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Tablet sales slump

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, declined 15.2% year on year in Q3 2017, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting firm’s Quarterly PCD Tracker for Q3 2017 shows that PCD shipments fell to around 5.9 million units for the three-month period, which represents the lowest quarterly volume recorded during the last five years.

“The poor performance of the tablet category was the primary cause of this decline, with shipments of both slate and detachable tablets declining rapidly year on year,” says Fouad Charakla, IDC’s senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “Kenya suffered huge declines in its tablet market after a massive education project that boosted shipments in Q3 2016 was not repeated in Q3 2017. There was a near-universal decline in demand for slate tablets across the region, with the exception of IDC’s ‘Rest of Africa’ grouping, where a large education project was delivered in Ethiopia.”

“While market sentiment remained weak across large parts of the region, most of the key PCD markets performed relatively well during the quarter,” continues Charakla. “The region’s biggest single country market, Turkey, experienced some growth, while Saudi Arabia and South Africa both remained flat. The UAE experienced a slight decline, while the rising cost of living saw consumer demand decline across the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Meanwhile, currency issues meant that consumer demand was also constrained in Nigeria and Egypt.”

Looking at the PC market in isolation, each of the top five vendors maintained their respective positions when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016:

Middle East & Africa PC Market Vendor Shares – Q3 2016 vs. Q3 2017
Company Q3 2016 Q3 2017
HP Inc. 27.3% 28.4%
Lenovo 20.1% 19.3%
Dell 12.9% 15.9%
ASUS 9.0% 9.3%
Acer Group 7.5% 4.0%
Others 23.2% 23.0%

In the tablet space, Samsung experienced the biggest year-on-year gain in share among the market leaders. Lenovo cemented second place in the overall market following its involvement in the aforementioned education project in Ethiopia. Huawei lost some share, while Apple and TCL both reported notable gains.

Middle East & Africa Tablet Market Vendor Shares – Q3 2016 vs. Q3 2017
Company Q3 2016 Q3 2017
Samsung 17.6% 21.3%
Lenovo 13.5% 15.2%
Huawei 13.5% 12.8%
Apple 7.9% 9.6%
TCL 2.4% 5.8%
Others 45.1% 35.3%

It should be noted that HP, Lenovo, and Dell together accounted for around 75% of overall commercial PCD shipments in the region during Q3 2017, while the rest of the market’s players are primarily focused on serving the consumer segment.

“A slowdown in government initiatives and commercial projects, as well as weak-to-modest consumer spending, will ensure the region’s PCD market closes 2017 with a significant overall decline,” says Charakla. “However, a number of very large education projects are anticipated for the UAE, Pakistan, and Ethiopia, and these will act as short-term drivers of demand, helping to cushion the fall in coming quarters.

“Looking further ahead, PCD shipments overall are expected to continue declining over the next few years as users continue to shift from one PCD category to another and increasingly embrace technologies beyond the PCD market, such as smartphones. The impact of these developments will be most notable in the slate tablet market, with IDC expecting this category to suffer the region’s most severe volume declines in the years leading up to 2021.”

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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