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Mobile

  • Real-time horror movie ‘Sickhouse’ scares on mobile using Snapchat, Vimeo

    Snapchat's a platform hosting a swathe of diverse content on the daily, so it seems fitting that a movie is made using it, right? Well, that's what Indigenous Media believes. The company's producing the "first-ever scripted film, shot in real time, designed for mobile viewing" called Sickhouse. And by that title alone, we're sure you can surmise that it's a horror. The film will also make its way onto Vimeo, where users can currently preorder it. The film is "about a group of friends obsessed with social media whose excursion into the woods to explore the lore of Sickhouse turns deadly,...

  • South Africa is set for a mobile data explosion

    South Africa is set to experience an explosion in mobile data usage, with nine-fold growth predicted in the next four years. On the face of it, that shouldn't be all that surprising. Ever since the first cellphones arrived in the country in the mid 90s, South Africa has been mobile-obsessed. For some time now, the country has had more mobile phones in use than people. Smartphones have seen rapid uptake too. But even as smartphones have become increasingly affordable, the data that allows them to be smart has remained unaffordable for many. According to networking giant Cisco, that is...

  • BBM video calling comes to Android, iOS

    Canadian company BlackBerry might not be cooking up loving dinners for its operating system anymore, but it's not about to let its Messenger platform (BBM) go hungry. The company has now announced that Android and iOS users of its BBM beta app can now video call one other like Beyonce. Speaking about the new feature, SVP of emerging solutions Matthew Talbot noted that video calling was one of the chief requests users had for the BlackBerry Messenger platform: Video is the closest thing to being physically present. We know why that’s more important for personal calls—bridging the distance with our loved ones,...

  • Banned WhatsApp unblocked early in Brazil, Zuckerberg is thrilled

    For 24 hours, WhatsApp was banned in Brazil after Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão seeking user data from the service for a criminal investigation issued a court order to telecom providers to ban WhatsApp for 72 hours. The outcry against the ban was immediate and spread from Brazil to the rest of the world. Today Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, announced that the service has been unbanned in Brazil. The ban came after Diego Dzodan, a Facebook executive, was taken into custody in March for not complying with orders to turn over WhatsApp data. It...

  • How mobile payments have revolutionised business

    There are approximately 447.9 million mobile payment users worldwide, a remarkable evolution from coins being introduced in 700 BC, notes in the 10th century and the introduction of Western Union’s “credit card” in the 20th century. Now customers can choose from a variety of payments including in-app payments, mobile point of sale, and online payment services such as retail giant Amazon or Paypal that operate a global online payment system. Africa has 52% of mobile payment usage in the world. In the continent alone, mobile payment solutions have revolutionised the way in which business is being done. The Kenyan...

  • Opera Mini now features a built-in ad-blocker

    Opera Mini, the mobile browser that many use on Android devices (and some other platforms), now boasts a built-in ad-blocker. This new move comes on the back of its free VPN service on desktop browsers it launched earlier this year. The ad-blocker on Opera Mini though suggests that the company's looking at the lower end smartphone market, those users strapped for processing power and data. The blocker therefore saves around 14% on data, and nearly halves page load times, the company claims. While you could theoretically download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox for mobile (these are available on other platforms too), they...

  • 5 things I’ve learned from the South African mobile money space

    The 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report tells us that by 2020, 70% of the world will be using a smartphone. It even says that mobile data networks will cover 90% of the population with subscription reaching 6.1 billion people and almost 80% of these new subscriptions will come from Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Now, this tells me one doesn’t need to be a fortune teller to see what is going on and as a person who’s been in the mobile industry for years, I can say without a doubt, mobile money is the future of the world....

