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Google Now widget arrives with Search update

Published by on Feb 14th, 2013, 1 Comment

Ever since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released people lucky enough to get the update or able to buy a new device have been treated to the Google Now experience. It was a massive leap forward in the way your data is studied and used to have information relevant to you at your fingertips at any time during the day. It was even awarded innovation of the year by Popular Science.

Now, Google have made it even easier to view the information you want, even without asking to see it. In the new update for Google Search released 13 February, Google has added a widget which can be placed on your home screen and feeds your cards directly to the widget. If you are unfamiliar with what exactly Google Now is and what the ‘cards’ are, check out our Jelly Bean review.

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Gartner: Global mobile phones sales decline, Samsung takes top spot

Published by on Feb 13th, 2013, No Comments

According to Gartner Inc. worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7 per cent decline from 2011 sales.

Smartphones continued to drive overall mobile phone sales, and the fourth quarter of 2012 saw record smartphone sales of 207.7 million units, from the same period last year.

“The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year.”

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52 per cent from 46.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung ended the year in the No. 1 position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.

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Google could pay massively to remain iPhone’s default search

Published by on Feb 13th, 2013, No Comments

It was once a blossoming symbiotic relationship but has in recent years turned into something more akin to a weekly brawl at the local watering hole. Apple and Google have worked together for many years and that will probably not change in the near future, even though they are constantly at each other’s throats in court.

There has obviously always been a nominal fee charged by Apple to allow Google to be the go-to search engine on iOS devices. According to reports, as recently as 2009 that amount was $82 million. That seems very little if you consider that Google makes more money from revenue generated through Apple products than from Android. Although that is likely to shift soon as Android has become the dominant operation system among smartphones, there is still a big revenue stream from Apple that Google would not want to disrupt.

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Rumour: Apple has a team of 100 working on the Apple watch

Published by on Feb 13th, 2013, No Comments

Following a report last week by The New York Times that Apple was developing a ‘smart’ watch possibly using Willow Glass technology developed by Corning and running on iOS, Bloomberg has now published more information about the rumoured device.

According to sources with knowledge of the project, Apple Inc. already has a team of about 100 people working on the development of the computer-like wristwatch that will supposedly function in some ways like an iPhone or iPad. This may seem quite far-fetched for some.

While it was speculated that Apple were merely experimenting with the watch, the now large team suggests that the company has gone way passed that phase what with managers, product designers, members of the marketing group and software and hardware engineers now on board.

Bruce Tognazzini, a technology consultant and former Apple employee, wrote in a blog post last week that “Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.”

However, Apple remains silent about the project, one that may not even exist.

What do you think of the rumoured Apple watch?

Incredible Connection, DionWired taking BlackBerry Z10 pre-orders

Published by on Feb 12th, 2013, No Comments

According to a post published by My Broadband, Incredible Connection and DionWired are offering customers the ability to pre-order the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.

Incredible Connection’s site lists the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone with free flip shell, launching on 1st March, with the available specs including 6GB intenal storage, Dual Core 1.5 GHz, 4.2” Touch 1280 x 768 resolution, 356ppi display, 8MP Rear Camera and 1080p HD video recording and 3G ready.

The device is priced at R6999.99 without a contract.

DionWired however, does not give any indication of pricing.

Google Engage Academy makes Johannesburg Debut in March

Published by on Feb 12th, 2013, No Comments

Google will hold the first Google Engage Academy in Johannesburg on 7 March 2013, a free full-day training seminar, which will highlight the use of online marketing tools for digital agencies. The seminar is open to all members of Google Engage for Agencies - a support  programme for advertising agencies, webmasters, search engine marketers and anyone else who provides web services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Engage members receive free access to educational resources, training workshops, telephone support and promotional vouchers to help their customers get started with online advertising. (more…)

Zuckerbergs second “most generous” in 2012

Published by on Feb 12th, 2013, No Comments

According to a new list, The Chronicle of Philanthropy names Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife Priscilla Chan as the second “most generous” donors of 2012.

First place as the biggest American philanthropist in 2012, goes to American business magnate Warren Buffett.

Zuckerberg and Chan who have a net worth of $9.6 billion donated $498.8 million to a non-profit organization, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, through the donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock.

The donation was announced on Facebook in December.

This is the second of two significant donations made by Zuckerberg in recent times. In 2010, the Facebook founder pledged $100 million toward Startup: Education.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki came in fifth place on the list, after donating $222.9 million.

I Really Want to Go Back to School

Published by on Feb 12th, 2013, No Comments

As a teenager all I ever wanted at school was a locker. There were two reasons for this, firstly so I could have awkward encounters with the pretty girl serendipitously placed next to me and secondly so that I didn’t have to carry all those heavy books around!

Thankfully Core (the distributors of Apple in South Africa) have both solved my historical problems and ruined my serendipity fantasy. Last week the company released ZABooks, a project to get every single South African textbook onto the iPad to get kids learning using digital textbooks.

The concept is simple: you download the ZABooks app onto your iPad (I can see the iPad Mini becoming the de facto choice for schools soon) and then go to the ZABooks website to buy the books you require. You then login to the app on your iPad and you can start downloading books. You can get books from Grade 1 to Grade 12 and at launch there are over 600 textbooks already available. All the major publishers are on board and books are generally at least 25% cheaper than the print editions. I took a random book on the store (Advocates For Change by Moeletsi Mbeki) and while ZABooks charges R180 for it you can get the print edition for R202 on Kalahari.net. That is without shipping (anything over R250 gets free shipping) and Kalahari is generally cheaper than brick and mortar stores so pricing does seem spot on. From a pricing perspective it’s probably going to take a while to amortise the cost of the iPad but in my house we have an upgrade cycle where an “old” iPad is passed down to the younger members of the family meaning that child already had access to an iPad. (more…)

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