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Sean Bacher

New in apps: Clash of Clans fun and addictive

In his first round-up of the latest apps, SEAN BACHER spotlights Clash of Clans as most enjoyable app, and downloads Silent Foto, CrumbTrail, Tumblr for Windows Phone 8 and Laser Gun the most annoying app.

Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is a real-time-strategy (RTS) game that requires a good mix of strategy and combat, earning it the spot of the ‚”Most enjoyable app‚” in this week’s new apps roundup. Start off small and slowly grow a village where troops are trained and their abilities upgraded. Then enter battle mode, where rival clan members are fought and their gold stolen. Although the game can be played from start to finish without any in-game purchases, it may be a good idea to buy a few gems to speed things along, as the more you progress, the longer buildings take to erect with some of them taking up to two weeks to complete.

Platforms: iOS

Stockists: Apple App Store.

Expect to pay: Downloading the game is free, but in-game purchases can set you back a few hundred Rand.

Silent Foto

A smartphone’s camera resolution is now at the point where it can be used to take print-ready photos, but many of them still make a fake shutter noise to alert you that a photo has been taken. In loud situations, this doesn’t really matter, but when at conferences, for example, the shutter noise not only distracts speakers, but annoys fellow delegates. Silent Foto turns off the shutter sound completely, allowing for complete silence when the next pic is taken.

Platforms: BlackBerry OS 6 and OS 10

Stockists: BlackBerry World.

Expect to pay: Downloading the app is free and in-app purchases are available.

CrumbTrail

CrumbTrail transforms a phonebook from a basic directory with limited functionality and reliant on human memory into a tool to manage professional and private networks. It updates contact information with dates and times they were last seen or spoken to, offering an option to add notes to the contact. Contacts can then be viewed by the last time they were spoken to or by the notes added to their names, instead of only by names or surnames.

Platforms: iOS

Stockists: Apple App Store.

Expect to pay: Around R10.

Tumblr for Windows Phone 8

The social networking site that allows the posting of text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from a browser, phone, desktop, or e-mail is now available for Windows Phone 8. The app features the Windows 8 look and feel and allows users to add posted images to their lock screens and live tiles.

Platforms: Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android.

Stockists: Visit the app store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: The app is free.

Laser Gun

An image of a high-tech laser gun that measures the number of times a user taps the screen, sending out a high-pitched sound, earns Laser Gun the spot of ‚”Most annoying app‚” in this week’s app roundup. It is a waste of storage space and bandwidth and will drive friends and family mad.

Platforms: BlackBerry OS 10, although similar apps are available for most other platforms.

Stockists: Visit the app store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: The app is free to download.

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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AppDate: One to rule them all

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Google One, JET8’s latest partnership, Ourhood, the new Zulzi app and ES File Explorer.

Google One

There is OneDrive, DropBox, iCloud and Google Drive, to name a few cloud storage services. All of these come with their own advantages and disadvantages and every one has its own app. So remembering where you saved a document can turn out to be a nightmare – and then there is the password issue.

The Google One app aims to simplify this by allowing you to save everything in one place. Besides offering loads of storage space, Google One allows you to manage storage plans according to needs. For instance, Google Drive data, Gmail and original-quality photos and videos in Google Photos can all be accessed directly from the app. 

In addition, Google has a team of experts who can be accessed directly from the app and are ready to help with any of Google’s other services.

Once signed up as a Google One member, one can access benefits like Google Play credit and discounts on hotel pricing.

In addition, Google One can be shared with up to five friends, allowing them to access the storage at no extra cost.

Google One offers 100GB of storage for R28 per month, 200GB for R42 per month and 2TB for R141 per month.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: The app is a free download, but monthly billing depends on your storage needs

Stockists: Sign up for a Google One account here 

 

JET 8 partners with Soccer Laduma

 

JET8 has partnered with the biggest soccer publication in Africa, Soccer Laduma. The Soccer Laduma App runs off JET8’s Social Commerce Technology. Soccer Laduma readers will be able to create content and earn JETPoints when they share this content on social media platforms. They can use the JETPoints in the Soccer Laduma App’s shop to redeem products like Kick-Off and Soccer Laduma.

JET8’s user data exchange programme facilitates the transaction between a user and third parties where a user can opt-in if they want anyone to purchase their personal data directly from them.

As an added bonus, the Soccer Laduma app allows soccer fans to create branded content and customise their photos and videos with branded Geo-stickers and Geo-frames, and earn points (‘JETPoints’) for every in-app like, comment, and share, as well as for cross-posting onto external social networks.

Platform: Android or a computer with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google play store here for downloading instructions

 

OurHood

Image result for ourhood app
OurHood
is an app that connects communities via real-time communication with verified neighbours. It is used not only to unite communities in their fight against crime but, thanks to its interactive interface inspired by common social media feeds, also eradicates reams of unnecessary WhatsApp chatter across community forum platforms. It offers features like Community Policing Forums and Home Owner Association material, minutes and updates, classified adverts for local services and recommendations – from lost pets to restaurant deals – and pertinent community-specific insights and education. All are offered users via both mobile and desktop-enabled applications. 

