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Telkom simplifies WiFi service

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Telkom has announced enhancements to its free WiFi offering that will make access to Internet and the management of time online, for non-Telkom customers, much easier across more than 6 000 WiFi hotspots nationally.

“Free WiFi, for business professionals, entrepreneurs, students or just for social media users, is always an attractive and welcome proposition,” says Manelisa Mavuso, Telkom’s Managing Director: Content and Value Added Services. “The changes we’ve made to our WiFi platform will greatly enhance the experience of users that are not on our network as it now allows them to connect securely and seamlessly to the country’s biggest free WiFi access network.

“From Monday 22 June customers will be able to connect to Telkom WiFi by registering once in 2 simple steps. Once registered, customers that find themselves in a Telkom WiFi hotspot will be able to login into their accounts with their user name and password and connect with just one click.”

The Company launched its 30 minutes of free WiFi access to non-Telkom customers from an initial 400 hot-spots in August 2013. Users were required to connect to its free WiFi access by utilising a solution that entailed the sending of a SMS to acquire a unique pin each time connection was required at a Telkom WiFi hotspot.

In addition, non-Telkom customers will now be able to purchase additional WiFi bundles, for same-day usage, in denominations of 30 or 60 minutes at R15 and R25 respectively. The purchases can be made once the 30 free minutes have expired, using a credit card.

“Although physical vouchers are still available at Telkom stores, the introduction of WiFi bundle purchases by card means bundles can be bought online through the WiFi portal without leaving the hotspot making the transaction as seamless as possible,” says Mavuso.

With the introduction of new features such as “Event History” and a real time count-down clock that indicates the time left on an internet session, customers will more easily be able to manage their free minutes and purchased WiFi access bundle time.

Telkom’s post-paid customers, and pre-paid customers that purchase airtime to the value of R50 or more, will continue to connect via EAP-SIM and MAC Authentication to WiFi in a Telkom hotspot. User name and password authentication for Telkom contract and pre-paid customers is scheduled to launch towards the end of August.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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