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AppDate: Taxify bolts on scooters and motorbikes

In his latest apps round-up, SEAN BACHER highlights Bolt, Samsung Calm, LÜLA’s investment options, KidzAlive and LastPass.

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Taxify rebrands to Bolt

Taxify has recently changed its name to Bolt, allowing users to request taxis, as well as ask for scooters, motorbikes and other public transport means. According to the company, this update brings the brand identity in line with the company’s broader vision of transportation that has  expanded from ride-hailing with cars to motorbikes and scooter sharing.

The app now serves 25 million customers in over 30 countries. It currently provides its services in six African countries, claiming to connect drivers with passengers in more African cities than any other ride-hailing platform. It has plans to further expand its offering in east and west Africa and South Africa during the course of 2019.

It is also the first company to bring ride-hailing and scooter sharing together in one app and is currently working on expanding the scooter sharing service across a number of cities.

The new brand will gradually be rolled out across Bolt’s global markets over the coming weeks.

Users of the current Taxify app don’t have to make any changes to their current app, as it will automatically update to reflect the Bolt changes.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: The app can be downloaded directly from the Bolt website here.

Samsung partners with Calm

In an attempt to give its users the best health and well-being support, says Samsung, it has partnered with Calm, an app that helps people with sleep, meditation and relaxation.

To activate the app, one would need to access the Mindfulness app under the Samsung Health function. 

Users then create a Calm account and are able to access a variety of programmes to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia. Programs can be personalised on their smartphones and can be controlled through the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

Stress and sleep levels are monitored through the app and tips are given on how one can deal with anxiety, insomnia and stress.

All in all it sounds like a cheaper alternative to a therapist, but a user does need a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and a Samsung Galaxy smartphone running Android Pie.

Platform: Samsung Galaxy smartphones running Android Pie and a Galaxy Watch Active

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockist: Visit Samsung Health here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about South Africa’s latest ride-hailing app for shuttles, an app to assist HIV counselling for children, and an app that securely stores one’s passwords.

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Google announces its ‘Netflix for gaming’

The new gaming platform, Stadia, promises high-definition gaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Google has announced that it has moved into the gaming space, and it focuses on two big aspects of gaming: streaming of games for gamers, which will allow gamers to game anywhere with a fast, low-latency Internet connection; and audiences that watch gamers in-game.

This is a big move in making gaming accessible to more gamers, as it reduces hardware costs, by utilising the benefits of low-latency cloud computing. This will be achieved by using a globally connected network of Google data centres. Gamers who stream games are most likely already using a high-speed, low-latency Internet connection, so access to the Stadia platform will be an added expense.

Through the Stadia platform, gamers will be able to access a large library of games at all times, with no installation time, on virtually any screen. Scaling of hardware like CPU, GPU, memory, and storage is also possible, as one would for cloud server resources.

Google will be leveraging its other platforms, like YouTube, with Stadia streaming. It claims that 200-million people are watching game-related content daily on YouTube. This allows, for example, Stadia players to jump in with other Stadia players – no downloads, no updates, no patches, and no installs.

For console players, Google has designed a custom controller.

The controller was designed to establish a direct connection from the Stadia controller to Google’s data centre through Wi-Fi for the best possible gaming performance. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving, and sharing gameplay in 4K resolution. It sports a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as many Google products do, for voice control. 

The device is expected to be released later this year, pending FCC approval.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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