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AppDate: App reveals free WiFi in Tshwane

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In this edition of his regular AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Tshwane Free WiFi, NLife Africa, WordFlex, miCoach, Hub++, Flapp, Opera with sidebar extensions and Safety Score from Momentum.

Tshwane Free WiFi

Citizens of Tshwane can now find free WiFi hotspots thanks to a new app developed by Project Isizwe, a provider of free WiFi in selected areas. The app is easy to use, with a screen showing a map with the hotspots around Tshwane. A second screen shows hotspot details, including the distance from a user’s current location. The last screen is more interactive, letting a user search for a hotspot by point of interest, for instance all hotspots in clinics or libraries.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

NLife Africa

The NLife Africa app offers users offline maps, live traffic updates and turn-by-turn instructions. The app’s interface is easy to navigate, offering the ability to search for a destination by its address or as a point of interest. Once a destination is chosen, options are given to walk or drive, and the user can chose to stay off high-ways and avoid toll-roads. NLife pulls its maps and data from TomTom and, because it is available offline, no ongoing data charges are incurred. The premium app offers navigation for 19 countries, including South Africa.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A 15-day trial period is offered, thereafter a once-off fee of R800.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

WordFlex

WordFlex is similar to Scrabble, but uses hexagons with letters and lets users build words backwards, forwards, to the left and to the right. It can be played in single-player mode, but also offers the ability to play with friends or complete stranger around the world. After each game, a user is ranked and the score is uploaded to the leader board.

Platform: iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the iTunes Store.

 

miCoach

The miCoach train and run app works with training techniques offered by some of the top Adidas athletes and coaches. It includes GPS tracking and real-time voice coaching to help a user build speed, endurance and strength. Various strength and flex exercises are on offer. The app makes full use of the tile features in Windows 8, giving access to online training videos at the touch of a button.

Platform: Windows Phone 8 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the Windows Phone Store.

 

Hub++

Hub++ is an upgrade to the default BlackBerry 10 Hub notification system. Users can drill down into specific notifications based on e-mail sender, subject line and priority, and activate a variety of LED, vibration, and tone notifications. Hub++ makes managing larger e-mail boxes easier and is great for users who receive high-priority messages that need to be actioned immediately.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: R25

Availability: Visit the BlackBerry App World.

 

Flapp

Instead of searching the Internet for the cheapest flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg, Flapp presents users with list of flights on one screen and though one search. All it needs is a date and time, and corresponding flights from various airlines will be displayed. Once a flight is chosen, the user is re-directed to that airline’s online booking system, where a seat can be booked and paid.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Opera with Sidebar extensions

The latest version of Opera for desktops and notebooks brings Sidebar extensions. These are small bits of software that add additional functionality to the browser. For example, a user can decide to have a Twitter window open while still browsing the Internet. A separate extension can be dedicated to a Facebook timeline or even incoming e-mail. Users can also include a notes option.

Platform: PC and Apple.

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit www.opera.com

 

Safety Score from Momentum

Safety Score is an online app that assesses how effectively South Africans protect their homes and vehicles. After filling in the online form, the app offers suggestions on how users can further protect themselves and their possessions. It will offer suggestions like installing burglar bars around the home, or linking an alarm system to an armed response company or even getting involved in community policing forums.

Platform: Any device with an Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A free tool.

Availability: www.momentum.co.za

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

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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