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  • GetJar wants to make your mobile phone applications free

    The world's second largest online shop for mobile phone applications is out to change the economics of the booming industry by making the popular mini-programs available for free. GetJar has teamed up with Glu to offer a set of the hot smartphone game maker's premium titles, typically sold for as much three to five dollars, free of charge worldwide. GetJar will make one free Glu game available every two weeks during the course of two months that started October 5. "What we are trying to introduce is going to change the whole economics of app stores," says GetJar founder and chief executive...

  • Cyber war rages online between copyright and freedom

    The modern internet is a battleground between two competing forces vying for control of how information and media are consumed. Large corporations have a huge stake in the financial opportunities that a closed, monetised system has to offer, while activists and idealists are intent on retaining the free, communal nature of the web. In recent months a skirmish erupted, serving to illustrate how the battle lines are being drawn in a world where the internet increasingly has real life consequences in shaping our social and political reality. It is no secret that copyright giants have been backed into a corner in...

  • Microsoft pinning mobile hopes on new operating system

    Microsoft unveils a new mobile phone operating system on Monday in what is being seen as a potentially make-or-break effort by the US software giant to remain a player in the hotly competitive niche. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is to take the wraps off a new line of smartphones powered by Windows Phone 7 (WP7) at an event in New York and the devices are expected to hit stores around the world in the next few weeks. Though mobile makes up only one percent of Microsoft's revenue, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt said WP7 is a "pivotal release" for the...

  • Mobile advertising records double digit growth in emerging markets

    Mobile advertising rates surged globally for a third straight quarter in 2010, according to global mobile media company Buzzcity. These results were attributed to the falling costs of access and deeper internet penetration. As part of their Global Mobile Advertising Index, the company gathered worldwide data over a three month period from July to September 2010. When compared to the second quarter of the year, BuzzCity reported traffic growth of 590-million impressions, which amounted to a 65% increase from first quarter figures. African countries experienced large growth, with Kenya and Libya in particular both experiencing a staggering 116%...

  • Going Android? Start with these eight apps

    Everyone at my office got iPhones last year, but I didn’t really think the screen would last in my pocket next to my keys so I resisted getting one. But my old Nokia was starting to embarrass me, especially when I was trying to give the impression I was working in the tech industry. So when the new HTC Android phones came out recently, I was first in line for a new lease on life. When it comes to an Android phones, it helps to be Google-centric to start with. I am a big fan of Google apps and I...

  • Obox Design unveils a WordPress mobile theme framework

    South African WordPress theme company, Obox Design, has recently made some significant developments in the area of theming for mobile devices. "Obox Mobile" is their new flagship offering, a mobile theme framework that "seamlessly converts your WordPress site into a mobile friendly experience when people visit it via their phones". I recently had the opportunity to work with Obox Mobile and put the framework through its paces. First off, it's important to note that the product is advertised as a "mobile theme framework" and not as a "mobile theme". This subtle difference embodies the true power and potential future of Obox...

  • Mobile and ‘cloud’ computing key future job skills: IBM

    US technology titan IBM says the job skills of the future include savvy with smartphones, tablet computers and software hosted in the internet "cloud" rather than standard desktop computers. IBM Tech Trends Survey results being released Friday show that a majority of business technology specialists expect that by 2015 more business software will be made for smartphones and tablet computers than for traditional office systems. And some 91% of the 2 000 respondents from 87 countries agreed that within five years it will be more popular for companies to use programs offered online as services than for firms to manage in-house...

  • Viewdle gives mobile phones the ability to ‘see’

    High-powered players are pumping US$10-million into Viewdle, a technology startup crafting ways that enable smartphones "see" things the same way people do and identify faces. The influx of cash announced this week is coming from Qualcomm, BlackBerry Partners Fund, US electronics retail chain Best Buy, and Anthem Venture Partners, an investment firm that has backed Viewdle from the outset. "We are giving smartphones human eyes," said Viewdle co-founder and chief executive Laurent Gil. "Letting them see the world the way people do... it is artificial intelligence," he said. "It is happening." Northern California-based Viewdle bills itself as the leading independent facial recognition company...

