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Mobile

  • Here’s how municipalities should do free WiFi – Project Isizwe

    Project Isizwe's Tshwane Free WiFi Project is probably the standout free WiFi initiative in the country today. Featuring relatively generous data caps and loads of zero-rated content, there's no doubt that it's been a game-changer for many citizens. We've also seen the Western Cape Free WiFi project and a few other similar initiatives pop up. But other regions in South Africa have been a little slow to get the ball rolling. Now, Project Isizwe has published a blog post by CEO Dudu Mkhwanazi, comprehensively outlining ways that municipalities can create sustainable free WiFi projects. "The critical importance of connecting citizens both now...

  • Which Android period tracking app should you be using?

    Periods are annoying. They're painful, they're messy and they get in the way of life. You probably know this. For me, the most difficult part of periods is the unpredictability. I'm not on hormonal contraception, and my cycle can sometimes last over forty days -- resulting in an agonising week of suspense and dark pants. I know I'm not alone in this anxiety, because there are so many period tracking apps on the market -- but how do we know which one will be accurate? Can we really leave the protection at home if some algorithm tells us to? I decided to take...

  • Vodacom launches ‘video data bundles’ for Showmax and DStv Now

    Vodacom has today announced a new set of data bundles for video streaming addicts. Dubbed Video Data Bundles, the company is hoping the deals will make "streaming services a lot more affordable for its customers". Notably, the packages are available for prepaid users, including customers on top-up and post-prepaid plans. "Video Data Bundles have been created specifically for OTT services, like Showmax and DStv Now. The bundles will be sold alongside the general data bundles, across all channels, and will be offered in various sizes, validity ranges and pricing," the company notes in a press release. And yes, at present, the bundles are...

  • Telkom LIT: zero-rated streaming on FreeMe packages

    Telkom has announced Telkom LIT (don't say "fam"), an initiative to zero-rate streaming services on selected FreeMe mobile data packages. The company confirmed that free music streaming on Google Play Music, Apple Music and Simfy Africa would apply to 2GB FreeMe packages and above. Want zero-rated video streaming too? Then you'll want a 5GB FreeMe package or better. Zero-rated video streaming applies to Showmax, Netflix, YouTube and Google Play. In case you forgot, Telkom's 2GB FreeMe deal costs R149, while the 5GB deal will set you back R299. Unfortunately, the 1GB FreeMe package isn't included in the zero-rated malarkey. Meanwhile, the network has...

  • Update: Vodacom’s nightmare data fiasco fuels social media fire

    Update: Vodacom South Africa has issued the following update to media Tuesday afternoon: Vodacom confirms that it has reimbursed customers affected by last night’s billing issue and remains committed to ensuring that all customers are refunded in full. We thank customers for their patience while the matter was being resolved and reiterate our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Customers that may have outstanding queries are kindly requested to contact our call centre for resolution on 111. The issue was caused by a configuration change on our prepaid and top up billing system that was problematic. We were able to...

  • VAST, Showmax lets you download shows at the mall for free

    Showmax users can now download and stream content for free through one of 83 VAST WiFi hotspots across South Africa, the company today announced. This comes after a partnership was struck to zero-rate Showmax data on VAST's networks, set to last for a three-month period. "Thanks to the downloads feature on Showmax, this zero-rated data means much more than just having something to watch while you're at the mall," explains Chris Savides, head of Showmax Africa. "Once you log onto one of the VAST WiFi sites, download up to 25 TV shows or movies and the data won't cost you a cent....

  • 7 Android apps that seriously need a ‘lite’ version

    Earlier this week, we got word that Google has revealed Search Lite, a lightweight (duh) version of its iconic web search tool. Offering the usual search functionality, as well as a host of other features, the app stands out thanks to its small install size and emphasis on data saving. It's not the first Lite app we've seen though, with Facebook, Messenger, Skype and even YouTube (in a limited fashion) seeing tiny apps being launched. But what about other services in need of a Lite version? Twitter Yes yes, Twitter Lite is actually a thing, but it's merely a lightweight website rather...

