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Emirates Wi-Fi: 1-million connect in 1 month

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Emirates has set a new record with over 1-million Wi-Fi connections made on board its flights in March alone with 1,037,016 Emirates customers connected to the internet during their flight.

The connections were mainly made over mobile devices with over 94% of users connecting with a smartphone – twice as many connections were made on an iOS mobile phone as compared to an Android mobile, and about 2% with a tablet. The remaining connections were made with laptops and other devices.

The highest data usage from a single passenger was made by an Emirates Skywards member who stayed connected throughout their flight from Dubai to Johannesburg, consuming 4.9 GB of complimentary data.

The route with the most Wi-Fi connections in March was EK215 from Dubai to Los Angeles with over 6,000 customers connecting in flight.

Wi-Fi connectivity is available on over 98% of the Emirates fleet, including all A380s, 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs. Customers in all cabin classes receive 20MB of free Wi-Fi data. Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including free Wi-Fi when travelling in First Class or Business Class. Over 94% of passengers connecting to Wi-Fi on board Emirates in March took advantage of the complimentary offer and logged on free of charge.

Emirates continually invests in improving bandwidth on board by upgrading the connectivity solution on the fleet. Staying connected has become a mainstay and an expectation on Emirates flights and the demand for Wi-Fi on board has been steadily increasing each month.

Emirates has been at the forefront of innovation with connectivity and inflight entertainment on board. It was the first airline to allow mobile phone use inflight in 2008, and the first to install TV screens in every seat on every aircraft in its fleet in 1992. Today, the airline provides one of the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art entertainment and connectivity services in the skies. ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, now offers over 3,500 channels of entertainment, including over 700 movies from around the world. This unmatched variety of content will continue to grow, offering Emirates customers even more choice.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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