To date, the app connects over 1 300 neighbourhoods across the country and has attracted an equity investment from Lightswitch Solutions, a Cape Town based software development house. The investment from Lightswitch Solutions will ensure ongoing development, updates and improvements of the OurHood app. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google Play and the AppStore  for downloading instructions

 

Zulzi

 

Online shopping is nothing new. Thousands of apps let you buy anything from houses to alcohol. However, the newly relaunched Zulzi app allows you to get fresh local produce, organics, meat, dairy, eggs, drinks, snacks, bulk items, diapers, snacks, and fresh flowers – kind of like a supermarket shopping app.

Zulzi claims it is the largest on-demand delivery service in the country. However, that is rather hard to believe, considering it only delivers in Johannesburg and Cape Town and only to certain suburbs.

However, users are able to choose from over 150 retailers, including Woolworths, Spar, Pick n Pay, Dis-chem and Clicks.

Additional features include:

* Delivery in as little as 1 hour

* Reorder items from previous purchases

* Chat directly with your personal shopper

* Tag favourite items for easier shopping

 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit Zulzi website here for registration

ES File Explorer 

Image result for es file explorer 

ES File Explorer includes a space analyser that scans an Android device to help free up space. It does this by finding temporary Internet files, cookies and any other unnecessary files that get installed by apps. Don’t worry though, you have the option to manually go through the files and select the ones you want removed. But after using it for a few weeks I found that the “Delete All” option works best.

In addition, users can effortlessly share media over Wi-Fi. The app also includes an app manager that allows one to uninstall apps or backup any information stored by the apps before removing them. 

For the power user, ES File Explorer offers a Root Explorer feature that lets you get down into the nitty-gritty of the phone’s operating system. However, a word of warning: if you don’t know what you are doing, stay away from this feature, otherwise your phone may just become a very expensive paperweight.

One negative is that the app brings up adverts all the time, with some of them using up most of the screen space. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here

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Appdate: Bolt speeds into food

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Bolt’s food delivery service and FNB’s in-app shopping

Bolt to deliver food

Bolt, the on-demand transport platform that connects passengers with drivers across South Africa, has announced plans to launch a food delivery service. 

The company recently underwent a global rebrand, including changing its name from Taxify to Bolt, aimed at bringing the brand identity in line with the company’s broader vision of transportation. Bolt’s services already include Ride-hailing with cars and motorbikes, as well as scooter sharing.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free app. 

Stockists: Visit Bolt’s website here to sign up.

FNB in-app shopping

FNB has aded functionality to its banking app that enables customers to shop directly from the app. The eBucks Shop, which was previously only accessible on the eBucks website, offers customers exclusive pricing for products ranging from tech and gaming to appliances and outdoor. 

According to Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail, its customers as well as customers from RMB Private Bank can expect to get up to 40% off on exclusive deals. They also have the ability to track their purchases and view their order history.

To access and start shopping on the app, customers must have an existing eBucks account and have the latest version of the FNB/RMB app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit FNB here

B-BBEE Manager

Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is an aspect of business that has to be embraced by many businesses. However, many struggle with creating an integrated point of reference for their B-BBEE engagements.

Global Business Solutions has seen this challenge and developed the B-BBEE Manager. The web-based app gives companies the opportunity to capture their B-BBEE-related data and generate a scorecard based on their inputs. This app is particularly useful for small businesses who need to determine their B-BBEE status for tender work and who do not have the resources to verify this in the usual manner. 

When one logs into the B-BBEE Manager, the app will prompt them to enter details like:

  • B-BBEE Summary, Employment Equity, Management and Ownership Information,
  • The amount a company pays towards skills development, enterprise and supplier development,
  • The Total Measurable Procurement Spend as well as other details such as the amounts spent on preferential procurement and supplier development.

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free to use service

Stockists: To find out more about B-BBEE Manager visit the site here.  

WunderChild 

WunderChild is a platform that helps parents discover the natural talents of their kids from a preschool age. It does this by using a fun, interactive and very easy to use interface that asks a series of questions, guiding him or her to find out where their talents may or may not lie. Games, challenges as well as physical activities are offered, getting more and more difficult over time, allowing parents to judge how much talent their child has. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet explorer

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the WunderChild here to sign up.   

FreeMind Meditiations 

The FreeMind Meditations app includes music created by film composers and professional musicians to be enjoyed while meditating. This music includes trigger sounds that are designed to evoke specific states of mind and help one engage more deeply and easily with the meditations. Although I have tried it, I can’t say for certain how well it works in terms of meditation, but the music sure is very soothing. The paid for version includes more than 250 tracks, but only 14 are available on the free version. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: Free, but with limited songs. The full version costs around R185 per month – maybe cheaper to buy a few sleeping tablets.

Stockists: Visit the Google Play store here to download the app

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