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  • Africa expects internet revolution

    Businesses across Africa are expecting a revolution in internet access, technology and costs as a result of the rush of new undersea cables connecting the continent. More than 90 percent of business decision-makers across Africa expect prices to drop and competition to increase dramatically, according to the Telecoms Trends in Africa 2010 report, released today by World Wide Worx and Database 360. The survey, conducted among 1100 internet-using small, medium and large businesses across 20 African countries, also revealed that most African countries remain heavily reliant on slow or expensive forms of connectivity, such as dial-up and satellite. However, they are...

  • Kenyan scoops $1m in Nokia mobile app challenge

    John Waibochi of Virtual City, from Kenya, on Thursday scooped the Nokia $1,000,000 Growth Economy Venture Challenge at Nokia World. Launched at CES 2010, Nokia’s Growth Economy Venture Challenge called on innovators from around the world to create a mobile product or service to improve the lives of people in developing nations and compete for the chance to win venture capital investment of $1 million. This is an investment of $1m in Waibochi’s business, so it comes with support and connections that only an organisation of Nokia’s size can provide. The award was given out by Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new...

  • Internet Explorer 9 to ‘unlock beauty of web’

    Microsoft has unveiled what it is calling its “fastest, safest” internet browser yet, saying Internet Explorer 9 will redefine the way ordinary consumers interact with the web. The beta version of IE9 is available for free public download from tonight at midnight, with Microsoft's Colin Erasmus describing the new browser as a “game-changing” release. “IE9 will change the web forever. It delivers a fast, clean and safe browsing experience that puts the focus on the sites and programmes that people care about. We aren’t just talking about a new web, we’re helping to bring it to Windows customers around the world,”...

  • How computer games make us better people

    Computer games can make us better people, argues renowned futurist and game designer Jane McGonigal. In an impeccably researched and delivered presentation at the 2010 London Nokia World Forum, McGonigal spoke about how computer gaming can positively impact the world, turning people into "super-empowered, hopeful individuals". Gaming is mainstream. And if there is anyone who doubts this, the figures speak for themselves. By age 21, an average person in a developed economy would have spent more than 10 000 hours playing computer games -- this is comparable to the total time we spend at school. McGonigal says the world, on average,...

  • 10 mobile apps designed to make the world a better place

    Here is a list of the top ten worldwide mobile applications from Nokia's "Calling All Innovators" competition. From these ten finalists, one winner will be chosen. The challenge was for developers to submit their best ideas for a new mobile product or solution designed to improve the lives of people in the developing world. The mission? To build a product, which will be a profitable business, that improves the lives of people who live in a part of the world where they make less than $5/day. It could be hardware, software or services as long as it is related...

  • Twitter.com unveils a new, richer interface

    During a major press event at its San Francisco headquarters yesterday, Twitter unveiled a new version of Twitter.com. The refresh will be immediately available to only one percent of its 160-million registered users at first, but will roll out to everyone during the coming weeks. The biggest notable difference is in the manner that user feeds are presented. A new two pane approach sees the old timeline and tweets presented in the left-hand column, with details about a specific tweet presented in the right. You could, for instance, see if a tweet is part of a thread, the profile of...

  • Twitter ‘not a social network’ says Twitter exec

    Twitter is not a social network says Twitter Vice President for Business and Corporate development Kevin Thau, it's all about news. "Twitter is news. It is information. Twitter is actually transforming the nature of news. It's transforming the way you are consuming information and think about news. When it comes to breaking news I don't think there has ever been a platform as interesting as Twitter," he said. Speaking at Nokia World 2010 in London, Thau also spoke about how it has become the norm that when there is a "disaster or revolution it gets broadcast on Twitter first". Thau...

  • Five simple ways to add value on Facebook

    With Facebook’s stringent rules regarding contests and competitions on its site, you need a lot more than free giveaways to build your Facebook community. You need to be interesting and relevant to your target market. Content is king, as the saying goes, and that has never been truer than when dealing with Facebook in a marketing context. Here are a few helpful, common-sense ideas that will assist you in growing your business fan base. 1. Add Value You need to think about yourself as an online brand ambassador aka content builder aka conversation shepherd... whatever the buzz words might be, the principle remains...

