces an extension of the Galaxy S10+ – Galaxy S10+ 5G.

Display

Samsung’s stand for front camera is clear – no notch and so, to get full edge-to-edge display experience or Infinity-O display as coined by Samsung, the company has developed a “punch-hole” front camera that flushed with the display panel. The notification bar blends well with the front camera without affecting the viewing experience of the display.  Galaxy S10’s unique Infinity-O Display packs an array of sensors and camera technology into a hole-in display – so you can maximize your screen real estate without any distractions.

Galaxy S10’s display also includes the first-ever in-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner that reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint – not a 2D image of it – for improved anti-spoofing. With the world’s first FIDO Alliance Biometric Component certification, this next generation biometrics authentication offers vault-like security to keep your device safe

Camera

Galaxy S10 introduces new camera technology and advanced intelligence that makes it easy to take epic shots and videos:

  • Ultra Wide Lens: A first for the S Series, Galaxy S10 offers an Ultra Wide Lens with a 123degree field of view, like the human eye, so what you see is what’s in frame. Perfect for impressive landscape shots, big panoramas and even fitting the entire extended family into the photo, the Ultra Wide Lens ensures that you’ll always be able to capture the full scene. 
  • Super Steady & High-Quality Video Recording: Galaxy S10 offers Super Steady recording with digital stabilization technology. Whether you’re dancing in the middle of an amazing concert or trying to record every detail of a bumpy bike ride, Super Steady allows you to capture the moment. Both front and rear cameras can shoot in up to UHD quality, and in an industry first, the rear camera gives you the flexibility to record in HDR10+.
  • AI Camera: Galaxy S10 makes already smart features more accurate with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) so you can get pro-grade shots worth sharing without having to manually select any advanced camera settings. Scene Optimizer can now recognize and more accurately process additional scenes because of the NPU. And with Shot Suggestion, Galaxy S10 offers automatic composition recommendations so you can frame your photo better than ever. 
Galaxy S10 Camera AI Capability

Other Improvements

  • Wireless PowerShare: Samsung introduces Wireless PowerShare on Galaxy S10, making it possible to easily charge Qi-certified smartphones and even compatible wearable devices. In addition, Galaxy S10 is capable of charging itself and a second device simultaneously via Wireless PowerShare, while connected to a regular charger, enabling you to leave your second charger at home while on a trip.
  • Intelligent Performance: The new AI software on the Galaxy S10 automatically optimizes battery, CPU, RAM, and even device temperature based on how you use your phone and continues to learn and get better over time. Leveraging AI-capabilities, Galaxy S10 also learns how you use your device to launch your most frequently used apps faster.

Local Pricing and Availability 

Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ 

The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ will be available in Singapore from 8 March 2019, at local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), major consumer electronics & IT stores, Samsung Experience Stores and Lazada Singapore. The respective recommended retail prices for the devices are as follows: 

Model Built-in Memory1 RRP (S$)
Galaxy S10e 128GB $1,078
Galaxy S10 128GB $1,298
Galaxy S10+ 128GB $1,398
Galaxy S10+ 512GB $1,798
Galaxy S10+ 1TB $2,198 

The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ (128GB1) will be available in Prism White, Prism Black and Prism Green. The Galaxy S10+ (512GB1 and 1TB1) will be available in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black.

How YouTrip Helps Singapore Police Force to Uncover Credit Card Fraud?

Recent years, market has developed and people are keeping their money online with the help of e-wallet. E-wallet could link with our credit card and that makes online transaction cheaper and faster. The technology brings us convenient but it also opens door for fraud.

On 13 February 2019, the Singapore Police Force charged 4 individuals with syndicated credit card fraud. These individuals were charged for stealing bank credit or debit card information via external means, and using these stolen cards to top up their YouTrip accounts. Another 15 are currently also under investigation.

These suspects were initially flagged out by YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which continuously analyses transaction patterns and detects early signals of suspicious activities. We immediately handed over the case to the police to expedite investigations, which include a total of 18 suspects with more than 85 fraudulent credit card top up transactions.

