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Dubai Media City Launches MUSIC_ON Series to Amplify the UAE’s Growing Music Scene



Dubai Media City has launched a new Instagram Live series called MUSIC_ON that brings together experts in music for an insightful and educational conversation about the opportunities and drawbacks present in the UAE’s evolving music scene. The inaugural session brought together Freek, a UAE-based Somalian rapper, director and record producer, and Mark Hill, a media lawyer specialised in media and entertainment, intellectual property and technology.

Freek is considered a pioneer in the GCC & Arab underground music scene, boasting a prolific work rate and a discography of catchy hits such as ‘Wala Kilmaʼ “Aslan ‘adi” and “Mush Fathi”; he was also selected to compose a feature song in a recent Adidas marketing campaign for Egyptian Liverpool striker, Mohamed Salah. He opened for famed Hip Hop artists Future and Gucci Mane, during the 2019 Yasalam F1 After-Race Concert and has had the opportunity to tour in the United Kingdom.

Mark Hill has been based in Dubai since 1999, and is regarded as one of the leading IP, Media and Technology lawyers in the region. Hill stands on the board of various companies from the sectors in which he operates including key industry organisations such as the Middle East International Live Events Association (ILEA) and as board advisor to the UAE’s Production Forum. He has received multiple awards from industry and legal publications, including being the first recipient of the Digital Studio Service to the Industry award for his contributions to the production, broadcast and film industries in the region

The inaugural MUSIC_ON session was rich with information, lasting almost two hours, and included subjects such as artists coping with the impact of COVID-19, resumption of live music events, the protection of intellectual property and the gaps present within the region’s music infrastructure.

Speaking from the lens of an artist being affected by the impact of COVID-19, Freek said: “An artist’s best pleasure is performing in front of others, it’s difficult to flourish without that aspect. However, opportunities have arisen in entertainment and specifically in music since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As an artist, I find that I have more breathing space to proactively think about creative and collaborative opportunities.”

Mark Hill added, “One of the positives that I have witnessed come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a creative aspect, is the increase in community-building. People have been forced to pause their routine, which has resulted in increased collaboration between artists and creatives within the community. That, in turn, should result in the community growing and evolving at a faster rate than before.”

On the importance of artists educating themselves about their rights, Freek said, “I have realised that when it comes to understanding the legal aspect of music, there is a long way for artists to go. Many of my peers struggle to maximise the financial benefit of the music tracks and compilations that they release. I believe the region is still at an early stage when it comes to educating itself and leveraging upon the legal side of music, but talking to entertainment lawyers such as you [Mark Hill], is a step in the right direction.”

In response to that, Hill said, “It is important for regional artists and creatives to preserve and capitalise on their intellectual property, and this currently requires artists to consider individual contracts, especially when licensing out their music to brands or campaigns. The best advice I can give artists is to talk to an entertainment lawyer to help them understand what is possible, what isn’t and ultimately what is recommended. For instance, when it comes to licensing out music for campaigns and figuring out how much a fair price is, it is important for artists to ask themselves three questions: What purpose is the music serving, where will the campaign be aired and what the duration of the campaign is.”

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Artificial Intelligence

HONOR Levels Up User Experience with AI Partnership and Innovative Architecture at VivaTech 2024



HONOR has made its debut today at VivaTech, one of Europe’s largest tech and innovation events. During its keynote, HONOR showcased its innovative approach to on-device AI and unveiled its pioneering Four-layered AI Strategy. HONOR also announced upcoming Gen-AI experiences with Google Cloud, which are set to be featured on its anticipated smartphones, opening up exciting possibilities for enhancing user experiences.

“At HONOR, we firmly believe that, by combining the power of on-device AI’s personalization, intuitiveness, and privacy protection, everyone can unlock the full potential of AI safely and securely,” said George Zhao, CEO of HONOR Device Co., Ltd. “We are also delighted to forge ahead with Google Cloud, leveraging our combined expertise to unlock the potential of this hybrid approach and deliver even more seamless AI experiences to our users.”