  • Data saving app Opera Max is officially dead

    After a stellar run of three years, Norwegian internet company Opera has announced that its data saving app, Opera Max, is officially dead. The announcement comes after a reassessment of Opera's focus areas, with browsers becoming its integral subject. "The product had a substantially different value proposition than our browser products, and represented a different focus for Opera. We, therefore, focus on our browsers and other upcoming services," it noted in a brief press release. Opera Max will no longer be updated The app itself allowed traffic to be funneled through Opera's servers, compressed, and returned to users in a thriftier package. Overtime...

  • To go with Rain’s LTE-A or not: a few questions to ask yourself

    A general rule of thumb is that fixed-line internet connections are more reliable than wireless connectivity. But here in South Africa, fixed-line connections are anything but a certainty. ADSL from Telkom isn't a guarantee, owing to widespread copper theft. And even though Telkom and several other players are deploying fibre across the country, these are often restricted to wealthier suburbs. So we're glad to see LTE-A actually rolling out across the country, courtesy of wholesale provider Rain and Internet Solutions. As a result of the network, quite a few ISPs have hopped on the bandwagon and started offering near-identical LTE-A packages,...

  • 8+ portable apps you should keep on your flash drive

    Portable apps are one of the coolest things ever, allowing you to run PC apps off your flash drive without having to install them on the host PC. There are loads of supported apps out there, so we chose a few that you should slap on your flash drive. Google Chrome Maybe you're using a friend or loved one's PC. Maybe you're at an internet cafe. Maybe you're travelling and using a hotel computer. Either way, why use Edge or Internet Explorer when Chrome will do better? The portable app means that you can use Google's browser on another machine, complete with your...

  • The YouTube app now has a DM tab

    Google has added yet another messaging feature to its repertoire -- and this time it's on the YouTube app. Dubbed the "Shared" tab, the feature allows you to send videos and chat with friends directly in YouTube. These friends are anyone you connect with via email, phone number or an invitation link. That's right -- anyone to whom you've ever sent an email will now have your channel sitting in their shared tab for whenever they get nosy. With the click of a button, your university tutors, your colleagues, that friend you stopped speaking to years ago: they'll know every video...

  • Google Play Store will no longer suggest ‘lower quality’ apps in search

    Google Play Store has made it easier for users to spot the "lower quality" apps on its platform from the genuinely useful. According to a new blog post, the company is actively focussing on privileging apps that exhibit stellar stability, and penalising those that show "excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes". "As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we recently enhanced our search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality," Google Play's product manager Andrew Ahn explains. Google Play rewards well-built apps by pushing them further up search listings "This results in higher quality apps...

  • VSCO gains video editing features, but there’s a premium catch

    Popular photo editing suite VSCO has long let users on iOS and Android edit their fancy photographs. But a new update finally lets users tinker with videos. "Although VSCO has long been home to storytelling through photography, we also recognise and celebrate different mediums of creative expression like DSCOs, design, poetry, and videography," the company writes on its blog. There is of course a catch. The video editing tools are only available on iOS for now, and only accessible to VSCO X members -- the app's premium membership tier. The subscription service also gives paying customers access to a bevy of additional...

  • LinkedIn Lite joins the lite app bandwagon

    We've seen quite a few "Lite" versions of popular social networking apps in recent years, now it's time for LinkedIn to jump on the bandwagon with LinkedIn Lite. Yep, the professional network has released LinkedIn Lite for Android in India, TechCrunch reports. So what's actually "lite" about it? The publication says that the new app is 1MB in size, making it ideal for low-end smartphones that have a tiny amount of storage. It's also claimed that the app is optimised for slower connections, with pages loading in under five seconds, "even on a 2G network". That doesn't mean that you've got significantly...

  • Telegram adds self-destructing media, swanky CDN system

    Chat app Telegram has added a number of new features to its latest version, including self-destructing photographs and videos. "If you set a timer, the countdown starts the moment your recipient opens the photo or video you sent," the company reveals in a blog post. "After the time runs out, the photo/video will disappear forever, just like in Secret Chats." If the recipient attempts to screenshot your self-destructing media, you'll receive a notification. Other quality of life improvements include the ability to set a biography for your profile, post and receive larger obnoxious stickers and quicker downloads thanks to an improved content delivery...