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Apps for the entrepreneur

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South Africans rely on their mobile devices more and more to run their businesses and stay on top of their affairs. ERNST WITTMANN os ALCATEL ONETOUCH puts together a list of smartphone apps that will help entrepreneurs keep things running smoothly.

South African entrepreneurs depend on their mobile devices to run their businesses, with an increasing number using cloud-based apps to stay on top of their affairs wherever they go. Indeed, many small business owners are spending more time getting things done on smartphones and tablets than they do working on a notebook or a desktop.

With bandwidth costs lower than ever and Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, small business owners and employees can be productive wherever they are. Thanks to the growing affordability of smartphones with large displays and the great selection of apps on the market, today’s SME can operate completely on-the-go. Here are a few of our favourite apps for the mobile entrepreneur.

Collaboration – Slack

Slack is a collaboration platform that brings all your communication together in one place. It is real-time messaging, file sharing, archiving and search for modern teams. It’s affordable even for small businesses and is a great way to drive collaboration when employees might not often be together in the same building. It also integrates with many tools that businesses already use, such as Dropbox, Trello and Zendesk.

Customer relationship management – Zoho

Most good CRM systems today have apps for the popular smartphone platforms. Zoho CRM Mobile Edition, for example, is a native application that lets you access your CRM data anywhere, anytime from your mobile phones. This enables you to stay on top of the latest business developments, collaborate with your team and make the right business decisions, no matter where you are.

Accounting – Xero or Sage One

A decent online accounting package will help you keep your business running with a solid mobile app. You really should not have to go back to your office any more to reconcile, send invoices, add receipts and create expense claims – your accounting software should have an app that lets you do it from a mobile device.

Expense management – Expensify

Expensify streamlines the whole process of managing expenses for a small business owner and his or her team. It makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports quick and easy, sparing headaches for everyone.

Productivity – Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

Google’s office productivity suite is clean, attractive and powerful. Apps included are word processor Docs, spreadsheet editor Sheets, and presentation maker Slides. Managing even complex documents is relatively simple and the suite is compatible with Microsoft Office files, so you can transition between your desktop computer and your mobile device.

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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