During the keynote, HONOR unveiled its Four-Layer AI Architecture and demonstrated its strategic focus on integrating AI into MagicOS. This Four-Layer Architecture comprises distinct layers. At the base layer, Cross-device and Cross-OS AI form the foundation of an open ecosystem, which allows the sharing of computing power and services among devices and operating systems.

Building upon this foundation, the Platform-level AI layer enables a personalized operating system, allowing intent-based human-computer interaction and personalized resource allocation. At the third layer, App-level AI is poised to introduce a wave of innovative, generative AI applications that will revolutionize user experiences. Lastly, at the top, the Interface to the Cloud-AI services layer provides users with easy access to massive cloud services while prioritizing privacy protection, creating a truly holistic and future-forward AI experience.

As part of MagicOS 8.0, Magic Portal is the industry’s first intent-based UI, which understands user behaviour and streamlines complex tasks into single-step processes. Currently, Magic Portal supports 100 top applications across seven scenarios, including travel, productivity, messaging, search, entertainment, shopping, and social media, with plans to expand usage scenarios to provide even more seamless and intelligent AI experiences in the future.

As part of HONOR’s Four-Layer Architecture, HONOR is set to integrate cutting-edge Gen-AI experiences, powered by Google Cloud, into its upcoming smartphones, promising to deliver a new level of intelligence and innovation to users with enhanced privacy protection. Following the successful launch of AI Motion Sensing Capture, a cutting-edge feature that leverages AI to automatically capture fast-moving actions, HONOR also announced that the upcoming HONOR 200 Series will take mobile photography to new heights with an all-new AI-enhanced Portrait experience.

The HONOR 200 Series is poised to revolutionize portrait photography by bringing the mastery of Studio Harcourt, a legendary French photography studio known for its expertise in capturing classic portrait shots with iconic figures, to every step of the process, leveraging AI technology to recreate the iconic studio’s legendary lighting and shadow effects.

By using AI to learn from a vast dataset of Studio Harcourt portraits, the HONOR 200 Series has successfully broken down the entire portrait photography process into nine distinct steps, and perfectly replicates the full Studio Harcourt method, ensuring flawless and studio-quality portraits with every shot.

The HONOR 200 Series is set to launch in Paris on June 12, powered by MagicOS 8.0, further solidifying HONOR’s commitment to democratizing AI technology. In a move to make AI more accessible to a wider audience, HONOR also announced plans to roll out MagicOS 8.0 to its HONOR Magic V2 and HONOR 90 devices, empowering more users to experience the transformative power of AI.

At the event, HONOR also hosted an insightful panel discussion featuring esteemed industry expert Dr. Justine Cassell. The discussion delved into the future of multimodal interaction, highlighting how this integration enhances convenience and privacy protection for smart device users.

“On-device AI can better empower individuals,” emphasized George. “The on-device offers personalized recommendations while safeguarding user privacy by keeping data on the device. For instance, HONOR’s Magic Portal design ensures users retain control over service selection and decision-making, highlighting the human-centric focus of HONOR’s AI.”

In terms of multimodal interaction, Dr. Justine Cassell noted, “Humans live multimodally. The rise of on-body devices like rings, and pins, alongside powerful smartphones, shows growing comfort with AI integrating verbal language, nonverbal cues like gestures and facial expressions, and para verbal elements like speech intonation. This predicts the adoption of multimodally-sensitive AI on phones. The more modalities that we can engage in an AI system, the more different kinds of people we can help with that AI system. ”

“Human-centric is HONOR’s design philosophy, with humans at the centre of all devices,” George envisioned. “Empowered by AI, cross-device integration can combine the unique advantages of different devices in the future. Rather than learning user behaviours in isolation on each device, this approach allows for macro-level, unified user intent recognition, offering tailored recommendations and suggestions.”

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Toshiba Demos Nearline HDDs with Massive Capacity of Over 30 Terabytes



Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH announces that Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation (Toshiba) has successfully achieved storage capacities of over 30TB with two next-generation large-capacity magnetic recording technologies for hard disk drives (HDDs): Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR). The demonstration drives represent a major milestone in the advance towards commercial products based on each of these emerging recording formats.

