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  • BlackBerry Messenger is headed to Android and iOS: but can it compete?

    Finally. After years of rumours and cries for a cross-platform service, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is headed to phones that don't carry the company's logo. As CEO Thorsten Heins revealed at BlackBerry Live yesterday, the popular instant messaging app is headed to Android and iDevices later this year -- but can it find a foothold among all the messaging apps clogging up the various app stores? Despite the worldwide marketshare BlackBerry has lost over the past few years, BBM, which is a pre-installed app which allows users to send videos, voice notes, text, photos and, more recently, make video calls over...

  • WD My Passport 2TB HD review: dirt-cheap storage

    For US$139, Western Digital has given me 2TB of USB 3.0 goodness. The WD My Passport 2TB Portable External Hard Drive is good and chunky, it’s super-quick and it’s a Western Digital drive, so there’s a hardware heritage that practically ensures a longer-lasting drive. There’s practically nothing to complain about, outside of the lame first-party software companies still insist on bundling with its products. Here though, is why I recommend the 2TB My Passport drive. Read more on Gearburn. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • BlackBerry stock falls after opening up BBM to iOS, Android

    There were always going to be questions around BlackBerry's decision to open up its BBM messaging platform and some of the loudest came from the stock market. Shares in the Canadian smartphone maker dropped four percent following CEO Thorsten Heins' keynote at the BlackBerry Live conference yesterday. During the keynote, Heins announced a new mid-range Qwerty phone for emerging markets, channels for BBM and the launch of BBM for iOS and Android. While the Q5, a 3.1-inch touch and keyboard device, and BBM channels, a social networking feature within BBM, make sense, there have been questions around how wise...

  • Google vs Spotify: the final smackdown

    Google reportedly wants to take on Spotify. The news, which was first reported on The Verge, says that the internet giant is planning on rolling out a subscription music streaming service as early as this week at the company's I/O event. The news is hardly surprising as Google signed a deal with Warner Music for two streaming services last year, one tied to YouTube and the other to Android Music. Citing people familiar with the matter, the New York Times reports that the subscription feature will be connected to Google Play, "complementing its download store and 'locker' feature, which...

  • BlackBerry CEO reveals mid-range Q5, Channels, BBM coming to iOS, Android

    The BlackBerry faithful and converts alike gathered in Florida today to watch BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins deliver his first keynote since the BlackBerry 10 launch back in January this year. So how has the troubled smartphone maker fared since its rebirth? "Some said last year's conference would be the last for BlackBerry. They said it would by my first and last time on stage. I'm happy to say they were wrong," said Heins. "This year feels very, very different. It's been an incredible year for BlackBerry, there's still a lot to do, but man, we have reached solid ground...

  • Outlook.com now lets you chat with your Google friends

    This is interesting. Outlook.com users will now be able to chat with their Google friends from within the webmail service. Since launching its revamped email service in mid-2012, Microsoft has done a number of things to try to get people to make the switch from Gmail. These include baking Skype-functionality into it, the ability to chat with your Facebook friends and an Android app (talk about going into the heart of the enemy's territory). When you open the Messaging pane in Outlook.com or SkyDrive, you'll see a message that helps you set up chat with your Google contacts. As...

  • Samsung dominant, LG resurgent as Android dominates smartphone sales

    It's time to face facts. Samsung isn't going to be usurped from its position on top of the smartphone pile any time soon. In fact, the latest figures from tech research company Gartner suggest that Samsung is still on the rise and that its rival-in-chief Apple has actually lost market share. That, it seems, is largely down to Android gaining further ground, such that three-quarters of all smartphones shipped around the world run the Google-made OS. As the worldwide market returns to (slight) growth, it's up 0.7% from the same period last year, Samsung affirmed its place...

  • Lessons in approaching the B2B market using social media

    Social is inherently not made for business at all. The business to consumer, or brands interacting with consumers on social in general, is a tough nut to crack. This begs the question - how do we approach business-to-business communication using social media? There are a few challenges: Which top platforms are small businesses and owners using on social? How do business engage with other business over these platforms? What should we measure against? I’m going to touch on each of these below. Before we understand where a business can employ their tactics, we need to remember that all businesses - be they large...

