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Sean Bacher

New in apps: Clash of Clans fun and addictive

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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: MTN ramps up international transfers

In his latest app roundup, SEAN BACHER focuses on MTN Homeland, big growth in FNB’s eWallet spend, Nedbank’s Money App Lite, Afri Ride and iKhokha Vend.

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MTN Homeland

MTN is ramping up its efforts to enhance access to digital and financial services for its customers. The company’s latest fintech innovation is a mobile remittance application – MTN Homeland –  aimed at facilitating money and airtime transfers from Europe to Africa and parts of the Middle East.

MTN Homeland allows remittances from Europe to Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Rwanda and Uganda, while airtime can be sent to Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

MTN Homeland also supports MTN’s contribution to the achievement of the tenth UN Sustainable Development Goal, which is to reduce inequality within and among countries. One of these SDG’s targets is to reduce the price of remittances to under 3% of the value of the remittance into Africa. MTN Homeland has been priced with that target in mind.

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

Expect to pay: A free service

Stockists: Visit MTN Homeland here

Read more about FNB’s increased usage in eWallets, Nedbank’s new Money Lite app, Afri Ride app for ride sharing, and iKhokha Vend.

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AppDate: Livin’ it Up improves money management

This app roundup by SEAN BACHER includes Livin’ it Up, MiBlackBox, Makro’s WhatsApp service, My Deezer Year and Giggle.

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Livin’ it Up

Capitec Bank has launched a game called Livin’ it Up.

The game allows users to test their money skills in a virtual world, while picking up tips for real life. Users play as different characters, all trying to achieve typical financial goals South Africans are striving to save for – like putting a sibling through university or buying a car.

Built by Cape Town-based games and animation solutions provider Sea Monster, Livin’ it Up was created for Capitec as a fresh, innovative approach to building South Africans’ financial capability.

“We want people to think differently about their money and to learn while having fun,” says Jean Rossouw, head of financial education at Capitec Bank. “The emphasis is on how you plan and prioritise your spending to balance your immediate ‘wants’ with the dreams you have for your future.” 

Players are required to use savvy money management strategies to deal with work and life events, including (occasional) load-shedding, while trying to save enough money to achieve their characters’ long-term goals. In the process, they get to design their own 3D homes and play a variety of career mini-games. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: The game can be downloaded here 

Visit the next page to read about a personal safety “Black Box”, Makro’s WhatsApp service, Deezer’s 2019 recap, and a social platform exclusively for women.

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