D-Link Launches McAfee-Secured AC2600 Router (DIR-2680) in Singapore

By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be 20 billion connected things, and their role and influence is set to dramatically increase over the next 10 years. They’ve also raised a new crop of security issues, as Internet of Things (IoT) devices are subject to attacks just like any other connected device like a PC or smartphone. The new D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee helps secure all connected devices at the network level in a home, including non-display IoT devices, providing an additional layer of protection from potential hackers and for members of the home using devices and accessing online content.

D-Link Dir-2680 Security Router

As the number of connected devices in homes continues to grow, consumers are increasingly concerned about online security threats. D-Link teamed up with McAfee and Intel to address these concerns with a powerful, easy to manage, all-in-one solution.

The D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Security Router Powered by McAfee (DIR-2680) automatically increases security for devices on the home network and delivers on both companies’ vision to address the pressing need for online security as people’s lives become increasingly connected. The comprehensive solution includes D-Link’s high-performance dual-band 802.11ac router with MU-MIMO technology that enhances network capacity and efficiency for users, McAfee Secure Home Platform that automatically protects all devices connected to the network, and the Intel® Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV500 Series to deliver robust Wi-Fi connectivity to numerous connected devices at the same time, running a range of high-bandwidth applications.

McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence features adaptable machine learning that protects by preventing, detecting, and correcting malicious malware and attacks, which enables a safer internet browsing experience for consumers. Designed for families and smart home owners looking for the ultimate home networking without sacrificing privacy and security, the DIR-2680 keeps connected devices safer from unwanted intrusions and thefts. Additionally, comprehensive parental control features provide customized protection for children in the household. The DIR-2680 is easily set up with the D-Link Wi-Fi app and can be managed from anywhere with D-fend app. DIR-2680 comes with a FREE 2-year bundle of unlimited licences for McAfee LiveSafe, providing on-the-go protection when the users are away from home.

DIR-2680 Additional Features and Benefits:

  • Comprehensive Security Made Simple
  • Easy set up and instant protection for all devices with full control from anywhere
  • End-to-end protection designed to help prevent, detect and correct potential threats
  • HD video streaming and lightning-fast downloads with dual-band 802.11ac with MU-MIMO performance
  • Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset supports for up to 128 simultaneously connected devices
  • Connected Home Protection
  • Real-time monitoring for a safer browsing experience and powerful security for IoT device protection
  • Comprehensive Parental Controls
  • Customized protection for every child, including personalized content filters and screen time controls
  • Cloud Based Machine Learning
  • McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence provides an adaptable solution that blocks malware, and malicious websites
  • Serious Protection Needs Serious Power
  • The wireless traffic is fully offloaded to the Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset, so that the Intel® AnyWAN™ SoC – the primary computing engine in the router – is freed up for software and security functions.

D-Link International has yet to announce the official price and the availability of the product for Singapore market. Based on other sources, the product could be selling from USD 250 (approx. SGD 338) onwards.

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 ISP – SpaceRoam Partners 7-Eleven To Offer 59 Collection Points For Pocket Wi-Fi Rental Island Wide

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 – Internet service provider Spaceroam Pte Ltd (“Spaceroam”) and 7-Eleven, the leading convenience store in Singapore, will be partnering to make travel more convenient for all travellers residing in Singapore. With Pocket Wi-Fi devices becoming an essential to stay connected 24/7 anywhere and anytime when travelling, convenient travel starts when the Wi-Fi devices can be picked up and dropped off conveniently.

SpaceRoam Pocket Wi-Fi is packed in a water-proofed bag that contains the charger and instruction

 

 

This will be made possible by the end of the year when Spaceroam partners 7-Eleven to place Wi-Fi devices in 59 7-Eleven outlets. This partnership marks the widest distribution network and largest number of collection and return points for rented pocket Wi-Fi devices in Singapore.

 

Aside from the 7-Eleven partnership, Spaceroam has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with telecommunications operator M1 Limited today, the latest in a string of partnerships in Spaceroam’s bid to bring better Wi-Fi services to Singaporeans. This partnership will see M1 Limited becoming the preferred local data provider for all of Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental devices. This means that majority of the users of Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi devices or services in Singapore will be connected via the M1 local data network.

