Huawei Singapore “Gives” You SGD 463 To Ditch Google Services. Now, will you buy the Mate 30?

We all know that Huawei’s latest Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro will not come with Google Mobile Services and that mean customers outside China who bought their latest flagship phones will not be able to use Youtube or Google Maps.

In the early October, Huawei Singapore has finally released the price plan for the Singapore customers. The new Mate 30 Pro is selling at SGD 1,298. Customers can now register their interest for the Mate 30 Pro which comes in either Black or Silver color.

As part of its early bird special, interested buyers who bought the phone will be invited to an exclusive private event and on top of that, they will receive a set of free gift worth SGD 463.

We have heard good reviews about the Mate 30’s camera. No doubt, the Mate 30 is a high-quality phone. However, we don’t just use our smartphone for photography only. We use that for other purposes which is why we need Google Play to download other essentials apps to suit our needs.

Now, Google Play has been taken away and Huawei customers have to get accustomed to their in-house Huawei Mobile Services. To the Android users, this is a switching cost and that’s bring back to one question, “Is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro worthy enough for that switch?”

Personally, I am adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to see how Singapore market reacts to this. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have some unique insights on this matter. I will love to hear from you.

For those who are interested in the phone, here are the key things to know to get your hands on the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro:

STEP 1: Register your interest online here from 5 -15 October, 2019
STEP 2: You may receive a call or email between 16 – 24 October 2019 with an invitation to a private event (limited to 200 successful registrants, selected at random)
STEP 3:  Upon invitation, you may attend a private event to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and receive an exclusive gift bundle worth $463 NOTE: Those who did not receive the invitation will be informed of the next opportunity to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro. 

Opensignal: Singapore is one of the six countries outside Europe to gain a ‘Good’ rating for over-the-top (OTT) voice services.

Voice apps are changing the way we communicate. The insatiable growth in smartphone use along with the increasing ubiquity of data connections means that apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and many other VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service providers are offering an entirely new platform for users to talk to each other.

Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, has just released a report that measures the quality of over-the-top (OTT) voice services experienced by consumers across 80 countries, including Singapore. This marks the industry’s largest, independent survey of user experience of OTT services.

Singapore is The Only Asia country Emerges the Top 10.

Of the 80 countries analysed for overall Voice App Experience, almost 25% (19) achieved a ‘Good’ rating — meaning many users in these countries were satisfied and experienced minor quality impairments while using Voice Apps to communicate.

Singapore scores 81.7 trailing closely behind Switzerland (81.9) securing 8th position among 80 countries surveyed. No country globally attained an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ rating.

Only six were from outside Europe, which are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand get “Good” rating.

Voice App Experience on 4G networks is most often ‘Good’

The 3G Voice App Experience scores are consistently lower in every country compared with their 4G equivalents, including Singapore. In this region, Singapore and Hong Kong were the only countries who had a difference of less than 5 points between their 3G and 4G Voice App Experience score — an indicator of what the mobile experience will be in future for highly matured markets where 4G Availability is rising and is replacing 3G as operators enhance their networks for smoother transitions. 

To read more about the survey results, you may access the report here

PwC Singapore commits about S$10 million to developing its people in Singapore

  • In Singapore, PwC pledges close to S$10 million to digitally upskill its people in line with its global ‘New World. New Skills.’ commitment
  • PwC’s global revenues up 7% to US$42.4 billion
  • Focus on our purpose drives good revenue growth in all major markets and areas of business
  • 25,000 new jobs created, increasing the workforce to 276,000
  • US$3bn investment in upskilling PwC people, and developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities

Singapore; Tuesday 1st October, 2019 – For the 12 months ending 30 June 2019, PwC firms around the world had gross revenues of US$42.4 billion – up 7% in local currency and 4% in US dollars. Revenues grew across all lines of business and major markets, boosted by the power of the PwC brand and continued significant investments in quality, technology and people.

As our clients face increasing challenges and opportunities driven by technological advances, stakeholder expectations and other changes, they require us to work together across the broad range of our operations helping them to deal with issues such as cyber security, trust, regulation and strategic workforce planning. And as a result, our business is growing rapidly in these areas to meet increased client demand.

“Over the past year, we’ve continued to focus on delivering value to our stakeholders, working hard to build trust and help our clients solve their most complex problems. As a result, PwC businesses grew in all major markets around the world. Our strong growth in revenues has enabled us to continue to invest in our businesses and our people. Investments in technology are making our services more relevant and enhancing the quality of our work.

