- Dazzling opening for Night Festival
- Two measures to help Malay Muslims
- Samsung, Apple and LG take rivalry to next level
HUNDREDS of people crowded the front of the National Museum of Singapore, as the Singapore Night Festival opened with dazzling displays of fire, lights and acrobatics.Close to 80 free events, from dance performances and art installations to film screenings will be held throughout the civic district over this weekend and the next.
The event will continue tonight and on Aug 30 and 31, from 7pm to 2am.
Stretching from Plaza Singapura to Raffles City and Waterloo Street to Armenian Street and Fort Canning Park, this is the largest night festival yet, and it will cost its organisers, the National Heritage Board, more than S$1mil (RM2.5mil) to produce.
Angelita Teo, 41, festival director and director of the National Museum of Singapore, said it was hoping to draw as many people as last year, when 476,000 attended.
One of the highlights was French dance troupe Compagnie Retouramont's performances, which featured dancers moving rhythmically across the museum's facade.
Nearly 100 local artists are performing at the festival this year. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
TWO new measures were announced by the government to help the Malay-Muslim community shrink the income gap and increase its social mobility.
One will give tuition subsidies to Malay students at another four tertiary institutions: Lasalle College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa), Yale-NUS College and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University.
The other will hand the Malay/ Muslim Community Development Fund a higher grant of up to S$2.6mil (RM6.7mil) a year to help more low-income families in their community. Currently, it is S$1mil (RM2.5mil).
These measures, announced by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim last night, form the government's first response to a landmark report on the community's concerns and aspirations, submitted last month.
He asked for more time for him and other Malay-Muslim MPs to reflect on job discrimination.
Dr Yaacob, also the Communications and Information Minister, was speaking at the community's Hari Raya Aidilfitri dinner at Sheraton Hotel, in an annual speech taking stock of its progress and charting its future direction. -The Straits Times / Asia News Network
SAMSUNG Electronics, Apple Inc and LG Electronics, the world's top three electronics firms, are rumoured to be taking their competition to the next level this fall in the emerging smartwatch market.
Each company is ready to release a smartwatch – Samsung with Galaxy Gear, Apple with iWatch and LG with GWatch – most likely by the end of this year.
Samsung is to release Galaxy Gear at the upcoming IFA trade show during its "Unpacked Episode 2" event, along with LG, which is packing more ammunition on top of its well-received G2 and the G Pad, the new tablet it will unveil at the show.
But industry experts believe the watches themselves are unlikely to tout any unique functions, at most offering a Bluetooth connection to the user's main device.
For this purpose, Samsung will unveil Galaxy Gear as a bundle with its phablet Note 3, according to industry watchers. Previously, LG Electronics had sold the Prada phone in a bundle with a watch.
Galaxy Gear will feature a dual-core Exynos processor, 1GB RAM, a 1.67-inch, 320x320 resolution display, a 2-megapixel camera, and Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.
However, rumours have floated that the watch may leave out some important features such as phone and flexible display. US technology media outlet The Verge reported on Tuesday that the watch would not work as a phone.
Many industry observers also do not believe the phone will be flexible, mostly because other key components including the display, battery and memory chip are not advanced enough to support such a device.
"It may take some time for the smartwatch to become advanced. Still, Samsung is seeking to occupy the market as the company has always been a follower of Apple in mobile technologies. Samsung wants to be ahead of the rival in wearable and TV products," said Kim Hyun-yong, a researcher at E-Trade Korea, a Seoul-based securities firm.
"It will also take some time for Apple's iWatch to come out. It won't be (released) this year," Kim added.
Apple has long been rumoured to be working on introducing an "iWatch". It is said that the company had a team of 100 people working on a watch-like device, and has applied for the iWatch trademark in the United States.
Recently, Apple hired Nike product consultant Jay Blahnik reportedly to lead the iWatch team.
According to the rumours, the iWatch is likely to adopt a flexible display and work as an extended peripheral of iOS devices. For instance, it will reportedly be able to check messages and e-mails, and load fitness monitoring technologies.
LG Electronics, meanwhile, initiated the development early this year, undergoing tests with other arms of the group such as LG Display and LG Chem. Last month, LG sought eight trademarks, for the "G Watch", "G Glass" and "Watch G", among other names including the G Pad.
Some sources said although it is gearing up for the launch of the smart watch, LG is unlikely to unveil it this year.
LG already has some expertise in the likes of smartwatches. In 2008, the company unveiled the LG Prada Link, a Bluetooth-enabled digital watch that can monitor its Prada phone calls as well as read SMSes.
The following year, the company showed off its 3G watch phone LG-GD910 in Europe, enabled with a touch screen and video-calling capability. — The Korea Herald / Asia News Network
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