Investigating & tracing transaction patterns using Data Analytics

Throughout late December and January, YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which traces and detects early signals of suspicious transactions, flagged out two key signals:

  • Signal 1: High top up amount followed by immediate purchases or cash withdrawals to deplete the account balance
  • Signal 2: High frequency of failed top up with incorrect credit / debit card credentials

By combining these two key signals and using Data Analytics techniques, YouTrip traced these signals to a specific small group of users who exhibited both behaviors. A special task force made up of Fraud Monitoring specialists and engineers was immediately set up to carry out detailed investigations. Through these investigations, they found out more transaction and usage signals that have high correlation to potentially fraudulent activities, including concentration on common merchant names (e.g. overseas ATM locations), common transaction locations, chargebacks, and citizen’s reports received, etc.

They concluded that there is a high chance that a group of 18 users may have fraudulently obtained information or cards of more than 85 fraudulent credit or debit card top up transactions used to top up YouTrip accounts. The accounts were immediately suspended.

Enhancing security measures

While investigations were underway, YouTrip rolled out a security update last week that requires mandatory OTP verification via SMS (to be sent by your credit card issuing bank), whenever a new credit or debit card is added for the first time on the YouTrip app.

This helps to further eliminate cases of fraudulent use such as to perform top-ups on YouTrip accounts using stolen credit or debit cards, in addition to the existing fraud monitoring systems and customer due diligence processes.


Security Update: mandatory OTP verification via SMS when adding bank credit/debit card on YouTrip App

“Fraud prevention and security will continue to be YouTrip’s core mission to our users. We will continue to work closely with the authorities and community to ensure a secure and seamless payment experience for all YouTrip users,” said Mr Kelvin Lam, Country Manager (Singapore), You Technologies Group.

The case is currently under litigation and YouTrip is working closely with the authorities in the ongoing investigations. YouTrip will be working with the relevant institutions to ensure a proper arrangement for affected individuals in this case.

YouTrip users can rest assured to use YouTrip as per normal, as the suspicious activities have been contained to the current identified suspects. Users can reach out to YouTrip’s  customer support team at customer@you.co, if they detect any suspicious activities in their accounts.

Don’t Wait for The OnePlus 5G, OnePlus 6T is The Phone

We all know that 5G is coming soon and I am sure every OnePlus fan is as excited as I am. OnePlus has already announced their next phone that is 5G-Ready and all the OnePlus fans can’t wait to own the phone. Wait a second, are we saying that 5G is going to happen soon? Personally, I don’t see the full roll-out of 5G infrastructure happening in 2019 (at the very least, not in Singapore). Even it does roll out this year, I foresee the price of the 5G service is going to be expensive. The switching cost from 4G to a better-latency and faster 5G may not be worthwhile. Then, what’s the point of waiting for OnePlus 5G?

Back of OnePlus 6T

Those who have read our article on the OnePlus 6 knows we have very good impression of the phone. OnePlus 6 has almost all the ticks in our checklists but not quite there yet. Now, the OnePlus 6T is even better than its predecessors.

Better Battery Life

OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T are run on the latest Android Pie version. (Note: The OnePlus 6 does not ship with the latest Android ver. 9 installed but OnePlus has been known for keeping up with the OS update much faster than other brands. The phone got updated shortly after the OnePlus 6T was launched). User interface and graphic performance are similar on both phones given that they are running on the same OS version and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.

The notable improvement is the battery life. OnePlus 6T is shipped with 3700 mAh battery capacity giving 10% more battery life than OnePlus 6. After a month of heavy usage, I have observed that the phone could last slightly more than a day. I have never once used a power bank to charge the OnePlus 6T while I am on the move.

Better OTG/USB Type C Experience

Given that the OnePlus 6T has no 3.5mm audio port, the OTG will automatically activated once a Type C device is inserted. This is another improvement from the OnePlus 6 where you need to manually activate the OTG each time you inserted.

OnePlus has removed the 3.5mm audio port.