“PwC firms now employ 276,000 people worldwide and are investing heavily in learning and development to ensure our people can build rewarding careers and are prepared for the future world of work,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s Global Chairman.

New world. New skills.

It’s become increasingly apparent that one of the world’s most pressing challenges – and one faced by business – is the growing mismatch between the skills people have and those needed for the digital world. There is an urgent need for organisations, governments and educators to come together to fix this growing problem and business has an important role to play. Over the next four years, we are committing $3bn in upskilling globally – primarily in training our people but also in developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities.

Closer to home, PwC’s recently launched Upskilling Hopes and Fears report found that about one in three (31%) Singaporeans felt that they were not well-equipped for new workplace technologies. In order to ensure that our people in PwC Singapore don’t fall into this 31%, the Singapore firm is committing close to S$10 million over the next two years to developing their digital skills.

“We are kick-starting this with a two-year comprehensive multi-platform programme designed to digitally upskill our people. The programme is intended to drive a culture of innovation where each staff and partner is empowered with the right mindset and capabilities in data and automation to determine the path they want to take, and even play a part in shaping the profession of the future,” said Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman at PwC Singapore. He continued, “The advances in technology also means that there are some who may be left behind. So, as part of our corporate responsibility effort, we are also working with our clients, government agencies and engaging with communities to help close the skills gap in today’s digital world.”

PwC Singapore’s programme will see the digital upskilling of over 3,500 of our people systematically through:

  • Curated classroom and virtual trainings on the basics of data visualisation, data analytics and automation that are customised to various business units unique needs. These trainings will see our people go through more than 80,000 training hours.
  • The continuous development of our people’s digital fitness through our Digital Fitness Assessment app which measures users’ Digital Fitness Score and recommends customised on-the-go upskilling plans and materials to help improve their score. This mobile app is also available for clients.
  • Enabling continuous self-learning outside of the classroom via our easy-to-access internal e-learning platforms and materials.
  • Enabling solution-sharing and innovation through our centralised solutions repository and technology collaboration platform.
  • Committing headcount (individuals with advanced digital skills) to help teams utilise insights, automate processes, develop solutions and improve user experience to accelerate digitalisation across the firm

The programme in Singapore is in line with PwC’s upskilling commitment across the network. Globally, ‘New World. New Skills.’ focuses on four key areas:

●Upskilling all of PwC’s 276,000 people. We will roll out different programmes that meet their particular needs, from skills academies to digital fitness apps to leadership development. A proportion of our workforce will develop specialist skills in areas including data analytics, robotics process automation and artificial intelligence for use in their work. For others, it’s about understanding the potential of new technologies so they can advise clients, communities, and other stakeholders.

●We are also advising our clients on the challenges posed by rapid technological change and automation. This includes identifying skills gaps and mismatches against likely future needs, workforce planning, upskilling programmes and cultural change.

●We will work with governments and institutions to reach a much broader group of people. For example, PwC in Luxembourg helped develop the Luxembourg Skills Bridge which brings together trade unions, associations and businesses to build digital industries and develop digital skills, including among those populations most ‘at risk’.

●We will help millions of people improve their skills and knowledge for the digital world by making upskilling a focus of our not-for-profit initiatives. This includes working with students and teachers, which will help ensure opportunities are more evenly spread and we reach people who may otherwise be left behind. Learn more about PwC’s New world. New skills.

A good performance across the world

In the Americas, revenues were up by 5% compared with 4% the prior year, with a particularly strong performance from operations in the United States and Canada, offset by some challenging economic conditions in Brazil where revenue rose by 2%. Growth in Western Europe was up by 7%. In Central and Eastern Europe, revenues continued to grow strongly – up 10% – marking the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth.

Revenue growth from the Middle East and Africa was also strong, despite some challenging market conditions, increasing by 9%. Across Asia, revenues grew by 9% while in Australasia and the Pacific, PwC enjoyed another strong year with revenues rising by 10%.

Assurance: Despite very mature and highly competitive markets, revenues from PwC Assurance operations grew by 5% to US$17.4 billion. With 115,000 people across the world, we continue to manage the challenges of mandatory firm rotation in many markets and attract new clients with the introduction of cutting-edge solutions and emerging technologies for the audit. In addition, demand for our broader assurance services continues in established areas such as internal audit, risk and compliance, as well as emerging areas such as data and analytics, crypto currency and blockchain.

