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All posts by Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

  • Beyond the mobile phone: 112m cellular-enabled devices to ship in 2015

    It's no secret that we live in a mobile world. According to the latest stats from VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, there are some 5.2-billion mobile phone users around the globe, up from just 80-million or so in 1995. Thing is we've become so enraptured with the mobile phone that we forget just how many other devices connect to the cellular networks that make them usable in the first place. According to technology research house Gartner, more than 112-million non-smartphone connected devices (mobile PCs, tablets and mobile hot spot devices) will be sold worldwide in 2015, up 5.6%...

  • 5 things you need to know about how South Africans use Twitter

    Over the years, our understanding of the South African social media landscape as a whole has grown in leaps and bounds. Thing is, the focus can sometimes fall away from individual social platforms. That's why it's interesting to note the results of a recent study commissioned by Twitter and conducted by Nielsen, looking at the Twitter habits of South African users. Here are five of the most interesting findings from the study. 1. Twitter isn't just for young people The study showed that 53% of users in South Africa fall in the age range of 25-44; nearly one third (29%)...

  • Will crucial partnerships help drive Android Pay’s ecosystem?

    Android Pay has officially introduced at Google’s I/O conference in San Fransisco. While the "simple and secure" mobile payment solution has been in the pipeline for better over a year, Google unveiled some interesting details we could look forward to. With rivals in the space like Apple, PayPal and Square, mobile payments is yet to take off in the US. Though Google hopes its key partnerships and open philosophy will help drive the industry forward. Similar to Apple Pay, Android Pay relies on Near Communication Frequency (NFC) to make transactions. The customer simply swipes their Android smartphone at an in-store terminal...

  • Cape Town dev team’s widget wins it SA leg of BBC development studio challenge

    Building a simple widget that allows people to listen to BBC content online, a team of Cape Town developers has been selected as part of the BBC development studio challenge. The RLabs Catchup team was chosen from a group of 12 competing South African teams which took part in the BBC development studio in South Africa in April. The teams participating in the two-day event worked with various technologies exploring new ways of delivering audio in a cost-efficient way to reach younger audiences. The selected idea from RLabs is based on a digital widget that can be easily placed...

  • Smartwatch shipments set to go past 100m mark by 2020

    If you only have a casual acquaintance with the tech space, you might imagine that smartwatches begin and end with the Apple Watch. And while there were plenty of smartwatches in play before Apple announced its go at the space, you'd actually be pretty on the money. According to a new study from research company IHS, the global smartwatch market will grow from 3.6-million unit shipments in 2014, to 101-million shipments in 2020. Thing is, that figure pretty much hinges on the Apple Watch doing well. "Apple Watch success will drive the overall smartwatch market,” said Antonios Maroulis, analyst...

  • 24.com folds regional English, Afrikaans papers into News 24 and Netwerk 24

    This is big. News24 and Netwerk24 have announced that the online platforms of 11 English and 14 Afrikaans newspaper titles have now moved into the 24.com network. These include local, regional and national newspapers. The papers now under the News24 banner include national title City Press, regional daily The Witness, and community titles such as Amanzimtoti Fever, Stanger Weekly, Greytown Gazette, Hillcrest Fever, Maritzburg Fever, Coastal Weekly, South Coast Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Edendale and Maritzburg Echo. At face value that seems like bad news for the community titles in particular. News24 says however that readers can also customise...

  • Twitter goes into hashtag, promoted Tweet overdrive to aid Nepal earthquake relief

    Individuals and organisations alike have rushed to the aid of Nepal, where an earthquake over the weekend has killed more than 4 000 people and affected more than eight-million. Following in the wake of tech companies such as Google and Facebook, Twitter has launched its own effort aimed at helping relief efforts in the South Asian country. Its efforts are however, a little less direct that those being used by the Silicon Valley giants. Recognising its importance as a tool for coordinating relief efforts, and as a backup for official channels of communication, Twitter says it will be concentrating...

  • Google’s mobile-friendly update: is your website UX ready?

