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Industry News

  • MTN, Ericsson’s new 5G network trial hits 20Gbps speeds

    It took a while for South Africa to embrace the speed that 4G LTE offers, but the latest generation of the mobile technology is already on the horizon. MTN, together with infrastructure giant Ericsson today launched their 5G technology and applications trial at the latter's HQ in Johannesburg. The trial itself won't be felt by South Africans just yet, but it does become the continent's first test of the technology, which promises faster speeds than 4G LTE, lower latency, and better coverage for high density areas. Initial numbers are promising too. According to MTN, initial tests saw a throughput of 20Gbps --...

  • Still using BBM? You can now request an Uber via platform

    BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has seen far better days in emerging markets, as WhatsApp usurps it as the favoured instant messaging platform. That hasn't stopped a major announcement this week, as BBM operator Creative Media Works announces that you can now request an Uber via the IM service. The move will let BBM users on Android and iOS book Uber trips via the IM app's Discover tab, an emailed press statement reads. The partnership sees BBM harness the m.uber.com portal to book rides. "When launched from the Discover menu, the new Uber service asks riders to sign in with their mobile number or...

  • This is how global internet speeds changed in 2017

    You may not feel it if you're still using ADSL over century-old copper lines in South Africa, but global internet speeds over both fixed broadband and mobile networks have increased in 2017. And increased by quite a fair bit at that. According to a new report by Ookla's Speedtest, the company noted a 30.1% jump in mobile download speeds between November 2016 and November 2017, and a 38.9% increase in mobile upload speeds during the same period. This equates to a global average of 20.28Mbps down, and 8.65Mbps up. Fixed broadband networks have also accelerated. 40.11Mbps down is now the global mean, increasing...

  • Google Maps Go is the latest lightweight Android app

    We've seen quite a few lightweight versions of popular apps this year and now, it's time for Google Maps to join the party, in the form of Google Maps Go. Spotted on r/android, Google Maps Go is meant to be a more data-efficient, resource-friendly take on the standard Google Maps experience. "Designed to run smoothly on devices with limited memory and on unreliable networks without compromising speed to provide your location, real-time traffic updates, directions, and train, bus, and city transit information," reads an excerpt from the Play Store listing. As for actual features, expect the usual real-time traffic information, point of...

  • South Africans were asking Google about Dumi Masilela and bitcoin in 2017

    Google has released its year in search, and while the global results are interesting (Cash Me Outside was the top-searched meme, sadly), South Africans had a locally-specific year filled with tropical storms, high-profile fights, and cryptocurrency. According to Google, South Africa's top search of 2017 was for the late Dumi Masilela, who was killed in a hijacking earlier this year. Masilela was best known for his role as Sifiso Ngema on Rhythm City, though he was also a musician and former soccer player. The second-most searched? Zimbabwe -- the country that endured the most this past month. And in third place was Cyclone Dineo, which battered...

  • Google Search updates features to keep you on the platform

    Google Search is updating a few features to provide users with even more relevant information, and well, to keep them on the platform. Each of the updates revolves around related searches, and offering them in new ways so that users keep on a-clicking. Google Search's new updates aim to offer more related content to the user Of the updates, the most novel is that now, when users search for multiple terms related to a topic, Google will identify the topic and offer related searches. For example, if a user searches "Neymar" followed by "Lionel Messi", Google Search will recognise they're searching for current soccer players, and will...

  • First coding Google Doodle is a fun game that celebrates kids coding

    Today's Google Doodle is the first ever "coding doodle" and it is nothing short of adorable. In celebration of 50 years of kids coding languages, the doodle teaches the foundations of programming with a fun game involving a pastel rabbit who says "doing" (like boing) and desperately wants some carrots. Celebrate #CSEdWeek & 50 yrs of kids coding languages by checking out our VERY FIRST coding #GoogleDoodle! 🐰🥕🐰→ https://t.co/Kr7pjrLXOr pic.twitter.com/V0aJFBBAM2 — Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) December 4, 2017 The doodle is based on the Scratch programming language for kids, and allows children -- and unfamiliar adults -- to program the rabbit across six levels, lapping...

