VIVO X3 CRUSHES WORLD’S
THINNEST SMARTPHONE TITLE
It wasn’t so long ago that Huawei grabbed the title of World’s Thinnest
Smartphone with the Ascend P6, which measures just 6.16mm thick.
Now, Huawei has lost it again, this time to the Vivo X3.
Vivo X3 is just 5.75mm thick.
It’s not cheating either, as the X3’s chassis measures the same all the
way along, with no unsightly bumps for the battery or camera lens.
The screen is 5-inches and has a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, while the
processor is a quad-core chip with a 1.5GHz clock speed.
Android 4.2 is installed as the OS, and there’s an 8-megapixel camera on
the back of the phone.
Surprisingly for such a thin phone, the X3 is quite heavy at 150 grams,
and the battery is as feeble as you’d expect at 2000mAh.
Also, if you want the super thin Vivo X3, you’re stuck with a blue color
scheme, as the white model is 5.95mm thick.
The Vivo X3 will go on sale in China next month, when it will cost the
equivalent of $410.
Source: Digital trends, 23 August 2013
SMARTPHONE FOR THE BLIND
A small team of Israeli entrepreneurs has come with the world’s first
smartphone for the visually impaired.
Project Ray, as the team calls it, was originally conceived as a way of
helping the Israeli Library for the Blind get its services to a wider
The visually impaired persons rely on a multitude of gadgets and most of
them don’t come cheap. They also have to drag along a whole suitcase
of expensive accessories.
The whole idea of Project Ray is to replace that suitcase with a powerful,
People need just 30 minutes of training to get to grips with the new UI. It
relies on audio prompted commands and users select apps and
commands by lifting the finger off the screen.
In addition to texting and GPS, the phone also features a colour
detection app that helps users match their clothing, along with a
banknote app to identify money.
Source: TechEye, 10 June 2013
UBUNTU EDGE DUAL-BOOTS
ANDROID, SEEKS $32M
Say hello to the Ubuntu Edge, the first smartphone to use open-source Ubuntu Touch
software as well as Android.
Ubuntu creator British company Canonical wants to bring the dual-booting Edge to fruition
by raising a whopping 21.5 million pounds ($32 million) in a month on Indiegogo.
It claims this is the biggest target ever for a crowdfunded campaign.
The campaign intends to produce 40,000 units; if you want to own an Edge of your very
own, you'll get a handset if you pledge 394 pounds ($600) today, or 532 pounds ($830)
You will have to wait until May 2014 to actually get your hands on the Edge, however.
Canonical says it's adopted crowdfunding to see which technologies early adopters are
interested in paying for, without a manufacturer having to spend millions on developing a
product that then proves to be a flop.
The company highlights the Edge's battery and scratch-proof screen as technologies that
would be adopted more widely if they could be proved by this project to be the sort of
things people want from their phones.
The Edge promises "the latest, fastest processor," with at least 4GB of RAM and 128GB
of storage. It has a 4.5-inch, 720p screen covered in pure sapphire crystal, which
Canonical claims to be "the hardest natural substance after diamond."
Source: CNET, 22 July 2013
BALLOONS: GOOGLE’S PLAN TO
CONNECT THE WORLD
The company has begun a pilot project in New Zealand using highpressure balloons in the stratosphere to provide Internet connectivity “at
3G speeds” to remote and rural areas across the planet, with South
Africa high on the list as a planned pilot country.
Project Loon balloons will float about 19km above the earth’s surface,.
Each pumpkin-shaped balloon is the size of a light aircraft and is roughly
15m in diameter.
Users connect to the balloon network using an antenna attached their
building. The balloons relay connectivity from terrestrial internet networks
and can share connectivity between them.
Each balloon is capable of serving an area with a 20km radius and a
couple of hundred simultaneous users.
As part of the trial, which will service 50 locations in and around
Christchurch in New Zealand, Google launched a total of 30 balloons last
week. Fiber backhaul from the ground station is being supplied by
Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand.
Source: TechCentral, 15 June 2013
ANDROID KITKAT REVEALED BY
In what can only be a massive marketing boost to Nestlé, Google has
announced the name of the forthcoming iteration of its Android mobile
operating system (OS).
The name is not Key Lime Pie, but rather Android 4.4 (KitKat), after Nestlé’s
popular chocolate and wafer confectionery.
