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Fitbit unveils Versa Lite smartwatch and new fitness-focused wearables

Even the kids get new smart bands

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Image credit: Fitbit

Coming from a good holiday quarterFitbit is determined to bring wearables to more consumers. That’s why the US-based company has unveiled a new smartwatch and three smart bands.

Versa Lite

Following the success of the Fitbit Versa is the Versa Lite. This new Fitbit smartwatch packs many of the features of the first one such as the automatic activity tracker, PurePulse (heart rate) and Sleep Stages tracking, 15+ goal-based exercise modes, connected GPS, and smartphone notifications.


It looks like the first one with its squarish body, but it only has a single button as opposed to three of the original Versa. It’s still swim-proof and has an SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor that can detect sleep apnea.

Fitbit Versa Lite | Image credit: Fitbit

As its name suggests, the Versa Lite has to let go of some features. It lacks automatic lap counting, it can’t count stairs either due to the absence of a barometer, and it has no built-in storage for music.

Although, this makes the Versa Lite Fitbit’s most affordable smartwatch for US$ 160. It’ll come in four color choices: Mulberry, Blue Marina, Lilac, and White.

Inspire and Inspire HR

Aside from the Versa Lite, Fitbit also introduced the Inspire and Inspire HR smart bands. These two new wearables are not full-blown smartwatches, but are instead activity trackers just like the previous Fitbit Alta series.

With a promised battery life of up to five days, the Inspire smart bands can track user’s active periods with more than 15 exercise modes, plus rest periods including sleep.

Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR | Image credit: Fitbit

They are water-resistant for up to 50 meters and you can take them for a swim. Aside from activity tracking, the Inspire and Inspire HR have timer and stopwatch features. They connect to a smartphone to show notifications through its grayscale OLED display.

The Inspire HR gets an additional heart rate monitor, hence its name. The regular Inspire is priced at US$ 70, while the HR model goes for US$ 100.

Ace 2

Fitbit also wants to capture the kids market with the Ace 2. Other big wearable brands like Apple and Samsung don’t have products for kids yet, which makes this segment pretty exclusive to Fitbit.

If the old Ace is based on the Alta, the new Ace 2 is a kid-friendly version of the Inspire. It has a durable bumper design and it’s water-resistant. Like the Inspire, it can last for up to five days on a single charge.

Fitbit Ace 2 | Image credit: Fitbit

The Ace 2 hopes to help kids build healthy habits. That’s why aside from the usual activity tracking, it also features friendly competition with other Ace 2 users and they can win virtual badges when certain goals are met.

The smart band for kids shows cutely animated watch faces that match the bright Watermelon/Teal and Night Sky/Neon color options. Printed bands are available as well. It’ll be sold for US$ 70.

All the new Fitbit wearables will be available starting this month, aside from the Ace 2 which will come during the summer.

SEE ALSO: Exercising with the Fitbit Charge 3: Workouts you can do while traveling

News

Samsung’s next-generation RAM is super fast

It’s tailor-made to handle 5G and AI

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Slowly but surely we’re approaching the 5G era. As more infrastructure is built to provide this next-gen mobile connectivity, we’ll also need a new batch of smartphones that can handle it without sucking up all your phone’s juice. This is where Samsung comes in with their new 12GB LPDDR5 mobile DRAM.

The new DRAM is optimized for enabling 5G and AI features in future smartphones. Not only that, Samsung said it’s also power efficient which means it will allow phones to fully leverage 5G as well as AI driven features like ultra-high-definition video recording and machine learning while also extending the phones battery life.


The 12GB LPDDR5 should be around 1.3 times faster than the previous mobile memory found in most high-end phones today. This means it should be able to transfer 44GB of data in only a second.

Not coming until the S11

Don’t expect to see this on the Galaxy Note 10 though. Instead, look for it to be equipped on the Samsung Galaxy S11. With the rise of more 5G infrastructure, 5G-capable flagships will be the norm in 2020.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 ‘official’ photos leak

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India

Xiaomi needs the POCO brand now more than ever

Trying to meet everyone’s expectations

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Xiaomi is celebrating five years in India and they’ve announced a special sale across a huge selection of products. In the last five years, the brand has grabbed the number one spot in terms of market share, dethroning legacy giants like Samsung. How did a young brand like Xiaomi start from nothing and go on to lead the market?

