Samsung is giving something special for the MENA region with the launch of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Astro Edition. This is the first-ever limited-edition Galaxy Watch dedicated to the Middle East region.
Whenever a new product is announced, some brands also release a special edition. They are usually exclusive to certain geographic region like: US, UK, and few other European countries. Not with this smartwatch, as Samsung looks to start a trend.
Still a Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
According to Samsung, the inspiration for this special edition stems from the MENA region’s explorers and innovators. It symbolizes their contributions to astronomy and mathematics.
This is still a Galaxy Watch 6 Classic under its chassis. It builds upon it by incorporating some unique features for this exclusive model.
A rotating Black Astro bezel in 47mm size
Exclusive software features, with a compass complication on the dial serving as a nod to the design of an astrolabe
Lunar and solar phases to track the movements of the sun and moon
A solar tracker complication paying tribute to the sun’s central role in the astrolabe’s astronomical observations; mirrors the sun’s daily journey from sunrise to sunset
If you’re looking to buy one, there is an exclusive offer which can include a combination of the following items (varies by market): exclusive access to promotion store, Astro Edition collectibles, fabric watch straps, Samsung Rewards points, or Galaxy Buds 2.
You can buy the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Astro edition from the Samsung website or at the official Samsung stores in the following countries (equivalent to the price of QAR 1,889/AED 1,999/JD 350):
GCC: Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and UAE
Levant: Jordan, Iraq, and Turkiye
North Africa: Morocco and Egypt
On another note, they have described this as the first of several limited-editio collections of watches. We can definitely look forward to more.
While the AI race has been picking up pace, many have been rolling out features to their own generative AI products. Google launched Bard back in March 2023, expanding its availability to many countries (including the MENA region) in May after Google IO. However, it’s been limited to English and a select few languages.
Arabic support for Bard is officially now available for users everywhere, accompanied with Hindi and more widely popular languages.
Arabic powered by PaLM 2
For a language like Arabic with various dialects across the MENA region, Google has supported the language across it’s family of products. Bringing support for it to Bard looked like a monumental challenge, especially with generative AI.
All of this has been made possible by Google’s latest language model ‘PaLM2’ (via Google Arabic blog). Recognising the intricacies of the language, Bard can understand 16 distinct colloquial Arabic dialects. Responses in Arabic would be givena in Modern Standard Arabic.
Ever noticed some people who tend to mix Arabic and another language (also known as code-switching)? Bard also has the ability to understand it. This will be helpful for those in the Levant region
The Arabic interface has been fully engineered to align with the flow of Arabic text, naturally supporting right-to-left script and making it more user friendly.
Some additional rollouts
With the rollout of additional languages, Google did also highlight a few new worthy additions for the MENA region (even though some are currently supported in English).
Google Lenscapabilities: upload an image and ask Bard for information about an image or ask it to make a caption based on the image. Live in English and with plans to support the existing additional languages in the future.
Differentresponsestyles: Change the tone and style of Bard’s responses to five different options: simple, long, short, professional or casual. Live in English and with plans to support the existing additional languages in the future.
Audio Responses: Listen to Bard’s responses using audio, making it even more accessible. This feature works in over 40 languages including Arabic.
Share responses with friends: Share part or all of your Bard chat with your network. With shareable links, you can share your ideas and creations with others.
Given the different demographics in the MENA region, Bard’s support for more popular languages will definitely incentivise its uptake.
There has been plenty of talk in the past few months when ChatGPT came to the spotlight. Since then, many third-party apps have started to incorporate it. That also spawned a bunch of imitation apps with questionable security measures. This brought us to the official app launching first in USA.
OpenAI (parent company of ChatGPT) has been officially expanding availability of the mobile app to more geographies worldwide, now including a significant part of the Middle East and North Africa region (plus some in the Indian Subcontinent).
What is ChatGPT?
If you don’t know but have heard the word, that’s the questions you’re probably asking. In the simplest explanation: it’s an AI-based chatbot that uses generative artificial intelligence to answer questions and provide advice on all manner of subjects. It allows users to use it for the following
Instant answers: Get precise information without sifting through ads or multiple results.
Tailored advice: Seek guidance on cooking, travel plans, or crafting thoughtful messages.
Creative inspiration: Generate gift ideas, outline presentations, or write the perfect poem.
Professional input: Boost productivity with idea feedback, note summarization, and technical topic assistance.
Learning opportunities: Explore new languages, modern history, and more at your own pace.
Diving into the app
With the official iOS/iPadOS app, users can interact with the generative AI-based chatbot via their iPhone or iPad. You will need to make an OpenAI account beforehand.
Account holders will see their usage history synced across devices; you can see your ChatGPT interactions both on the web and on iOS devices.