Advisory: PwC Advisory operations grew by 10% to US$14.4 billion. We have in recent years established a strong reputation for delivering value for clients from strategy to execution. This is driving high demand, particularly relating to deals, value creation and business transformation. PwC Advisory operations now employ 68,000 people. We engage a broad range of talents, bringing not only the more traditional management or strategy consultants, but also data scientists, AI experts, systems engineers, designers, communications experts and others, to address our clients’ most pressing business issues and opportunities. We also have alliances with many of the world’s leading technology companies to create cutting-edge solutions for clients.

Tax & Legal Services: PwC Tax & Legal revenues grew by 6% to US$10.7 billion, driven by continued complexity and change in many local tax systems, as well as the state of flux in the global regulatory and economic landscape. The 55,000 professionals in our Tax and Legal Services practices use the latest technologies to help businesses navigate complexity and risk, build their people networks, and solve legal challenges while meeting their tax and other responsibilities. Demand was particularly high for People & Organisation services, Legal services, and Tax Reporting & Strategy services.

Striving for the highest quality

The quality of our work is at the heart of our organisation and we invest significant and increasing resources in its continuous enhancement across all of our businesses. This investment is targeted into many different areas, including training (technical, ethical and behavioural), methodologies, adding resources in key areas and exploring new ways of delivering our work. We are also investing heavily in new technology to drive continuous improvements in the quality, capabilities and effectiveness of all of our services. As part of our journey to be one of the most cloud enabled organisations in the world, we are investing over US$1 billion in solutions and supporting programmes to create a connected ecosystem and drive innovation and quality.

“The quality of our work across the full range of our services is incredibly important. While we are proud to have been the first of the global professional services networks to have published its internal audit quality inspection results, we know we have more to do and are operating with a continuous improvement mindset. Both in terms of how we test, measure and enhance quality and also in the levels of investment we need to make to ensure our quality is as high as possible. We have added more detail in our Global Annual Review on audit quality and aim to increase transparency in the future,” said Bob Moritz.

The results of our audit quality testing improved in FY19. We know that we have more to do and we need to reduce the level of non-compliant audits further. In FY19, of the 1,768 audits we reviewed, 94.9% (up from 92.2% in 2018) were deemed compliant. Learn more.

Telstra Cleared To Invest in Southern Cross Cable

Last December, Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) and its shareholders, Spark New Zealand, Singtel and Verizon Business, announced that Telstra has entered into agreed terms to purchase a 25 per cent stake in SCCN and substantial capacity on both the existing network and the new Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable.

It is now confirmed that regulatory approval has been given for Telstra to become 25% stakeholder for SCCN and the construction of subsea cable will soon commerce.

The shareholders have agreed to commit the necessary equity funding to enable Southern Cross NEXT to proceed with additional funding raised from debt and SCCN cash reserves. Although the transaction is still subject to some conditions, these are procedural in nature and are expected to be satisfied within the next few days.   

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has also been granted CIF to build the new high capacity express route which, once complete, will be the lowest latency path from Australia and New Zealand to the United States, based on its design and route.

Southern Cross NEXT will provide data connectivity between Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles and is scheduled for completion by January 2022. The new route will also provide critical international cable connectivity to the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati.

The new 13,483 kilometre cable system has been developed as an extension of the existing

Southern Cross two cable eco-system. It will allow customers to leverage Southern Cross’ extensive point-of-presence network and access infrastructure already in place. It will also allow Southern Cross NEXT customers to flexibly assign new and existing capacity across the three routes across the Pacific, connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the United States, maximising diversity and resiliency. 

Southern Cross NEXT represents a network investment of around US$300 million by Southern Cross and is designed to carry 72 Terabits per second of traffic, the equivalent of simultaneously streaming 4.6 million ultra-high definition movies, ensuring Southern Cross can cater for its customers’ growing data requirements well into the future. Services offered on the new system will be an extension and integration of the services offered across the current Southern Cross platform. The construction is being funded by a combination of capacity payments, equity contributions and financing.

Singtel Vice President, Carrier Services, Group Enterprise Mr Ooi Seng Keat said: “Our investment in the Southern Cross NEXT cable is a timely reinforcement of our global network infrastructure. Together with the newly completed INDIGO submarine cable system, the enhanced Southern Cross cable ecosystem will be a new data superhighway connecting Southeast Asia to the United States, providing greater network diversity. The new cable system will enable Singtel and Optus to accelerate the roll-out of next-generation technologies that rely on low latency and high-bandwidth connectivity, reinforcing our position as one of the leading providers of international data services in the region.” 

