Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge launching in New Zealand on 11th April

Samsung New Zealand today revealed the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones on TVNZ Breakfast, confirming they will launch in New Zealand just one day after Korea on the 11th of April 2015.

S6 TV

Click image to see Breakfast’s first look at the phones on TVNZ.co.nz

The new S6’s do away with a number of features seen in the S5; gone are the plastic backs, removable battery and USB 3.0 connection; instead the S6’s feature a premium glass and metal form factor, a non-removable battery and a standard micro usb connection.

The touchwiz interface has been pared down to speed up the Android Lollipop experience, though customers can choose to download and install a range of Samsung apps if they wish.

The Galaxy S6 Edge, pitched as the more premium of the two, features slightly curved edges which can be used to show some notifications when the phone is placed face down.

I only had the phones for 30 minutes but here are the features I’m interested in delving into when I get a more thorough hands on experience.

  • Microsoft apps pre-installed – Onedrive and Onenote for starters
  • Wireless charging built in – works with most standard wireless chargers.
  • Low light lenses on the rear (16mp) and front (5mp) cameras.

Samsung badly needs a hit phone; they suffered from disappointing sales of the S5 and have had to sit back as competitors like Apple and Xiaomi have stolen market share from them in the crucial Chinese market.

Prices for the New Zealand market are yet to be confirmed but expect to pay over $1049 (estimate) for each off contract.

The full Samsung Press Release follows…

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge define what’s next in mobility

 Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge – smart invents beautiful – the most advanced mobile devices in the market

 Auckland, New Zealand, March 2nd 2015 – Samsung Electronics New Zealand today announced its entirely redefined smartphones; the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, creating a new and absolutely unrivalled global standard in design, craftsmanship and performance.

As consumers seek ways to be more informed, entertained, connected and free to spend more time doing what matters most, Samsung delivers unparalleled beauty, speed, and performance in two extraordinary smartphones that totally change the game. Both the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge incorporate vastly enhanced processing power; a high quality super-fast loading camera to catch all the important moments; charging that’s 1.5 times faster than the Galaxy S5 for our ever busier lives and, what’s more, they come in an elegant glass and metal design; appealing to the most fashion forward.

“By listening to our customers, and learning from both our success and our missteps, we continuously push forward new technologies and ideas,” says JK Shin, president and head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung. “With a reimagined design, robust partner network and truly innovative services, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge offer two completely differentiated products that deliver the ultimate in smartphone options.”

 Stefan Lecchi, Head of Telecommunications for Samsung Electronics New Zealand, says, “We set out to create a smartphone that could do more, faster, so that our customers can give more time to the people and things that make a difference to their lives – whether that’s work, play or just simply staying in touch. We’ve absolutely delivered that – and what’s more, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge also have a stunning look and feel. Smart has totally invented beautiful, and we’re excited to see how Kiwis will respond.”

 

Standout features deliver what’s next in mobile

 Beauty Meets Purpose

Crafted from metal and glass, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge blend beautiful design with meaningful innovation and powerful features. The glass body is available in an array of colourful jewel tones, including White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz, and Green Emerald*. This incredible design required unique glass molding technology and unmatched craftsmanship, setting the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge apart from any other mobile devices on the market. The premium aesthetics are complemented by a totally new interface that greatly enhances usability and functionality.

 Vivid Images with Fast, Bright Camera

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are equipped with incredibly vivid, bright and fast front and rear smartphone cameras. The bright (F1.9) lenses and high resolution sensors on both front (5MP) and rear (16MP) cameras provide superior image quality, even in low light. Auto Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) provide advanced light sensitive and crisp camera solutions. Further, the camera app launches in 0.7 seconds and a new “Quick Launch” feature give users fast, direct access to the camera in any screen by simply double clicking the home key button. These advanced camera functions enable users to capture their most precious and personal moments in uncompromising quality; however and wherever they want.