While the app is free to use, the sudden surge in popularity saw OpenAI launch a monthly ChatGPT Plus service that gives users priority during higher demand, faster response time, and even early access to the newer features like the more powerful ChatGPT 4 capabilities.
Don’t want to type? The app supports voice input through Whisper (OpenAI’s speech recognition system) and lets ChatGPT Plus users access advanced features through GPT-4.
As for its availability across the MENA region (plus a bit in the Indian Subcontinent), below are the countries where the app is officially available on the respective country’s App Stores.
Not sure why Saudi Arabia nor Bahrain were’t part of the same group as the GCC. To also showcase the power of ChatGPT when it comes to Arabic, you might want to see the below tweet comparing the free and the Plus option.
Since the initial release, the app saw more than 500k installs on iOS. Android users will still have to wait, as OpenAI are still working on a native app for the platform.
Want to download it already? Get the official app from the App Store.
The smartphone updates keep trickling, and now it’s Oppo’s turn with the new Oppo Reno8 T 5G coming to the Middle East. While the Reno8 has been out for a few months, this new model fits into the mid-tier that brings some of the premium features from the high-end flagship to a more suitable price point.
Major Portrait Upgrades on the Camera
Sliding into a new segment, the Oppo Reno8 T 5G implements OPPO’s first 108MP Portrait Camera. It also features an exclusive 40x Microlens and a 2MP Depth Camera together with a 32MP Selfie Camera for an upgraded photography experience throughout.
Based on this powerful camera setup, the Reno8 T 5G provides a range of portrait features, including Selfie HDR, Bokeh Flare Portrait, Dual-View Video and more, each of which empower users to capture professional-quality photos that express their own style and creativity.
Curved and Snug Display
A large display for the Oppo Reno8 T 5G fuses design with comfort. That’s courtesy of the 120Hz 3D Curved Design striking a balance between visual immersion and comfortable grip. Also helping to reduce accidental touches and screen damage.
Coming in at 6.7-inches, it’s quite a large AMOLED display providing a 93% screen-to-body ratio and 2.32 mm lower bezel. With a 120Hz Ultra High Refresh Rate and a 120Hz touching sampling rate that can be increased to 1,000Hz instantaneous sampling rate in certain game scenarios, the screen is super smooth and responsive.
If you want to geek out on the specs for the Oppo Reno8 T 5G, look no further.
Reno8 T (5G)
6.7" AMOLED FHD+ @ 2412x1080 px (394 ppi); 120Hz refresh rate (max touch sampling of 360Hz with default at 120Hz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695; 8 cores up to 2.2GHz, and Adreno 619 GPU at 840 MHz
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz, 5.1 GHz and 5 GHz); Bluetooth 5.1; USB Type-C; NFC
Aurora, Stellar Black
Dimensions (Height x Width x Thickness) and Weight
162.3 x 74.3 x 7.7 mm; 171g
Balanced performance powered by hardware and software enhancements
Oppo’s signature SuperVOOC is also present, looking to charge the device’s 4,800mAh battery in less than 45min at 67W. A 5-Layer Charging Protection ensures that super-fast charging is even safer to use. Pair it with OPPO’s self-developed Battery Health Engine, it also extends the Reno8 T 5G’s battery lifespan to up to 1,600 charging cycles, twice the industry average of 800 charging cycles (according to Oppo’s estimates).
On the performance side, the Reno8 T 5G is equipped with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage, and supports up to 1TB SD card expansion. Up to 8GB of additional virtual RAM can also be added using OPPO’s RAM Expansion function. Complemented by OPPO’s self-developed Dynamic Computing Engine, this ensures a longer stable user experience under heavy computing loads. As a reference for comparison, a Reno8 T 5G with 8GB RAM can allow up to 20+ apps running in the background at one time.
Powering this new model is a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 695 5G Mobile Platform. Though it’s not the latest, seeing the SnapDragon name means you’ll still get great performance in a device like this.
The model will be releasing on February 28. Pre-orders get a extra 12-month extended warranty and the newly-released Oppo Enco Buds2.
The phone is available in two colour finishes — Sunrise Gold and Midnight Black — both of which utilize the iconic OPPO Glow process to add a shimmering crystal effect to the 3D back cover while keeping it fingerprint-free.
Remember when certain countries got the Snapdragon SoC (IMHO, it is quite a powerful beast) in the Galaxy S series and the rest received Exynos (that included the Middle East region? That changes with the Galaxy S23 – every country will get Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy. That means parity and standardization when using apps, regardless of which model you use.
Trust me when I say that this is important, as the CPU itself is 34% better than last year’s Snapdragon SoC. It’s split between five high-performance and three high-efficiency cores, providing a better balance in performance and power consumption based on your usage.