  • These executives left tech giants in 2017

    It's been a whirlwind of a year for the top dogs at some of the biggest tech companies in the world -- and not all of it has been positive. The following are just some of the executives who left their posts in 2017. Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick left his post in June after a series of scandals and upsets. Kalanick faced the ire of users for joining US President Donald Trump's advisory council, for allegedly facilitating a hostile and sexist work environment, for using greyball software to avoid law enforcement, for telling a driver it was...

  • Google app Datally to help us save while waiting for data to fall

    South Africans have long been clamouring for cheaper data and it often feels like our complaints are falling on deaf ears. But if you're anxiously awaiting the days data doesn't cost you your left kidney, Google's new app Datally could make your life a little easier. In essence, Datally helps you "understand, control, and save mobile data". How? First it lets you know exactly where your data is going and offers personalised tips on how to save more. It also offers a data saver mode that it describes as a "speedometer"; the mode blocks background data and tracks real-time usage while using apps. Google's new app Datally claims to help...

  • Grindr updates its app to be more gender inclusive

    Grindr, the dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people, is updating its app to be more inclusive of its transgender and non-binary users. The company is introducing new profile fields that offer a wider range of gender identities and pronouns, and it says it will be using more gender-neutral language within the app. The gender options now include "cis woman", "trans man", "non-binary", "non-conforming", and "queer". The change comes after the company surveyed its transgender users and consulted with the US National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group. "One thing we heard over and over again from trans people using Grindr was that they felt...

  • ‘Death by Pokémon GO’ reveals how deadly the mobile game really is

    Remember June 2016? We sure do. Pokémon GO launched like a blazing comet across our skies, tuning smartphones into mini-gaming machines, and our lives into an adventure across the Johto Region. But even with those splendid memories, the app has had negative side-effects too. According to a study conducted by Purdue University, Pokémon GO has resulted in an increase in road traffic incidents in a county in Indiana. "We examine nearly 12 000 detailed police accident reports for Tippecanoe County, Indiana, over the period of March 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016," the study reads. "The reports give, among other information, the date...

  • Takealot hits record highs despite Black Friday downtime

    Although Takealot was inaccessible for a majority of shoppers on Black Friday 2017, the sales day became the biggest in its history based on visits. The Cape Town-based etailer recorded 2.2-million visits to the website and app on 24 November. That's a 280% increase in visits compared to Black Friday 2016. Those visits, at least those recorded within the first hour of its sale, generated in excess of R6-million in gross merchandising value. This jumped to R12-million in the next two hours, and ultimately R87-million at the end of Black Friday. In total, more than 52 000 orders were placed on the...

  • Superbalist sees 143% spike in website traffic on Black Friday 2017

    Black Friday 2017 was fashion etailer Superbalist's "biggest trading day to date" the company announced. The South African company experienced sales growth of 118% when compared to Black Friday 2016, with a 143% spike in website traffic year-on-year also recorded Like its owner Takealot, Superbalist also experienced downtime in the early hours of Friday morning. This however seemingly had minimal effect on its numbers, according to Superbalist's head of brand Klyne Maharaj, "By 5:30am we’d achieved over 10% of the day’s target (more than a third of last year’s target) and we saw another spike in traffic later that afternoon as people...

  • Black Friday 2017 was the biggest ever in US history, stats suggest

    Singles' Day may have become Alibaba's biggest one-day sales period raking in some US$25-billion, but Black Friday is still a force in the western world. According to Adobe Digital Insights, more than US$5-billion was spent in the United States on Black Friday 2017. Two-fifths of that was spent using a mobile device. Overall, that's a jump of nearly 17% over the previous Black Friday. The company analyses around 80% of transactions conducted online, from 100 of the States' largest online retailers. But Adobe wasn't the only company watching shoppers (a tad creepy, agreed). Salesforce's owls saw a jump of 24% in digital...

  • One Bitcoin is now worth over R133 000

    While you may be smarting over the current Dollar/Rand or Euro/Rand exchange rate, spare a thought for those wanting to purchase a single Bitcoin. The price of the digital cryptocurrency has this weekend surged to US$9602 -- or just under R133 800 at the time of writing. That means that a single Bitcoin could buy a small family hatchback, around 130 return flights between London and Cape Town, or a Big Mac meal for every meal of the day for nearly three years. The latest record-high price comes after the currency gained more than 17% this week, after it broke the US$9000...