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IFA: Moto expands Mods

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Lenovo, through its Subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, introduced two new and mobile devices at IFA in Berlin – the moto x4 and the moto z2 Force Edition along with the latest in Moto Mod, the new 360 Camera Moto Mod, for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The fourth generation moto x offers a great user experience, with smarter software, the latest camera technology, and a beautiful design. And the moto z family and compatible Moto Mods continues to grow with the introduction of the moto z2 Force Edition and 360 Camera Moto Mod – offering consumers even more possibilities.

moto x4: Bringing Style into Sharp Focus

The moto x has always incorporated the best software experiences, providing users with a uniquely intuitive, smarter, and easier to use device. The latest addition, the moto x4, features all the latest Moto Experiences, coupled with all-new software features.

A smarter camera 

moto x4 features a smarter camera that does more than just capture photos. The new Landmark Detection1 feature on moto x4 lets the camera serve as an eye to the world, from scanning a business card to animating selfies with Face Filters.

The combined capabilities of dual 12MP and 8MP rear cameras, and advanced software with dual Autofocus Pixel technology, creates professional quality images, whilst the 16MP front-facing camera, with an adaptive low light mode3 and new Panoramic Selfie feature, provides a wider background that take selfies to the next level.

Powerful, protected, performance

Powered by a 3,000 mAh battery and equipped with powerful performance capabilities, the moto x4‘s is protected by IP68-rated water resistant design4 – offering protection from accidental spills, splashes, and even puddles – and a 3D rear contoured design, anodized aluminum frame and Corning® Gorilla® Glass that protects the front and back from scratches, making for a strong and beautiful device.

New and intuitive experiences 

Even at the busiest moments, moto x4 is a genuinely smart smartphone. Amazon Alexa is integrated into moto x4 device – so there’s no need to unlock to get started9 – and the wireless sound system, allows users to connect up to four Bluetooth® audio devices at the same time7.

For even greater accessibility, the moto x4 is also equipped with Moto Key – allowing you to access your favorite password-secured websites on your phone or laptop with a simple touch of your finger, while strong encryption ensures data stays protected8.

moto z2 Force Edition: Protected, Polished and Powerful 

The new moto z2 Force Edition shatters limitations with a screen that’s guaranteed not to crack or shatter, and a slim, all-metal design, dual 12MP cameras and the fastest possible data speeds.

Strength and performance 

With a 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display that’s guaranteed not to crack or shatter, the new moto z’s thin, polished design is reinforced with the strength of 7,000 series aluminium.

The all-day battery allows users to keep going without searching for a power outlet – and when it is time for a boost, add 8 hours of power in just minutes with TurboPower charging. The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform features unbeatable performance, instant responsiveness, and the fastest possible data speeds that allow users to download large files and apps in no time, or stream music and videos effortlessly.

Professional shots made easy 

Two cameras mean twice the focus. The dual 12MP cameras, one monochrome and one colour, work together to capture brilliant, top-quality photos which also allow users to add a blur effect to the background or foreground and capture true depth of field.

Just like moto z2 Play, the moto z2 Force Edition features the latest Moto Experiences including night display and instant queries in Moto Voice and the front fingerprint reader.

And because this new moto z is also compatible with Moto Mods, users can control their mobile experience – instantly transforming into a 360° camera, gaming console, powerful stereo speaker, video projector, battery powerhouse and more.

Moto 360 Camera: Capture Everything

Simply snap the new 360 Camera Moto Mod onto any moto z device and turn it into a 360-degree camera that captures everything. With the click of a button, users can record interactive 360-degree 4k video featuring immersive 3D audio that will follow the direction you’re viewing.

Advanced editing software allows users to adjust content to fit their unique needs, and once they’re ready to be viewed, photos and videos can be easily shared with friends and on social media right from the Google Photos app.

