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Fitbit debuts the Alta

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Fitbit has introduced the Fitbit Alta – a slim fitness wristband that can be personalised, while advanced health and fitness features improve tracking workouts and deliver positive motivation to keep users moving. 

Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of stylish interchangeable bands in multiple popular colours and premium materials. In addition to automatically tracking all-day activity, exercise and sleep, it’s equipped with Reminders to Move, nudging users to stay active throughout the day for better health, while providing visual feedback on progress and keeping users connected with smart notifications on a slender display.

The Alta seems to make up for the lack of elegance in the FIbit Blaze smartwatch, which was announced in January to a chorus of disapproval.

Fitbit Alta will be available in South Africa from April 2016, joining the Blaze in the local market.

“Fitbit Alta will turn heads as our most fashionable device yet. The attractive, versatile design of this new fitness tracker fits seamlessly into daily life – from the gym to the office to a night out,” said James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit. “Alta features the everyday tracking Fitbit is known for, along with innovative and purpose-built features that push users to do more. Paired with our large, engaged global social community, Alta is an exciting product for everyday users who are looking for a simple way to stay motivated and connected, that also fits with their personal style.”

Fitbit provided the following information:

Fitbit Alta delivers all the most important activity stats you expect from Fitbit right on your wrist, along with new features deliberately designed to make health and fitness tracking easier and more motivating:

  • Reminders to Move help you stay active and reduce stationary time. Research shows that your metabolism can slow down after prolonged sitting and sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Moving for a few minutes every hour can help you keep your metabolism up and help reduce the negative impacts of sitting. Using short, positive prompts, Fitbit Alta will encourage you to meet a mini-step goal of 250 steps each hour (approximately 2-3 minutes of walking), and will congratulate you when you achieve the goal. These prompts can be personalised to your schedule and can easily be put on “Do Not Disturb” during long meetings or appointments, ensuring that you only get reminders when wanted.
  • SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition provides a smarter, easier way to track workouts and see how exercise fits into your daily activity, giving you credit toward your weekly goals. It automatically recognises and records continuous movement activities including walking, running, outdoor biking, elliptical, as well as general categories of aerobic workouts (such as dance classes and cardio-kickboxing) and sports (including basketball, soccer and tennis).
  • Weekly exercise goals in the Fitbit app encourage you to find and embrace a more consistent fitness routine that works for you. These goals are tracked and displayed in the app on a daily basis, with a weekly goal for the number of days you plan to exercise to help keep you accountable. Weekly goals can easily be personalised to your fitness routine, allowing you to choose your target number of exercise days and the SmartTrack activities you want to count toward your goals.
  • All-day activity and automatic sleep tracking give you the foundational real-time health and fitness stats you need to track your progress, stay motivated and keep informed to reach your goals. View your step count, distance, calories burned, active minutes and the time on the easy-to-read OLED tap display, and use the Fitbit app to learn how long and how well you’re sleeping, plus set silent, vibrating alarms.

Versatile to Fit Your Style

Fitbit Alta lets you easily customise the slim, distinctive tracker to fit your personal style and create the perfect accessory for every occasion – day or night:

  • Sleek, modular design features a satin finish, stainless steel tracker with a custom, quick-release feature that allows you to wear Fitbit Alta as your favourite accessory at work and then swap your band instantly for a workout-friendly wristband. Available at launch in silver stainless steel, the tracker will also soon be available in a stunning, shiny gold stainless steel.
  • Stylish interchangeable accessory bands designed with attractive, premium materials including classic fitness wristbands, soft, premium hide leather bracelets with a beautiful natural grain, and a luxurious, hand-polished silver bangle – engineered to ensure all-day comfort, giving you the freedom to find the look that feels like you.
  • Easy-to-read, vibrant OLED tap display shows your activity stats and the time, which can be personalised using a variety of portrait or landscape clock face options. The tap display gives you quick and easy access to your all day stats and notifications.

“Whether I’m working or playing, my lifestyle keeps me in constant motion. Fitbit Alta helps me fit fitness into my busy life and looks great no matter what I’m doing, with swappable bands that let me match my style,” said Julianne Hough, dancer, singer, actress and Fitbit Ambassador. “Staying active is at the core of my lifestyle and having a fitness tracker helps keep me motivated and mindful of my health.”

Stay Connected to Maximise Your Day 

Fitbit Alta was designed to allow you to live your daily life without distraction, giving you the tools and motivation you need to take action and make the most of every day.

  • Stay connected with the smart notifications you need. Using Bluetooth® Smart connectivity, Fitbit Alta delivers call, text and calendar notifications right on your wrist when your phone is nearby through on-screen messages and a gentle vibrating alert.
  • Long battery life of up to 5 days[4] on a single charge lets you live your life, track your activity all day and your sleep all night, with the assurance you won’t lose a step.
  • Compatible with more than 200 Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers so you can access your stats and motivational interactive tools to set goals, see your progress, and cheer or challenge friends, family and co-workers.

Pricing & Availability

Fitbit Alta will be available in South Africa from April 2016. At launch, Alta will be available in a black, blue, teal or plum high-performance fitness band with a satin finish, silver stainless steel tracker; shiny gold stainless steel tracker option coming soon. The following accessories will also be available at launch:

  • Classic fitness bands available in black, blue, teal and plum
  • Luxe soft, premium hide leather bands available in graphite and blush pink; camel coming soon
  • Luxe hand-polished stainless steel silver bangle coming this summer and shiny gold bangle coming later this year

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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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