Telstra Enterprise Group Executive, Mr Michael Ebeid, said Telstra’s investment in the NEXT cable will deliver benefits to all its customers – from enterprise to wholesale and consumer.

“With 80 per cent of all the internet traffic to Australia coming from the US, a high speed, low latency direct route to North America is a very important investment for our business and our customers,” Mr Ebeid said.

“Southern Cross builds on our existing footprint across Asia Pacific where we carry 30 per cent of the region’s active capacity. We are now even better placed to meet our customers’ future data requirements right across Asia Pacific.”

Spark Chief Financial Officer Mr David Chalmers welcomed Telstra as a shareholder in Southern Cross: “The Southern Cross network provides critical connectivity between New Zealand and Australia, the Pacific Islands, and the USA.  Southern Cross NEXT will ensure this network Cross can continue to provide that connectivity for the region, and meet our customers’ increasing data demands, for decades to come.”

Southern Cross’ President and CEO Mr Laurie Miller said: “The achievement of CIF is the result of a massive amount of effort by Southern Cross and the Sponsor teams over many months on the project. The addition of the new Southern Cross NEXT route to the existing platform will provide existing and future customers with further resiliency and connectivity options between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. We are delighted to have successfully achieved this key milestone, and all focus will now turn to the timely implementation of the new system, and the continued development of product enhancements to meet our customers growing and changing requirements.”

With significant work already completed including pre-sales, marine survey, landing arrangements, Pacific Island agreements, detail design and the cable RFT, the Southern Cross NEXT project is well positioned to meet its target completion date of January 2022.

Review – Creative Outlier Gold, A Under-Hyped True Wireless

2019 is a big year for true wireless earpiece. Headphone giant Sennheiser released their very first true wireless under their Momentum series – Momentum True Wireless which was a surprise to the market observer and smashed the market taboo that “tiny earpiece can’t deliver good sound”. Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless said it all. Tech journalists from around the world has been writing positive reviews of this product in the first quarter of the year. The “momentum” did not stop. Sony responded with their WF-1000MX3 that wowed the market with its noise cancelling capabilities. Both products have been selling like hot cakes despite a high price attached to them (Momentum True Wireless – RRP SGD469, Sony WF-1000MX3 – RPP SGD 349)

Undeniably, Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless and Sony WF-1000MX3 are the winners but they are obscenely expensive. I can’t help but ask myself,” Aren’t there unorthodox products in the market that could deliver same or similar quality but at a lower price point?” I decided to try Creative Outlier Gold.

What’s in Creative Outlier Gold that caught my attention?

Last year, Creative (stock quote: C76:SGX)  shocked the world with their Super X-Fi, personalized 3D immersive sound technology which they termed as “holy grail” of headphone processing. Instead of restricting this technology to headphones, they are bringing this into their true wireless, the Outlier Gold.

For those who have followed my posts, you should know that I have good impression of the Super X-Fi technology. (If you haven’t, you may wish to check out the post http://theneodimension.com/creative-achieves-next-breakthrough-super-x-fi-investing-usd-100m-20-years-rd/) It will be interesting to see how this set of technology performs in the smaller Outlier Gold. Furthermore, this technology is (currently) proprietary to Creative which means you can’t get it in other devices.  

How Creative Outlier Gold fare against other Super X-fi headphones?

Super X-Fi requires both algorithm and their processing chip. In other words, to get the full potential of Super X-Fi, both software and hardware side of things are built within the audio device and that’s the main shortfall of Creative Outlier against other Super X-Fi headphones. Given its physical constraint, Super X-Fi in Outlier Gold is purely software-driven.

To enjoy Super X-Fi, you need a Super X-Fi app (which you need to download for setting up purposes) to play music file that is stored locally in my phone. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy Super X-Fi if you are playing music from Spotify or other streaming apps.    

How’s the sound performance?

Unable to enjoy full potential of Super X-Fi on Creative Outlier Gold is kind of a turn-off, the performance via the app is quite impressive. I am convinced that small device like Creative Outlier could deliver reasonable 3D holistic sound stage; for a lack of better description, I would like to quote from my good friend, Chester Tan (@musicdairy) who happened to own Creative Outlier Gold. He said, “ (music) sounds more comfortable and roomy”.  With technology advancement, I am not surprised that true wireless could deliver multi-directional sound performance (drivers) as headphones could in the future.  

