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Huawei P9 passes 10m

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Gadget’s joint winner for phone of the year, along with its sibling, has reached a major sales milestone.

The Huawei P9 Plus, named by Gadget as one of its three phones of the year for 2016, has in combination with the P9 shipped more than 10 million units globally.

According to Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG), this makes it the company’s first flagship series to top the 10 million mark.

This is a milestone for Huawei both from a product and brand perspective. Despite a sluggish global smartphone market in 2016, the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus devices have achieved impressive results in the premium segment; a milestone that indicates Huawei’s investment in international markets is paying off.

First revealed in April 2016, the dual-lens Huawei P9/P9 Plus devices were Huawei’s first flagship smartphones to be developed in collaboration with legendary German camera brand Leica. This extensive partnership has already set a new benchmark for advanced smartphone camera technology and delivered outstanding photography experiences to consumers.

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Global shipments of the P9 exceeded 2.6 million within six weeks of their release. Eight months since its release, the Huawei P9 has sustained its popularity, winning recognition from both experts and consumers for its camera experience, industrial design and overall performance. In addition to winning major awards including European Consumer Smartphone 2016-17 from EISA and Best Personal Computing Device at CES Asia, the Huawei P9 has also received positive reviews from hundreds of key international publications – including Gadget – making it a top choice for consumers looking for the best camera phone.

Thanks to the huge popularity of the P9 and P9 Plus, as well as the strong sales performance of the Mate 8 and Mate 9 devices, Huawei is making significant progress in the global high-end smartphone market. In the third quarter of 2016, Huawei shipped 33.59 million smartphones, up 23% from the previous year, with mid-to-high-end devices accounting for about 44% of the shipment.

So far, Huawei has shipped more than 1,2 million smartphones to South Africa, over 45 000 being the P9 and the P9 Plus this past year.

Huawei’s market share is now above 15% in 30 countries and above 20% in 20 countries; it also made substantial breakthroughs in key markets such as the UK, France and Germany. As of November 2016 Huawei has a value share in South Africa of 17.4 percent and 10.8 percent volume share. There has been a 43 percent growth rate in South Africa.

According to 2016 half year financial results, Huawei CBG sales were close to 77.4 billion RMB in the first half of year, up 41% from the same period in 2015; the growth rate in markets outside of China was 1.6 times that of the Greater China region.

Global awareness of the Huawei brand has continued to grow along with Huawei’s outstanding market performance. In 2016, Huawei was ranked No. 72 in Interbrand’s “Top 100” most valuable global brands list, 16 spots up from 2015. Huawei was again listed as one of the top 100 most valuable brands by Brand Z, at No.50 this year, up from No.70 in 2015. Additionally, in November, Huawei was named “Best Consumer Electronics Brand” in “Best Brands 2016 – the Chinese brand ranking” based on GfK’s consumer survey.

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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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