When you insert the Type C port for the first time, the OnePlus 6T will automatically activated the “Earphone mode”, a popular feature among OnePlus fans. In this mode, you could activate a “Speak Caller ID” feature when connected with the headphones. This feature will read out to you the incoming call number and if the incoming call happens to be in your phonebook, it will read out the contact name.

Other customization such as “Auto Play” to resume music playback and “Smart Answer for Bluetooth” to connect to Bluetooth audio to answer incoming call are also found in the “Earphone mode”.

In-display Fingerprint Sensor

OnePlus 6T has shifted the finger print sensor from the back to the front and replace it with a in-screen one. To some of you out there, the technology may seem redundant but if you think deeper, this could give us a quick glimpse on how we could better secure the phone in future. Imagine the technology gets better in years to come, the fingerprint sensor may not be at fixed location and it could be anywhere on the screen or at the back of the phone. Instead of single fingerprint, the phone could be equipped with multiple fingerprints or a palm-print sensor just like the Judge Dredd’s “Lawgiver”. How cool is that?!

Currently, OnePlus 6T is one of the few Android phones in the market equipped with this feature. I can see that more phones maker will follow suit to add this technology as part of their product offerings. Sidetrack – It is rumored that Apple will not add in-display fingerprint sensors in their phones. So, that is something OnePlus 6T owners could brag about to their iPhone friends.  

Top Price vs Value

You have read many reviews about the many similarities of OnePlus 6T against OnePlus 6. From the hardware perspectives, I agree (at least most of them). Both the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T use the same chip and camera sensors. But I am not agreeing to the fact that you should buy the cheaper OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T.

Don’t get me wrong. Both OnePlus 6 and 6T offer top specifications in the market and they are selling at very reasonable price. A quick check across the key e commerce sites in Singapore – OnePlus 6 (8GB Ram/128GB ROM) is selling at SGD 699 and the OnePlus 6T (8GB RAM/128GB ROM) is SGD738. Note that the OnePlus 6T is selling at only about 5% more expensive than the OnePlus 6 in the Singapore market.

First, the battery life of OnePlus 6T is more than 10% of OnePlus 6’s. That itself justified the 5% premium over the OnePlus 6.

Second, the display of OnePlus 6T is made up of Gorilla Glass 6, an upgrade from the OnePlus 6’s Gorilla Glass 5. In terms of scratch resistance, both Glass 5 and Glass 6 are equivalent. The main difference is that Glass 6 is designed to withstand multiply drops from greater heights. In other words, the OnePlus 6T is supposedly tougher than OnePlus 6. That’s a plus point for clumsy phone users (like me).

Third, there are several software enhancements that may or may not relevant to phone users. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning if you are considering buying the OnePlus 6 or the OnePlus 6T. For instance, OnePlus claims that they use new algorithm in the 6T to better optimize photo setting even though it is using the same camera sensors as the OnePlus 6’s.  

Conclusion

If you are one of those who are still holding to your old OnePlus 5T or older, you should consider upgrading to the OnePlus 6T. No doubt the OnePlus 6 is cheaper and gives similar performance. The small price premium justified the added features against the OnePlus 6 based on the latest price comparison.  

Singapore Fund Raiser Shares Business Tips

I was once invited to Singapore Polytechnic to address a business class and talk about Corporate Finance. It was a talk that was supposed to show or demonstrate how companies raise money through public listings. I did sense that the topic was going dry and it was really a bunch of students who already knew what I was talking about. As such, I stopped the talk midway and asked if the students would prefer a Q and A and not see the rest of my slides. To my surprise, they all raised their hands and agreed to my suggestion. And the number one question on everyone’s lips – “How do you find deals?” And “How do you close them?”

It was a question I was a little unprepared for because I had no slides to support this question.

Indeed, I was caught a little flat footed but as I summoned my confidence to speak and it came out quite naturally.

