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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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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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