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Mobile

  • Facebook Creator app launches on iOS

    Facebook has taken a leaf out of YouTube's book and launched an app and website specifically geared towards "creators" (people who post videos to its platform). The app is essentially a rebrand of the celebrity app Facebook Mentions, which was promoted as a better way to build communities. In fact, users will only be able to find the new Facebook Creator in the App Store when searching "Facebook Mentions", despite the actual title having changed. The app is meant to make it easier for creators to post videos, go live, and connect with their communities. It offers exclusive features like adding intros and...

  • Crime reporting app Namola now available across South Africa

    South African crime response app Namola is now available to use across the country, the company and its partner Dialdirect announced Friday. The app, which was initially available in Tshwane, allows users to request police or emergency assistance by sharing acute details with officials, including current location, and the nature of the emergency from their devices. It has been dubbed the "Uber for police". "For genuine alerts, police, other emergency response and citizen responders are then dispatched and monitored," the company noted in a press release. According to Dialdirect's executive head Warwick Scott-Rodger, the app is a "smart compliment" to other police dispatcher...

  • Konnect Africa debuts SmartWiFi satellite broadband hotspot service

    Satellite broadband provider Konnect Africa has today announced its new hotspot service dubbed SmartWiFi. The announcement was made by the Eutelsat-owned company at AfricaCom 2017 in Cape Town. SmartWiFi will use Konnect Africa's satellite network to provide connectivity to the likes of hospitals, schools and retailers across South Africa. Unlike traditional access points that usually serve a small area, Konnect Africa's SmartWiFi will be "able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred meters around the hotspot". It can also be expanded further through the use of repeaters. This allows SmartWiFi to be employed in non-urban areas, explained Laurent Grimaldi, the...

  • Vodacom’s NB-IoT network is now live in Gauteng

    Vodacom's first commercially available Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network is now live in Gauteng. This announcement is the latest in a string of IoT plays made by the company this year. The NB-IoT network, the company hopes, will accelerate the growth of IoT in South Africa by allowing customers to build and run Low Power Wide Area network (LPWAN) applications. LPWAN is slower than the likes of WiFi, but covers much greater areas and allows for devices to be connected more efficiently. In September 2017, Vodacom announced its three-millionth device IoT connection, and currently sees around 55 000 new devices registered on its network each...

  • Uber Driver app adds ‘no thanks’ button, rating protection & more

    Uber has been in the news a fair bit recently, from protests involving metered taxis to UberEATS finally launched in Durban. But the company's latest set of tweaks is aimed at improving operations for drivers. It today announced a number of features heading to the Uber Driver app, which the company claims will "make it even easier for driver-partners across South Africa to choose when, where, and how they drive". "Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with over 12 000 driver-partners across South Africa, hearing what they care about when using the...

  • Google Play Store adding Instant Apps, more in upcoming update

    A number of changes are coming to the Google Play Store its parent company announced Thursday. Usually the unchanged bastion of the Google ecosystem, the Play Store will finally receive a much needed nip and tuck. As for an implementation timeline, the company remained as mum as ever. Nevertheless, sifting through the latest Google Developers Blog post, here are three standout interface and functionality tweaks heading to the Play Store sometime before the world ends. Revamped Editor's Choice Vineet Buch, author of the post and Google Play's director of product management, noted that a revamped version of Editor's Choice is now live in...

  • MTN debuts ‘WOW’ voice bundles

    Dropping data prices is oh so trendy for mobile operators right now, but what about voice packages? MTN has announced its new "WOW" voice bundles, which aim to fill the gap for those who prefer calling contacts on their phone, or who still own feature phones. The packages are only applicable when calling another MTN number, but are available in daily, weekly and monthly bundles. Prices range between R3 -- for seven minutes within 24 hours -- and R300 -- which allows for 3000 minutes to be used in a month. That's more than enough for an hour-long conversation every day. "The WOW...

