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  • Tech4Africa 2012: ‘Unlocking the next billion consumers’

    Prominent technology and innovation conference Tech4Africa has announced its theme for 2012: "Unlocking the next billion consumers". If that sounds familiar, it's because the term "next billion" been popping up all over the tech world in the last year or so. When Nokia launched its Asha range of low-end phones last year, it targeted them at "the next billion internet users". Payments giant MasterCard meanwhile is betting big on mobile in a bid to capture as much of that next billion as it can. Given that seven of the world's ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, it's likely...

  • Newsweek’s #muslimrage: giant mistake or publicity genius?

    Popular US news magazine Newsweek received an online lambasting on Monday when tweeters took to the social network to poke fun at its hashtag #muslimrage. Newsweek featured a front cover photograph of the recent Middle Eastern unrest regarding an online video casting Islam in a negative light. The accompanying article was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who herself was involved with previous anti-American and pro-Islamic marches but who seems to have had a change of heart after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Newsweek encouraged its followers and readers to discuss the article with the accompanying hashtag #muslimrage, which is when the...

  • To boldly go where no one has gone before: Google Glass’ pressing issues

    Google Glass debuted to enormous fanfare with that product demo, it also recently appeared on the catwalk as Google goes about showing how the technology can be applied. For example, as a surfer who wants to broadcast what it's like out there, a waterproof version of Glass will allow me to go into the water, take photos and videos, as well as tweet about the experience. Companies like GoPro had better watch out as we've seen that wearable tech is already a massive market. What we haven't thought about yet, though, is how this technology is going to challenge notions of...

  • 6 of the best games that no one played

    It’s easy to get into a conversation with a gamer regarding Fifa, or Call of Duty, or Halo. If they’re male and under thirty, chances are they’ve played them all. Canny marketing and extensive advertising ensures these games are omnipresent, and the fact they’re released annually ensures they’re always relevant. But what of the myriad great games that never enter the general gaming consciousness? What of the games no one bothers to play? (Alright, it’s a touch hyperbolic: these games do enjoy small hardcore followings) This list highlights several under-appreciated gems that deserved to sell well, but didn't. Read more on...

  • The story behind Renren: China’s biggest Facebook-ish social network

    Renren, China’s largest Facebook-ish social network (as opposed to the Twitter-ish weibos), has a long and complex history which probably not more than a handful of people have heard about in detail. I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet Zany Zeng, the co-founder of NYSE-listed Renren.com and current co-founder of Youlu, to dig deep and document the story behind Renren. To understand the full journey, you have to go way back to May 1999 when Chinaren.com was founded – arguably the first college-focused online social network in China, way before even Facebook and Friendster started. Chinaren was founded...

  • Baidu plants a flag for Chinese nationalism

    This is interesting. In a show of nationalism, Chinese search giant Baidu today put up a doodle depicting a Chinese flag planted on the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. China and Taiwan both lay claim to the uninhabited East China Sea islands, currently controlled by Japan. According to Baidu, the purpose of the doodle is to "encourage people to be rational in their expressions of patriotism.” Speaking to The Next Web, Baidu's director of international communications Kaiser Kuo said the intention was to foster peaceful protests: The overwhelming majority of Baidu’s employees and users clearly feel very strongly on this topic, but our...

  • ‘Banned’ iPhone 5 advert is hilarious

    Yes, it's another iPhone 5 story. Sort of. You see the guys behind this parody ad probably feel the same way about the extensive coverage as you do. The 'banned' ad features designer Johnny Five showing that he can actually count and that he is aware that this is actually the sixth iPhone. "With iPhone 5, we started with a design that we really love, but to build it, we had to look way into the future," he added. "So we basically built the iPhone 9 and the worked backwards". "And let me tell you, once we figure out...