I said it all boiled down to one word – Luck. Before someone accuses me of copying Doug Leonie from Sequoia Partners in his talk to the Stanford Business School graduating class, I made my talk more than 5 years ago. While I may not be able to hold a candle to Doug on his deal closing and fund-raising, I could hold my head and say the world is big enough for opportunities to come and in all shapes and sizes. But in an old cliché – luck favors the prepared and the ready. Ronaldo always knew that when he should stick his leg out, where the ball will go to better positioned himself to strike a goal. Be at the right place at the right time.

Getting prepared means you had to know your facts, your domain knowledge or at least know where and how to get it. Being widely read and widely connected were also components of being ready. Being a genius helps but if you’re not a genius (I certainly wasn’t) then it helps to know who the geniuses are and where they usually hang out. Go and connect with them. Nurturing your circle and practicing top EQ techniques in that circle will certainly give you an edge.

Looking for deals is about fishing in the right ocean. If you are looking for a Great White, then you’d probably want to be somewhere near the Great Barrier Reef. If you are looking for small fish and plenty of them then the Straits of Malacca will do but look out for pirates. Having identified your fishing spot, all you need is to equip yourself with knowledge and tools to do your fishing. (You can’t catch tuna without a proper fishing rod, right?) Hang out in the right places and be ready.

I am hard pressed to name the deals I have struck due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, but I have closed my fair share of deals. Debt or equity. PE or VC. Project or Specifics. Demand and Supply. Derivative or Structures. It’s a rich gamut.

Luck is all about being ready and sticking out your foot at the right time. Be thankful for education especially one that teaches you to read well and speak well and ultimately relate well.

To conclude, you only need to take home one thing and that will make your day or your deal – “Right place, right time, right words and right people”

About The Article Contributor 

Mr. Chiang Kwok Shong has a life-time experience in banking, private equity, FMCG and fund management. A coach certified by Marshall Goldsmith SCC, Kwok Shong brings a new skill to his people-centred and humorous style of supporting CEOs and corporate leaders to perform at their best. Kwok Shong is now an Executive Director for CYC Company, a famous tailor in Singapore. He received his Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Alberta in 1984 and recently received his certification with the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching in 2014.

A Continued Love Affair With BlackBerry KEY2

Author: Poisonvine.com

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Therefore, please expect this review to be biased in the favour of BlackBerry. If there’s something you don’t agree with, let’s just agree to disagree.

 

Despite the prevalence of full touch screen phones, and admittedly there are many very good options out there, there are still a bunch of us who are willing to sacrifice a 16:9 4K stereo sound movie experience on a giant phone for features which makes a phone more usable as, well, a phone.

 

For me, my phone is primarily a communications device – Telegram, WhatsApp and email. I am totally happy to use my tablet to watch movies and play games (I just got a Mi Pad 4 recently which is really good value-for-money and I have no complaints with it so far). As such, the typing experience on my phone is really important to me. I like to be able to type and walk at the same time and still be able to keep my eyes on the road. I like to be able to type confidently without having to check my phone for spelling errors (or worse, stupid autocorrects which can be potentially more embarrassing than some innocent spelling errors. If you have no clue on how serious or hilarious autocorrect mistakes can be, you can see them here).

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory but it is 80% there

This is where a keyboard comes in.

 

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory. That accolade still goes to the good old BlackBerry Bold 9900 (back then, they manufacture their own phone. Now TCL is the manufacturer of all BlackBerry phones) but I think KEY2 is 80% there. The KEY2 certainly made a few improvements over the KeyOne. The keys are angled in such a way that it matches how the thumb would “hit” the keyboard. What I didn’t like so much was that in order to keep a slim profile for the phone, the right “shift” and “alt” key had to go, which at times is a bother if I need to type numbers. For example, to input “7”, I have to hold down the “alt” key and press the “z” key at the same time which is really difficult. Luckily it is possible to lock the “alt” (or the “shift” key for that matter) by double-pressing the “alt” key, but I definitely still prefer to have the alt and shift key on both sides. It is possible to customise the currency key so that it works as “shift” key, but now I chose to use it as “ctrl” key so that I can use it to do my cut and paste easily.

