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Moto back with smart double

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Lenovo subsidiary Motorola Mobility has launched the Moto G5S Plus and the Moto Z2 Playtwo smartphones in South Africa.

The Motorola Moto G5S Plus and the Moto Z2 Play, with JBL SoundBoost 2 Moto Mod, named the Best Phones of 2017 by CNET, will be available in select Telkom stores nationwide.

“Like the Motorola brand, Telkom is a veteran in the telecommunications industry. Both have a rich heritage of keeping the South African consumer connected through innovative products and cutting-edge technology. We are very excited to be launching these two new Motorola models at Telkom stores,” says Patrick Halpin, Smartphone Territory Lead for South Africa, SADC & IOI at Lenovo Mobile Business Group.

“Telkom is looking forward to partnering with such a pioneering brand like Motorola,” says Megan Nicholas, Managing Executive: Consumer and Mobile at Telkom. “The smartphone market is in such an interesting place at the moment, and we are enjoying being part of this revolution.”

The Motorola brand returned to the South African cellular phone market in 2016, bringing their Moto Mods that enable users to transform their smartphones. The South African Moto Mods Family includes a JBL SoundBoost 2 speaker so users can take the party with them and the power packs from Incipio so consumers are never out of battery.

Lenovo provided the following information:

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

The first new Motorola model that will be available at Telkom stores from 20 September is the Motorola Moto Z2 Play, which comes with the upgraded JBL SoundBoost 2 Moto Mod, offering high quality sound in a snap. The new JBL SoundBoost 2 gives a full party’s worth of music for up to 10 hours. The built-in kickstand also provides a truly immersive audio-visual experience, all in a snap, with no pairing required. And with its water-repellant coating, a little spill or splash won’t stop the music either. The Moto Mod comes in black, and features a premium design with fabric and streamlined contours for a better feel in your hand. The app My JBL SoundBoost 2, allows users to adjust the sound to personal preferences.

With a thinner, lighter design and faster performance, the second-generation Moto Z Play delivers incredible features, and enables unlimited possibilities with all-new Moto Mods. The combination of laser autofocus and dual autofocus pixel technology on the Moto Z2 Play allows users to take brighter, sharper photos, even in low light. The next generation laser autofocus has an expanded range of up to five metres, so you can focus on objects three times further in a virtually dark environment. And with the 5MP front camera and dual colour corrected flash, selfies look great, day or night.

With a powerful combination of style and strength, the Motorola Moto Z2 Play has an all-metal unibody design that not only looks great, but stands up to everyday wear and tear. The 5.5” Full HD Super AMOLED display offers razor-sharp details, up to 30 hours of battery life and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2 GHz octa-core processor.

New Moto Experiences offer an even more unique and meaningful software experience, including the Night Display feature, which automatically adjusts the phone’s screen to warmer tones at night, reducing the blue light that can disrupt sleep. Instant queries in Moto Voice will provide helpful information like weather or calendar updates, and a redesigned fingerprint reader.

Motorola Moto G5S Plus

The second new Motorola model that will be available at Telkom stores is the Motorola Moto G5S Plus. This phone has even more top features such as dual cameras which, until now, were reserved for premium phones. Dual 13MP rear cameras, combined with special photo enhancement software, makes it easy to do more with photos. In addition, the 8MP wide-angle front camera on the Motorola Moto G5S Plus has LED flash and a new panoramic mode so users can capture even more.

The phone’s 3000 mAh battery holds enough power to easily get users through their day. But if extra juice is needed, the TurboPower™ charger can provide up to six hours of battery life in just 15 minutes.

The phone offers an all-metal unibody design crafted from a single piece of high-grade aluminum, so it’s not only beautiful, it’s stronger than ever. It has a 5.5” Full HD display, a blazing-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0 GHz octa-core processor, powerful graphics capabilities and support for 4G LTE.

The fingerprint reader on the Motorola Moto G5S Plus does it all, from unlocking your phone to making mobile payments. The phone is also easier to use, thanks to Night Display and Quick Reply, two new Moto Experiences.

Availability and pricing 

The Motorola Moto G5S Plus is currently available at R289 per month on a 24 months FreeMe 1 GB package. For R429 per month, the Motorola Moto Z2 Play with JBL Soundboost 2 Moto Mod bundle will be available on a 24 months FreeMe 1 GB package at select Telkom stores nationwide.

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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