Panasonic launched Seekit as its latest device to help customers keep a track of their valuables. Comes as a Bluetooth-enabled tracking hardware, the Panasonic Seekit will go on sale in the country starting December 1. It will be available in two different variants – Seekit Edge and Seekit Loop – tapping a range of use cases. A dedicated Seekit smartphone app has been built to let users keep an eye on their valuables such as a smartphone, wallet, luggage, laptop, or keys. Alongside reaching end consumers, Panasonic is planning to tie up with businesses to expand the use cases of Seekit and build a community of users that can power a crowd GPS platform. The Japanese company is initially considering automakers, insurance companies, and luggage manufacturers as the potential customers of the Seekit devices that will be available for purchase for the masses through all major online channels next month.
“The prime aim is to move in the direction of providing a connected environment to people,” Panasonic India and South Asia President and CEO Manish Sharma told Gadgets 360 in a conversation on the sidelines of the Seekit launch in New Delhi. “The vision is little too large as maybe it appears that we’re are starting with the small device, but the objective is to spread the awareness of making people ready for the new lifestyle.”
While the Seekit Edge comes with a price tag of Rs. 1,599, the Seekit Loop is priced at Rs. 1,299. Both will be available through all major online marketplaces in the country next month.
The Seekit Edge and Seekit Loop both share almost identical hardware with Bluetooth v5.0 connectivity and an IP65-certified build. However, the Seekit Edge is designed mainly for products such as wallets, laptops, and smartphones, whereas the Loop is majorly designed for keychains. Both models have a built-in CR2016 button cell that is touted to deliver up to 18 months of battery life. Also, there is a speaker that produces up to 80db of sound to notify users when they aren’t in the range of their connected valuables.
Panasonic promotes the Seekit as a convenient device that can make your valuables secure and trackable in two simple steps that are tag and connect. The Seekit app that is initially available for Android devices and is planned to reach iOS devices in the coming days expands the functionality of the Seekit device. It gives users the ability to customise notification alerts with various levels of alert such as High, Low, DND, and Pickpocket among others. Users can also customise alert tones or record their own voice to differentiate which device requires attention at a particular time. The app also lets users share their Seekit rights with other people to help them find their valuables quickly. There is also an option to use the Seekit device to capture a selfie through the connected phone. Furthermore, there is an SOS Alert feature to let users send alerts to any particular contact by thrice pressing the physical button on the devices.
The Seekit devices also include a Bi-direction Tracking feature that lets users not just to find their tagged belongings but also their phones – by double pressing the button on the tracker device. It also has a Proximity Guidance feature to provide users with guidance to find the valuables without using the phone. The feature essentially lights up and buzzes the device to remind users to find it.
The Seekit app can additionally be used to check the last seen location in case if the users aren’t in the range of the tagged belongings. Since the Bluetooth connectivity is limited to 100 feet, the last seen location feature is highly useful. Panasonic is also set to build a Seekit Community to help users trace their valuables by using crowd GPS.
Sharma told Gadgets 360 that the Seekit had been “conceptualised and developed” in India. It is built by the Panasonic India team that sits in the India Innovation Centre of the company in Bengaluru. Notably, the latest device is the second finished product by the India Innovation Centre that previously brought digital platform called JanAid to enable a rural connect for healthcare services. Sharma said that the platform is also growing among rural Indian users with roughly 15,000 downloads so far.
Panasonic is targeting the Seekit devices at metro cities. “We’re looking at a million devices in the first year, focusing specifically on urban markets,” said Sharma. “Of course, it will be available online so anybody in the country will have access to buy. But our target customer is fundamentally into some specific cities – somewhere in urban markets. We’re paying equal focus on both online retail and also on enterprise sale.”
On the enterprise side, Sharma revealed that his team already reached various businesses. “We approached many different verticals of business sectors such as insurance guys, automakers – both in two wheeler and four wheeler space, luggage manufacturers, and bag makers,” he stated. “So we approached a variety of people, and by understanding their needs, we developed this product.”
Through the initial development, Panasonic has managed to receive more than 15 percent of purchase orders of the annual target of a million units, Sharma divulged. Some insurance partners are among the early partners, though the executive didn’t reveal any particular names.
Panasonic is also set to bundle the Seekit devices with its smartphones. “Technically, we have thought-process in the range of Rs. 22,000 and Rs. 27,000 smartphones,” he said.
Some Panasonic smartphone models with the Seekit device are believed to arrive in India alongside the availability of the tracker next month. Sharma told Gadgets 360 that there are also plans to reach the Middle East and Africa to widen the consumer base of the Seekit device. “Africa may not find as much potential, but in the Middle East markets, we’ll see a launch happening soon. Potentially, in the next three to four months,” he said.
Like with other devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) market, security could emerge as a key concern with the Seekit upon its expanded availability. Sharma highlighted that the Panasonic India folks took about more than a year to ensure a secure and safe experience through the Seekit device. “The data storage is at our certified data centres, and the application is extremely encrypted and fully secured – meets the highest of global standards,” he said, adding that majority of the user data through the Seekit device is stored in India only.
Importantly, while Panasonic is bullish on the success of Seekit, companies such as Motorola already brought their Bluetooth trackers, though those didn’t get much consumer focus in India. The Motorola Keylink and Power Pack Micro were the first few devices that debuted in the US back in 2014 to provide handy solutions to track valuables.