  • 5 great space apps you should grab right now

    One of my favourite early Android experiences was using Google Sky Map for the first time, being a revelation for stargazers. Since those heady days, we've seen a variety of space-based apps being released on mobile devices. So we picked a few worth downloading. Google Sky Map (free - Android) Let's start with the original augmented reality app in many ways, Google Sky Map overlays a map of celestial objects on your phone. The app also relies on your phone's gyroscope and other sensors, so it'll accurately show you stars, planets and other objects, depending on where you're pointing your phone camera. Sky Map...

  • Get the Google Assistant app in South Africa with this quick guide

    The Google Assistant app might not be listed on the South African Play Store just yet, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work here. With a few jukes and sidesteps, here's how you can get the new Google Assistant app running and functioning on your smartphone right now. 1. Check your smartphone for these apps and features Before we get started, I should point out one thing: Assistant won't be compatible with every smartphone. Your device will need to meet the below minimum hardware and software requirements: Google app version 6.13 or higher must be installed to your device You'll need Google Play...

  • Microsoft Edge hits Android, iOS because people asked for it (lol)

    Microsoft Edge represents a big improvement over the much-maligned Internet Explorer, but it's still a long way from threatening the likes of Chrome and Firefox (both critically and commercially). So colour us surprised to hear that Microsoft is bringing Edge to Android and iOS. And they're apparently not just doing it to test the waters, but because people wanted it. "One of the most common requests we hear from people who use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 PCs is 'we want our browser experience to move to our phones'. You spoke, we listened," read an excerpt from an official blog post. As for...

  • Rocking The Daisies and OppiKoppi 2017: your essential festival app kit

    It's once again festival season in South Africa, and kicking off the year's musical escapades is a weekend double header. Both Rocking The Daisies in the Western Cape and OppiKoppi in Limpopo will take place this weekend in two opposite corners of the country -- but just because you're spending the weekend in dusty tents with limited power supply doesn't mean you can't use technology to make your partying just that bit easier. While there are a few apps you should have on your smartphone for both events (and the festivals to come), we'll take a look at specific apps you should...

  • Afrihost Mobile Data review: an answer to #DataMustFall?

    Data prices is an issue bubbling beneath the surface of South African politics and culture. As more South Africans use social media and other data-reliant technologies, the price of those crucial megabytes have come under the spotlight. And especially so in 2017. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged these issues at the State of the Nation Address in January, while citizens have also made their feelings known through campaigns like #SocialMediaBlackOut and #DataMustFall. Across the fence, telecoms are also making changes. Vodacom launched its Meg Your Day campaign in June, while MTN has reiterated its free Twitter service, albeit with a few bumps. But even...

  • Afrihost adds budget option to Fixed Wireless LTE-A lineup

    South African ISP Afrihost has announced a budget option to its Fixed Wireless offering, running on the Rain Network backbone. "Afrihost is going all-in and now offering Free LTE-Advanced Modems with signups until the end of November," the company announced in a press release. "This is on top of the Double Data that users can lock in until the end of November 2018." Alongside its more expensive packages, like the 330+330GB Anytime Data offering at R1549pm, Afrihost is introducing a new entry level product to the lineup. "We are also launching a new 25+25GB Package today at R299pm to cater to users with...

  • Vodacom’s IoT division now connects ‘three million things’ in South Africa

    Hot on the heels of MTN Business's Internet of Things (IoT) network announcement, Vodacom revealed that its IoT division is now connecting more than "three million 'things'" across South Africa. Deon Liebenberg, the managing exec of Vodacom's IoT division explained that this is a clear indication of the growth of IoT and related technologies in the country. "It’s worth noting that it took us eight years to get to two million connections and it took us only one year to get to three million," he explained. "The rate of IoT adoption is picking up speed locally and with the commercial rollout of...

  • MTN Business announces dedicated IoT network

    MTN has today announced a dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) network that it suggests will "enhance security of business-critical information". It quoted two distinct network technologies, namely LoRaWAN and NarrowBand-IoT. LoRaWAN can be viewed as WAN's low-power, low bit-rate cousin. It transfers less data than traditional WAN, but is used to connect devices that usually feature battery-powered sensors. NarrowBand-IoT, or NB-IoT, is typically used for indoor devices, and is allocated a slice of spectrum within the LTE band. MTN's new network will carry full support for both. "e have created a dedicated network that has its own core business support systems and operational...