  • Gartner: 10-15% of social reviews will be fake by 2014

    Whether you're booking a holiday or buying a new smartphone, chances are you'll probably read a few consumer reviews. Chances are you'll also trust the reviewer more if you can see their social profile than if they've published it under the name "HorsePants32". That could be giant a mistake. According to tech research company Gartner, anywhere between 10 and 15% of reviews that appear on social media could be fake by 2014. Increasingly large numbers of businesses, it says, will pay for positive reviews. “With over half of the internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling...

  • WhatsApp gets its first roaming plan, but is it a day late?

    Anyone who's left their mobile data turned on when travelling overseas knows that it can result in a massive bill when you get home. But what if you could pay a set fee to run just one service? That seems to be the idea behind WhatsApp's partnership with 3 Hong Kong. Under the banner, “Free the World”, the two companies launched WhatsApp’s local data pack and roaming pass. The local data pack is kind of interesting. For HK$8 (US$1) a month, it gives people "access to all WhatsApp functionality in Hong Kong", including location-based services and messaging, as well as...

  • Apple claims new record: 2m orders for iPhone 5 in 24 hours

    Hear that? That's the sound of millions of Apple consumers telling every tech journo out there who panned the iPhone 5 launch to stick it where the sun don't shine. The Cupertino-based tech giant today announced that some two-million people had pre-ordered its latest iBaby, more than doubling the number who ordered the 4S. Despite apparently having more stock available, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 on Apple's website sold out way faster than as the 4S too. If those figures are anything to go by then the 5 could completely destroy the opening weekend sales for the 4S...

  • Smartphones up 78% in SE Asia, but feature phones still rule

    The global mobile market might be slowing down, but business is booming in South East Asia. Smartphone sales grew by 78% across the region, while overall mobile sales grew by 24%. In the last 12 months some 115-million phones have been sold in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines at a total value of US$13.7-billion. That's according to the latest stats from GfK. Although feature phones continue to dominate across the region, smartphone sales are proving more valuable. Smartphone sales accounted for 61% of the market's total value over the last year. "Feature phones still reign as...

  • 4 important lessons on social media intimacy from your local dry cleaner

    While delivering my washing to our local dry cleaner this morning, I realised the reason why I always go back to that specific dry cleaner: it is a result of an intimate relationship that has developed between me and the owners over a period of time. The owners know me by name and the name of my wife. They know that I am happy to collect my washing the following day. They know how I like my shirts ironed and the list goes on. In turn, I know that opening the dry cleaning business was something they planned to...

  • When should you worry about Google punishing you for backlinks?

    The SEO industry is abuzz once again over recent news which broke around a patent that Google owns. The patent states that any attempt to artificially manipulate the ranking of a pre-ranked page will result in that page being “punished” (basically). This story was covered a few times on Memeburn; most notably here and here (I know, that is awful link text to use for SEO). Essentially, these two posts looked at the on-site manipulation of a site to effect its rankings; but what about the off-site manipulation? In other words; what about backlinks? Every SEO worth their salt knows...

  • Does Google’s smackdown on Aliyun mean it’s becoming like the mafia?

    So, you’ve heard about the Google smackdown on Acer’s planned partnership with China’s Alibaba to make its latest flagship Aliyun OS phone. Where does that leave the cloud-oriented, Linux-based Aliyun mobile OS now? In further comments on this saga, the SVP of mobile at Google, posted on his G+ yesterday (via AllThingsD): Hey John Spelich -- We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you’re under no requirement to be compatible. However, the fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including...

  • iFamily Stickers: rush hour traffic is for showing off your Apple fanaticism

    Machead? This will make your iSensibilites go haywire. You know those family stickers you often see on rear windshields? Designer Graham Shillington, a longtime Apple geek, decided to create a range of stickers to represent each device in the Apple range, from the hefty Mac Pro tower to the tiny iPod shuffle. Rear vehicle windscreens used to be a place where you describe your family -- sometimes in Star Wars attire -- but now, Apple fanatics can show everyone in traffic how big their iFamilies are with iFamily Stickers. It's quite brilliant. Apple is one of the world’s most iconic brands...