 Super Charging and Plug Free

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge also offer incredibly fast charging that’s 1.5 faster than the Galaxy S5, giving 2 hours of HD video play after only 10 minutes of charging. With first-of-its-kind fully embedded wireless charging technology,  the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are setting a new industry standard for universal wireless charging. Compatible with both WPC and PMA standards, the devices work with any wireless pad available in the market (WPC and PMA certified).

 Ideal for the business use – Enhanced Secure Mobile Experience

Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are built on the upgraded, end-to-end secure mobile platform Samsung KNOX, offering defence grade features for real-time protection from malicious attacks. These new devices are also ready out-of-the-box for business – enabling instant access to partner environments that offer increased productivity and flexibility.  The devices work seamlessly with the likes of Mobile Iron, Airwatch, and Microsoft Office 365. As business works increasingly in the Cloud, security is enhanced with a touch fingerprint scanner, super quick authentication and encrypted data saved in secure device storage.

Samsung Exclusive Technology for higher performance and lower power consumption

The thin (6.8 mm/7.0mm edge) and lightweight (132g /138g edge) Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge integrates the most advanced Samsung exclusive technology available today. With the world’s first 14nm 64-bit mobile processor technology in combination with 64-bit Operating System, new LPDDR4 memory system and Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 flash memory, users can undertake multiple tasks at the same time whilst enjoying significantly lower power consumption.

Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge users can share and enjoy a clearer brighter viewing experience anytime and anywhere thanks to the 5.1” Quad HD Super AMOLED screen display which has an incredible pixel density of 577 pixels per inch (ppi). Outdoor visibility is effortless with display brightness reaching up to 600cd/m2 (candela per square metre).

Enabling simple and secure mobile payments in New Zealand

Today Samsung announces the launch of Samsung Pay; a new, easy-to-use mobile payment service.  Protected by Samsung KNOX, fingerprint scanning, and advanced tokenisation, Samsung Pay works with both NFC (Near Field Communication) and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and Barcode technology.  Samsung Pay is not expected to be available in 2015 in New Zealand.

However, New Zealanders will shortly be able to enjoy the convenience of mobile payments.  Samsung has a partnership with Semble – a ground breaking New Zealand industry collaboration, bringing together Paymark and mobile network operators (2degrees, Spark and Vodafone) with banking partners (ASB and BNZ) to offer an integrated mobile wallet experience to Kiwis. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge and more than 700,000 Samsung devices will be able to make smartphone payments using Semble.  This is set to launch early 2015.

Release dates

Galaxy Zero and Galaxy Zero edge will be available globally starting in April 2015 with 32/64/128GB storage options available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz (Galaxy Zero only) and Green Emerald (Galaxy Zero edge only).
Google

Introducing the BMW ZZZ series – the ultimate sleeping machine for babies

BMW New Zealand today announced a world first with the BMW ZZZ series cot, a high performance sleeping machine designed by automotive engineers for babies.

Skilfully blending comfort and style, this innovative premium baby cot embodies the spirit of The Ultimate Driving Machine. A fusion of German engineering and advanced technology means your baby will sleep better, for longer, in safety and comfort.

BMW

Photo: The BMW ZZZ series being announced on Breakfast this morning.

Video: The official press video from http://www.bmwzzz.co.nz

Here are the specs for the New Zealand market.  The device costs $899 for the base model with further modifications available.