HAMR boosts writing capabilities by locally heating the disk material with a near-field laser. Toshiba achieved 32TB on 10 disks using Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) – a technology that partially overlaps data tracks to increase the areal density and overall storage capacity per disk. Toshiba plans to start shipping test sample HDDs[2] of 28 – 30TB with HAMR technology in 2025. The other technology is MAMR, which uses microwaves to enhance magnetic recording capabilities.

Toshiba was the first to demonstrate its effectiveness and started mass production of first-generation drives in 2021. Toshiba achieved 31TB capacity by stacking 11 disks, using SMR technology, and improving signal processing. These new achievements were made possible through years of close collaborative work with Resonac Corporation, an HDD media manufacturer, and TDK Corporation, an HDD head manufacturer.

Toshiba and its working partners are committed to continue developing both HAMR and MAMR technologies in order to provide higher capacity HDDs to meet the growing storage demand of the cloud and data centres. As Larry Martinez-Palomo, Vice President, Head of Storage Products Division at Toshiba, explains, “Toshiba is concurrently advancing the development of future generation high capacity HDDs using both HAMR and MAMR technologies. Mass production of hard disk drives incorporating HAMR will commence after the validation phase is completed. In the interim, Toshiba will continue to satisfy the demand for high-capacity, high-reliability storage devices with hard disk drives employing the field-proven MAMR technology.”

At ISC High Performance 2024, May 12th to 16th in Hamburg, Germany, Toshiba and its partners discussed with experts, how its hard disk drive technologies and enterprise portfolio are streamlined to meet the needs of large and fast online backend storage. On the stand (G02), there were live demos showing the astonishing performance of Toshiba’s HDD MG Series.

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Artificial Intelligence

ASUS Launches the new Vivobook S 15 (S5507) Copilot+ PC



ASUS today announced a new generation of AI-powered computing at its online-only Next Level. AI Incredible. launch event, dedicated to the launch of the ASUS Vivobook S 15 (S5507). Powered by the Snapdragon X Elite, the device is the company’s first Copilot+ PC, with Windows AI features and a collection of exclusive ASUS AI apps that aim to improve the user’s work and play.

“As ASUS embarks on this journey, marked by the launch of our first AI PC, we stand at the beginning of a new era of personal computing.” ASUS Co-CEO S.Y. Hsu said, speaking at the event, “The launch of our first ASUS Copilot+ PC powered by Snapdragon X Elite is an important milestone for us, and we believe that these devices are the future of consumer PCs and will drastically change the way we will work, study, create, and play.”

The event featured speakers from Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., as it followed an earlier event by the former, in which Microsoft officially unveiled the full scope of new Windows experiences and standards for PCs to attain its ASUS Copilot+ PC. The event was broadcast via the company’s social media channels and can be rewatched on the official ASUS YouTube account.

“It’s an exciting time to be in devices, and collaborating with partners like ASUS allows us to bring innovative hardware that unlocks AI software to life for our customers. Our deep engineering collaboration has been instrumental in delivering cutting-edge technology to consumers. With the launch of ASUS’s Vivobook S 15, we are bringing the power of Copilot in Windows, Recall, and Cocreator, showcasing the potential of on-device and cloud-based AI working together to enable individuals and organizations to achieve more,” stated Mark Linton, VP Device Partner Sales at Microsoft.

“I am thrilled that Qualcomm and ASUS are working together to bring industry-leading innovation to consumers and enterprises, and our latest collaboration is the best yet,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Performance is reborn with Snapdragon X Elite, and we look forward to collaborating with ASUS to put incredible innovation like the ASUS Vivobook S 15 in the hands of users.”

ASUS Vivobook S 15 is the company’s first Copilot+ PC, and with the efficient power and built-in AI engine of the Snapdragon X Elite Platform, users can enjoy hardware-accelerated AI functions and incredible performance and efficiency as a result of the custom-integrated Qualcomm Oryon CPU. With up to 18 hours of battery life2, enjoy uninterrupted productivity. Featuring a stunning 3K 120 Hz ASUS Lumina OLED display, Harman Kardon-certified audio, and a sleek 14.7 mm-thin, 1.42 kg-light body, it’s built for effortless mobility.

