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From Star Trek to the Galaxy Z Flip phone – a new foldable comes to Thailand

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From Star Trek to the Galaxy Z Flip phone – a new foldable comes to Thailand | The Thaiger
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The $1,500 Motorola RAZR flip phone, a sort of ‘smartphone’ version of its original 2004 market favourite, was twice the cost of an iPhone 11, looked cool but had a small battery and plastic screen. It was a throwback to the earlier design but with a foldable screen, the latest ‘thaeng’ in the smart-phone world.

Now there’s the new Galaxy Z Flip phone, a Samsung version that looks a lot more robust and has teeth to match. But before we check out Samsung’s new flipper, let’s go full retro to remember where the idea came from. And it’s a journey all the way back to US 60s TV and the fertile mind of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

The ‘Communicator’ was an ever-present part of every Star Trek TV show and the flip-screen space walkie-talkie would inspire Motorola to come up with its Razr phone in 2004. The crew of the Starship Enterprise would ‘flip’ it open to get themselves out of a myriad emergency situations or a hasty request to be ‘beamed up’.

A few years ago someone even decided to make a real, working version of a Star Trek Communicator, HERE.

Motorola tried to reboot its 2004 Razr with its new ‘smartphone’ version last year but, well, it was a cute retro attempt but mostly panned by reviews and users.

But the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.7-inch smartphone has all the feel of a smaller, foldable Razr-style phone, but packed with the power to match. It will fold into a square about half its size, with a small rectangular display on the front cover for notifications. It comes in three colours – gold, purple and black (surely Trekkies will buy the gold) – and goes on sale on February 14 in some countries, and March 9 in Thailand.

At US$1,380, the Z Flip is hardly affordable, but with its new, sturdier design, Samsung could have mastered the flip-phone design, coupled with the power its users demand.

David McQueen, research director at tech advisory firm ABI Research, says the smartphone business has gone through years of complacency, waiting for some design innovation.

“There is little doubt that foldable smartphones are set to become the next technology innovation trend.”

“Foldable displays are set to become an important form factor in future product portfolios bringing much needed innovation into device design.”

From Star Trek to the Galaxy Z Flip phone - a new foldable comes to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Beyond the nostalgia factor – back to 2004 and the 60s – there’s a lot of appeal in a phone that shrinks in size and shuts close. Like the Motorola RAZR, the Samsung Z Flip features a small display on the front so you can still see notifications when they come through if closed.

Unlike the RAZR’s plastic display, the Z Flip features a layer of ultra-thin glass that opens and snaps into place with ease. It packs a powerful processor and decent battery life and does most of what you’d expect from a smartphone these days.

Up to now the barrier to flip and folding phones has been the notorious hinge. Samsung seems to have solved that issue. The Z Flip features a small, internal brush-like system to push out debris and opens and snaps into place with ease. Samsung claims it can open up to 200,000 times without damage. The downside, in this design, is the noticeable crease that resides in the centre of the display, right in the middle where users are swiping and opening apps. You can see it and feel it.

It’s rumoured that Apple might be working on a foldable concept, but nothing has been announced at this stage.

But could flip phones become the next big category of hand-held devices? It’s not as if it’s a new concept. For now, that may be a leap, sideways, from the common form factor. But if executed properly, Samsung’s Z Flip’s “wow” factor will probably entice early adopters and eventually a larger audience.

Get the price tag down below 30,000 baht, and things could get very interesting.

In Thailand the phone will cost 44,900 baht and be available from March 9, according to Samsung.

From Star Trek to the Galaxy Z Flip phone - a new foldable comes to Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Mor Chana app – what you need to know

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Mor Chana app – what you need to know | The Thaiger

So what’s going on with the new Mor Chana app?

As far as the Thai Government is concerned, it’s part of their fight to track and trace the Covid-19 virus during this current outbreak. More Chana is a contact tracing tool.

In essence, the app will allow you to check in when you go to different locations around Thailand, enter shops and buildings. As guests in the country, expats and travellers here should acknowledge that we have a role and responsibility to play in getting this current situation under control, as well as the Thais.

Of course you are well entitled to decide NOT to download and activate the app but the narrative from the government is that they see More Chana as an important part of their strategy. The app will also alert you when you are entering areas or provinces of potentially high risk. Being alert to these situations is like being alert to any other type of news.

So far, the application has been downloaded more than 3 million times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Welcome to 2021 – Digital Covid Passports | VIDEO

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Welcome to 2021 – Digital Covid Passports | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Documentation, including your current Covid status and vaccination details, will become 2021’s biggest challenge as governments, businesses, and the travel industry try and re-establish some sort of workable way forward.

Several companies and technology groups are developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their Covid-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital credentials that could be shown in order to enter public building, sports stadiums, movie theatres, or even other countries.

One is the Common Trust Network, an initiative by Geneva-based non-profit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum.

The new app will allow users to upload medical data and generate a QR code ‘health certificate’ without revealing sensitive information.

For travel, the app can lists health pass requirements relating to the countries you intend to visit.

The next challenge facing the world after populations become more widely inoculated will be privacy issues and representing the effectiveness of the different vaccines.

Are you worried about privacy? Do you think all countries will require such documentation for travel? How about entering public buildings or shops? Let’s hear your comments below…

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2021’s new normal – the digital Covid passport

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2021’s new normal – the digital Covid passport | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Common Pass

Looking forward to travelling, shopping, going to the movies? Now that Covid-19 vaccines are beginning to be rolled out around the world, you may now need something in addition to the actual vaccine. Documentation… a vaccine passport.

Documentation, including your current Covid status and vaccination details, will become 2021’s biggest challenge as governments, businesses, and world travel, try and re-establish some sort of workable way forward.

Several companies and technology groups are developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their Covid-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital credentials that could be shown in order to enter public building, sports stadiums, movie theatres, or even other countries.

One is the Common Trust Network, an initiative by Geneva-based non-profit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum. Along with airlines Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, the new app will allow users to upload medical data and generate a QR code ‘health certificate’ without revealing sensitive information. For travel, the app can lists health pass requirements relating to the countries based on your itinerary.

The next challenge facing the world after populations become more widely inoculated will be privacy issues and representing the effectiveness of the different vaccines. Different apps are tackling these issues in different ways and immigration officials and airlines will have to keep up to date with the various methods of digital ‘covid’ passports in the future.

Of course there’s also a large subset of people that don’t use or have access to smartphones. The Covid-19 Credentials Initiative is also developing a smart card that can easily be updated with the latest information and an online version that’s easier to store.

Still, the real-life implementation, and lack of a worldwide ‘standard’ is going to add to ongoing confusion. Did you get the Pfizer vaccine, did you get the Chinese vaccine, did you get the Russian vaccine, did you get a vaccine developed in the US? The vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm has a reported efficacy of 86% against Covid-19. Vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna each have an efficacy of around 95%.

The CommonPass platform will assess whether a person’s lab test results or vaccination records come from a trusted source and can satisfy the health screening requirements of the country they want to visit.

It also remains unclear how effective the vaccines are in stopping the transmission of the virus. So while a vaccine passport app will show that you’ve received the shot, it may not be a guarantee that you safely attend an event or get on a flight. Like the early days of Covid-19, there will be a steep learning curve and a constant change in the fact pool, mixed in with plenty of spicy conspiracy theories.

Governments and airlines are expecting a variety of apps that can work with each other to be “widely available” within the first half of 2021. IATA, the International Air Transport Association, and most of the larger airlines have already foreshadowed that some sort of digital Covid passport will be necessary before you get on a plane or enter a country in the future.

SOURCE: CommonPass

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