1000mm long, 750mm wide and 1000mm in height, the ZZZ Series’ compact dimensions deliver a strikingly spacious feel on the inside, giving your baby a premium nursery experience.
Versatility, design, and functionality, the BMW ZZZ Series is packed with features:

• 4 custom Ultimate Sleeping Drive-Motion settings
o City drive
o Open road
o Race track
o Off-road

• Customised Engine Sound Selector allows you access to the engine sounds of the entire BMW range

• Customised volume control delivers realistic engine noise simulation

• BMW ZZZ Series Smart Device App features:
o Integrated push button start
o The Ultimate Driving Simulation program selector
o A moisture detection sensor alerts parent via app
o In-situ Cot-Cam or remote viewing
o Integrated climate control
o Custom coloured LED hood light ambiance selector

• Lightweight military-grade carbon fibre moulding

• Multi-phase high-tensile steel in a single-joint spring strut axle concealed in the base for agile suspension and directional precision, for superior handling and stability

• Custom premium leather interior colour selector

• Trademark BMW kidney grill integration

• Customised Colour Match System for synergy with your BMW

• M Sport upgrade available

The BMW ZZZ Series is ideal for parents with new families. As is the all-new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. With its elevated seating position, variable rear-seat bench, expandable truck space, and generous legroom, it’s The Ultimate Driving Machine for all new families.
You can take your little one for a test drive when it arrives in October and experience the comfort and safety of the all-new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

Super Sonic Gadgets (see what we did there?)

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ll know that the ultimate timelord gadget is a sonic screwdriver.

Well, today’s manufacturers haven’t quite perfected that piece of technology, but there are a few helpful sonic accessories on the market.

But today we looked at some super gadgets with sonic powers, from filling a room with sound to helping keep your teeth clean.

Logitech Ultimate Ears (UE) Brand

The Ultimate Ears brand is well known amongst professional musicians.  It began life in 1995 when one of Van Halen’s sound engineers invented a new in-ear monitor to help block stage noise for the band.  Fast-forward 17 years and Logitech is bringing the Ultimate Ears brand to the masses.

UE 9000 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones: Wireless listening no longer means sound-quality compromises. The UE9000 wireless headphones use the highest quality codecs and advanced digital signal processing to get the best out of a Bluetooth music connection.

The custom drivers produce a great sound and a remarkable level of power, punch and clarity.  An optional, detachable cable is included for when Bluetooth isn’t an option (i.e. on planes).

UE Boombox: A powerful portable music solution, the UE Boombox allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to stream clear sounding music from across the room or across the street. Bring it to a party and connect it with multiple phones so everyone can take turns playing music.

 

Product Website: http://ue.logitech.com/en-nz

Price: UE 9000 Headphones $599.90, UE Boombox $349.90

Availability: Leading electronics retailers such as Noel Leeming and JB HiFi

Philips Sonicare

Philips has introduced two new Sonicare products that push the boundaries of personal oral hygiene − the DiamondClean power toothbrush and a unique alternative to flossing, the AirFloss.

Powered by patented sonic technology, the DiamondClean is the most advanced power toothbrush in the Sonicare range, with a dynamic cleaning action that drives fluid between the teeth and along the gum for healthier gums and whiter teeth.

The toothbrush, which has won numerous design awards, features an advanced dual charging system. Users can either use a glass charging unit or a USB travel case that can plug into a laptop to charge on the go without the need for plugs and adaptors.

The innovative AirFloss makes flossing easier and more effective than using traditional string dental floss. It uses microburst technology that delivers a quick burst of air and water through an innovative nozzle guidance tip to clean between teeth, dislodging hard to remove food and forcing plaque and bacteria out.

The AirFloss is quick and efficient, taking only one minute and using only one teaspoon of water per session, and is proven to be easier to use than string floss.

Price: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean (HX9332) $389.95, Philips Sonicare AirFloss (HX8111) $199.95

Availability: From leading electronic stores nationwide.

Website: www.philips.co.nz/sonicare

Flying the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 around the Breakfast studio – Live On Air

There are worse places to be on the weekend than chatting on the sofa with the Saturday Breakfast presenters Nadine and Tamati.

This week I took a couple of tablets and a quadricopter on set.  What could possibly go wrong flying a $500 remote control aircraft around an enclosed television studio?

To see the review visit the TVNZ player here TVNZ Breakfast

The Drone starts flying just after 3:00 mins.