About Spaceroam Pte Ltd

Spaceroam Pte Ltd was established in 2010 to provide internet services and telecommunication support to local events and concerts. Since then, Spaceroam Pte Ltd has expanded its range of services to include providing corporate internet services and launching an international mobile Wi-Fi rental service.

 

Spaceroam has provided its IT services to over 20 events in Singapore, and has also worked with MNCs and Government Organizations and help install the infrastructure for Wi-Fi at factories and worker dormitories.

 

Previously known as Simply Unique Pte Ltd, Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental arm, Y5Buddy Singapore, started out with 15 Wi-Fi devices that served internet connectivity for seven Asian countries. To date, Spaceroam’s devices now provide travellers with Wi-Fi coverage at over 130 countries around the world. Today, Spaceroam’s Wi-Fi rental serves over 50,000 customers and over 80 companies, and the company seeks to expand and become the top global data and application company in Singapore.

 

 

 

 

Are We Seeing X-Mini’s Turnaround?

Poor financial management & failure to adapt to market dynamics are by-far the most serious mistakes that we learn to avoid in Business 101. However, we still heard established companies making these mistakes. Few years back, X-Mini committed all these mistakes.

 

Now, they are making a comeback with their latest range of products. In September 2018, XMI, the company that shocked the world in 2007 with their ionic capsule speakers X-Mini, made a global debut of their first earbuds series. This is their latest product development after XMI’s parent company Insonotech took over listing status of Technics Oil & Gas (stock quote: 5CQ.SI) . The latest round of SGD 5m funding also sees the reshuffling of the key management in XMI – Mr Hoong He Hin takes over from co-founder and former CEO, Ryan Lee, who now serves as the brand’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).  Mr. Keith Wong is appointed as the new Chief Operations Officer. The share (5CQ.SI) is still suspended pending for the Exchange’s approval at the point of writing.

 

Formerly, the Group CEO of Onwards Media Group Pte. Ltd., Mr. Hoong brings with him 16 years of business development experience in content distribution signaling a change in X-mini’s business direction away from a pure audio speaker maker to an audio specialist in consumer space.

 

“X-mini became a success story for Singapore consumer technology and innovation when it launched its groundbreaking capsule speaker in 2007,” says Mr. Hoong He Hin. “We look forward to taking X-mini to new heights by expanding into new product categories, as well as providing more digital content to our customers in the future. We also plan to double total staff strength from 20 to 40 to build our engineering, product management and sales and marketing teams, in order to meet market demand for new product offerings.”

 

Change For Better

Few years ago, XMI was struggling financially and mostly, it was the management’s fault. In the interview with Straits Times in 2017, one of their co-founders Mr. Ryan Lee admitted that they have overspent and didn’t save enough during the good days. In 2010, they started their own factory in China and revenues has been good averaging SGD 30M a year from 2011 to 2014. However, they got arrogant – overpaying their executives, over-expansion of offices and manufacturing facilities and overproduction. These are some of the oversight from the management.

 

No doubt, Mr. Ryan Lee is a visionary leader but afterall, he is a tech guy who might be more suitable in developing new products. Placing Mr. Ryan as the CTO is the right move, at least in my opinion. His role as CTO will see him continue the core DNA of how the brand first made their name – innovation – across X-mini’s range of products. The brand’s founder says, “We are excited about exploring new technologies for X-mini: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) provide a treasure trove opportunities for the brand, as we continue to innovate by leveraging on our expertise in audio engineering and delivering great sound to consumers moving forward.”

 

Diversity is Good but Lacks Focus

XMI is taking steps to rebuild the business and expand its product range, with new staff and management to drive the business forward. Since the fund injection in 2017, the company has turned a corner in terms of getting a whole new product range on the market and made significant inroads in re-establishing a market presence in this region.

 

This time, XMI launches 8 different earbuds; each of them selling at different price positioning themselves as a brand-for-all. You could get a good-quality, entry-level earphones slightly less than USD 15 (I am referring to the newly launched X-Mini Nova). The better model, the X-Mini Xtlas which supports Hi Res audio, is selling not more than USD 100. Marketers who are reading this part may have noticed this – the price difference between the high and the low-quality is a mere USD 85. In terms of pricing strategies, X-Mini is trying to sell different models to different market segments within this narrow price band of USD 85 and that could “confuse” the market value of the brand. Think of this scenario – the 15-dollar earbuds may sell well in developing economies, but the market will label “X-Mini” as a cheap brand and when that happens, how is the market going to response when XMI is also selling high-quality X-Mini earbuds but comparatively cheaper than similar products of different brands?  On top of that, how about the profit margin when you are selling below market price?

