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MWC: Sailfish releases new OS

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Jolla, a Finnish mobile company and developer of open mobile operating system Sailfish OS has announced Sailfish 3 at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

In addition to its new OS, the company announced new device support for Sony’s Xperia XA2, the Gemini PDA, and INOI tablets. Sailfish is now also available for the new era of 4G Feature Phones.

This is the year of Sailfish 3, the next generation of the world’s only alternative mobile operating system. Sailfish 3 is a result of rigorous development work and the efforts made together with Jolla’s licensing partners and the Sailfish community.

Sami Pienimäki, CEO of Jolla comments: “Sailfish OS has evolved from being originally the OS for Jolla devices, all the way to supporting different major regional mobile ecosystem projects, and a vast number of mobile devices. We are very proud to be moving to the third generation in our OS development, and believe it will provide a great upgrade for all our B2G, B2B, and community customers.”

For Sailfish 3 Jolla is providing full support for regional infrastructures including steady releases & OS upgrades, services to establish independent R&D centers, local hosting, training, and a flexible feature set to support specific customer needs. Sailfish 3 will also have extended security features and options, taking the level of independence to the next level and making it a solid option for various corporate solutions.

Sailfish 3 will be rolled out in phases during Q3/2018 for all licensees and customers.

New Sailfish devices announced

Sailfish OS is officially supported now on over a dozen mobile devices, and even more through the Sailfish community. Support extends several form factors including feature phones, wearables, tablets, corporate solutions, and a range of smartphones. Further with Sailfish 3, Jolla will extend its downloadable version of the OS, the Sailfish X, to new devices, such as the Gemini PDA.

New Sailfish devices announced in MWC 2018 include upcoming support for the brand new Sony’s Xperia XA2. In collaboration with Sony Open Device Program, Jolla will make Sailfish OS available for the Xperia XA2. Through the Sailfish X program interested tech heads can purchase an official Sailfish X license and install the OS on their brand new Sony’s Xperia™ XA2 devices. The software will become available in summer 2018.

Also, coming soon with Sailfish OS is the cool Gemini PDA by Planet Computers. The popular, crowdfunded Gemini PDA is a next generation mobile PDA with a fully functioning physical keyboard and is now in shipments to its first customers. The Sailfish OS version is first demoed and shown to public in MWC 2018. Further availability will be announced later.

The third new Sailfish device announced in MWC 2018 is the new tablet by Russian brand INOI. The new INOI tablet comes in two different versions: 8” INOI T8 and 10” INOI T10. The device is primarily targeted to Russian corporate customers.

Sailfish OS now available for feature phones

In MWC 2018 Jolla is also showcasing a totally new segment for Sailfish OS: the new era of highly capable 4G feature phones.

Sami Pienimäki continues: “What sets Sailfish OS apart from its competitors in the feature phone segment is the capability to do low-spec hardware configurations and still run selected Android apps thanks to our unique solution. Sailfish OS is also VoLTE capable, which is coming increasingly important for the new era of this segment.”

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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