 

Another feature I like about BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is that it is possible to create a multi-language keyboard which gives predictive words for up to 3 compatible languages (read: similar writing systems). This could be useful if you regularly communicate using different languages (or better yet, a mix of them). Instead of having to change the input language all the time, you can now simply type away. That said, switching languages on the keyboard (say, English to Chinese) is super easy. Just hold “alt” and press “enter” to toggle between the available languages.

One of my favourite features on legacy BlackBerry devices was the global search feature. Instead of having to go into the contacts app to start looking for someone, I can simply type the person’s name and the phone will show me search results related to the person, including contact details, email conversations with the person, or social media stuff.

 

This feature is still available on the KEY2, but the setting is difficult to find. To enable the global search, tap the centre button (BlackBerry launcher), and click the “Settings” button on the top right hand corner, then “Typing action”, then select “Start a search”.

I have found this feature to be useful, unfortunately it is slow. I really hope that this will be improved going forward.

 

An important thing to note is that when this feature is switched on, in order to use the apps shortcut, you have to hold the bottom right key (the one with nine dots) in order to activate the shortcuts. Some may also notice that the options for creating “short press” shortcut is gone, which effectively reduces the available keys for creating shortcuts by half (long press vs short press). However, there is a workaround. If you create the “short press” shortcuts first, then switch to “Start a search”, the “short press” shortcuts will still work. So currently, I use a short press “T” for Telegram and a long press “T” for Twitter and still have the global search enabled.

 

The battery life on the phone is quite impressive. The battery easily last over a day with normal usage on the phone. That is despite the phone’s battery being only 3500 mAh. I am not sure, but I think it is because the processor Snapdragon 660 is a very power efficient processor.

 

But this brings me to my next point, while I will buy the phone, the price point vs the hardware specs makes it hard for me to recommend this phone to others. For Snapdragon 660, 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, BlackBerry KEY2 has a recommended retail price of SGD 899. It is currently possible to buy the Oneplus 6T at SGD 898 which has Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory. ( If you want to know how good the OnePlus phone is, read my review here)

 

I loved BlackBerry legacy devices, but the user experience on the android versions of BlackBerry hasn’t been quite as smooth so far. I still miss being able to swipe up and right from anywhere, any app to access the BlackBerry hub. That said, the KEY2 has proven to me that there is a future for BlackBerry in android, but admittedly it’s not for everybody.

 

Now I just gotta find the best discount I can get for this phone…

 

p.s. If you are keen to know more about my love for BlackBerry, read my older article on BlackBerry Passport here)

SINGAPORE NAMED AS HOT INVESTMENT DESTINATIONS; MORE CONSOLIDATION AMONG REITS

Singapore CBD

Singapore is ranked as second top real estate investment city in Asia Pacific right behind Melbourne according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific® 2019, a real estate forecast jointly published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC.

The cyclical rebound for Singapore is mainly driven by the revival of office rental market. This year, co-working or shared office space operators is the major contributor for the Singapore real estate sectors.

The revival of the Singapore office is observed in the number of deals for the past 12 months. One notable deal is the sales of OUE Downtown office components for SGD 908 million. However, during the survey done by ULI, one fund manager active in the market notes, “It is possible the market is overly bullish towards the office sector, as 2019 could be a challenging year for the Singapore economy and new supply is expected in 2020 and 2021”

The report also shows that the residential market in Singapore continues to be resilient, despite cooling measures in place for several years. Meanwhile, solid economic growth and high visitor numbers have supported rents and yields for prime retail space in 2018, following years of poor performance as Singapore landlords struggle to adapt to new models of retailing. Meanwhile, the logistics market remains plagued by oversupply. This has suppressed rents, although there are signs excess space is now being taken up, with rents are predicted to improve slightly in 2019.

The Singapore REIT market, on the other hand, has exhibited relatively weaker performance in 2018. In the first 9 months, S&P REITS lost 1.2% in local currency terms. Although annual returns were still positive at approx. 6%, it is relatively lower when benchmarked to the broader Singapore’s STI index which returned 10% in the same period.