 

Market has changed even in our neighboring countries. The rise of middle-class presents an opportunity as they are demanding more and have the capacity to spend. Streamlining your product ranges and consolidating your resources to create one or two killer products to capture this market segment may be a better bet than trying to capture all. I have my doubts on the feasibility of their current strategies.

 

Being a tech writer, I am lucky enough to get first-hand information of the latest gadget in town. I know how to sniff out good product. Standing as a consumer’s point of view, X-Mini sells good products at attractive price-point. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t have the level of knowledge and usually make buying decision based on what they see, hear and feel about the brand. To put it in another words, X-Mini as a brand has yet to stand out against competition from the big boys. From a marketing prospective, I can’t identify the positioning of X-Mini.

 

Looking At The Bright Side

On the positive note, there are people in the market still believe in X-Mini. In

X-Mini Debuts Their First Earphones Series

2015, Polaris Ltd (Stock Quote: SGX:5BI) is one of the early investors who extended their help to XMI by investing 30% of equity interest through an unsecured loan of USD 1.5M. During the same period, XMI’s founders also sought help from 3Fs (the common term used in the business world to describe the kind of investors of a startup – 3Fs namely Friends, Family & Fools). In 2016, they managed to raise USD 8M. In the same year, they parted way with Polaris.  This year, they received a further SGD 5M.

 

If the funding round continues, XMI should be able to overcome their financial woes and even further entrench their business footholds in the region. Judging from their corporate action with the SGX-listed Technics Oil & Gas, I believe potential investors in Singapore or perhaps South East Asia will be interested in the company. I am expecting more fund-raising activities from XMI which I think it is by far, the most important factor to determine whether the company could be turned around.

OnePlus 6 Review – A Phone That Satisfies (almost) All

Long story short: If I were looking to change my phone, this would be it.

The Good

OnePlus 6 sports a dual rear camera system. The main rear camera is 16 MP with Sony IMX 519 sensor. The secondary rear camera is 20 MP with Sony IMX 376K sensor

Smooth Operator

OnePlus 6 packs the powerful Snapdragon 845 (same as Samsung Galaxy Note 9) which makes everything oh-so smooth. Graphic intensive games did not pose any problems to the phone at all. For the gamers out there, you may be pleased to know that the phone has a gaming mode which gives you the option to block incoming notifications and to lock the screen brightness.

Not Huawei P20 Pro, but no complaints

Since everyone is focusing on cameras these days, let’s talk about cameras. OnePlus 6 sports a dual rear camera system. The main rear camera is 16 MP with Sony IMX 519 sensor. The secondary rear camera is 20 MP with Sony IMX 376K sensor. Both cameras have an aperture of f/1.7. The main camera has OIS and EIS.

Digital Zoom by OnePlus. It is hard to spot the monitor lizard.

Night Shot by OnePlus 6

 

Food Photo

Overall OnePlus 6 produces photos that are pleasing, if not exceptional. Night shots are decent but can be a bit grainy. Don’t bother with the digital zoom though.

No more eye strain

OnePlus 6 features a beautiful 6.28-inch AMOLED display which offers rich colours and a great contrast. If you prefer a more realistic colour representation, OnePlus 6 offers the possibility to change the display profile to sRGB or DCI-P3 palette. A new feature on the OnePlus 6 is the Reading Mode, which turns the display into a monochromatic one (so that it looks somewhat like a Kindle display) so that prolonged reading is easy on the eyes. I find myself loving this feature so much that I read tons of Wikipedia articles in the Reading Mode. I totally dig using Kindle’s Android app in the Reading Mode. I am now quite convinced that me that I can keep my actual Kindle in my drawer. Heck, I even switched to Reading Mode while watching some movies on the phone just for the fun of it. That said, if you launch the camera app or photo gallery, the software is smart enough to know that Reading Mode isn’t useful, and colour will fill the display. After you hit the home button or switch to another app, the screen will turn back to greyscale.

Headphone jack

Since my favourite Sennheiser headphones are not wireless, I need the headphone jack. So yay!

