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Samsung unveils Note5, S6 edge+, Pay ecosystem

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Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced the global launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

Both devices, says the company, represent Samsung’s commitment to the big screen smartphone market, which Samsung pioneered in 2011 with the original Galaxy Note.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 “blend form and function with industry leading features, including: the best screen technology, the most advanced camera for high quality photos and videos, the latest fast wireless and wired charging, and an incredibly powerful processor”.

With increased 4GB RAM, both smartphones offer the most powerful capacity and processing power on the market, enabling more seamless multi-tasking, faster posting of updates to social networks, and better performance with graphic-heavy games.

With its curved 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S6 edge+ makes the edge experience even bigger to provide a more immersive multimedia experience. The newly-designed Galaxy Note5 provides a productivity tools such as SideSync, along with a more refined 5th generation S Pen capabilities to better serve the major multitasker.

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“At Samsung, we believed in the promise that large screen smartphones could actively address some  consumer needs by providing users with a better viewing experience and more productivity on-the-go,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “With the launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5, we’re re-emphasising our ongoing commitment to bold, fearless innovation that meets the needs of our consumers.”

Galaxy Note5 perfect for multi-taskers 

The Galaxy Note5 is an upgrade to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note range – more powerful and more personalised than ever. Inspired by the design legacy of the Galaxy S6, it ergonomically fits in one hand with a narrower bezel and curved back. The flat screen is great to write on and the curved shape makes it easier to use the phone with one hand.

Engineered to help people get more done faster, the Galaxy Note5 includes an all new S Pen that feels more solid and balanced in the user’s hand, offering improved writing capabilities and a variety of practical applications. A unique clicking mechanism makes the S Pen pop out with just one quick click. Users can now quickly jot down ideas or information when the screen is off without even unlocking the phone. The ‘Air Command’ feature has become more intuitive and practical as well; now the icon hovers for instant access to all of S Pen uses from any screen at any time. Users can also annotate on PDF files and capture lengthy web articles or long images simultaneously via ‘Scroll capture’.

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Powerful Core Galaxy Features

Both the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature multimedia capabilities with deeper screen contrast and details thanks to Samsung’s industry-leading 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display.

As social networking becomes more ubiquitous, consumers expect to share the moments of their lives through photos and video and Samsung is enabling that desire with improved video capabilities. 

These include Steady Video, which provides Video Digital Image Stabilisation on both the front and rear cameras for sharp, crisp video on-the-go, and Video Collage Mode, which allows users to record and edit short videos easily in various frames and effects. The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 also feature 4K(UHD) video filming and Live Broadcast, which let users instantly live stream Full HD video straight from the phone to any individual, group of contacts, or even the public through YouTube Live. Anyone who receives the YouTube link from a Galaxy S6 edge+ or Note5 user is able to enjoy a live stream video from his or her smartphone, tablet, PC or Smart TV with YouTube connectivity.

Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 users will also benefit from Samsung’s advanced camera system, including Quick Launch (double click the home button to launch the camera in less than one second), Auto Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Smart Optical Image Stabilisation(OIS) and brand-new filters.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 feature Samsung’s fast wired and wireless charging technology and the embedded wireless charging technology is compatible with virtually any wireless pad available today. With wired charging, both devices can be fully charged in approximately 90 minutes, and through Samsung’s latest wireless charger, each device can be fully charged in approximately 120 minutes.

Samsung’s newest devices are further upgraded to support SideSync, which offers both wireless and wired PC-smartphone integration for seamless connections across devices. Thanks to auto-detection and an ultra-quick setup, users can instantly connect their Samsung device to their PC or tablet for easy access to files and data across all platforms and operating systems.

In addition, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 display enhanced security features with KNOX Active Protection (built into devices / out of the box) and My KNOX (app with simple/fast setup) to further protect sensitive personal and work data.

The Galaxy S6 edge+ will be available in South Africa from September 2015 and the Note5 from November 2015. Both have 32GB or 64GB storage options and are available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium depending on market and carrier.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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