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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense, for app

DStv Now app expands, FNB gets Snapchat lens, Spotify offers data saver mode, in SEAN BACHER’s apps roundup

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FNB with Snapchat lens

FNB has become the first bank in South Africa to use Snapchat lens, and the first financial institution to use Snapchat filters, as an interactive social media experience to drive brand engagement among young users.

The use of Snapchat lens is designed to make paying through Snapchat easier, as users simply have to take a selfie and can then apply a filter to authorise the app to make the payment at the point of sale.

FNB believes the introduction of technology like Snapchat lens shows its loyalty to its customers and that it is continually at the forefront of technology.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Spotify Free with data saver

Spotify Free with data saver mode offers automatic bitrate streaming at 24kbps – perfect for when a user’s data is running low. Although this is a lot slower than other streaming services, users can listen to music for free for as long as they want – or until their data runs out. Unfortunately, though, when in Data Saver mode, the user is inundated with adverts.

Should they want to get rid of the adverts, they would need to upgrade to the premium version, which costs R59.99 per month.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

00:37

It is January and just about everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get into shape. Many will be buying new gadgets and downloading apps to reach their desired fitness goal, but a simple app like 00:37 gets the job done efficiently and easily. The app acts as a basic timer for fitness activities, allowing the user to set the amount of time they want to dedicate for each exercise, as well as how many sets they want. It is one of the few fitness apps that lets one simply indicate how many times an exercise is to be performed. While the app itself doesn’t have exercise activities built into it, this is ideal if one already have an idea of the exercise one wants to do and want an app with a basic and uncluttered user interface to help reach the goal.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.

Sean Bacher is a freelance technology writer. For more reviews and interviews, follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Now for a fake Face App

Kaspersky Lab has found a malware version of the app that allows users to view their older or younger selves

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Kaspersky has identified a fake application that is designed to trick users into thinking it is a certified version of FaceApp but goes on to infect victims’ devices with an adware module called MobiDash.

Once the application is downloaded from unofficial sources and installed, it simulates a failure and is subsequently removed. After that, a malicious module in the application rests discreetly on the user’s device, displaying adverts.

According to Kaspersky data, around 500 unique users have encountered the problem in two days this week, with the first detections appearing on July 7t. There were almost 800 different module modifications identified.

“The people behind MobiDash often hide their adware module under the guise of popular applications and services,” says Igor Golovin, security researcher at Kaspersky. “This means that the activities of the fake version of FaceApp could intensify, especially if we are talking about hundreds of targets in just a few days. We urge users not to download applications from unofficial sources and to install security solutions on their devices to avoid any damage.”

Kaspersky products detect and block the threat as not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.AndroidOS.Mobidash.

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Augmented reality reveals Hidden Side of Lego haunts

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South Africa’s first two Lego Certified Stores have celebrated the arrival of Lego Hidden Side, an augmented reality-enhanced play theme where kids must turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost (and one brick) at a time.

Seamlessly integrating augmented reality (AR) with physical construction to reveal a hidden world of interactive play, Lego Hidden Side includes a series of eight ‘haunted’ buildings in the imaginary town of Newbury, each loaded (or is that haunted?) with awesome functionality and secret surprises accessed via a mobile app.

The sets come alive in an unfolding ghostly adventure once the bespoke AR app is activated, bringing the models to life and revealing a hidden world of mysteries and challenges to solve.

“The Lego Group has always been invested in tactile play, but massive leaps in AR technology have meant that the company could create an exciting experience that moves fluidly between physical and digital worlds,” says Robert Greenstein, co-founder of the Great Yellow Brick Company, license holders of South Africa’s Lego Certified Stores.

“These sets offer new ways to enhance Lego play with new action and master elements, in a new type of creative exploration where the physical world influences the AR layer, rather than the other way around,” he says.

Lego Hidden Side building sets deliver everything kids (of all ages) love and expect from a Lego building experience – the challenge of the build, a detailed model with functionality, and mini-figure characters set in a story-driven universe. Each model can be built as it appears by day – a school, house, bus, or graveyard, for example – and has transformative functionality to become the haunted version of itself.

Gameplay prompts kids to hold their phone up to the physical Lego models and interact with various elements, or “points of possession,” which release virtual ghosts that kids must then capture in the AR game to stop the haunting. Numerous scenarios create dynamic gameplay that requires kids to keep one hand in each world to progress the play.

The Lego Hidden Side app will be a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and the sets will be available at the Lego Certified Stores in Sandton City and Menlyn Park, or online at www.greatyellowbrick.co.za on 1 August 2019.

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