Usable right out of the box

You know how you cannot really use the phone properly during the first few days because you leave the plastic protector on the phone in case it gets scratched. The problem is only resolved when you finally get your screen protector and case to protect your purchase right? With the OnePlus 6, the screen protector is adhered already at the factory (flawless dust-free application) and a nice case comes in the box, so you can use your phone straightaway without fear.

The Not-so-good

Not enough juice for some

The OnePlus 6 comes with a 3,300 mAh battery which in my humble opinion, is not quite enough. For general use, it will easily last a day, but when I play Pokemon Go I find that I cannot play to my heart’s content. The phone does charge very quickly with OnePlus’s Dash Charge (around 60% in 30 mins) though so there’s an upside.

Not waterproof (at least officially)

It is noteworthy that OnePlus 6 does not have any IP rating for waterproof resistance. I conducted some informal and unscientific tests on my own and can confirm that OnePlus 6 will remain safe in the rain or by the swimming pool (BY, not IN). Some people have conducted more professional investigations (read: tear-down) and concluded that the OnePlus 6 has at least enough protection to give the device an IP67 rating. However, if you are tempted to submerge your phone in the water, keep in mind you are doing so at your own risk.

No room for expansion

OnePlus 6 does not have SD card support so you are restricted to the 64 GB or 128 GB that you buy. My concern isn’t about whether there is enough storage or not. I like to have everything on my SD card so that when I change phones I can transfer all my stuff via SD card quickly.

And no, I don’t want to backup my stuff to Google. They already know more about me than they need to.

Sometimes, I don’t know where I am

I find that the GPS signal is weaker on the OnePlus 6 than on my old OnePlus 3T. When playing Pokemon Go indoors, I find that the GPS signal is lost very often. That said, when outdoors without obstruction, the GPS gets a lock on the location very quickly and is accurate.

The “I can’t be bothered”

Notch

There is a notch on the OnePlus 6. It is possible to change the display such that you don’t see the notch. Some people love the notch, some people hate it. I don’t really care about it or care for it. I don’t find it distracting, yet I don’t find much benefit for it either.

Wireless charging

Personally, I don’t understand why people complain about the lack of wireless charging. I can use the phone while it’s charging with the USB cable, but I cannot use the phone when it is placed on the wireless charging pad. Wireless charging is slower anyway.

Until all my furniture have wireless charging pads built into them, I simply couldn’t care less. I rather have a lower price on the phone.

Speaker

As mentioned earlier, I use my headphones so I hardly find myself using the loud speaker on the OnePlus 6. But this point is probably worth a mention anyway. OnePlus 6 has a single, down-firing loudspeaker. The sound quality isn’t very impressive. Maybe it has got something to do with the case, but there’s some sort of a buzzing sound like something is shaking. I will happily stick to my headphones.

 

In conclusion, OnePlus 6 is a good phone that generally can satisfy most users. It is not the cheapest phone out there, but compared to other phones offering similar specs, you will be hard pressed to find another phone that offers better value than the OnePlus 6.

 

Article Contributed by Poisonvine.com

 

July – The Month For Budget Phones – ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1), Huawei nova 3i, Honor Play

July in Singapore is filled with exciting launches of budget phones. Last week, ASUS and Huawei launched their ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and Huawei nova 3i. This week, another new contender in Singapore – Honor launches Honor Play. All these products are selling competitively at the price range of $300 – $450. This post, I am doing a quick comparison of the specs of these phones and hopefully, gives some ideas in your next purchase.

 

Camera

Samsung and iPhone started the idea of Face Unlock but it is not longer a technology barrier for other smartphone markers. All 3 phones offer the face unlock features. I am not a fan for this feature but I am impressed with the technology and how front-facing camera have evolved for the past 1 years.

 

The ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and Honor Play comes with 8MP and 16MP front-facing camera respectively whereas the Huawei nova 3i is equipped with dual 24MP and 2MP front-facing camera. Judging from the specs alone, the Huawei nova 3i seems to edge above the other 2 phones. In fact, the resolution of the front-facing camera of the nova 3i is higher than its rear camera which is packed with dual 16MP and 2MP lens. The nova 3i’s front-facing camera is also armed with the popular Huawei’s AI photography technology.

 

Model is doing a selfie with Huawei nova 3i

The Honor Play has the same dual camera specs as the Huawei nova 3i. As a separated brand owned by Huawei, the rear camera of the phone comes with Huawei’s AI photography technology. If you are a fan of Huawei’s mobile phones, I am sure this feature is something that you are seeking for.

