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AppDate: Yet another video-on-demand app

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights the new Sunday Times app, GauRider 2.0, C-flix, the BMW Museum App, Opera Mini with Video Boost, the REDISA Game, SAOTA’s 3D app, IFS Streams for Apple Watch, and SyncMate for Android.

C-flix joins VoD stream

The latest VoD (Video on Demand) player to enter the market is InterneTV with its C-flix app. Although the app is specifically designed for tablets and smartphones, it does offer a swipe option to view content on a smart TV. C-flix offers about 15 000 titles, many of them classics or older movies, but is in the process of adding later titles and apparently will soon be adding new releases before any other local VOD platform.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: R62 per month.

Sunday Times app

The newly launched Sunday Times app is now easier to navigate, features a range of new features and includes functionality for faster downloads at reduced download speeds. The app now allows users to access rich content like videos, photos, galleries and even recipes. Subscribers also have an the option to download complete editions of The Times and Sunday Times in PDF format.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download, but is only accessible to Sunday Time subscribers.

GauRider 2.0

Apart from being able to view train departure and arrival times, GauRider 2.0 also allows users to view bus times. This version has been designed to make navigation easier and includes an option to log train rides according to departure and arrival points and train fares. The Smart Log System enables commuters to log their current gold card amounts and view if they have enough money to pay for train rides.The Smart GauSave Indicator displays the on-peak and off-peak rates, helping commuters know how much money they need to load in order to reach their destination.

Platform: iOS

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

Expect to pay: R80

BMW Museum App

The BMW Museum App offers users the ability to plan their tour of the museum in Munich before heading off. Users can preview highlights from the history of BMW and its products before they make their trip, while interactive technology allows them to engage more intensively with the exhibits during the visit itself. The app provides in-depth explanatory descriptions of the individual departments and exhibits and the audio and text commentaries are offered in seven different languages.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Opera Mini with Video Boost

Android users will see less of the video-buffering wheel when watching videos through the latest Opera Mini Browser thanks to its Video Boost feature. It reduces the size of video data to lessen video loading time, which also results in less data being used. To start boosting video, users simply need to navigate to the “O” menu and tap the savings summary to change to high-savings mode. They then need to tick the box beside video boost to switch on smoother viewing. The video boost feature also shows a count where users can keep track of how many videos have been optimised.

Platform: Android

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store for downloading instructions.

Expect to pay: A free download.

REDISA Game

The REDISA Game is developed by the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa and is designed to educate gamers on the value of waste. It is set in Jozyville, a fictional city that has become a polluted wasteland. The player’s objective is to declare war against pollution and clean up Jozyville, while making as much money as possible. Tools at the gamers’ disposal are a waste-cart and their entrepreneurial wits to make money from trash.

Platform: Windows, Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

SAOTA 3D app

SAOTA, a firm of architectural designers and technologists, has released an app that allows users to view their architectural designs in 3D with the use of the Google Cardboard Viewer. The app simply needs to be downloaded and a building selected to view through the Cardboard. Once selected, viewers can roam around the SAOTA masterpiece as if they were there in real life.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

IFS Streams for Apple Watch

IFS Streams is an app that will only work within an IFS ERP implementation and lets users receive real-time updates and insight into the status of relevant company information and processes. The tool actively alerts users when changes happen in business objects, workflow tasks, IFS Talk conversations, and business events that relate to the employee’s work.

Platform: Apple Watch

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

Expect to pay: A free download.

SyncMate for Android

SyncMate allows for the synchronisation of data on between an Apple Mac and an Android device. The free edition offers the ability to sync only contacts and calendars, while the expert edition will also include images, videos, folders and music. The expert edition also lets one mount an Android device as a disk on an Apple Mac – letting the user browse and organise files much like any other disk.

Platform: Android

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store for downloading instructions.

Expect to pay: R600

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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