Without Super X-Fi, sound from YouTube or Spotify lacks depth. Instead, you are getting a clearer and sharper tone. Bass is reasonably strong and punchy which I believe it is most people’s likings. Personally, I prefer hi-tempo dance music especially when I am out for run. Hence, I prefer the bass to be stronger.

In general, it is a good device to listen to any genre of music.

If I am buying this, what am I getting?

Sound performance is subjective and what I like may not be of your likings. But, we could look at the technical aspect which it is very comparable across all models. First, battery life of Creative Outlier Gold is 14hrs (without the case) which is kind of unspoken standard in the market. It is not exceptional impressive but at the very least, it is almost as good as some of the mid and top-end models that are offering in the market.

Like other true wireless, Creative Outlier Gold comes with a battery-cum-storage case that gives a total playtime up to approx. 39hrs.

Creative Outlier Gold is IPX5 water resistance.

It has a water resistance rating of IPX5. Yes, It is sport-friendly. After your run with Outlier Gold, you could wipe your dirty sweat away with a wet tissue and the water won’t cause any damage to your earpiece. A point to note here – Sony WF-1000MX3 has no IP rating. From this aspect, the cheaper Outlier Gold beats Sony WF-1000MX3.

The Creative Outlier Gold is also packed with Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm aptX. If you are using compatible smartphones, lower latency will help in keeping fast connection between the earpiece and phone. To put it simply, you could listen to hi-res audio without any loss connection via Creative Outlier Gold.  

Price

Creative is not a premium brand. As such, I believe most consumers won’t be paying a premium for a Creative brand product. (Sad for Singapore brand…) Anyway, the Creative Outlier Gold is priced at SGD 139 which is very wallet-friendly for those who are looking for a true wireless.    

Verdict

Truth to be told, this product is not the prettiest true wireless I have seen. In terms of sound qualities, the Creative Outlier Gold has certainly exceeded my expectation at that kind of price. The Creative Outlier Gold is also water resistance and packed with premier features that you could only find in more expensive hi-end true wireless models. At the low-to-mid price category, I would say the Creative Outlier Gold offers the best-in-class values to the customers. If you are not that brand conscious, this is one product that you should consider.

Huawei Releases HUAWEI WATCH GT 2, Powered by Its Kirin A1 Chip

Huawei recently unveiled its next generation smartwatch, HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 46mm and 42mm series, powered by the firm’s proprietary Kirin A1 chip which promised to give better performance and longer battery life. The HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 is also Huawei’s first smartwatch with an all-in-one 3D glass screen, creating a wider, boundless display.

Proprietary Kirin A1 chipset supports longer battery life

The Kirin A1 chipset integrates an advanced Bluetooth processing unit, a powerful audio processing unit, an ultra-low power consumption application processor and a separate power management unit. The application processor uses the Cortex-M7 processor to achieve ultra-low power consumption of 10uA/MHz, which is far below the industry average of 30uA/MHZ. The combination of high performance and efficient power consumption makes it possible for HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 to deliver robust usage and even longer battery life.

In daily use, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 46mm series can operate continuously for up to two weeks, with both the intelligent heart rate monitor and call notification functions on and weekly usage of up to 30 minutes of Bluetooth calls; up to 30 minutes of music playback; up to 90 minutes of exercise and using the scientific sleep mode at night. In the classic mode, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 42mm series can operate continuously for up to one week. Both series of watches have greatly improved battery life in the GPS tracked sports mode. The 46mm series achieves battery life of 30 hours under the GPS tracked sports mode, while the 42mm series reaches 15 hours based on inhouse test result of HUAWEI lab.

All-in-one 3D glass design for expansive display experience

The all-in-one 3D glass surface allows for a wider look and feel. The dial of the 46mm series adopts beveled sculpting and gemstone processing techniques to create 3D curved glass and applies individual carving to create concave spots on the dial for a more vivid look. Treated with multiple processes, the curved dial of the 42mm series is only 9.4mm thin and decorated with an extremely thin, fashionable metal frame.

The HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 46mm series is also equipped with a 1.39-inch AMOLED HD precision touch screen with display resolution of 454 x 454 pixels, wider color gamut, and ultra-thin design that is superior to LCD screens, achieving fuller screen color and higher contrast. The screen design is modern and artistic, suitable for people who pursue the finer things in life and speaks to the simple, exquisite design philosophy that is in vogue nowadays.

