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First fall for tablet sales in Middle East and Africa

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After years of positive growth, tablet sales have shown a year-on-year decline in the first quarter of 2015 in the MEA region.|After years of positive growth, tablet sales have shown a year-on-year decline in the first quarter of 2015 in the MEA region.

After years of posting successive gains, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market recorded its first ever year-on-year decline in Q1 2015, with shipments to the region declining 5.8% to 3.83 million units. That’s according to the latest market insights announced today by International Data Corporation (IDC), which blamed the poor performance on a sharp decline in the region’s biggest tablet market, Turkey, where shipments almost halved when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2014.

“The major reason behind the decline of the Turkish market was the discontinuation of deliveries for the massive FATIH education project, which had a huge impact on commercial demand for tablets in the country during Q1,” says Fouad Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “Currency fluctuations in Turkey, high inventory levels carried over from Q4 2014, and some saturation in the tablet market also had a negative impact on shipments targeted at the consumer segment.”

It should be noted that these latter three factors were responsible for slowing the market’s performance in other key parts of the region as well. Meanwhile, the devaluation of certain major international currencies, such as the euro and ruble, has also negatively impacted tablet demand in MEA as a result of reduced international trade and tourism from the affected regions.

Samsung continued to lead the MEA tablet market in terms of shipments, despite suffering a decline of 5.5% year on year to total 920,000 units. Lenovo overtook Apple into second place for the first time, growing almost 96.4% year on year after shipping 520,000 units. Third-placed Apple continued to suffer, posting a sharp decline of 43.0% to total 430,000 units. In fourth place, Huawei was the fastest growing major vendor in MEA, shipping 240,000 units for a 280.3% year-on-year growth rate. Turkish vendor Casper posted substantial growth of 131.2% to rank fifth overall with 150,000 units.

The year 2015 as a whole will see positive growth, with shipments increasing 5.8% year on year to total 17.66 million units. However, this represents a stark slowdown from the overall growth of 41.6% seen in 2014. “The reduction in global oil prices has caused a slowdown in government-driven initiatives in some of the region’s oil-producing countries, negatively impacting demand for tablet devices,” says Charakla. “The decline in government spending has also had a ripple effect on other sectors across the region, and has also impacted demand from the consumer segment.”

In the longer run, the tablet market is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace over the coming years, cannibalizing some of the demand that currently exists for personal computers. However, with IDC expecting shipments to increase 7.0% and 7.9%, respectively, in 2016 and 2017, the market’s growth will be greatly reduced from the stellar rates experienced in the recent past. It should also be noted that the decline that has been seen in the tablet market’s average selling price in recent times will slowdown significantly over the coming years.

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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