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Vodacom LTE rollout reaches Cape Town

Published by on Dec 12th, 2012, No Comments

In the two months since Vodacom launched commercial LTE (commonly known as 4G) services in South Africa, the number of LTE enabled base stations has grown from 70 to more than 500 and the rollout has now reached Cape Town.

Speaking about the progress on LTE, Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said “I’m bowled over with what our engineering teams have achieved. They worked incredibly hard to hit the 10 October launch date but rather than take a breather they actually accelerated the rollout from there. On average we’ve lit up another seven LTE sites every single day for the past two months and hit our target of 500 LTE base stations a month early.”

In addition to having LTE up and running in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, the rollout has now reached Cape Town with sites in the CBD, Stellenbosch, Atlantic Seaboard (including Camps Bay), the Waterfront and Century City. More sites are planned for early next year.

Delport added that “I’m pleased to say that we’ve also managed to bring LTE to Cape Town several weeks ahead of schedule and in time for the holiday season.”

“In the six months to September we invested R3.2 billion in our network in South Africa. One of the big focus areas has been providing high speed links to our base stations, which we’ve now completed at more than 5 000 sites to support both LTE and faster 3G connections. Our clear goal is to ensure that Vodacom maintains its lead with the best network experience and widest coverage, ” said Delport about overall network improvements.

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Huawei announces the mother ship of “Phablets”

Published by on Dec 12th, 2012, 5 Comments

Ever since the original Samsung Galaxy Note was released the mobile market coined the term “phablet”, a smartphone/tablet hybrid. While many thought they would fail because of their sheer size, that couldn’t be further from the truth, with the latest Samsung Galaxy Note II selling into the millions within weeks.

Samsung’s success in this segment of the market has sparked a new war on the plains of the mobile battlefield. HTC came up with the Butterfly (called the Droid DNA in the USA), which has a 1080p HD screen (unlike the 720p on the Note II). Now, others are jumping on the bandwagon – Sharp, Sony, ZTE and others have slowly but surely started rolling out 5-inch plus display devices.

However, Huawei don’t want to get involved in the scrap with Samsung and so they are looking to push the envelope further. Huawei Senior VP Yu Chengdong has confirmed that the Huawei Ascend Mate will be launching sometime next year.

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iTunes Movies now Live in SA, to Rent or Buy

Published by on Dec 12th, 2012, 4 Comments

MyGaming just found this morning that Apple has silently switched on iTunes Movies for South Africa. This means that you can now buy and rent movies from the iTunes and watch it right on your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone etc.

We looked at the catalogue, and once again Musica should be very worried. Movie costs vary based on how new they are, as well as their image quality. We cannot seem to find the reason why certain older movies have various prices – for example, even an older movie like Toy Story comes in at R120. Certain movies are also only available for rent – like Dumbo. We were also very surprised to find that there are some South African movies are on there as well. At the current pricing it currently seems to compete with Blu Ray and DVD pricing in SA – so people who wish to hold on to physical copies of their media might not switch. (more…)

CCID launches SMS donation service to help the homeless

Published by on Dec 12th, 2012, No Comments

The Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID) has launched an SMS donation service as part of its Give Responsibly campaign in an effort to help break the cycle of homelessness on the city’s streets.

The SMS line forms part of the augmented Give Responsibly campaign and offers the public an alternative way of donating money to people living on the streets of Cape Town.

The donations will be disbursed to various city NGOs that already do great work in helping to change the lives of the homeless by providing shelter, food, social services and rehabilitation programmes.

“For many members of the public, the instinct is to give money to people begging on the street because they believe it will give the person a chance to build a new life — or at the very least help them survive life on the street. However, we find that very often the money given is not used for basic needs like food, clothing or shelter but rather to fuel addictions, resulting in homeless people sometimes rejecting assistance and committing themselves to a life on the street,” said Pat Eddy, head of social development at CCID.

Members of the public who wish to donate to the campaign can send an SMS to 38088, using the keywords ‘Give’, ‘Success’, ‘Dreams’ or ‘Dignity’. Each R10 SMS donation will contribute to the efforts of the CCID’s six NGO partners, which are: Straatwerk, Ons Plek, Carpenter’s Shop, Homestead, Salesian Institute Youth Projects and The Haven.

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First BlackBerry 10 device Images Leaked

Published by on Dec 12th, 2012, 8 Comments

Despite not having a lot of new high end product unveilings in the last year, BlackBerry has been quietly working in the background to build its BlackBerry 10 OS, and the first elusive BB 10 device – called the “L-Series” is the first phone to receive BlackBerry’s latest operating system. If there is one thing phone manufacturers have learned, it is that new high end devices cannot seem to stay under wraps until launch any more.

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Virgin Mobile launches competitive data packages

Published by on Dec 11th, 2012, No Comments

According to My Broadband, Virgin Mobile has recently launched data contract packages for mobile that put it in competition with MTN and Vodacom. However, despite its efforts the network provider was was unable to compete with Cell C’s data contract offering which remains the most affordable at present.

Details of the packages are as follows:

The 2.5GB 24 month contract data packages include a starter pack and a Huawei USB dongle:

  • 2.5GB of data, starter pack and Huawei E1820 dongle for R149 per month on a Top Up 149 package
  • 2.5GB of data, starter pack and Huawei E1820 dongle for R150 per month on a Data Classic 150 package

The SIM-only 500MB and 3GB 24 month data contract packages:

  • 500MB of data on a Data Classic 49 package for R49 per month
  • 3GB of data on a Top Up 149 package for R149 per month
  • 3GB of data on a Data Classic 150 package for R150 per month

The above prices are valid from 8 November 2012 to 30 January 2013.

Instagram launches version 3.2 – Improved camera and filters

Published by on Dec 11th, 2012, No Comments

Instagram has today announced the launch of its largest ever upgrade to its iOS camera, since it received a revamp over one year ago, with Instagram 3.2.

The upgrade, that comes just days after Instagram disabled it’s Twitter photo sharing integration in an attempt to encourage users back to Instagram, includes improvements of its camera, tilt-shift feature and the addition of a new filter.

The camera redesign includes an Instagram-themed blue shutter and shutter release button, a preview of the most recent photo on your camera roll, optional grid guide for live photos and a permanent grid guide for the scale and crop screen. In addition an improved camera roll selector, available for iPhone 5 only, makes it easier to select photos from those saved in your roll.

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HP to launch Elitebook Revolve in SA

Published by on Dec 11th, 2012, No Comments

HP today extends its business tablet portfolio to SA with the announcement of its next-generation convertible tablet, the HP EliteBook Revolve —a touch-enabled notebook that pivots to let users share their work and folds to go mobile as a tablet.

With the ability to transform to a convertible design, the HP EliteBook Revolve is designed for business customers who require both an ultrathin notebook and a touch-enabled tablet. Driven by a third-generation Intel Core processor and optimised for Windows 8, the HP EliteBook Revolve offers the performance and visuals of a full-power notebook alongside the flexibility to quickly switch to a tablet with a touch-enabled display.

HP also released a new HP Multi-Tablet Charging Module which quickly and easily charges and stores up to 10 tablet PCs with just one power outlet. Suitable for a range of different work environments, the module secures all docked tablets with a locking mechanism and a keyed lock on the fold-back doors.

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