In order to mark the release of Android KitKat, more than 50 million specially
branded KitKat bars will be available in 19 markets including South Africa,
Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Middle East, Russia, the UK as well
as the US.
Nestlé stated that these packs will lead consumers to the website
android.com/kitkat, where they will have the opportunity to win prizes that
include a limited number of Google Nexus 7 tablets, and credits to spend in
the Google Play app market.
Android is the world’s most popular mobile OS, powering a commanding
79.3% of all smartphones shipped during Q2 2013, according to the latest
figures from market research firm IDC.
Various iterations of the platform has sported sweet-themed names ever
since the release of Android 1.5 Cupcake back in 2009. Cupcake was
followed by Donut (Android 1.6), which was succeeded by Eclair (Android
2.0), itself followed by Froyo (Android 2.1, Frozen Yoghurt).
Source: techsmart, 4 September 2013
TATA TO SELL SOUTH AFRICA’S
NEOTEL TO VODAFONE ARM
India's largest private sector conglomerate Tata Group is selling
South Africa's Neotel seven years after it acquired a controlling stake
in that country's second largest fixed line telecom operator to
The deal is expected to value Neotel, in which Tata Communications
holds 68.5%, at about $550 million.
The transaction will mark the group's biggest and first overseas
asset sale under chairman Cyrus Mistry.
Tata decided to explore an exit from Neotel late last year, since the
company required long-term commitment and significant cash
deployment in an intensely competitive market.
Source: The Times of India, 1 October 2013
MICROSOFT TO ACQUIRE NOKIA'S
DEVICES & SERVICES BUSINESS
According to Nokia, Microsoft will purchase "substantially" all of Nokia's device
and service arms as well as licensing the phone maker's patents and mapping
The Redmond company will pay Nokia 3.79 billion euros ($4.99 billion) for the
business, and 1.65 billion euros ($2.18 billion) for its patent armory.
Microsoft hopes that allying with its biggest Windows Phone manufacturer will
speed up growth (and improve its smartphone market share) -- the company is
already promising "increased synergies.”
CEO Steve Ballmer added: "It's a bold step into the future - a win-win for
employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies.
According to the companies' press releases, 32,000 people will transfer across
Microsoft, including 4,700 people in Finland and 18,300 employees directly
involved in product manufacture.
Microsoft will also take into ownership Nokia's Asha range of feature phones.
Patent-wise, Microsoft gets 10-year non-exclusive license to its Finnish
partner's library of ideas and "reciprocal rights" to use Microsoft patents within
its HERE mapping services.
Source: Engadget, 2 September 2013
MTN TO OPPOSE TURKCELL
MTN plans to defend the lawsuit brought by Turkish mobile operator
Turkcell, and which was previously heard in the US.
"MTN Group will vigorously defend the Turkcell lawsuit, the Turkish
operator's fifth claim arising from the unsuccessful bid to obtain a mobile
licence in Iran," MTN spokesman Xolisa Vapi said in a statement.
"While the summons has not yet been served on it, MTN understands
that the claim is now made against MTN, its wholly-owned subsidiary
MTN International (Mauritius) Limited (MTNI) and others, in which
Turkcell claims an amount of some US4.2 billion, plus interest and legal
Vapi described the court action as "a spurious attempt to claim monies to
which Turkcell is not entitled".
Turkcell said in a statement it was seeking damages from MTN over the
awarding of a private Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)
licence in Iran.
Turkcell claimed it was awarded Iran's first GSM licence in 2004, but was
unlawfully prevented from receiving the licence. The agreement was
instead signed with MTN.
Source: MoneyWeb, 29 November 2013
BLACKBERRY MAY PUT ITSELF UP
Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry is weighing options that could include an
outright sale, it said, and its largest shareholder is stepping down from its board to
avoid any possible conflict of interest.
BlackBerry, which pioneered mobile email with its first smartphones and email
pagers, said it had set up a committee to review its options, sparking a debate over
whether Canada's one-time crown jewel is more valuable as a whole or snapped up
piece by piece by competitors or private investors.
The company said Prem Watsa, whose Fairfax Financial Holdings is BlackBerry's
biggest shareholder, was leaving the board as BlackBerry determines its next steps.