Smaller REITs in Singapore have been trading at substantial discounts to net asset value (NAV). Market observer has started to foresee more consolidation amongst the smaller REITS which what investors could be looking for – fewer sponsors equal to stronger sponsors.

The Emerging Trends report, which is being released at a series of events across Asia over the next several weeks, provides an outlook on Asia Pacific real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, and trends by property sector and metropolitan area. It is based on the opinions of 350 real estate professionals, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants.

 


The top five markets for investment and development in 2019:

• Melbourne (first in investment, first in development) – Melbourne has just managed to best Sydney this year. It offers a constrained office supply pipeline, a good yield spread over the cost of debt and sovereign bonds, a deep, liquid, core market and good prospects for rental growth.

• Singapore (second in investment, eighth in development) – An improvement in Singapore’s office market has caused the city to take second spot in investment rankings, as it continues to rebound from cyclical lows.

• Sydney (Third in investment, third in development) – Sydney remains near the top of the rankings for the same reasons as Melbourne. The city is a favourite of global investors due to relatively high returns and as a safe-haven play. Competition for assets has helped sustain pricing, while low vacancies and growing demand for space suggest rents will continue to rise.

• Tokyo (fourth in investment, fourth in development) – Tokyo’s move to fourth this year is somewhat surprising after last year’s drop, but probably reflects what has always made it a favourite for institutional buyers: cheap finance, attractive leverage, a good spread over interest rates, and a large stock of investment-grade assets.

• Osaka (fifth in investment, sixth in development) – The lack of reasonably priced core assets in Tokyo continues to push investors into regional Japan, where local economies are now increasingly mature and stable. With supply tight in both residential and office sectors, the city is now probably the top market outside the capital.

Leading buy/hold/sell ratings for the various asset classes are as follows:
• Office — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo, sell Taipei and Auckland.
• Residential — buy Ho Chi Minh City and Bangalore, sell Kuala Lumpur and Auckland.
• Retail — buy Ho Chi Min City and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Industrial/distribution — buy Bangalore and Mumbai, sell Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
• Hotels – buy Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City, sell Taipei and Beijing.

The full report is available here.

SINGAPORE-BASED TC ACOUSTIC LAUNCHES SONOS-ON-DEMAND SERVICE

Audio equipment business has always been perceived to be lacking innovation and personally, I think it is true at least to a certain extent – how much can you change when comes to sound which you can’t touch, see and feel. However, my perception is starting to change in recent years. The Singapore-based Creative Super X-Fi, for instance, has impressed me with their personalized sound map. Now, another Singapore company Tat Chuan Acoustic (TC Acoustic) is rolling up new services hoping to lure more customers in this highly competitive audio equipment.

 

TC Acoustic has announced the launch of Sonos-On-Demand, a unique online service that offers music lovers and their families a fifteen-day free trial1 of the new gamechanging smart speaker Sonos Beam (RRP S$699). Consumers can simply place a refundable deposit of S$99 for the Sonos Beam at South-east Asia’s leading e-commerce platform Lazada, with the option of completing or cancelling the purchase fifteen days from the date of delivery.

 

Marching to the Beat of an On-Demand Generation

Catering to a new generation of tech savvy consumers who are used to on-demand services such as Netflix and Spotify, Sonos-On-Demand is a creative way to provide the same kind of convenience and access, allowing them to test and buy a music system at a touch of a button, without ever setting foot out of the house.

 

Sonos Makes it Home 

Based on a study that surveyed 30,000 people across the world, Sonos discovered that when music is played out loud in the house, it transforms relationships. Families are 25% more inspired, have 50% more hang-out time, and say “I love you” 18% more. Truly, Sonos makes it home.

Sonos-On-Demand aspires to deliver this promise right to the doorsteps of homeowners, quite literally. The aim is to usher them into their first foray of filling their homes with music and what it can do for them – more warmth, love, bonding, creativity, conversations and connections – and enable them to create the best sonic culture and atmosphere in their own homes.

