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LTE passes 1Gbps speeds

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T-Mobile, Nokia and Qualcomm have exceeded gigabit speeds using evolved, commercially available 4G LTE technology.

In tests at T-Mobile’s lab, download speeds of 1.175 Gbps were achieved on T-Mobile’s LTE network utilizing Nokia’s 4.9G network powered by the Nokia AirScale Base Station together with the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem.

Technology used in the tests included:

  • Nokia 4.9G powered by AirScale Base Station
  • A Snapdragon X20 LTE modem mobile test device, supporting Downlink Category 18 for theoretical peak download speeds up to 1.2 Gbps
  • 12 independent streams of LTE data
  • 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM and three carrier aggregation across 60 MHz of downlink spectrum on T-Mobile’s network

Using 12 simultaneous independent LTE data streams between the device and network enables a theoretical peak download speed of 1.2 Gbps. The tests demonstrated that commercially available 4G technologies can deliver unprecedented download speeds well beyond what customers experience today.

“We already have America’s fastest and most advanced LTE network, and we’ve built it to advance faster for customers than anybody else out there,” said Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile. “These tests with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies prove that T-Mobile customers have a lot more speed to look forward to from our LTE network as we evolve to 5G.”

“Using the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, we are breaking through the gigabit barrier, further enhancing network capacity and real user data rates,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “And working with Nokia and T-Mobile, using our second-generation gigabit LTE modem, we’ve now shown the steady strides we are making as we progress on the path to 5G. User devices supporting these speeds are expected to be made commercially available in the first half of 2018.”

“We are helping customers maximize the value of their existing networks by bringing performance closer to that expected from 5G in the future,” said Marc Rouanne, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia. “With this key test, using T-Mobile’s network and Qualcomm Technologies’ modem, we have not only broken the gigabit speed barrier but have exceeded existing performance using Nokia 4.9G technology, showing the way forward for higher-quality user experiences and services with fiber-like speeds over mobile connections.”

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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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