Gaming also gets a significant boost – this new SoC chip will also provide better graphics rendering. It’s 41% faster and with support for Ray Tracing (yes, the very same tech in PC gaming but now in the palm of your hands).
Of course, you can expect it to get warmer in your hands. That’s where the larger Vapor Chamber comes into action, helping to pull heat away faster while reduce the likelihood of thermal throttling. Now it’s a standard across the Galaxy S23 family.
S23 Ultra goes beyond
The Ultra model has always been the high-end model, every since it took the best of the Note family and brought it over to the Galaxy. Just like the previous model, it comes with a stylus. It still maintains the same look and feel as the previous one, with some tweaks to the chassis area where it curves less. This should help give you a better grip when holding it in your hands.
The spotlight falls on the S23 Ultra’s camera system, with improvements to low-light photography. The larger 200MP sensor will also help with 8K video recording at 30fps. While it still has the same battery capacity as the previous model, expect it to last longer due to the Snapdragon chip providing better power efficiency during usage.
Don’t expect images to be large in size, as the camera system’s Pixel binning will help yield images at 12MP/50MP which are more manageable. To avoid boring you in details, you can check out the specs table below.
256GB (8GB) and 256GB/512GB/1TB (12GB RAM); UFS 4.0
5G (NSA, SA, Sub6/mmWave), LTE, Ultra Wide Band
Wi-Fi 6E, NFC; Bluetooth 5.3, USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Green, Phantom Black, Lavender, Cream
Online exclusive: Lime, Sky Blue, Graphite, Red
Refinements for the S23 and S23+
While the look may not have changed, there have been some incremental upgrades made for the S23 and S23+. First, gone is the camera hump that contoured along the edges of the chassis. This brings unity in the look for the S23 family.
Most of the camera system improvements also trickle down to this range, which also includes 8K video recording. Their main camera get an upgrade to 50MP.
There’s also been a slight bump on the battery capacity (about 200 mAh) compared to their previous models. If you’re wondering about other subtle differences between these two, check out the specs table below.
Wi-Fi 6E; NFC; Bluetooth 5.3, USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
5G (NSA, SA, Sub6/mmWave), LTE
Wi-Fi 6E; NFC; Bluetooth 5.3, USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Lavender, Cream, Phantom Black, Green
Online exclusive: Lime, Graphite
Lavender, Cream, Phantom Black, Green
Online exclusive: Lime, Graphite
Samsung has always been pushing ahead with making their products more sustainable. Besides just the packaging, they’ve also increased the usage of recyclable materials in the actual devices themselves.
If you’re familiar with Corning, their trademark Gorilla Glass product is present across all the devices. We’e talking about Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which definitely makes the Galaxy S23 the first to use it and even uses more pre-consumer recycled material.
Pre-order for bonuses
Depending on where you live, those who pre-order any of the Galaxy S23 models get a nice suite of value-added bonuses: Galaxy Buds2 Pro, 1 year Samsung Care+, and bonus Samsung Rewards points. If you see your country listed below, head over to their respective link to order now, as devices will begin shipping from 17th February (you’ll even see pricing on the respectice links).
If you live in any of the above countries, you can also pre-order it directly from the Samsung website, providing you with additional colour options that are exclusively available to select markets (note that it’ll add additional delivery time) at no extra charge.
Will you miss the Galaxy Note (remember the Note 7 battery debacle?) since there hasn’t been any update to it for almost 2 years? Samsung has likely made the smartest move to make its high-end model even more appealing – bring the best of the Galaxy Note series to the Galaxy S family with the new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
‘Note’ the Galaxy S touches
While the Note series has always been look at a productivity model, it still proved popular for non-business users.
The previous Galaxy S21 Ultra added support for the S Pen (a nod to the Note). While it was sort of an optional accessory, it’s now a standard as the entire chassis almost looks like the Galaxy Note with a dedicated slot for the S Pen. There’s also an improvement to its responsiveness, with 70% lower latency to write and draw.
For such a high-end device, the camera system gets a bit more attention with a bigger focus on advanced Nightography and video capabilities. All of this is courtesy of the 2.4um pixel sensor size for the camera lenses.
Something exclusive to this model is the new Expert RAW mode, bringing a DSLR-like experience that gives you full control across all the lenses. You can also save the photos in the RAW format.
Just like the other models in the Galaxy S22 family, it has the same 4nm SoC powered by the new Exynos 2200 chipset. In addition, it will also support four generations of OS upgrades. If you really want to geek out on the specs, look to the table below.
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Pre-order it now
If you’ve set your sights on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, you’ll be happy to know that pre-orders have already opened across the Middle East region.