New professional sports monitoring creates a richer smartwatch experience

Sports enthusiasts ask for professional sports data monitoring and all-around experience from their smartwatches. The HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 46mm series connects with Huawei mobile phone Bluetooth and supports Bluetooth calls at up to 150 meters. The watch also supports phonebook functionality so you can save friends’ contact information on your watch and easily look them up. At the same time, the watch comes with large storage capacity, housing up to 500 mp3 songs. You can easily manage and enjoy music while exercising.

In the sports mode, HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 is compatible with 15 sports, including eight outdoor sports (running, walking, climbing, hiking, trail running, cycling, open water, triathlon) and seven indoor sports (walking, running, cycling, swimming pool, free training, elliptical machine, rowing machine). For these 15 sports modes, the watch provides full-scale monitoring of approximately 190 types of data. The watch provides targeted pre-exercise data analysis for different sports, data recording analysis during the exercise and professional advice afterwards. It is like having a personal intelligent sports coach to make your exercise safer and better.

Although Huawei has announced the launch of HUAWEI WATCH GT 2, the pricing and availability of this smart watch will be released on a later date.

Crypto.com Launches MCO VISA Card for US Citizens

Crypto.com, Hong Kong-based Blockchain startup, has announced new MCO VISA pre-paid card for the US Citizens. The U.S. card launch in partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank has been set to July 14, 2019. The new US card also comes with new design. Crypto.com has also added in Frost Rose Gold card in their portfolio of pre-paid cards.

The MCO Visa Card is a prepaid card that features high-end metal cards with no annual or monthly fees, up to 5% back on all spending, unlimited airport lounge access and subscription rebates for popular streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify based on the number of MCO staked. The new design prominently features the Crypto.com brand icon, the Ethereum Lion.

2019 is the year for cryptocurrency. Facebook announced their own currency – Libra. Shortly after Facebook’s announcement, Bitcoin has rallied and crossed the USD 10,000 mark. Ever since Crypto.com’s announcement on their entry to US market, their MCO coin has jumped more than 20% within a day.

Reservations for the MCO Visa Card are made using the Crypto.com App which includes a three-minute customer onboarding process including ID verification. Using the App, customers are able to manage their card usage, move funds between crypto and fiat, and freeze or unfreeze their card with a single tap. The App also allows users to securely buy, sell, store, send, and track cryptocurrencies.

All MCO Visa Card transactions are denominated in fiat currency. All cryptocurrency exchanges to fiat currency take place before users may load their MCO Visa Card for use on the Visa network.

Bonus – If any of you guys want to earn some additional income other than the return from your cryptocurrency investment, you could use my referral code [8iym0srez5] upon sign-up ( alternatively, you could just click on this link https://platinum.crypto.com/r/8iym0srez5 ). Upon successful sign-up, you could also start earning commission from the users that you have successfully referred. For details, please read https://help.crypto.com/articles/2472277-platinum-referral-rewards-program

Garmin Singapore Releases New Vívoactive 3 Element

Singapore,  25  June  2019  –  Garmin  Singapore  today  announced  the  vívoactive  3  Element,  a  fuss-free  companion  that  has  the  essentials  that  you  need  to  stay  active  and  achieve  more  fitness  goals  with   over   ten   preloaded  GPS   and  indoor  sports   apps   including   yoga,   running   and   more.     

The vívoactive 3 Element is available in three colors – Grey, Cerise and Azure . Image – Garmin Singapore

The  vívoactive  3  Element  features  an  always-­on  high-­resolution  Garmin  ChromaTM  display  for  great  readability  in  all  lighting  conditions. 

With  thousands  of  different  watch  faces,  widgets,  data  fields  and  apps  available  to  download  for  free  from  the  Garmin  Connect  IQ  app,  users  can  customise  and  personalise  your  vívoactive  3  Element  to  complement  your  mood,  or  style  for  the  day.   

The vívoactive 3 Element is available in three colors – Grey, Cerise and Azure from today at a recommended retail price of SGD 329 at all authorised retailers.

Should You Still Buy Huawei Phones?

Despite the assurance from Android that Google Services will still work on the existing Huawei phones in the market, consumers are still fearful to put Huawei phone into their shopping cart. Bloomberg has reported that Huawei is preparing for a drop in international smartphone shipments of 40 million to 60 million during this trade war.   