  • Help is literally at hand for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in South Africa

    In amongst all the frothing at the mouth about the latest Apple iPhone-this and Samsung Galaxy-that, I do love a good “feature phones change lives story”. So I eagerly joined today’s Cape Town launch of Help@hand, a mobile information service that provides people who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants with a way to stay informed about their legal rights in South Africa. The USSD-based feature phone service is also a platform to report xenophobic attacks, corruption or unlawful arrests. Crucially, the first-of-its-kind in South Africa, low-cost service is available in English, Kiswahili, Somali and French, with Oromo due for...

  • Your smartphone is about to get a whole lot smarter, thanks to its sensors

    While you may think that your smartphone has peaked in terms of the amount of data that it can provide about your life, you would be mistaken. The staggering power of the sensors and processors that we carry around with us every day mean that we will continue to harvest more and more data in an attempt to make our lives more automated, more manageable. Modern smartphones produce up to 1GB of sensor data every hour. And we’re only just beginning to tap into it. German startup predict.io is at the forefront of attempts to harness that data. The...

  • Beauty and the brain: why it’s impossible to take your eyes off an iPhone

    There is an inherent paradox in the title of this article: While beauty does not need “reason” to make an impact, there is still so much we can learn from exploring why it impacts us. When humans experience beauty, the brain’s default mode network (DMN) activates and begins interacting with other brain regions. Together, these regions process emotion, perception, memory, imagery, and language — it’s no wonder beauty is so deeply moving to us. As such, the more senses involved in a beautiful experience, the greater the chances are of complex neurological interactions and brain growth. Now, think about...

  • BlackBerry rolls out major BBM update, lets users ‘retract’ messages

    BlackBerry has announced that its instant messaging service BBM now includes a host of new privacy features for users on Android and iOS, allowing users to "take control over the messages and content that they share." Users can now 'retract' sent messages and images if they were sent by mistake. This also works if the message has already been sent, and the sender wishes to revoke access to said message. Other features include a new message timer, which allows users to "control how long contacts can view messages and pictures that have been shared or communicate their location for only as...

  • Introducing Privil: the app to help you keep your privilege in check [April Fools article]

    Privil, a new app for iOS and Android devices, promises to keep user's privilege in check. Grandt Sham, founder, notes in a press release that the number of people who either do not know or deny their privilege is proportionally high, and that as a social entrepreneur, he felt compelled to do something about it. The app has two functionalities: it measures the user's privilege and that of someone else's, ensuring that you and your circle of friends are not suffering from excessive amounts of privilege. The app uses a minimalist design, sporting camera, text input and rewards features. But how does...

  • Why prepaid SIM cards are critical for businesses

    Data traffic is expected to see an almost ten-fold increase by 2019, due to the growing range of new services and applications. However, while the GSMA Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2015 report projects that machine-to-machine connections (M2M) in the region will reach 30 million by 2020, difficult economic conditions mean that enterprises using this technology remain under pressure to reduce their mobile data expenditure. With the need to tighten budgets and a push to be more efficient, enterprises are re-examining their mobile data expenditure. And prepaid offers a perfect alternative. The age of enterprise prepaid is here Gone are the days when...

  • 5 things you need to know about building a great self-help app

    Mobile technology has changed the landscape of the self-help world. Whereas once people had to read long books, carry around notepads, and try to remember all the life lessons offered by gurus, today they can get everything they need through their smartphones. Each user has his own tailored program in his pocket that will remind him throughout the day of the various tasks he should be doing, and he doesn’t have to pay US$10 000 for the privilege of its wisdom. This technological revolution in self-help is a welcome one. Mental disorders such as depression affect about a third of all...

  • Facebook to drop BlackBerry OS app support by end of 2016

    If you're using a BlackBerry that's running any version of BlackBerry OS -- this means all devices up to but not including the PRIV -- you'll likely have to fling it through a window if you're still interested in using WhatsApp or Facebook beyond this year. The social media overlord has announced that it's dropping native BlackBerry app support for Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps on the platform by the end of 2016. Although BlackBerry 10 OS runs Android apps, the system is clunky, and involves a ridiculous sideloading process, which is more of a headache than a solution to the...