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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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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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