 

In terms of rear camera specs, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) has dual 13MP + 5MP camera lens. The secondary 5MP camera enhanced the bokeh effects of the photo. The rear camera supports 4K recording.

Processor and Memory

Kirin 970 processor made it to the world stage when Huawei introduced their

Honor Play showcased at Raduga Center

flagship Huawei Mate 10 last year. This time, the same Kirin 970 processor in Huawei Mate 10 is used to power the Honor Play. This budget phone is essentially a premium smartphone and it has a 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM that could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 256GB.

 

On the other hand, the nova 3i from the parent company is equipped with the newer Kirin 710 processor. The new processor is designed to give a better performance specifically for the mid-range phones. The nova 3i has a 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of ROM that could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 256GB.

 

Unlike Huawei, ASUS uses older Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, one that is commonly found in mid-range smartphones, in their Zenfone Max Pro (M1). For the past 1 year, the 636 processor has proven to be reliable in terms of performance and power consumption. The Zenfone Max Pro (M1) has a 3GB RAM and 32GB of Rom but could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 2TB.

 

Port – USB Type C, Micro USB , Audio Jack

Fortunately, budget and midrange phones do not always copy everything that a premium phone has. ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1), Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play keep the 3.5mm audio jack. You could still enjoy your music on these devices with your current headphones.

 

Among the 3 phones, the Honor Play is the only one with the USB Type C port where as the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and the Huawei nova 3i come with the conventional micro-USB ports. Nonetheless, all 3 phones have fast charge features.

 

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) showcased in Singapore

Battery Capacity

Battery capacity for Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play are 3,340 mAh and 3,750mAh respectively whereas the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) is packed with 5,000mAh. Judging from the pure hardware perspective, it is impressive to put such a big battery into a phone.

 

Verdict

Let’s just be practical – If you need a phone that works and nothing else, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) seems to be a better option. The phone has bigger battery which technically speaking, could last longer eliminating the need of bringing a power bank. With external microSD storage upto 2TB, you could store all your documents and images in your phone.  Unlike the Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play, the microSD card slot is dedicated one which means that there is no need to compromise one sim card slot for external storage. You could still use the dual sim cards simultaneously. If you are one of those who is holding 2 numbers – one for personal and one for work, this is a good feature to have.

 

From 25th July to 30 July, ASUS is having a special launch promotion for Zenfone Max Pro (M1). Price will drop from SGD 348 to SGD 258. Perfect for budget-constraint freelancers who use their personal device for both work and leisure.

 

If you are looking for fun – Honor Play is the first gaming phone that is designed for young mobile users who do not have deep pocket to burn. The Kirin 970 processor has already proven its capability in Huawei Mate 10 but this time, consumers do not need to pay a premium price to get superior performance. The famous Huawei’s GPU Turbo is of course included in the phone.

 

The phone is selling at recommended retail price of SGD 429 at Qoo10 and Honor Singapore is accepting pre-order starting from today. The shipment is expected to be out from 7 Aug onwards.

 

Social Media and Lifestyle–  If you are one of those who like to share good pictures on your SNS, then the nova 3i is the clear winner. The nova 3i has 4 cameras in total! Powered by AI, the nova 3i can recognise over 200 scenarios across eight categories including Blue Sky, Plant and Beach. The AI function can optimise photos by scene to create a true-to-life effect.

With AI machine learning, the HUAWEI nova 3i also supports 3D Qmoji, which is a social media-friendly feature that digitally transposes the face of a user onto a digital avatar.

The nova 3i is selling at SGD 398 and will be making its public debut on 28 July 2018 at Waterway Point Shopping Mall, East Wing Atrium, Basement 2. From 11am to 9pm, customers will receive a Casio G-SHOCK Analog-Digital Watch (worth $199) with every purchase of the nova 3i, while stocks last.

Entrepreneur’s Insight – Interview with Singapore’s ISP Entrepreneurs – Founders of WhizComms

Ever since we have started Entrepreneur’s Insights, we have been hearing a lot of feedback from the readers that they would like to hear more entrepreneurial stories from Singapore. We are aware that for the past 1 year, The Neo Dimension might have disappointed some of the readers for not bringing enough of such stories.