Leap Pad 2
The Leapfrog Leappad 2 is the number one most popular toy on the Toyworld Top10 Hot Toys List, so hot in fact the first shipment in late October sold out.  Designed for kids aged 3+, the LeapPad2 inspires children to create and explore digital content.
It features front-and-back cameras and video recorders, 4GB of memory, a faster processor and a library of 150+ game cartridges and downloadable apps (5 free apps included).
Your child’s imagination can be unlocked with eBooks, videos, music, creativity studios, games and more.

It’s important to point out that while apps and games can be downloaded from the internet and loaded onto the Leap Pad 2 from a computer, the device itself cannot go online.
Website

Price: $179.99 from ToyWorld stores.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0
Fly, hover and flip to your heart’s content: The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is the latest version of the remote control Quadricopter that allows you to fly and record in HD.
Using the intuitive Smartphone and tablet controls with the onboard Hi Def video cam, you’ll get to view the earth from high above and directly share your experience online with the world.

The drone features:
•    An onboard HD 720 video cam.
•    A robust structure to make sure your most daring stunts don’t damage the hardware.
•    Automatic stabilisation features.
•    Wifi direct access to your apple or android tablet or phone. Your movements control the AR Drone 2.0

Recommended Retail Price: $499.99
Available from Playtech, 0508 PLAYTECH, or playtech.co.nz
Website

Meep Android Tablet
An innovative, interactive, Wi-Fi enabled, 7” tablet that features touch screen technology designed for kids age 6 and above, the MEEP! tablet features a durable design and an enhanced rubber silicon sleeve for added protection from bumps, scratches and falls!
When it comes to feeling secure about what your kids have access to, the Meep tablet offers unique Cloud based parental control, accessible from any PC, smartphone or tablet with a browser. COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and KidSafe Certified, the Meep tablet lets you rest assured knowing you can carefully select content, control the way your kids access the Internet, know what they’re doing with the tablet (log files), approve all their friend requests and downloads, and set designated playtime.

Recommended Retail Price: $269.00
Product website

Available from leading electronics retailers such as Noel Leeming.

All prices correct at time of publishing. Products subject to availability.

Let there be light – Latest LED lighting technology

Improvements in LED (short for light emitting diode) technology means it is rapidly becoming the coolest light source for a whole range of electronic gadgets.

It is cheap, efficient and low in energy use.

The products we looked at on the show this morning were:

BellsandWhistles.co.nz MonkeyLectric Spoke Lights


MonkeyLectric spoke lights are fast becoming a must-have bike accessory for urban cycle enthusiasts throughout the world. Designed and launched in USA in 2007, MonkeyLectric lights have added a new dimension to urban cycling through cutting edge digital art and style, whilst improving overall riding visibility and safety at the same time.

The Monkey light includes 20 themes with hundreds of colour combinations. The 10 LED light board hooks to 2 of your spokes using 3 point zip ties and attaches to a hub-mounted 3AA battery pack.

Price: Currently on sale for $66.30 per unit
Available from: Online bike store bellsandwhistles.co.nz
Website.

Philips LED myVision Bulbs


This is a new innovation – a range of LED bulbs designed to fit into standard bayonet or screw fit light sockets.

The new myVision LED bulbs consume 6W or 9.5W of power and emit light output similar to standard 40W or 60W incandescent bulbs, respectively. Designed to resemble a traditional frosted light bulb all Philips LEDs are mercury-free and produce high quality natural shades of white light.

Philips LED light bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last 15-25 times longer.  With lighting making up around 12% of the average New Zealand home’s electricity bill, converting to energy efficient lighting is one simple and effective way to reduce overall energy consumption.

Price: $19.99
Availability: At Bunnings and Lighting Direct stores.
Website

LED Lenser X14 Torch

What is about blokes and torches? This is one of my must have guy-toys (and if that’s not a hint for Father’s Day I don’t know what is).The new LED Lenser X14 is seriously bright. We’re talking 450 lumens of brightness with an astounding 350 metre range. This brightness is achieved through the unique torch head that has two light sources, producing a pair of beams that converge into a super-concentrated light cone.

