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Samsung Tizen phones arrive in SA

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Samsung Electronics South Africa has launched its first 4G-enabled Tizen-powered mobile device, the Samsung Z2. The phone caters specifically to the requirements of new smartphone users who are transitioning from using feature phones.

Samsung Electronics has launched its first 4G-enabled Tizen-powered mobile device, the Samsung Z2. Built on the company’s own Tizen platform, the Samsung Z2 caters specifically to the requirements of new smartphone users who are making the transition from feature phones.

Tizen is the same operating system on which Samsung’s Gear S2 and S3 smartwatches run. The Tizen store is growing fast, with more than 10 000 apps available at this stage, and growing. Android apps can also run on Tizen devices via thrid party platforms.

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“Driven by the success of the Z1 and Z3 and taking forward the smart, fun and simple attributes of the Tizen platform, the Samsung Z2 has been customised to offer unique value to South African consumers,” according to a statement from Samsung Electronics South Africa. “The device has an optimised processor that results in less battery drainage, a 5MP camera with flash, ideal for users wanting to snap ‘selfies’, while it also offers them access to social media platforms.”

Says Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa, “Samsung Z2 makes 4G accessible and relevant to the unique needs of feature phone users and first time smartphone buyers. It brings consumers a fast and affordable mobile Internet experience that will democratise 4G usage in the country.”

The user interface on the Samsung Z2 is simple and easy to operate, offering faster and smoother performance when combined with the Tizen platform. The phone itself is powered by a 1.5GHz Quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory, which is expandable up to 200GB with a microSD card. In addition, it features dual SIM support and delivers a user-friendly experience, fuelled by a 1500mAh long-lasting battery. This is further boosted by the Ultra Power Saving mode, which keeps the device operational at minimal battery levels.

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Thanks to a 4” WVGA screen, users can enjoy games, videos and other multimedia content with good resolution. The Tizen OS has a clutter-free, intuitive interface, making it easy to understand and use. It also offers an Ultra Data Saving mode, which saves up to 40% of mobile data by blocking unnecessary background applications from data consumption and by data compression technology.

“We are delighted to be able to bring Samsung’s much-awaited Z2 handset to the South African market; providing an affordable handset that has a range of fantastic attributes, not the least of which is its 4G capability,” says Fleischer. “This alone puts it in the company of some of the best smartphones available today.”

The Z2 is available for R 1,099.

Click here to find out more.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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