    If you're in any way involved in the online space, this is pretty intense. On 21 April, Google will launch a new mobile-friendly algorithm that will reward websites that are fully optimised for mobile with higher rankings in search results. The update aims to make Google even more useful to people by training its bots to search more like humans. Outlawing text that’s too small to read, links that are too close together to tap, and software uncommon to mobiles like Flash, among other factors, it all comes down to improving the overall user experience (UX). That's great for...

  • IAB SA launches tool to show what SA’s talking about online

    You'll often hear organisations claim to be "at the beating heart" of a country's digital industry. In the case of a new tool launched by IAB South Africa, that's a little more literal than you might expect. The member driven body, which oversees the online advertising and publishing space in South Africa has launched The Pulse, a 3D, heart-shaped manifestation of the main topics of interest South African web users on IAB SA publisher members’ digital platforms. It uses data gathered within the past seven days to show where the buzz is, and plugs into Twitter to analyse South...

  • iROKOtv gets pay TV distribution deal

    Nigerian video streaming service iROKOtv has inked a deal with StarTimes to have two new linear TV channels, IROKO Play and IROKO Plus included on the digital TV operator's platform. The deal has the potential to substantially increase iROKOtv's reach, given that StarTimes has 4.6-million subscribers across 14 countries. Subscribers will have the choice of two Nollywood channels. IROKO Play, available in the StarTimes Basic Bouquet, will showcase classic Nollywood movies from 2007 onwards, with a brand new exclusive movie added to the schedule each month. IROKO Plus, in the StarTimes Unique Bouquet, will reportedly show premium Nollywood movies...

  • SA set for 4G explosion and 14 other mindblowing mobile stats

    Between the country's largest network announcing plans to hike voice and data rates and finding out that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be bafflingly expensive, there hasn't been much for South African mobile users to celebrate of late. They may however take a little solace in the prediction that they're a lot more likely to have 4G coverage in the next five years. According to Cisco, the ongoing adoption of more powerful devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections may see 3G surpassing 2G as the top cellular technology, based on connection share, by 2016. 4G will meanwhile account for 56.1%...

  • SMS, Facebook dominate mobile activity in 5 of Africa’s biggest economies

    People speak about Africa as "the mobile continent" so frequently that it's become a cliche. People throw the phrase around as if it explains everything, without ever really interrogating exactly what it is Africans do with their mobile devices. One attempt to change that comes courtesy of technology research outfit World Wide Worx, which has published the results of its survey of 3 500 mobile phone users in five of Africa’s major markets, namely South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda. The survey reveals somewhat unsurprisingly, that there's been a rise of internet access via phones, the potential demise of...

  • City of Cape Town bans selfies at tourist hotspots, will impose hefty fines [update]

    It seems like the world is finally starting to crack down on selfies. Following a series of bans from the Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC to Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, the City of Cape Town has recently banned selfies and selfie sticks after a series of misdemeanours and hefty fines this South African summer. "People taking selfies with their smartphones are often reckless," said Cape Town's councillor for Tourism, Events & Marketing Abraham Disimynami in a statement to Memeburn. "Tourists are the main perpetrators in this instance." He explained that in January this year an Australian couple managed to injure themselves...

  • Turns out that viral game ranger video was a Careers 24 ad

    In the last week or so, you've probably seen this video floating around on your social timelines. It shows a game ranger taking a tour group on a walking safari. After repeated attempts to get one member of the group to stay quiet, the ranger eventually gets the "hell-in" and abandons the group. It's racked up more than 271 000 views since going live and, it now turns out, is an advert for Careers 24. According to Nadia Boucher Coombe, Head of Marketing for Careers24, the idea sprang from the insight that everyone looks for a career that is...

  • New Santam app lets family, friends know you’re safe when you’re out on the road

    South African insurance provider Santam has released a new smartphone app. In and of itself, that's not particularly interesting (it's far from the first to do so). Some of the features on the app are however pretty innovative. Alongside the usual insurance stuff, which allows you to report, document and submit an accident or incident report directly to your insurer, there are a few additional features designed to make the process easier. You can, for instance, scan the barcode of your vehicle licence disc (and those of other vehicles involved), record audio statements, take and store incident photos, find...