The torch features technical advancements such as the Advanced Focus System which means you can easily switch between a broad floodlight and sharply focused long distance beam.  It also features Smart Light Technology, which means you can customize the torch to your needs by choosing between two energy modes and three light programmes with up to eight light functions.

Price: $299.00
Distributor: Tight Lines, (06) 843 6388 or e-mail service@tightlines.co.nz
Available from: All good hunting and fishing shops
Website.

If you’d like more information on LED technology read on:

Home lighting: Whereas it was once used mainly in torches and recessed wall lighting, today we will also show an LED with traditional light mounting meaning LED’s can be used in place of traditional incandescent bulbs and energy saving lightbulbs.
Incandescent bulbs are cheap to buy but eat energy.

Torches: Powerful white-light-emitting diodes (LED)s increasingly replace incandescent bulbs in practical flashlights. LEDs can be significantly more efficient than incandescent lamps. An LED flashlight will have a longer battery life than a comparable incandescent flashlight. LEDs are also less fragile than glass lamps.

Key Advantages:
•    Five Times More Energy Efficient: LEDs emit more light per watt than incandescent light bulbs.They can generate the same light as a traditional 40w or 60w bulb with only 8-12 watts of power.
•    Last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs: A traditional bulb lasts 1,000 hours, a CFL 15,000 and an LED 25,000 (all times approximate),
•    Cost Efficient because they last for 10-20 years: Normal bulbs only cost $2.00 but the blow within a year, a CFL costs $8 and lasts 5 years, an LED can last 20 years.
•    On/Off time: LEDs light up instantly unlike energy saving lightbulbs which can take 15-30 seconds to reach top brightness.
•    No Mercury: Some people are put off energy saving CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) lamps because they contain small amounts of Mercury.
•    Shock resistance: LEDs, being solid-state components, are difficult to damage with external shock, unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which are fragile.
•    Focus: The solid package of the LED can be designed to focus its light. Incandescent and fluorescent sources often require an external reflector to collect light and direct it in a usable manner.

Galaxy SIII (S3) Hands On Review

What’s the old saying? When it rains, it pours? Well, at the moment we are experiencing a deluge of super spec’d up smartphones.  Mere weeks after the HTC One X hit the market the new Samsung Galaxy S3 has swooped into view.

For those of you who don’t know, the previous version of the Galaxy (the S2) was just about the only phone that managed to keep up with the all powerful iPhone.  20 million units of the S2 were shipped in it’s life cycle – and Samsung are expecting 30m unit sales for the S3.  That may sound like a tall order but you’ll be pleased to know that they have already clocked up 9m pre-orders before it goes on sale in the middle of this week.

A limited number of test units made their way into New Zealand this week and I’ve been lucky enough to have one for the past 24 hours.  Many, many blogs have already benchmarked the S3 technically (links below) so I decided to put it through some “real world” tests.

First up – The Ponsonby Road Media Lunch test.  As you know, this is a critical test. There is absolutely no point in owning a high end smartphone if it doesn’t get envious stares when placed on the table in front of you during lunch.

At lunch, the S3 was on the table for 1m 20seconds before I was asked “is that the the new Samsung?” Not a bad start given the phone has a fairly sleek profile.  The phone was then passed around a group of smartphone users (four iPhone and one Galaxy 1st generation owners). The general consensus was 1. It’s lighter than you expect. 2. It’s big (meaning larger in physical terms than an iPhone). 3. It looks great (screen resolution) and finally 4. It’s “nice”. Phew, social embarrassment neatly avoided.

Later, having had a chance to use a few of the features I drew a few more conclusions. I like the size of the phone.  The 4.8 inch screen displays rich content so nicely the S3 is a must have on my gadget shopping list. (read on below)

Click the image to view the review on TVNZ.co.nz

The next feature I tested was the dual wifi ability.  The phone has the ability to pull two signals down from a wifi router and provide a smoother faster stream of video content.