To kickstart 2018, we would like to shout out to our readers “The wait is over!” We are publishing an QnA with not 1 but 2 local entrepreneurs from Whiz Communications (WhizComms) – Chiang Chee Cheong, Managing Director and Jason Kuek, Deputy Managing Director. .

Mr Chiang and Mr Kuek started Phoenix Communications in the 90s as a callback operator and subsequently expanded their arena to International Direct Dialing Services (You remember Phoenix IDD?). In November 2016, they have ventured into the ISP space and started WhizComms

 

1.Whiz Communications(WhizComms) is a new entrant in Singapore’s ISP market. Do you mind give a short description of the company as well as your rationale of venturing into this space?

Chiang – WhizComms is a telecommunication company providing home broadband and IDD service.  We rolled out our business in November 2016 and currently we have a staff strength of 20.

As an ISP, our primary objective is to provide high-speed Internet service to all residential homes in Singapore.

As Singapore is moving towards a smart nation, we saw the potential growth in these areas.   Fibre Broadband has become the essential service for the home. We want to make it easy and affordable for all.

 

2.Technology sector is growing exponentially in Southeast Asia region (SEA). As a seasoned professional in the Telecommunication field, what’s your views on future development of SEA Telcos or ISPs? 

Chiang – Telcos and ISP will continue to be equipped with high-speed infrastructures to cater for technology advancements. Besides infrastructures, service providers will also be looking into providing solutions such as IOT, Cyber Security, AI and Data Analytic as part of the trend in the industry.

 

3. There are many ISPs that offer more comprehensive and wider range of services. How is WhizComms different from others? 

Chiang – Our fundamental goals remain – we provide affordable solutions to cater to our customers’ basic essential needs. We un-bundle telecom services so that customers only pay for what they need. Our pure broadband no frills service has been the lowest-priced of its kind in town from the start of our business. We also help customers to solve WiFi coverage problems at home by introducing WiFi clinic service to customers who are less technically inclined. We are also amongst the first to introduce mesh WiFi solution to improve home WiFi coverage and un-interrupted internet surfing.

 

  1. What are the challenges or opportunities for WhizComms in the next 3 years?

Jason I foresee that there will be more entries from ISPs players, and this will bring the overall prices down. Other than bracing the price war, we will need to deliver our commitments to our customers to stay competitive. As IOT (internet of things) advances, we will want to introduce them to customers at an appropriate time to meet their day-to-day need.

 

  1. What is the significant milestone that WhizComms has achieved in 2017?

Chiang – After one year of operation, we have significant amount of customer subscription base. We believe this is due to our sincerity and genuinity in our service offering, and customers see the true value we offer. We have managed to deliver what we have promised. We will continue to impress our customers with our services.

 

  1. You are a seasoned entrepreneur. What advice will you give for our budding entrepreneurs or people who want to start a business? 

Jason – To start with, you must have a good and realistic business plan, followed by sufficient financial fundings to run your businesses operations.  The calibre of people or partners managing the business are very important.   They need to have good acumen in identifying risks and returns in their overall business.  Team work and trust must be established across the organisation hierarchy to grow the business as planned.

Any business that will help customers to solve their problem is a good business. As an entrepreneur, look for areas that customers need help. After identify the business, a proper business plan will have to be developed including the technical knowhow, funding, and the people.

 

  1. It is said that every entrepreneur has their own set of checklist while evaluating a venture. As an entrepreneur, do you mind sharing with us yours?

Jason – I will be definitely be looking for potential revenue drivers that can bring in sustainable income. Of course, the cost of operations and as well as the potential of growth in the business are also critical.  A good business plan will be very helpful.  More importantly, we must maintain a good balance sheet on the financial and a healthy cash flow.

 

 

Keysight And Singapore University of Technology (SUTD) Signs MOU and Opens New Measurement Technologies Lab

SINGAPORE, December 2017– Keysight Technologies, Inc. (Stock Quote: KEYS) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for research collaboration and opened the new Measurement Technologies Laboratory. Keysight donated S$8 million worth of cutting-edge equipment to the lab, coupled with another S$2 million in research grants to accelerate research and development (R&D) in the domains of advance manufacturing, data analytics and IoT security.