The potential buyers of BlackBerry assets, if not the company itself, could include
deep-pocketed Canadian pension funds, as well as some of its rivals.
BlackBerry, once a stock market darling, has bled market share to Apple and phones
using Google Android operating system, and its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones
have failed to gain traction with consumers.
Companies tipped as possible partners for BlackBerry have included Microsoft and
Amazon.com, as well as Lenovo Group.
Sources say Wall Street bankers have also pitched deals involving BlackBerry to
companies such as HTC and Samsung Electronics, so far without success.
Source: ITWeb Africa, 13 August 2013
BBM AVAILABLE TO ALL AFRICAN
Finally BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is available as a free download on
the Google Play and Apple App Store in Africa.
The launch followed a postponed attempt by BlackBerry to unveil BBM
its Android and Apple app in September.
Over 10 million people worldwide downloaded the BBM Android and
Apple apps within the first 24 hours of its availability.
To get the fastest possible access to BBM, Android and iPhone users
should visit BBM.com from their Android or iPhone browser. Once
they’ve downloaded the app, users should launch it and enter their mail
address to hold their spot in line. BlackBerry will send them an email
when they reach the front of the line. Customers can then log in and
start using BBM.
Source: ITWeb Africa, 25 October 2013
APPLE UNVEILS TWO NEW IPHONES:
THE 5S AND 5C
For the first time ever, Apple unveiled two new iPhones, a traditional upgrade of
its iPhone 5 as well as a simpler, cheaper version.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are a reaction to a
changing smartphone market.
The iPhone 5C will sell for as little as $99, for a 16GB version, and $199 for one
with 32GB of storage.
The 5S features a handful of performance upgrades, including what Apple calls
a dramatic increase in processing speed. It will have the first 64-bit chip in a
smartphone -- Apple's A7 -- which is tested to be at up to twice as fast as the
iPhone 5's processor.
The list of new features include: a motion co-processor, that will let the phone be
used as a fitness tracker along the lines of a FitBit. Battery life will be "the same
or better" than the iPhone 5 and its camera will have 15% more active sensor
space, improved white balance and auto-focus, and a new flash.
Also its camera will, for the first time on iPhone, allow video in slow motion.
The most dramatic new feature on the phone is Touch ID, a fingerprint scanner
for added security.
The iPhone 5S will sell for $199 for a 16GB version, $299 for a 32GB model
and $399 for the top-end 64GB phone.
Source: CNN, 11 September 2013
APPLE ‘S IOS 7 AND MUSIC
Apple Inc unveiled iTunes Radio, a free music streaming service that is a
key part of overhauled mobile software that the company called the most
revolutionary re-design of its operating system since the iPhone was
introduced in 2007.
As Apple kicked off its annual conference in San Francisco for its
developers, executives also showed off a new line of Mac computers
and said that updated Siri voice software used on the iPhone now
incorporates Microsoft Corp‘s Bing search engine.
iTunes Radio, which will compete against Pandora Media Inc, allows
users to customise by genre and personal taste.
The service is free with ads across Apple’s devices, including Apple TV. It
is free of ads for subscribers to iTunes’ Match, a digital content feature.
Called iOS 7, the smartphone and tablet platform redesigned by resident
creative honcho Jonny Ive comes with a new edge-to-edge look that
uses translucency to highlight underlying content, new typefaces, and
new icons. Apple plans to make iOS 7 available in the fall.
Source: BusinessTech by MyBroadband, 10 June 2013
TELKOM LAUNCHES TELKOM
Telkom announced the launch of Telkom Mobile which it said is aimed at
data-hungry consumers that make high volumes of voice calls. 8ta will
remain as a “sub-brand” of Telkom Mobile, said Attila Vitai, managing
director of Telkom Mobile.
The new Telkom Mobile is based on an existing robust and growing
network that will benefit from continuing infrastructure investment, Vitai
The new brand is positioned to take advantage of changes in consumer
knowledge, expectations and behaviour, Vitai said.
“Pretty much everyone has at least one mobile device and most use
them for more than basic calls and messaging. There is a significant core
group of consumers who expect to be able to do more with their devices
in their own time and on their own terms.”
Vitai emphasised that 8.ta will continue to be the brand name for a core
set of products within Telkom Mobile, which is a business unit within
Source: BusinessTech, 19 March 2013