Delivering a rich, in-home sound experience, the Sonos Beam is designed for the unparalleled listening of virtually any streaming content, from movies and TV shows to music and podcasts. Touted as the world’s most versatile smart speaker, the Sonos Beam supports over 80 music services, multiple voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2.

“As technology continues to push the boundaries of how we live, work and play; a seamless customer journey means ensuring that consumers get what they want, when they want it. Through Sonos-OnDemand we’re giving our consumers complete control to create the perfect listening environment, whenever the desire takes hold”, said Christian Honegger, Chief Executive Officer of TC Acoustic, the official distributor of Sonos in Singapore.

 

About TC Acoustic 

The exclusive regional distributor for Sonos and Klipsch, TC Acoustic has been the leading player in audio distribution since 1966. It underwent a change of management and strategic restructuring in 2010 and has since become one of the fastest-growing and highly innovative lifestyle technology distributors in Singapore and rest of Asia. Currently TC Acoustic has close to 500 distribution points across the region. Under its new management, its key brands have also garnered several awards from major tech media.

 

 

Lazada Pledges to Cultivate Eight Million eCommerce Entrepreneurs and SMEs by 2030

“Our vision is to help small businesses globally.”

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba

Lazada Group, an South-East Asia based e-commerce company that Alibaba acquired, has pledged to support eight million eCommerce entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia to grow and thrive by 2030. The company also announced its commitment to create an inclusive and sustainable eCommerce ecosystem in the region and champion opportunities in technology and logistics infrastructure to benefit its ecosystem of sellers, consumers and local communities.


At the opening speech of a panel discussion hosted by Lazada on the state of eCommerce in Southeast Asia, Lucy Peng, Executive Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer, Lazada Group, said: “Having overcome the early challenges of building up the business and industry in a nascent landscape, we now want to lead our ecosystem through the era of robust digital transformation. Our focus is on creating a trusted platform connecting sellers to the Southeast Asian consumers. By enabling sellers with our technology and logistics capabilities, we want to help sellers flourish, to become sustainable businesses that will contribute to Southeast Asia economic growth in the long run.”

 

Building entrepreneurs into thriving businesses in the digital economy 

 

As the region’s leading online shopping and selling platform, Lazada is committed to establishing eCommerce as a prolific facet of the evolving digital economy. Healthy and flourishing SMEs are key components of a thriving eCommerce ecosystem – their existence helps unlock the full potential of Southeast Asian nations, allowing the region to digitize.

 

An area that came under spotlight during the panel discussion was SMEs’ eCommerce knowhow and access to local consumers. To help sellers reach more customers, Lazada has developed various initiatives, comprehensive tools and dedicated trainings that enable sellers of all sizes to attract, engage and convert more consumers into sales.

 

That being said, Lazada continues to aspire to do more. “New generation of sellers no longer view eCommerce as a good-to-have, but a necessity in order to drive success. And eCommerce players like Lazada can be strategic partners to sellers who are committed to their professional and business growth.

 

 

On cross-border trade, another common challenge faced by SMEs raised at the panel, Simon Baptist, Global Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Asia, said, “Singapore has led the way in actively pursuing an agenda for open trade borders. However, there are still challenges for SMEs, especially in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, due to a lack of access to financial and support services, as well as a need to develop capacity in e-payments and eCommerce.”

 

Supporting digital consumer growth with improved infrastructure

 

Faced with limited fulfilment players, a small and fragmented transportation sector, as well as vastly different infrastructure landscapes, logistics remains a huge challenge for eCommerce players big and small across Southeast Asia.

 

“Our research showed that logistics is a challenge, particularly in archipelagos like Indonesia and the Philippines. Road networks, as well as the retail and distribution network, came up as higher-risk areas for eCommerce firms,” said Baptist.

 

On customer experience, data and technology are the two key factors that will dynamically evolve the experience for online shoppers, due to Southeast Asia’s heterogeneity.

 

eCommerce businesses that can leverage data to navigate specific local consumer tastes and direct consumers to take desired actions are well-poised to succeed.