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HiSense launches LTE phones

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Hisense has released a trio of LTE-enabled Android smartphones equipped with dual-SIM slots and compatible with all networks in South Africa.

Hisense provided the following information:

Hisense INFINITY PureShot LTE (L671)

Although designed for selfies, the Hisense INFINITY PureShot LTE can easily be seen as the Jack-of-all-Trades in the line-up, offering a range of features at a very strong price point. This 5-inch (720×1280 resolution) device’s stand out feature is its unique camera setup. With a 13 megapixel camera at the back, the PureShot has the unique distinction of also including an LED flash for the front facing five megapixel camera. This should help when capturing selfies in low-light environments, further enhanced by an 85 degree wide angle lens, coupled with auto-face detection and intelligent white-balance.

The Hisense PureShot is no slouch in the hardware department either, making use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8929 (1.36 GHz) octa-core processor and a solid 2GB of RAM. With 16GB of onboard storage available, it includes a microSD card slot to further enhance storage by up to 128GB. Ensuring the resilience of the phone is the 5-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen, while the smartphone includes a 2200 mAh removable battery.

The Hisense Infinity PureShot (L671), which runs on Android 5.0 (Lollipop), will retail at approximately R3 499.

Hisense INFINITY K8 (H910)

The INFINITY K8 is the apex of the new Hisense LTE line-up, boasting a 5.5-inch Full HD Gorilla Glass 3 screen (1080×1920). Its coffee coloured metal frame and leather finish back lend the unit the merit it deserves as a flagship device, backed by compelling internal specifications.

Doing the hard work is a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8939 octa-core processor running at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM, with 16GB of storage space (with expandable microSD storage) available. Catering to photographers’ needs is a 13 megapixel back facing camera with LED flash, and an eight megapixel front facing unit. To ensure a decent battery life that can power this Android device efficiently, the K8 comes equipped with a 2700 mAh battery.

Apart from robust innards and its Full HD screen, one of the stand-out features of the Hisense INFINITY K8 (H910) is its price, retailing for approximately R4 999.

Hisense INFINITY Pulse LTE (L682)

Rounding off Hisense’s trio of LTE smartphones is the Hisense INFINITY Pulse LTE (L682). Also including a dual SIM slot, this unit features a 5-inch IPS touchscreen (720×1280), an eight megapixel main camera and a five megapixel front facing snapper. The kick in its bonnet is provided by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, with users provided with 16GB of storage.

The Hisense Infinity Pulse LTE (L682) has the honour of breaking through the sub-R3 000 price barrier, offering solid specifications and 4G connectivity in the region of R2 799.

An all LTE affair

According to Mark Zhang, Product Manager at Hisense South Africa, the company’s new line-up is a boost for customers on the hunt for the best value for money. “All three of our new smartphones are LTE enabled, allowing for fast internet access and speedy video downloads. Hisense have also included dual-SIM slots to ensure that users can switch between networks when they want,” Zhang notes.

It is, however, the Hisense Infinity PureShot LTE that stands out for attention, with Zhang believing it provides customers with one of the most full featured front facing cameras on a smartphone ever. “The fact that the PureShot includes not just a flash on the back of the unit, but also on the front makes it a must for those who loves selfies.”

As a final highlight, Zhang points to the smartphones’ costing. “If you look at what is on offer for each phone, and then look at the price, it’s easy to see that, pound-for-pound, the three new Hisense smartphones offer the best value for money in the South African market,” Zhang enthuses. “I can strongly recommend that customers compare our phones to any others before making a choice. They will be pleasantly surprised,” Zhang concludes.

The Hisense LTE enabled smartphones will be available from November 2015 at retail stores nationwide.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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