The guys at Samsung suggested I try out a Youtube test and have a “race” between the S3 and my iPhone 4. So I did. I streamed the Prometheus 2minute trailer to both devices and yes, the first thing that became apparent was that the S3 delivered the stream faster. However the more important thing was the fact that the trailer looked beautiful on the S3 and it looked woeful on the iPhone 4.

There were two reasons for this, the S3 has a 4.8 inch screen versus the iPhone’s measly 3.5 inch screen. Secondly the rendering of colour on the S3 was just much better than on the iPhone.  Personally I have always preferred the screen on the Galaxy range to the display on the iPhone 4 series.  Some people think the colour and brightness on the super AMOLED screens are too brash.  Not me. But then I have already admitted to being a Ponsonby-Road-Media-Lunch-Goer so I have no problem with brash.

Other notes? I like the feel of the S3 in the hand.  Apparently inspired by nature, the phone is supposed to feel a like a large, smooth, river pebble.  I have no doubt it would skip merrily across a body of water if thrown with the right force at the right angle.

The rest of the “natural” effects don’t quite do it for me – the rain drop sound when you touch the screen, the nature inspired ring tones (including Blowing Dandelion Seeds and Fairy Fountain) are just a bit too tree-huggy for my sensibilities – and I’m a Green voter!

I could go on for a lot longer but I won’t, I’ll give a thumbs up to these additional features:

Smart Stay: As long as you are looking at it it stays backlit. Not exactly a must-have feature but smart, innovative and its inclusion is gift to the PR and marketing people looking to capture attention.

Direct Call: It knows when you want to talk to someone. If you are typing a txt message then decide to call the person you’re txting, you simply have to lift the phone to your ear and it will automatically dial that number for you.

S Beam: Place two GALAXY S3’s back-to-back and you can transfer pictures, music, videos, and more.

Finally, if you’re in New Zealand and you want to buy one of these phones, Vodafone has an extra incentive for you.  Vodafone is giving smartphone lovers who purchase the new Samsung GALAXY S III the opportunity to win a trip of a lifetime into space, valued at $270,000. This is the first time a space travel prize has been offered in New Zealand, and all customers who purchase the new Samsung GALAXY S III from Vodafone between 31 May and 15 July will be eligible to enter.

The first phones go on sale from 12:01am on Thursday 31 May at the Queen Street, Auckland and Riccarton Mall, Christchurch Vodafone stores. I can’t wait to see how that goes.

External reviews:

http://www.cnet.co.uk

www.gsmarena.com

Skinny Gadgets – Samsung LED 9000 , Apple MacBook Air 11″ and others

You may remember the old saying – “you can never be too rich or too thin” – well gadget makers seem to believe this, with a whole range of super skinny gadgets hitting our shops.

But while the gadgets may be slim, it seems you need a fat wallet to be able to afford them.

Samsung LED 9000 Full HD 3D TV
The new Samsung LED TV may be massive in terms of its 55 cm viewing area but amazingly it’s only 4.89 mm thick.

How can it be so slim?
The brushed titanium casing not only gives it strength, it acts as a heat sink (so there are no fans inside the casing).
The speakers and tuners are actually in the base.
The lights (LED’s) are in the edge.

What’s cool about it?
As you’d expect from a $10,000 television, it has a lot of special features
– Not only does it show 3D movies, it can take normal 2D signals and convert it to 3D.
– It comes with a Wi-Fi adapter for accessing internet apps.
– Features an amazing touch screen remote which among other things, allows you to watch a 2nd channel while others are viewing the 1st.

Price: $9,999
Available from: Check with your usual electronics retailers such as Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman and JB HiFi
Product Website:
Rating: 5 out of 5

The new 11 inch MacBook Air

How slim is it? 2.79 mm at front edge and 1.7 cm at the back

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