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AppDate: Free WhatsApp roaming with KnowRoaming

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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 walletdoc

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.

 

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

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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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