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BlackBerry takes next smartphone Leap, but not yet in South Africa

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BlackBerry has announced the BlackBerry Leap in the United Kingdom and a rollout in major markets, but a South African release date has yet to be announced.

The UK became the first roll-out market on 15 April, with the company targeting what it called “the first young power professionals who want to get things done and companies looking for enterprise fleet renewals”. The BlackBerry Leap was made available on ShopBlackBerry.com and through select carriers and partners. It will continue to rollout over the next few weeks across various countries, including Germany, France, United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India. South Africa is not part of the initial release.

“With an all-touch screen, the BlackBerry Leap rounds out our portfolio of BlackBerry 10 devices, offering an affordable choice to mobile professionals who require a smartphone that safeguards sensitive communications and keeps them productive,” said Ron Louks, President, Devices and Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry.

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BlackBerry Leap features the latest BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, a brilliant edge-to-edge five-inch HD display and more than a full day’s battery power.

The company provided the following description of the top features of the BlackBerry Leap:

Security to Maintain Privacy – You can feel safe in the knowledge that BlackBerry Leap was designed with the highest standards of security in mind to protect your privacy. It is equipped with support for encryption, plus built-in malware protection and back-up, wipe and restore. All to give you control and help secure your data against the next embarrassing and potentially costly cyberattack.

Battery That Powers Through a Full Day – With up to 25 hours of heavy use, the BlackBerry Leap will power through even your most demanding day. The impressive 2800 mAh battery and optimization of power consumption in BlackBerry 10 gives users more than a full day of productive usage.

Best-in-Class BlackBerry Keyboard – Type faster and more accurately on a touchscreen keyboard that learns how you write. With superior error correction, multi-language support, customized adaption and flow, BlackBerry’s touchscreen keyboard helps to reduce the mistakes and missteps that can hold you back.

BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 –BlackBerry Leap comes preloaded with the new BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, offering a fresh look that incorporates updated icons and an instant action bar so that users’ most commonly accessed functions are in the center of their screen. Additional features include:

BlackBerry Blend – BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM or text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry. BlackBerry Blend works across desktop operating systems, including Mac OS X 10.7 +, Windows 7+ and Android tablets running Android 4.4+ via cellular, USB or Wi-Fi connections.

BlackBerry Assistant – The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry’s first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. It’s the only smartphone assistant on the market today that can access both personal and work content in your work perimeter. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.

Dual app storefronts preloaded for access to a huge selection of apps for work and play:

BlackBerry World – BlackBerry World offers essential business and productivity apps for professionals looking to drive efficient communications and collaboration including Box, Evernote, Cisco WebEx Meetings and Documents to Go.

Amazon Appstore – Discover and download popular Android apps and games through the Amazon Appstore including Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest, SoundCloud, Kindle and Amazon Shopping.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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