Thing isn’t pretty in Singapore. Mobile phone shops are lowering the price to attract more sales. In the secondary market, it is not hard to find Huawei smartphones selling at huge discount on the Popular consumer-to-consumer marketplace Carousell. A quick check – it is not hard to find Huawei P30 Pro selling at about SGD 600 (approx. USD 440). 

Sound like a good time to snap the good deal if you are considering buying a new phone huh. Is it? Weeks ago, I gave my opinion during a Chinese TV interview about US boycott on Huawei. Although there are new developments since then, I believe whatever I have said still hold till now. I understand that some of my international readers may not understand so I am providing a translated transcript here. I have also embedded the video below. 

Q1. Google is not going to support Android update for Huawei phones. To a Huawei phone owner, does that mean the phone is not longer “usable”?

My answer: Android is an open system i.e. to say, it is available to all phone manufacturers including Huawei. The situation arises when Google is not providing any technical supports to Huawei for the future Android updates of its phones. Huawei will have to provide the updates by its own but that does not mean the phone becomes “un-usable”. Current Huawei phone owners could still use their phones without the latest Android version.

Q2. What will happen to Google Services Application without those updates?  

My answer: Google has been clear that future Huawei phones will not come with Google Services including YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail and etc. However, Android has commented that this will not affect the current Huawei phone models in the market. In other words, current Huawei owners could still enjoy their YouTube video even though the YouTube app is not running the latest version.

Q3. Will the security be compromised for Huawei phone owners?

My answer: Indeed, it is a risk for the Huawei users. Huawei is offering another solution – to release its own proprietary operating system. However, it is still too early to tell. 

Q4. What’s the challenge that Huawei faces in developing their new OS?

My answer: Developing its own OS makes strategic senses. However, to build an entirely new ecosystem that could be as good as Android’s, I believe it is going to take a couple of years.

Back to the discussion, should you still buy a Huawei phone? Huawei has been very clear in their positioning – camera. Indeed, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have received very good critique (for the camera). If you are a camera-person, I believe you should take the advantage to buy the Huawei P30 or Mate 20 at a discount (Just make sure the one you bought from the e-commerce sites is 100% original and comes with local warranty).

A few days ago, Huawei Singapore has also rolled up EMUI 9.1 update for its Mate, P and NOVA series. I believe that gives more assurance to the current Huawei phone owners. Local electronic giant retailer Challenger has also shown their support to Huawei by giving 100% money-back warranty if you buy Huawei’s devices from Challenger from now till 31st August 2019. The warranty which is not given by Huawei Singapore guarantee Huawei users of 2 year protection of Google Apps.

To end off, I just want to tell current Huawei phone owners that they need not have to worry that much. To potential Huawei consumers out there, you might have been over-reacting. A good smartphone should be able to last you for the next 2 years. By the time is up, you probably would want to get a new one. Personally, I am still using an old Xiaomi phone (as a spare phone in the office) that goes without updates for the last 2 years! By the way, it is still functioning!

The future of Huawei phones that come after the P30 series is very unpredictable. However, the ones you see in the market now should be still “use-able” in the next 1 ½ year.

Energizer Undergoes Rebranding

Energizer (stock quote: ENR), the maker of world’s longest-lasting AA battery, announced a rebranding campaign, including new packaging, in-store displays, logo and advertising for its battery product lines, as well as an even more prominent role for Mr. Energizer , the brand’s beloved charismatic character. The new visual treatments, to be introduced in Singapore in June, will provide a contemporary look with a lighter, brighter presentation and a helpful new approach, with distinct colors deployed to help consumers more easily and intuitively find the best product to suit their needs. Whether it’s the world’s longest-lasting Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ AA battery, a lithium coin battery or an Energizer Recharge® rechargeable battery, the new packaging and color schemes will help consumers quickly identify the right choice

New Packaging for the Energizer AA Batteries

This is the first major rebranding exercise since 2008, a year after the very first iPhone was launched. Market has evolved for the past 10 years. This year, Energizer surprised all at MWC with their gigantic P18K smartphone that featured 18,000 mAH battery ( you could continuously watch video on this device for 2 days!). Avenir Telecom has even started a Indiegogo project hoping to raise USD 1.2 million to develop the product.

Models show off the new packages at the launch

You will get to see the new packaging hitting the stores this month.