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Small South African town goes smartphone-only

Vodacom partners with farming business to upgrade all residents of Wakkerstroom from 2G devices to smartphones

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All residents of the small town of Wakkerstroom, which straddles Mpumalanga and kwaZulu-Natal provinces, have had their 2G feature phones upgraded to 3G devices.

The initiative is a result of Vodacom partnering with BPG Langfontein, a farming business that employs the majority of the people living in Wakkerstroom. It is now the first smartphone-only town in South Africa. This is a model the network provider says it hopes to replicate across the country as part of its mission to connect people who live in deep rural areas and are still dependent on 2G networks.

Wakkerstroom, is the second oldest town in Mpumalanga province, on the KwaZulu-Natal border, 27 km east of Volksrust and 56 km south-east of Amersfoort.  

“There are growing expectations for big corporates the size of Vodacom to serve a social purpose, and for us to use our resources and core capabilities to make a significant contribution in transforming the lives of ordinary people,” says Zakhele Jiyane, Managing Executive for Vodacom Mpumalanga. “We are helping to remove communication barriers, so that citizens in the area can be part of the digital revolution and reap the associated benefits. By moving the more than 1400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free much needed spectrum and this spectrum can be re-farmed to provide for faster networks such as 3G and 4G.

“Crucially, the move opens a new world of connectivity for farm workers in Wakkerstroom. As a result, most people in the area will now be able to use the Vodacom network to connect on the net and access online government services, eHealth services such as Mum&Baby and eCommerce. Learners can now surf the internet for the first time and access Vodacom’s eSchool free of charge and those who are actively looking for jobs can start using their smartphones and tablets to apply for jobs over the internet on Vodacom’s zero-rated career sites. This will be key for driving growth to the benefit of people living in this area.”

Vodacom has already deployed 4G base stations in Wakkestroom as part of this initiative.

For the next phase of this project, says Vodacom, it is going to educate the farm workers about data and the benefits of the Internet. Vodacom will also look at various ways in which it can help empower members of this community in areas of education, gender-based violence and health.

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10 more African countries join Facebook fact-checking

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Facebook today announced the expansion of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme to 10 additional African countries, which now join  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal in the project,

In partnership with Agence France-Presse (AFP), the France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa, this programme forms part of its work in helping assess the accuracy and quality of news people find on Facebook, whilst reducing the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, third-party fact-checking will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.

Feedback from the Facebook community is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows firsthand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme. Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook. While we’ve made great progress, we will keep investing to ensure Facebook remains a place for all ideas, but not for the spread of false news.”

When third-party fact-checkers fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.

Providing fact-checking in English and French across eight countries, Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director said: “AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”

Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English added: “Social networks like Facebook haven’t just changed how Africans consume the news. Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans. They shape our perceptions of the world, our public discourse, and how we interact with public figures. This project helps us dramatically expand our fact-checking to debunk claims that could otherwise cause real-world harm. The project helps us respond more quickly and directly. We’re seeing real positive results in our interactions with both publishers and the public itself. The project also helps our fact-checks reach a far larger audience than we would otherwise. This has helped us better understand the information vacuum and other viral dynamics that drive the spread of false information in Africa. Our growing impact is a small but tangible contribution to better informed societies in Africa.”

Caroline Anipah, Programme Officer, Dubawa (Ghana) said: “Dubawa is excited to be in Ghana where the misinformation and disinformation have become widespread as a result of technological advancement and increasing internet penetration. Dubawa intends to raise the quality of information available to the public with the ultimate aim of curbing the spread of misinformation and disinformation and promoting good governance and accountability.”

Derek Thomson, editor-in-chief of the France 24 Observers, said: “Our African users are constantly sending us questionable images and messages they’ve received via social media, asking us ‘Is this true? Can you check it?’ It’s our responsibility as fact-checking journalists to verify the information that’s circulating, and get the truth back out there. Participating in the Facebook programme helps ensure that our fact-checks are reaching the people who shared the false news in the first place.”

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