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BlackBerry lifts lid on new Android smartphone

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BlackBerry has announced that DTEK50, the world’s most secure Android smartphone, is now available for pre-orders. The DTEK50 is BlackBerry’s second smartphone powered by Android, following the PRIV.

Fully equipped with Android Marshmallow 6.0, DTEK50 combines BlackBerry’s unique security, privacy and productivity with the full Android experience in an all-touch design, at a price point that’s accessible for consumers and ideal for enterprise fleet deployment.

“We take our customers’ privacy seriously. That’s why we’re proud to have all the security and privacy functionality that’s built in our newest Android smartphone. DTEK50 merges the unique security and connectivity features BlackBerry is known for with the rich Android ecosystem,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Devices, BlackBerry. “DTEK50 adds to BlackBerry’s lineup of secure smartphones, providing choices to our customers with different price points on both BlackBerry 10 and Android platforms.”

Android Security at the Forefront

In a recent survey of Android smartphone users, BlackBerry found that 50 percent believe their smartphone is only somewhat secure, and what’s more, despite data security fears, one in six Android users don’t know about Android security patches.

“With an increase in cybercrime on smartphones, people need to recognize that the private details of their lives – where they live, their bank info, pictures of their kids – are at risk on their personal device. You wouldn’t leave the doors of your house unlocked at night. Having a smartphone that doesn’t take your privacy seriously is the equivalent,” said David Kleidermacher, Chief Security Officer, BlackBerry. “It’s equally important for businesses to protect their sensitive data from cyberattacks at all points of their mobile environment – from the device to the network and servers.”

DTEK50 was designed to address the security and privacy needs of today’s uncompromising Android users. Smartphones are increasingly being targeted for cyberattacks through tactics like malicious apps, scareware notifications and insecure Wi-Fi connections. BlackBerry’s Android smartphones, including DTEK50 and PRIV, have unique built-in hardware security.

DTEK50 encrypts all users’ information, including business critical data and personal data such as pictures, videos and contacts. Malware protection is also built-in along with back-up, wipe and restore capabilities. Additional software provides users with visibility and control over which apps get access to personal info or device features such as the microphone or camera. BlackBerry also delivers security patches on the same day that Google publicly releases information about them, while many popular Android smartphones put the users’ private information at risk of being hacked due to slow security updates.

Features that make DTEK50 the most secure Android smartphone, include:

·         Rapid Security Patching: BlackBerry has a record of being the quickest to deliver security patches, setting the bar in incident response and patch management to protect your device from malicious threats.

·         DTEK by BlackBerry App: Enables users to automatically monitor their OS and apps to know when their privacy could be at risk and to take action to improve it. The DTEK app also tracks applications and notifies you when someone is: taking pictures or videos without your knowledge, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.

·         Hardware Root of Trust: BlackBerry’s manufacturing process uses a proprietary technique that adds security from the start, allowing for the tracking, verification and provisioning of DTEK50.

·         Secure Boot Process: Starting with the root of trust, each stage of DTEK50’s secure boot chain must first verify that the next component is fully intact before proceeding, ensuring your device has not been tampered with since the last restart.

·         Android OS hardening: BlackBerry provides additional security patches, improved random number, address space generation and certificate pinning to make it more difficult for attackers to target a device by scrambling application/system memory.

·         FIPS 140-2 Compliant Full Disk Encryption: Protects your private information, like pictures or bank information, from being stolen if you were to lose your phone.

Ready to Work

DTEK50 combines the world’s most secure smartphone with BlackBerry’s enterprise management solutions to produce a powerful device capable of powering any work day. Key features include:

·         Android for Work and Google Play for Work: Allows for fast, simple and secure integration with an enterprise environment as well as easy access to numerous rich business and IT-managed apps.

·         Full Enterprise Mobility Management Support: DTEK50 supports BlackBerry’s powerful suite of EMM applications and secure productivity solutions, including: WatchDox by BlackBerry for secure file-sharing, Good Work for business-class email and collaboration tools, Strong Authentication by BlackBerry as a VPN solution, SecuSUITE for Enterprise for secure voice and instant messaging communication, BBM Protected for encrypted messaging and BES12 for secure cross-platform management.

Design Meets Function

DTEK50, BlackBerry’s thinnest device ever, represents the best of BlackBerry with Android to make users more productive and responsive, pairing security with intelligent design. Key features include:

·         BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard: DTEK50 has a smart keyboard designed to learn from users and increase typing accuracy and speed. It provides word suggestions as you type and includes up to three languages, letting you flick them into place for faster conversations.

·         BlackBerry Hub: This unified inbox is an irreplaceable tool for consolidating all of your messages in one place – whether it’s email, calendar, social or phone calls.

·         Customizable BlackBerry Convenience Key: With the press of a button, the Convenience Key provides quick access to your most used applications and more.

·         Stunning Screen: DTEK50 has a 5.2” full HD display, capable of displaying 16 million colors. The screen is made of scratch-resistant glass and features a specialized oleophobic coating to protect against smudges and fingerprints.

·         Expandable Memory: With support for micro SD cards up to 2 TB, DTEK50 provides the flexibility to add affordable and hot-swappable memory to download, install, capture and share as your needs evolve.

·         Dazzling Camera: DTEK50 is engineered to deliver professional-looking photos with an 8MP front facing camera and a 13MP auto-focus rear camera. Plus, features like Phase Detection Auto Focus and a dual-tone LED flash are designed to help the camera focus instantly and accurately for a blur-free, realistic looking photos, even in low light.

Availability and Pricing

The DTEK50 is available to pre-order from ShopBlackBerry.com in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands for $299 USD. DTEK50 will be available in a number of channels around the world, including more than 40 partners from electronics stores, carriers, VARs and distributors. This includes Rogers, Bell, TELUS, WIND, Videotron and SaskTel among others in Canada.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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