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Dear Apple: Please buy Nokia

Published by on Oct 16th, 2012, 8 Comments

Ever since Stephen Elop went from running the Microsoft Office division to head up Nokia there have been rumours of Microsoft circling the rotting carcass that is the Nokia business. I still think Nokia makes the best looking phones, arguably better than the latest Apple designs, so Microsoft makes logical sense for Nokia, especially since they use the Microsoft mobile operating system. However, what if Apple were to buy Nokia with their patents, mapping services and great hardware design skills? It’s not as crazy as it sounds:

Patents:

This past July, Envision IP took a look at that portfolio and found that, in the US alone, Nokia had almost 16,000 patents around telecommunication in the US alone (and another 20,000 patents outside of the US). With an average 13 years left on those patents, they include some of the building blocks for the next generation of mobile telecommunication services: building blocks technologies like GSM (which was mostly developed by Nokia), 3G, and now LTE are all part of Nokia’s patent portfolio. A 2011 survey showed that Nokia was the largest patent holder for essential technologies relating to LTE.

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2012 South African eCommerce Awards Top 20

Published by on Oct 16th, 2012, No Comments

Evaluations were conducted on the Top 40 websites over the past month to determine the 20 websites that will compete in the third and final round of the 2012 South African eCommerce Awards. Independent design company, Druff Interactive, conducted the design evaluations, and together with the South African eCommerce Awards initial evaluations, the 20 websites with the highest scores have made it into the final round.

The South African eCommerce Awards are proud to announce the Top 20 websites (in alphabetical order):

  • Bidorbuy
  • Cars.co.za
  • CUM Books
  • Debonairs Pizza
  • Groupon – South Africa
  • kalahari.com

Major Shift happening in Software Development

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, 1 Comment

Mobile apps, touch-screen interfaces, gesture controls and platform interoperability are just some of the areas that software developers need to be cognisant of when designing solutions today. Malcolm Rabson, MD at Dariel Solutions takes a closer look at some of the trends to watch in a field that has become imperative to the success of any organisation in the connected age.

In the 90s, the rapid rise of the internet led to a renaissance in software development with many aspiring programmers looking at ways to harness the power of browsers, come up with interesting Web page designs (remember Geocities, frames, and animated gifs?), and leverage the functionality of bulletin boards that evolved quickly into significant community forums.

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Did you miss the Online Retail Conference last week?

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, No Comments

A small group of retail professionals gathered last week for the Online Retail Conference. With online retail in South Africa rocketing ahead at 30% growth per annum, the recent Online Retail Conference saw a bucket of online merchandise sellers come together with the likes of WantItAll, kalahari and Groupon. But the real twist to the story is that the conference hall was filled with traditionally offline retailers too.

In fact, that single observation sums up the state of online retail in South Africa right now – both online and offline retailers are starting to vie for the same territory. So while kalahari is still pushing onwards, Mr Price has recently kicked off a solid website offering as well.

So why are offline retailers going at it with big budgets too? Showrooming is one reason – people find out what they want online, but try it on in physical stores, only to return home again to purchase it online. But the opposite is also true, and when Google and PriceCheck spoke at the conference, both mentioned ROPO – research online, purchase offline. Both affect the brick-and-mortar retailers heavily.

Google also pushed its own abbreviation: ZMOT – the zero moment of truth (free book on it here). Traditionally, consumers had a first moment of truth when deciding what to buy, and a second moment once they tried out the product they had just bought. Now, it’s clear that the zero moment fits in where customers are spending a little more time, mostly online, just before they choose what to spend their money on.

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Opinion: Should Nokia have gone with Android?

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, 8 Comments

With iOS and Android devices dominating market share with the vast majority of smartphones shipped, things aren’t very rosy over at Nokia headquarters. It got me thinking about how the once powerful Nokia, who had such a huge influence on the mobile market and such amazing sales figures just a few years ago, managed to become so uncompetitive in such a short time. Why didn’t Nokia adopt Android like so many other manufacturers? And why did it take so long for them to react? Let’s start by looking at how they reacted when sales started to slip.

Too little, too late

Nokia started to suffer and the big guys upstairs started to question why, and what needs to be done. I came across this letter from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in 2011 addressed to all employees where he thoroughly criticizes everything done at the company in the last couple of years, and it encapsulates his pain and frustration with his company. Some things in the letter that stand out are:

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Historic space jump breaks YouTube record

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, 1 Comment

According to YouTube, the historic jump by Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner that took place on Sunday 14 October broke a record for the  “live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube”, with a number of about 8 million views.

Baumgartner completed the record breaking jump from the edge of space, after flying to an altitude of 39,045 meters in a helium-filled balloon, all of which was captured on video for the world to witness.

Red Bull Stratos, after which the mission was named and who uploaded a video writes that:

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Vodacom customers get free talk time

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, 1 Comment

Vodacom’s Prepaid and Top Up customers have yet another reason to smile with the launch of the Vodacom Extra Time promotion, where they can talk for an hour and only pay for the first 3 minutes. This promotion will run from 15 October to 31 October 2012.

Commenting on the Vodacom Extra Time promotion, Phil Patel, Chief Consumer Officer at Vodacom said: “This promotion will reward all our Prepaid and Top Up customers by offering them great value savings on voice calls this summer. This is the type of value that our customers can expect this festive season.”

The Vodacom Extra Time promotion is available between 7am and 8pm on weekdays. To activate this promotion customers simply need to dial *111# once off at no charge to enjoy 57 minutes free talk time per hour. If the call continues into the second hour, customers will be charged for the first 3 minutes and the next 57 minutes will be free.

This promotion applies to calls made to other Vodacom customers. Cellphone numbers of customers who have ported to other networks can be identified by a beep tone before the call connects.

AppMonday: TheVine

Published by on Oct 15th, 2012, 1 Comment

A little while ago I wrote on TheVine, a wine app that had just launched. My ratings were, to say the least, less than satisfactory, but perhaps that was to be understood since the app was a basic version, seemingly rushed to completion and released with few features. Perhaps we should applaud them for doing that – it’s very much like the ideals of the “lean startup”.

So, it was not surprising to receive an email from them asking me to rate their app again. This time it has just launched again with a new and improved version, just launched on the Google Play and iStore. Fair enough, there are many new bits and pieces to the app, some of which were mentioned in the last review.

The design and layout has improved. Of that there is no doubt, and I’d be interested to hear how they chose their graphics. There is now a much fuller comments and opinions section, and wines are rated out of 5 with a top 10 shown on the first landing page.

By rating a wine and performing other actions, you get points and are ranked on a leaderboard. There is not as much activity on the app as one would have hoped, but they are clearly still new and in a growth phase. Over the next few months I’d expect to see a great deal more wines, reviews and ratings.

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