In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights NetSpot’s Network Analyser, Qlik European Championships, Google Play Music Concierge, BlackBerry’s BBM Everyday competition, and Rush courier’s updated website.
NetSpot Network Analyser
Having a Wi-Fi connection at home is exceptionally convenient but, no matter where the router is installed, there will always be those dead spots – or places where the router’s Wi-Fi signal does not reach. In the past it was a matter of trial and error when looking for the ideal
spot for a router. With the NetSpot Network Analyser ,however, one is able to load a house plan and find the best spot for the router without difficulty. The app also displays a network’s noise and security levels.
Platform: Mac and Windows.
Expect to pay: Three packages are available,:a free version with a very basic network scan function, a pro version that allows one to add additional zones, and an enterprise version that can be used by up to 10 users and retailing for around R7 500.
Stockists: Visit www.netspot.com
Qlik European Championships App
Did you know that 579 goals have been scored since the first Euro championship in 1960? Or that Bulgaria is the country to have received the most red and yellow cards so far? All these facts and more are instantly available in the Qlik European Championships App. In addition, soccer fans can access details on every player and team since the beginning of the championship and have the option to pit one team against the other to see what the chances are of their chosen team winning.
Platform: Most modern, desktop-based Internet browsers
Expect to pay: Free to use.
Stockists: Visit www.webapps.qlik.com/Euro2016/Euro2016
Google launches Google Play Music Concierge in South Africa
Google Play Music Concierge gives Play Music subscribers access to a large set of playlists targeted to specific contexts – what users are doing or how they’re feeling. Next time a user opens Google Music Player, they will be prompted to say whether they would like to listen to music according to mood or time of day. Google will then search for music in that category and begin streaming it.
Expect to pay: A free upgrade.
Stockists: Visit the Play Music store from an Android device.
BBM Everyday competition
BlackBerry has launched a BBM Everyday competition that is designed to cast light on South Africa’s lesser-known treasures. The competition is open to anyone using BBM and invites everyday photographers to enter the #BBMEveryday competition by sharing their photographs. Each week, for the next month, photographers simply need to submit images
of everyday South Africa to www.bbmeveryday.com, according to the weekly clues that will be revealed through the #BBMEveryday BBM channel (Pin: C0022F31B). Prizes range from an all-expenses trip for two to Zanzibar to one of five BlackBerry Priv smartphones.
Platform: Any platform running BlackBerry Messenger
Expect to pay: Free to enter.
Stockists: Visit www.bbmeveryday.com for more information.
Rush courier service upgrades
Since its launch late last year, the Rush courier service is making waves in the courier industry. In addition to being operated via WeChat, the company has recently launched its new website, which now allows users to easily find quotes, place orders and track their
parcels in real-time. The site also offers the functionality to book bulk deliveries around South Africa and includes an address book for recently used addresses.
Platform: Most modern, desktop-based Internet browsers
Expect to pay: Registration is free, courier costs depend on the package and its destination.
Stockists: Visit www.rush.co.za
Rain, Telkom Mobile, lead in affordable data
A new report by the telecoms regulator in South Africa reveal the true consumer champions in mobile data costs
The latest bi-annual tariff analysis report produced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) reveals that Telkom Mobile data costs for bundles are two-thirds lower than those of Vodacom and MTN. On the other hand, Rain is half the price again of Telkom.
The report focuses on the 163 tariff notifications lodged with ICASA during the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018.
“It seeks to ensure that there is retail price transparency within the electronic communications sector, the purpose of which is to enable consumers to make an informed choice, in terms of tariff plan preferences and/or preferred service providers based on their different offerings,” said Icasa.
ICASA says it observed the competitiveness between licensees in terms of the number of promotions that were on offer in the market, with 31 promotions launched during the period.
The report shows that MTN and Vodacom charge the same prices for a 1GB and a 3GB data bundle at R149 and R299 respectively. On the other hand, Telkom Mobile charges (for similar-sized data bundles) R100 (1GB) and R201 (3GB). Cell C discontinued its 1GB bundle, which was replaced with a 1.5GB bundle offered at the same price as the replaced 1GB data bundle at R149.
Rain’s “One Plan Package” prepaid mobile data offering of R50 for a 1GB bundle remains the most affordable when compared to the offers from other MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).
“This development should have a positive impact on customers’ pockets as they are paying less compared to similar data bundles and increases choice,” said Icasa.
The report also revealed that the cost of out-of-bundle data had halved at both MTN and Vodacom, from 99c per Megabyte a year ago to 49c per Megabyte in the first quarter of this year. This was still two thirds more expensive than Telkom Mobile, which has charged 29c per Megabyte throughout this period (see graph below).
Meanwhile, from having positioned itself as consumer champion in recent years, Cell C has fallen on hard times, image-wise: it is by far the most expensive mobile network for out-of-bundle data, at R1.10 per Megabyte. Its prices have not budged in the past year.
The report highlights the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the dramatically plummeting cost of data per Megabyte as one buys bigger and bigger bundles on a 30-day basis (see graph below).
For 20 Gigabyte bundles, all mobile operators are in effect charging 4c per Megabyte. Only at that level do costs come in at under Rain’s standard tariffs regardless of use.
Qualcomm wins 5G as Apple and Intel cave in
A flurry of announcements from three major tech players ushered in a new mobile chip landscape, wrItes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
Last week’s shock announcement by Intel that it was canning its 5G modem business leaves the American market wide open to Qualcomm, in the wake of the latter winning a bruising patent war with Apple.
Intel Corporation announced its intention to “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.
Intel said it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business, sharpening its focus on a market expected to be dominated by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.
Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but did not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020. In other words, it would no longer be supplying chips for iPhones and iPads in competition with Qualcomm.
“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
The news came immediately after Qualcomm and Apple issued a joint announced of an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, along with a six-year license agreement, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.
Apple had previously accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in modem chips for smartphones and charging excessive license fees. It ordered its contract manufacturers, first, to stop paying Qualcomm for the chips, and then to stop using the chips altogether, turning instead to Intel.
With Apple paying up and Intel pulling out, Qualcomm is suddenly in the pound seats. It shares hit their highest levels in five years after the announcements.
Qualcomm said in a statement: “As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.”
Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics released a report on the same day that showed Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia will lead the market in core 5G infrastructure, namely Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, by 2023 as the 5G market takes off. Huawei is expected to have the edge as a result of the vast scale of the early 5G market in China and its long term steady investment in R&D. According to a report entitled “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”, two outliers, Samsung and ZTE, are expected to expand their global presence alongside emerging vendors as competition heats up.