ASUS Vivobook S 15 is the first next-gen ASUS Windows Copilot+ PC, introducing the latest Windows AI tools. Powered by the Snapdragon X Elite with built-in Qualcomm Hexagon NPU, it boasts a remarkable 45 TOPS Neural engine for swift on-device AI processing. Storage options include up to an ultrafast 1 TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, with memory configurable up to 32 GB of 8448 MHz LPDDR5X RAM.

Next-gen AI-powered enhancements include Windows Studio Effects and an ASUS AiSense IR camera. The presence-detection capabilities of the camera enable Adaptive Dimming — which dims the screen when the user looks away — and Adaptive Lock, which automatically locks the laptop when the user moves away and unlocks it when they return. Additionally, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 is also the first device to feature the company’s exclusive AI app, StoryCube, It’s the smartest, most convenient, and most powerful way to manage all digital assets, using AI assistance to sort, edit, manage, and export captured raw files.

Leveraging this powerful hardware, ASUS Vivobook S 15 integrates advanced features such as Windows Studio Effects, which enhances lighting and noise removal during video calls in portrait mode, and ASUS AiSense Camera with AI-powered Security, enabling the adaptive lock feature to auto-lock when the users walk away and auto-unlock upon their return, as well as auto-dimming when the user looks away. Furthermore, it incorporates Live Captions for accurate real-time subtitles and Cocreator empowers users to transform sketches into finished artworks. These innovative technologies not only enhance security and privacy but also elevate the audiovisual experience and unlock creativity.

Built for effortless portability, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 stands out with a 14.7 mm ultra-slim and 1.42 kg light all-metal design, which redefines elegance with its minimalist aesthetics. The premium CNC-engraved logo adds a touch of class, while the versatile tapered unibody design ensures strength and stability. The high-capacity 70 Wh battery offers up to 18 hours of uninterrupted productivity or entertainment, with support for fast charging and ASUS USB-C Easy Charge for convenient charging from almost any source.

The premium styling includes a single-zone RGB backlit keyboard, allowing users to personalize styles that perfectly match their personality and mood. ​A dedicated Copilot key enables users to dive into Windows AI-powered tools in just one second, and the super-large, super-smart touchpad offers effortless navigation and an expanded workspace. Via intuitive gestures, users can seamlessly control various tasks, from adjusting audio to optimizing screen brightness or managing video playback.

Equipped with a comprehensive set of I/O ports, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 is configured for seamless on-the-go connectivity. It has two USB4 ports that support fast charging, 4K external displays, and up to 40 Gbps data transfers, along with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, a microSD card reader, and an audio combo jack to elevate the user experience. Thanks to WiFi 7, enabled by the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 system, the ASUS Vivobook S 15 delivers blazing speeds up to 5.8 Gbps, outpacing WiFi 6 by 4.8 times, ensuring seamless streaming, effortless task completion, and lightning-fast downloads.

ASUS Vivobook S 15 offers a premium audiovisual experience for productivity, creativity, or entertainment, featuring an expansive 15.6-inch 3K 120 Hz ASUS Lumina OLED display that delivers refined specular highlights and extraordinary shadow detail, all in vivid, true-to-life colour. This class-leading display has an ultra-wide 89% screen-to-body ratio, a 0.2 ms response time, a cinema-grade 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut and is VESA DisplayHDR True Black 600 certified. It also offers TÜV Rheinland-certified low blue-light levels for enhanced eye care, and the display itself is protected by our exclusive ASUS OLED Care system to significantly reduce the risk of burn-in.

Complementing this stunning display is a powerful Harman Kardon-certified audio system with immersive, multi-dimensional Dolby Atmos sound. In short, the unveiling of the new ASUS Vivobook S 15 marks a significant leap forward in AI-powered computing. With the device, ASUS reaffirms its commitment to innovation without compromise and with speakers from industry giants like Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies, this event showcased the collaborative efforts driving technological advancement. As the industry embarks on this new era of computing, ASUS continues to lead the charge, delivering excellence in both form and function.

The ASUS Vivobook S 15 is available for pre-order on the ASUS eShop from May 21st to June 19th, with an exclusive ASUS deluxe package for early buyers. Starting June 20th, the Vivobook S 15 will be available at leading retailers and the ASUS eShop across the UAE and GCC countries. Prices start at AED 5,499.

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