Guest-of-Honour, Mr S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) witnessed the MOU signing between Mr Gooi Soon Chai, President of Keysight’s Electronic Industrial Solutions Group and Senior Vice president, Keysight Technologies Inc., and Professor Thomas Magnanti, SUTD President, at a ceremony held in SUTD.

Minister Iswaran also officially opened the new Measurement Technologies Laboratory, which is equipped with Keysight’s latest solutions and technologies.

Speech by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)

Mr Gooi said: “Today’s convergence of technology domains and the explosion of electronic content everywhere is driving the entire industrial eco-system into a whole new dimension. Organisations are facing tremendous pressure to keep up with the accelerating pace and complexity of today’s advancements. Keysight, as the world’s leader in electronic measurement, is collaborating with SUTD, with its multi-disciplinary research talents, to reimagine innovation that will help the world’s organisations today face these challenges and deliver their products and services, faster, better and safer.”

From (left) Ee Huei Sin VP & General Manager of Keysight Technologies General Electronics Measurement Solutions, Mr Gooi Soon Chai, President of Keysight’s Electronic Industrial Solutions Group and Senior Vice president, Keysight Technologies Inc

At the Lab, researchers will leverage Keysight’s latest state-of-the-art equipment and software solutions, and tap on the company’s global technology and industry expertise as they work on three major areas –  security, Big Data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart Factories of tomorrow (also known as Industry 4.0).

 

These projects will translate into better quality products, smarter utilisation of resources, improved efficiency, productivity and security.

 

The setting up of the Lab in Singapore is strategic to Keysight to tap on explosive growth in the Asia region. 5G, for instance, will be key technology driver in their future business development as the company believes that the full implement of the technology will realized by the year 2020.

 

Joint Review of Sudio Tre by The Neo Dimension and Poisonvine

For those who are reading my blog for the first time, you may be surprised to learn that this is actually the third time that The Neo Dimension is reviewing Sudio’s personal audio products. So far, the readers’ feedback regarding the last two reviews (Sudio Vasa Bla and Sudio Regent) have been positive. Some mentioned that they really enjoyed the interview that we have done with Poisonvine.com. There’s no snobby audio jargon, just a showcase of the product from a real user’s perspective. In addition, some of our male readers expressed that they liked reading a review from a female’s perspective. (Okay, we are a male-centric blog but hey, we do have posts that are family-oriented.)

If you haven’t already read our previous reviews, here are the links:

Sudio Vasa Blahttp://theneodimension.com/review-15-discount-code-sudio-vasa-bla-classy-device-busy-professionals/

Sudio Regent http://theneodimension.com/poisonvine-coms-review-sudio-regent-wireless-headphones/

Today, we are inviting Poisonvine.com to take part in a joint review on Sudio’s latest offering – Sudio Tre, their first water-resistant wireless earpiece. This time round, we have designed a set of questions that will be posted to both Poisonvine.com (P) and owner of TheNeoDimesion (TND). The objective is to allow our readers to look at Sudio Tre from a male’s as well as from a female’s perspective.

Without further ado, below is the Q&A. Check it out!

Q1. What’s your first impression when you unboxed the Sudio Tre?

P: I have the white colour version of the Sudio Tre. The product is looks stunning. There are lovely rose tone buttons and accents at the bottom of the earpieces. It also comes with a matching pouch to carry the Sudio Tre in.

TND: Well, I got the black one. I like the fact that they keep the standard micro-USB charging port for Sudio Tre. I have several wireless earpieces and every single one of them used different charging port making it cumbersome to keep switching cables.

Q2. Sudio claims that this product is designed for an active lifestyle. Well, everyone has different ways of interpreting “active”. How did you guys use the product?

P: I use this product when I work out on my elliptical machine. Sudio Tre remains comfortable to wear even after an hour long cardio session.

TND: I bring this out for run. Similar to the Vasa Bla, the weight of Sudio Tre is very well distributed from one end to another. The addition of “wings” on the earbuds, does not impair the comfort and in fact, the wings’ reinforcement has made the earbuds harder to come off no matter how hard I shake my head.

 

Q3. Which feature of the product appeals to you most?

P: This offering is quite similar to the old Sudio Vasa Bla, but in order to make it more friendly for sports, the earbuds have a wing tip so that it doesn’t fall out easily.

TND: It is not a bad idea to make this product water-resistance. In Singapore, the weather is either rainy or sunny. You don’t want to encounter rain during your run but in the event that happens, you don’t want your device to be spoiled by rainwater.