  • Cell C to MTN and Vodacom: ‘Stop bullying us!’

    Cell C said via Facebook on Thursday that it intends to lodge an appeal with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against Wednesday's ruling over its 4Gs marketing campaign, claiming that it amounts to "corporate bullying" from cellular rivals, MTN and Vodacom. The ASA ruled that the mobile service provider's 4Gs marketing campaign was found to be "misleading" and "dishonest" -- and should be withdrawn with "immediate effect". In a statement released via Facebook, Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt said that "...it is Cell C’s view that MTN and Vodacom lodged these complaints in an attempt to distract Cell C which...

  • 22 black SA bloggers you should be reading

    The South African blogosphere has in the past copped its share of criticism for being rather male, and rather pale. In recent years, there has been a surge of black South African bloggers writing on matters ranging from fashion to music, politics and the economy. Here is a list of black bloggers who are carving out mini-publishing empires -- and who provide a compelling snapshot of life, culture and business in South Africa right now. Khaya Dlanga - Thought Leader, YouTube, Personal blog, Memeburn, News24 Dlanga is arguably the most popular and successful black blogger in South Africa whose work spans...

  • The death of privacy and the illusion of freedom

    "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry." These were the last words of Tyler Clementi, posted on his Facebook profile a few minutes before he leaped to his death off the George Washington Bridge outside New York City. The 18-year old student was outed as being gay after Dharun Ravi, his roommate at Rutgers University in New Jersey, along with another friend, Molly Wei, who had a room on the same corridor, secretly filmed Clementi using a webcam set up in his room to stream a live video of him involved in a “sexual encounter” with another man over the internet....

  • Google testing ‘Baraza’, an African Q&A site

    There’s a new service coming out from Google, tentatively called “Baraza”, which is the term used for meeting place in Swahili. It’s a service focused on creating ways for Africans to interact and share knowledge by asking and answering questions, many of them hyper local, or of regional interest only. Google Baraza is accepting alpha testers right now, you can sign up to try out the new service at this link. Q&A websites like Baraza aren’t new, perhaps the best known one is Yahoo! Answers which has been phenomenally successful. Even the other, smaller sites have a lot of traction. There...

  • The speed of Google or the stickiness of Facebook?

    Google's most important launch this year was its recent debut of Google Instant search which cuts user search time down by as much as 40%. Google users are, collectively, saving 11 hours every second, which translates into 11 hours less being spent using Google. Google is betting that if its users spend less time on search then it will make more money. This is a far different strategy to that of Facebook, which wants to be the stickiest place on the internet. The Nielsen Ratings estimate that each month, an average US internet user spends around 2 hours on Google, and more...

  • Zambian gov’t backs off threat to shut down ISPs

    Zambia's communications authority reversed its decision to shut down five main internet service providers on Wednesday, saying they would be allowed another chance to renew their licences. The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority has "withdrawn its earlier statement indicating that five internet service providers should cease operations effective October 8," spokesman Lotty Kakubo said in a statement. 24 hours earlier, the firms had been ordered to shut down by the end of the week, after regulators said the five providers had not renewed their operating licences. But the order raised fears that Zambia could be cut off from the internet, and...

  • Cell C ordered to withdraw ‘4Gs’ campaign

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Thursday ruled that Cell C's new 4Gs campaign is "dishonest" and "misleading" and must be withdrawn with "immediate effect". Cell C, a mobile operator in South Africa, recently launched what is now seen to be the fastest and cheapest mobile broadband in the country, a step up from current 3G offerings by competitors MTN and Vodacom. However it is not technically 4G, but a souped-up form of 3G, offering "speeds of up to 4G". Corne Koch of the ASA admitted that Cell C had made some attempts via their website to explain that the 4Gs campaign...