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Fitbit Surge arrives in SA

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Fitbit today announced the launch of the Fitbit Surge. The Fitbit Surge will be available in iStore and DionWired from today, and within a broader range of Authorised Retailer stores in the coming months for R3 999.

Fitbit provided the following information on the device:

Fitbit’s Fitness Super Watch – Fitbit Surge – includes all the below powerful features:

  • Built-in GPS delivers stats like pace, distance, elevation and split times. Fitbit Surge seamlessly syncs with mobile devices to show route history and workout summaries, leading to smarter training
  • Multiple Sport Mode, to classify workouts and view detailed summaries of exercises completed—including heart rate and calories burned
  • Smart combination of desirable smartwatch features including customisable watch faces, Caller ID, text alerts and mobile music control
  • Advanced eight-sensor technology – GPS, 3-axis accelerometers, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor and a touchscreen
  • Backlit LCD touchscreen display for easy viewing and navigation through real-time stats, workout apps and alarms
  • Battery life up to 7 days, to track everything from the work week to a full marathon on one charge

Together with the above, Fitbit Surge will soon be able to track sport activities like road biking and mountain biking, and capture your activity data in one place with easy to read historical charts and graphs. Fitbit Surge bike-tracking will be available to all Fitbit Surge users in North America by next month, on iOS and Android, with global availability coming soon.

What to expect from the soon-to-be-available Multi-sport mode

Multi-sport mode allow users to easily record running, cross training, cardio and now biking workouts – which automatically sync wirelessly to users’ accounts where they can easily view their exercise summaries.

  • Multiple Sport Mode – Track and view workout summaries for activities with up to seven exercises that can be added to a device for easy tracking, including Bike (new), Run, Hike, Weights, Yoga, Bootcamp and more
  • Superior Heart Rate Tracking Technology – Continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking with Fitbit’s PurePulse optical heart rate technology to motivate users to maintain workout intensity, more accurately track calorie-burn, as well as hit fat burn, cardio and peak intensity with simplified heart rate zones and track resting heart rate over time. All this is done without wearing an uncomfortable chest strap
  • Real-time comprehensive bike stats – Swipe through distance, duration, average speed, heart rate, calories burned right on the wrist to stay on track
  • Bike exercise summaries on the app – Map preview of route, distance, duration, average speed, heart rate, calories burned, active minutes and ride impact on daily stats on the Fitbit app or web dashboard
  • Additional bike stat details on web dashboard – Thorough map and graphs with a by-the-second view into speed, heart rate, heart rate zones and calorie burn for each ride; elevation profile gives insight into intensity of ride
  • Bike exercise historical progress – Cyclists can challenge themselves to improve their stats by monitoring frequency, distance, duration, time in heart rate zones and calories burned for past rides

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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