How long do you need to plank? Simple, time for one song. #sudiotre #gym #instagym #instagood #instasport #workout

A post shared by Neo Wee Wu 梁威武 (@weewu) on

Q4. What do you hope to see in Sudio’s future products?

P: Recently “true wireless” headphones that have two separate earbuds (like the Sony WF-1000X) are increasingly popular. I hope to see Sudio come up with their own version in future.

TND: I hope their future products could add voice assistance or notification to inform the users on the bluetooth connection and battery usage status.

Availability

The Sudio Tre is retailing at SGD 139/- (after tax rebate of 20%). If you make the purchase online via Sudio’s website, shipping to Singapore entitles you to 20% tax rebate.

On top of that, readers of TheNeoDimension are entitled to an additional 15 % discount. You can use the promo code NEODIMENSION.

Kill Some Zombies at Bugis This October

This Halloween, Bugis Junction and Bugis+ are daring shoppers to face their fears with a larger-than-life immersive virtual reality (VR) gaming experience.  This is the first time that malls in Singapore are hosting a VR experience of this scale.

The Time Zombies competition that uses the latest Arctic Fox wireless technology, which allows a fully immersive gaming experience without the the burden of cumbersome cables or backpack computers that hinder physical movement.  The VR gaming showcase at Bugis Junction and Bugis+ this Halloween will mark Arctic Fox’s debut in Southeast Asia, to the delight of VR gaming enthusiasts in the region.

 

The Time Zombies VR competition

 

The thrilling Time Zombies VR competition will take place at Bugis+ Atrium, Level 2, from 13 to 29 October.  To take part in the Time Zombies VR Competition, shoppers can either present a receipt with a minimum spend of $20 in a single receipt at either Bugis Junction or Bugis+, or redeem one game play with 100 STAR$® via the CapitaStar app.

 

Qualifying rounds will take place between 13 to 26 October from 11am to 9pm daily.  Thereafter, scores will be tabulated and the top 10 individual players will be selected on 26 October at 9pm.  The competition will culminate in a final showdown among the top 10 players on 29 October from 2pm to 6pm.

 

Exciting prizes await the top 10 players, which include:

  • First place – $1,000 CapitaVouchers, plus Samsung S7 edge x 1 and Logitech speaker x 1
  • Second place – $800 CapitaVouchers, plus Samsung S7 edge x 1 and Logitech speaker x 1 Third place – $500 CapitaVouchers, plus Samsung S7 edge x 1 and Logitech speaker x 1
  • Fourth to Tenth place – $100 CapitaVouchers each.

 

In addition to the top 10 prizes, daily rewards await shoppers when they participate in the Time Zombies VR competition.  They stand to receive STAR$® when they achieve a minimum game score of 1,000 points, which will be awarded daily after tabulating the day’s game scores.

  • 1,000 to 1,999 game points = 1,000 STAR$® 2,000 to 2,999 game points = 2,000 STAR$®  •   3,000 to 3,999 game points = 3,000 STAR$®
  • 4,000 to 4,999 game points = 4,000 STAR$®
  • 5,000 game points and above = 5,000 STAR$®

More about Arctic Fox VR technology

 

Marking its debut in Southeast Asia, the Arctic Fox VR technology is a fully wireless and untethered system.  Players don only a wireless headset that features a high definition screen and gaming headphones for an immersive surround sound experience.

 

Without the burden of cumbersome cables or backpack computers that hinder physical movement, the system allows the player free movement within a 5 metre x 5 metre (25 square metres) physical space, thereby enhancing the immersive factor of the virtual reality experience.

 

Eight infrared cameras mounted on a truss keep track of the headsets and gameplay pistol positions in 3D where the player’s entire body becomes the controller for the game.  Players can move around in game as freely as they would like – walk, jump, duck, dodge, and even leopard crawl.  Equipped with a software that maps the movements onto the players’ positions within the game, the corresponding virtual visuals are then fed wirelessly to the headsets worn by players with no discernible lag time between the players’ physical movements and corresponding visuals within the game.

Arctic Fox VR headset and controller

Ready to be ushered into unparalleled thrills?  Horror fans will relish the adrenaline rush as Bugis Junction and Bugis+ bring them on a brand-new experience where their worst nightmares come to life with the latest in VR technology.