  • The Miss Korea contestant meme: freezing the gif

    A recent Reddit post of Miss Korea contestants titled “Korea’s plastic surgery mayhem is finally converging on the same face” led to a gif that has been meming its way around the net and provoking some heated discussion: (These are actually Miss Daegu contestants, not Miss Korea finalists as netizens claimed – I will spare you my rant on the need for fact-checking in social media.) After the pics went viral, Korean beauty practices yet again fell under the digital spotlight. Many commenters, including the original poster, blamed plastic surgery for the uniformity in their looks. Their opinion is not unwarranted,...

  • Will Total Send’s aggressive pricing disrupt the email marketing space?

    People are spoiled for choice when it comes to email marketing services. For example, internationally there is MailChimp, iContact, Benchmark and Campaign Monitor, while Everlytic, and Graphic Mail have made their marks on the South African market. Dashing into the fray comes Total Send, an email marketing service from Cape Town. It's pièce de résistance? Aggressive pricing. Total Send's founder Luke Wingfield Digby believes that the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO) scenes have become too crowded and expensive. His experience with a previous venture showed that the best return on investment for online marketing efforts came by...

  • Acer Aspire S7 review: thinner, lighter and more expensive

    Sleek, shiny and utterly sexy. This is the first impression you get of the Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook. It positions itself in the same sort of market as the Macbook Air, with its lack of any kind of optical drive, its light body, and its smooth aluminium exterior, but is this US$1 200 Windows 8 machine a serious competitor, or is it overpriced for the features it offers? To begin, let's get down to the basics of this machine. The Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook offers users an Intel Core i7 CPU (1.9-2.4GHz), with 4GB (non-upgradeable) RAM and the model I tested...

  • Play Atari Breakout straight from image search with Google’s hidden game

    What would Google be without hidden easter eggs and random doodles commemorating random birthdays of famous people and inventions? Not as awesome, that's what. Yep, the search engine has yet another easter egg (hidden, entertaining features developers build into a website or program) tucked away into a G-product -- this time it's an adaptation of Atari Breakout. The classic arcade game was introduced in 1976, an evolution of Atari's previous game Pong, and involves smashing through rows of coloured bricks with a slider and a ball. Google's version, designed to mark 37 years since the game's creation, is hidden in...

  • Shared Economy may be the future of retail and selling of services

    A new age of reciprocity is here as Shared Economy is starting to make its imprints. Research from popular French tech conference LeWeb shows that those who have participated in this new trend “have double downed in this market.” Beyond the macro-trends of sustainability, increased population, and access to the internet, the research found that the startups are strengthened with VC funding. For those who don’t know, shared economy is the trend that cloaks up all platforms and ventures that enable the transfer of goods to be shared and exchanged. It works on the same principle of Anthropological...

  • Want retweets? Use an exclamation mark, but expect fewer clicks

    This is interesting. It turns out that something as simple as whether or not your tweet has an exclamation mark in it can determine how many retweets it gets. At least that's according to research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarella. The research, he says, was conducted in response to a tweeted question from search guru Rand Fishkin and looks at the relationship between exclamation points in tweets and retweets and clicks. Zarella used a dataset of more than two-million link-containing tweets sent by accounts with at least 1 000 followers. His findings suggest that tweets with exclamation marks...

  • Google set to go sensor crazy at I/O, will track air quality, noise levels

    Anyone attending this year's Google I/O developers' conference is set to be part of a massive experiment from the internet giant's Cloud Platform Developer Relations team. Google will be planting Arduino sensors all around the conference venue, measuring everything from ambient temperature to noise levels. In an official blog post Michael Manoochehri, a developer programs engineer at Google, says that altogether, the sensors network will provide over 4 000 continuous data streams collecting and visualizing ambient data about the conference, such as temperature, humidity, and air quality. "In addition," he says, "our motes will be able to detect...