In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Free WhatsApp voice and data with KnowRoaming, Apple’s new TV App, Shell foetal heartbeat listener, My Vodacom with Masterpass feature and Absa walletdoc.
Free WhatsApp voice and data with KnowRoaming
The KnowRoaming products allow users traveling abroad to chat via WhatsApp without having to worry about huge roaming data costs. KnowRoaming comes in the form of a sticker that activates whenever it detects the device is on an international network or in the form of a SIM that can be swapped out when overseas.
Platform: Any smartphone or tablet
Expect to pay: R450 for the sticker or R150 for the SIM card.
Stockists: Visit www. knowroaming.com
Apple TV App
Apple’s new TV app is designed to offer a unified experience for accessing TV shows and movies from multiple apps on an Apple TV, iPhone or iPad. The TV app provides a single place to access TV shows and movies, as well as a place to discover new content to watch. Also included is a Siri feature that lets viewers tune in directly to live news and sporting events across their apps.
Platform: Apple TV, iPhone and iPad
Expect to pay: A free update.
Stockists: Visit http://www.apple.com/tv/ for more information.
Shell foetal heartbeat listener
Shell by Bellabeat is a non-invasive foetal heartbeat listener for expectant families. It enables one to listen to the sound of a baby’s heart without the use of Doppler technology – very much like resting an ear against the tummy, but at a higher volume. Shell works by placing a phone’s microphone on the belly, which then captures sounds from the womb and isolates the heartbeat.
In addition to listening to the heartbeat, moms can record and store the tracks and share them through social networks.
Platform: Devices running iOS
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store
My Vodacom with Masterpass feature
The latest My Vodacom app now allows Vodacom customers to buy airtime, data bundles and SMS bundles straight from the app. To make a purchase, customers simply load their payment card information into the secure app, select “pay with Masterpass”, and enter in their bank PIN to complete the purchase. Masterpass speeds up the buying process as payment card information – including card details from both Mastercard and other payment forms – are only captured once, meaning that consumers do not have the repeated hassle of entering these details each time they want to complete a transaction. Another benefit of Masterpass is that it uses multiple layers of security, ensuring the personal details are protected. Unlike some other solutions, each Masterpass transaction is classified as an Authenticated Mobile Transaction by South African banks.
Platform: Android devices with iOS support coming soon.
Expect to pay: A free download.
Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.
Absa’s walletdoc now offers users a more convenient way to pay utility and monthly subscription bills. The solution notifies one when bills arrive, and automatically reminds users when payments are due. walletdoc also takes care of account and reference numbers, ensuring billers always receive reconciled payments. Once payment card details have been setup, they can pay multiple bills in a single transaction and walletdoc digitally stores bills and payment history.
A list of walletdoc’s supported billers can be found at www.walletdoc.com/supported-billers.
Platform: Android and iOS
Expect to pay: A free download.
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.
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.
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.
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.
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.