  • Major SA news site struggles with relaunch

    It should have been a moment of triumph for Independent Online (IOL), the digital branch of the Independent Newspapers group, with a glossy media launch of their new site scheduled for Cape Town's Century City. Instead it's business as usual at one of the country's largest online publishers. IOL’s much-publicised relaunch has run into severe technical problems, forcing the site to postpone for the "next few days or a few weeks" and revert to their old site. Cultural commentators have had a field day on the subject, with tweets like this from @gussilber: "I can't make up my mind whether...

  • Google to host G-South Africa for developers, entrepreneurs

    Some of Google’s best engineers, product managers, and business leaders will be speaking about Google’s open web and mobile technologies in Cape Town on the 8th and 9th of November. Google is inviting Computer Science students, developers and entrepreneurs to take part in the event, called G-South Africa, which will be held at The Table Bay Hotel. Day 1 will focus on using Google developer tools to push the boundaries of web applications. Google engineers and web development leaders will guide attendees through a full day of in-depth sessions, including hands-on code labs dedicated to cutting edge web and mobile...

  • 80+ SA bands, singers to follow: Memeburn’s ultimate Twitter guide

    The South African music industry has grown exponentially during the last few years. Bands, DJ's, soloists, record labels have all taken to the web to promote themselves, and what better way to spread your message than Twitter? Using the micro-blogging platform, artists share their vision, announce gigs and interact with their fans. We've set ourselves the ambitious task of hosting the definitive guide to SA music on Twitter. Please comment and let's grow it into a powerful resource. Freshlyground, the seven-piece band consisting of members from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is arguably the biggest Afro-pop act South Africa has...

  • Carte Blanche experiment allows viewers to choose stories via Facebook

    Johannesburg-based news and actuality show, Carte Blanche, has become one of the few TV programmes worldwide to combine social media and live television, effectively allowing its viewers to choose what they want to see on air. Eight stories were featured on Carte Blanche’s Facebook page -- and viewers were invited to choose four by Liking the inserts they wanted to see. “The story with the most Likes will go out first and the four with the least won’t go out at all,” said well-known anchor Derek Watts. Viewers selected the following four stories: Cannabis & Schizophrenia (564 Likes), Forensics (549...

  • Vodafone data reveals what we are using our phones for

    If you think the mobile phone is all about phoning, you would be wrong. One of the fastest growing segments in the mobile industry, the smartphone market, shows that people are increasingly using their phones to access data, which means browsing the web, playing games, accessing their email and engaging in social networking activities. At the Nokia World 2010 in London on Tuesday, Chief Executive Vodafone Group Vittorio Colao basically re-affirmed what we all know when he said he believes that "data is the great opportunity”. "In my own personal market research, what I have seen is normal people booking cars...

  • Nokia announces ‘fightback’ in smartphone market

    Nokia wants the world to know that it is the big kahuna in the smartphone market. Despite unrelenting hype around iPhone and Android devices, the mobile phone manufacturer reminds the world that people have so far bought far more Nokia smartphones than both iPhone and Android combined. There was a discernible touch of insecurity and defensiveness at the London Nokia World 2010 summit when the company's Executive Vice President of Markets Niklas Savander announced a "fightback in smartphone leadership", directly taking on Apple by poking fun at a senior iPhone exec who had unwittingly used the company's tagline "connecting people"...

  • Will SA’s unbanked masses embrace M-Pesa?

    On paper, the argument for embracing M-Pesa, a mobile-phone based money transfer service, is a compelling one. But implementation needs to be perfect if it is to gain traction with wary South African consumers. Cellular service provider Vodacom, in conjunction with banking giant Nedbank, have finally begun rolling out M-PESA to South African consumers, having seen the critical role it plays in the Kenyan economy, where it is reported that almost 20% of all transactions are done through M-PESA. Days after I interviewed Mark Taylor, MD of Vodacom Payment Services, I received an SMS telling me I had received...