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Fitbit enters wireless headphones market

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Fibit has entered the wireless headphones market with the Fitbit Flyer. The headphones, it says, combine powerful audio with a durable, sweatproof design and customisable fit to keep users motivated through tough workouts.

The Fitbit Flyer will be available in select South African stores in mid-October 2017, at R1,999. It is available in two colours, lunar gray or nightfall blue.

The first wireless headphones to incorporate cutting-edge technology from Waves MaxxAudio, Flyer delivers two sound profiles so users can personalise their listening experience. With seamless connectivity to Fitbit’s new Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, it allows users to listen to music or Audio Coaching sessions, through the new Fitbit Coach app, without a phone. Fitbit Coach and Audio Coaching sessions in the app will be available at launch. Audio Coaching sessions on Fitbit Ionic will be available in 2018.

“As we launch our first smartwatch with on-device music, providing quality wireless headphones to better help users reach their goals is a natural extension of our product offerings,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “Coupled with research that shows 64% of fitness tracker owners are interested in purchasing wireless headphones, it makes sense for us to bring our unparalleled health and fitness expertise to this space to deliver what our consumers are looking for most: great fit they can count on all day and for any workout, along with high quality sound to keep them motivated.”

Fitbit provided the following information:

Built with fitness in mind, Flyer’s durable design includes a hydrophobic nano-coating that is rain, splash and sweatproof. A series of interchangeable ear tips, wings and fins allow you to personalise the fit of your headphones to ensure comfort and a secure fit in your ear throughout any workout. With up to six hours of playtime, you will likely tire out before your headphones do. If you need some extra battery life, Flyer’s 15-minute quick charge provides an extra hour of playtime.

“I see the positive effect music has on my clients every day, giving them the added push to workout harder and longer,” said Harley Pasternak, Fitbit Ambassador. “With Fitbit Flyer, you get great looking, comfortable headphones that work perfectly with my new Fitbit smartwatch. Paired with great sound quality, it will help keep your focus where it belongs – on your next repetition or walk – instead of worrying about your headphones staying in your ears.”

High quality sound delivers workout motivation

Flyer has been precision engineered to offer high quality, clear audio with dynamic range, including features like AAC wireless codec and Passive Noise Isolation to improve sound quality and reduce the distraction of outside noises. With two different sound settings on-device – Signature and Power Boost – you can select the profile that’s right for you by using the control box right on your headphones. As the first headphones to incorporate Waves MaxxAudio technology, which is used for audio production in hit records, major motion pictures and video games, Flyer’s Power Boost setting amplifies bass for a high- fidelity sound experience.

Essential features for all-day listening

Flyer’s durable design and superior sound quality make these headphones perfect for everyday wear – beyond workouts. The 3-button control box lets you easily adjust sound, pause music and change songs on the go, while audio prompts keep you looped into incoming calls, battery life, song volume and more. With multi-device connectivity, you can simultaneously connect to two Bluetooth devices at once, making it easy to switch back and forth between listening to music on a computer or Fitbit Ionic to accepting a call on your phone, or even chatting with your digital assistant including Cortana, Google Assistant or Siri. The dual microphone enables high quality hands-free phone calls, reducing external noises, such as wind and crowd-noise to ensure voice clarity.

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SA startups in Visa final

Leading fintech companies from the Sub-Sahara Africa technology startup community have made it to the finals of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative.

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Among the 12 chosen, from the 238 total entries, South African startups Howler and FinChatBot will compete against innovators from across Sub Sahara Africa for a chance to secure funding of up to US$50,000 to develop their ideas when the initiative concludes in Johannesburg on July 24. 

Fintechs in Africa are making incredible strides; not only to bring more convenience to consumers, but also to enable people who would not otherwise have access to financial services or even a way to connect to the formal banking system. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017 and fintech in Africa is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years as it continues to disrupt the traditional financial sector. With a clear goal of reducing reliance on cash, building digital payment based economies and increasing financial inclusion, Visa is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and driving innovation in its payments landscape. 

The Sub Saharan Africa edition of the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative challenged local fintech startup to deliver solutions based around three real life business challenges: 

  • How can startups leverage Visa Developer APIs to either:  Enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?
  • How can startups use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach and social media partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments? 
  • How can startups leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?. 

Entrants were asked to submit ideas to leverage Visa’s network and technologies to resolve against at least one of the challenges. One winner per brief will be selected, with each receiving funding of US$25,000. Winners will be invited to a working meeting with Visa and may be presented with the opportunity to create a prototype. Visa will then select one overall winner to receive an additional US$25,000.

Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director – Digital Solutions, Sub-Sahara Africa, Visa, said: “We are delighted with the response to our Visa’s Everywhere Initiative and the quality of submissions we received is an indication of the region’s rich talent pool and innovative spirit.”

“Launching this innovation program in the region has been an exciting time for the Visa SSA team, and the takeup reflects Africa’s enthusiasm to develop and pioneer solutions to the continent’s challenge – particularly in the payments technology space. I would like to congratulate the finalists and  wish them luck as they enter the final stretch.  When they come together for the final, they will not only have the chance to turn their ideas into reality, but also potentially help shape the future of payments in the region.”  

Howler which enables cashless transactions and end-to-end ticket handling for consumers and event organisers is competing in the first challenge and FinChatBot, which aims to automate part of customer services for financial service providers through AI-powered conversations is competing in the third challenge. 

The SSA edition of the Visa’s Everywhere Initiative will wrap up on July 24 in Johannesburg, with each finalist having an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges from Visa and the payments industry. 

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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