The Chinese-brand entered India in 2014 and has always maintained a consistent track record of launching near-perfect phones that don’t cost a bomb. The Redmi brand in India slowly developed on the back of successful series like the Note. This one series helped the brand in establishing market supremacy in the budget midrange collection.


Then the brand cautiously went into the entry-level smartphone segment and started dominating that as well. Not only did the brand offer exceedingly competitive prices, but also flooded the market with options that covered every possible price point. We can safely call this a blitzkrieg-style strategy that overwhelmed the competitors as well as the users with products.

Xiaomi did try to launch a few flagship phones like the Mi 5, but they received a lukewarm response. The Redmi brand is synonymous with affordable phones in India, how do you break the threshold limit of INR 20,000 (US$ 290) and launch a flagship?

The importance of POCO

POCO (Pocophone in international markets) was the answer. A new sub-brand let them create a new ideology around the products and consumer expectations could be gauged. The POCO F1 started at just INR 19,999 (US$ 290) and boasted a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 processor. This was a deal-breaker for everyone.

A new report by the Economic Times says Xiaomi could soon kill the POCO brand. It cites a few top-level exits as contributing factors, along with the recent Redmi K20 launch. It emphasizes how Redmi and Mi are now a definite position from Xiaomi and POCO was overlapping.

This is where I tend to disagree. The Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have received a lot of backlash from consumers because they feel the phones are overpriced. A constant comparison is drawn between the K20 and Realme X. The K20 starts at INR 21,999 (US$ 319) and the K20 Pro starts at INR 27,999 (US$ 406).

Let’s get one thing straight, the phones aren’t overpriced. In fact, considering what they offer, the price is on point and continues Xiaomi’s legacy of offering competitive rates. Things went wrong on the marketing front.

Users have been expecting a POCO F1 successor soon, and Xiaomi has been teasing the K20 Pro for months. The company intended the K20 Pro to be a OnePlus 7 killer, but the buyers expected a POCO-like offering.

Considering the amount of bad press Xiaomi has received, killing off the POCO brand will only add fuel to the fire. And on the flip side, a POCO F2 launch will actually douse the fire and help Xiaomi in maintaining control over all price points. The company has raised everyone’s expectations so high, it’s finding it hard to keep up with them.

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Enterprise

Huawei secretly worked with North Korea on spying tech

Here we go again

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In the 2014 film The Interview, director Seth Rogen depicted North Korea as a backwards country incapable of basic human rights. The Hollywood depiction echoed the political sentiments of the present age — that North Korea falls behind most nations on several levels. Prejudices can, of course, be deceiving. According to a new report, North Korea isn’t the backwards country that everyone thinks it is.

Apparently, North Korea received invaluable help from outside technology — Huawei. As reported by The Washington Post, Huawei has secretly worked with the North Korean government for the latter’s wireless communications technology. Partnered with China-based Panda International, Huawei has engaged in North Korean business deals for at least eight years.


In 2008, then-leader Kim Jong Il discretely struck a deal with Huawei. The latter would help establish the North Korean telecommunications provider, Koryolink. Huawei became the country’s main provider for technology. The company even shipped employees to North Korea, establishing an inconspicuous office at a local hotel.

According to a telling internal document, Huawei’s assistance went beyond mere technology providing services. In 2008, North Korea asked Huawei for a spying algorithm; to which, the latter agreed. Huawei created an encrypted algorithm that allowed the government to intercept and monitor all calls made using Koryolink.

Huawei’s involvement went through all the protocols of secrecy. Internally, they struck all mentions of North Korea, hiding behind codes. (For example, “Country A9” would refer to North Korea.) Naturally, when America cracked down on North Korea in 2016, Huawei withdrew from all its North Korean offices, leaving current business deals hanging.

Huawei’s current troubles stem from its alleged involvements with blacklisted countries. Before its recent obsession with cybersecurity, the American government sought sanctions against Huawei for dealing with Iran and North Korea. The government, however, could never pin anything conclusive against the company. The recent ban stems from a different concern.

Of course, this latest report is a huge monkey wrench in the geopolitical machine. Both China-US and North Korea-US relations are already tense. Huawei’s North Korean involvement can potentially cause ripples throughout both fronts. For one, Trump already relinquished his iron grasp on Huawei recently. Will his tone change after today’s report? Will we see Huawei banned again? The Huawei saga continues.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is firing hundreds of workers

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