Honor V20 With Display Hole for Front Camera, 48-Megapixel Rear Camera Unveiled
Huawei-owned sub brand Honor has unveiled its latest Honor V20 at an event in Hong Kong on Monday. Successor to last year’s Honor V10 ? 52,812 (globally known as the View 10), the Honor V20 is the company’s first smartphone to sport a selfie camera display hole and a 48-megapixel rear camera sensor. The company appears to have timed the launch to beat Samsung to the launch of the Galaxy A8s, which launches today. In fact, this is the world’s first smartphone to sport the Sony IMX586 sensor – the first 48-megapixel sensor available in the market. The Honor V20 is powered by the latest HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC, and other features will be revealed by the brand at the launch event in Beijing, China on December 26.
Global launch is scheduled for January 22 in Paris, France, the company’s global Twitter handle revealed. In other countries, the smartphone will be called the Honor View 20, as was the case with the Honor V10 and Honor View 10 ? 27,499 last year. As we mentioned, Huawei appears to have timed the launched to beat Samsung in the race to unveil a smartphone with a display hole for the selfie camera, as the Samsung Galaxy A8s launch is set for today as well.
Honor V20 price, availability
Honor V20 has not been revealed at the announcement in Hong Kong. However, we can expect Honor to announce the phone’s China price at the event in Beijing on December 26, and the global pricing at the event in Paris next month.
Honor V20 specifications and features
Touted as the “world’s first in-screen camera smartphone”, the Honor V20 has a small display hole on the top left corner of the screen. The hole itself has a diameter of 4.5mm, helping increase the screen-to-body ratio. It also bears a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 camera sensor at the back, which comes with a 1/2.0-inch CMOS sensor, 4-in-1 Light Fusion, 4 times sensor HDR, and AI capabilities. Honor V20 is powered by the latest 7nm octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC.
Other than that, Honor claims that the V20 sports a premium design with 5-axis ring dispensing technology, 0.1mm precision assembly, and a customised camera lens. One of the teaser images suggests that the phone might get GPU Turbo gaming technology.
Link Turbo is another feature that Honor announced at the event today. This is essentially a technology that aims to combine Wi-Fi and LTE connections to offer lag reduction and faster speeds using on-device and cloud multi-path aggregation. It uses AI capabilities to provide the most optimal result.
Fujifilm GFX 50R Mirrorless Medium Format Camera With 51.4-Megapixel Sensor Launched in India
Fujifilm launched the GFX 50R at Photokina 2018 and now, the company has launched the mirrorless, medium format camera in India. The GFX 50R is a slimmer and lighter version of the GFX 50S but more importantly, it a lot more affordable. It’s priced at Rs. 3,69,999 for just the body, compared to the Rs. 5,11,999 price tag for the GFX 50S. It competes with other full-frame cameras like the Sony A9 and Nikon Z7, which are also priced above Rs. 3,00,000.
Launched in September this year, GFX 50R has a lot of features in common with its bigger sibling. It has the same 51.4-megapixel medium-format sensor, a native ISO range of 100 to 12,800, contrast detection autofocus system with 425 AF points, 3fps continuous shooting, full-HD video recoding up to 30fps, a 3.2-inch touchscreen display with a 2,360K dot resolution and a weather-sealed body.
The differences lie in the ergonomics, button layout and features. The GFX 50R is thinner and about 145g lighter than the GFX 50S and also has a noticeably smaller grip. A big change can be seen in the EVF, which is now placed on the left whereas the GFX 50S has a removable one that’s placed in the middle. Due to the compact size of the GFX 50R, the ISO dial is missing but in place of it, you do get one for exposure compensation.
You also lose the four-way direction pad on the back, leaving you with just the joystick for navigation and changing the autofocus point. While both models support Wi-Fi, the GFX 50R is the first model in the GFX system to sport Bluetooth Low Energy. This should let you to maintain a constant connection with your smartphone, without draining the camera’s battery.
Along with the camera, Fujifilm also launched two new XF lenses — the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR Lens and the XF 200mm f/2 OIS WR for its X series of mirrorless cameras. The former features a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range and is priced at Rs 159,999, while the latter is a telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2 which is priced at Rs. 4,79,999.
Apple launches new Beddit Sleep Monitor for $150
Apple has announced Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5, a sleep tracker that lies flat on a user’s mattress to track their sleep patterns, heart rate, and average breathing rates. This is the first time Apple has released an updated version of Beddit Sleep Monitor, a company the Cupertino company acquired in 2017. The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 retails for $150 (or approx Rs 10,703), and is currently available through the Apple Store in the US.
The new sleep tracker isn’t radically different from the original Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.0, but the new model does offer a few additional features such as the ability to monitor temperature. The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is essentially a flat and sensor strip that can be placed under the sheets. It is 2mm thin and powered by USB. The advantage of the Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is that it tracks a wide variety of data, including sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity. One can easily collect the data on the Sleep Monitor 3.5 through the official Beddit or Apple’s Health app.
The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 isn’t the only device that can track a user’s sleeping pattern. Withings also offers a similar device, though it only costs $99 (or approx Rs 7,063).
The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is one of the ways the company is trying to get into health and medicine. Apple has shown the market that it can successfully make a product built around health and fitness. Take the case of the Apple Watch Series 4. The newest smartwatch can take Electrocardiogram (ECG), detect falls and accidents, and contact emergency services.