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Google launches new wireless Pixel Buds

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Google has launched its new Pixel Buds wireless earphones.

The Pixel Buds come in a simple, round form factor with a stabilizer arc that tucks into the ear – ensuring that it fits comfortably and does not fall out when you are exercising.

They use a hybrid design that allows you to listen to high-quality sound without losing track of what is happening around you.

The Pixel Buds achieve this by “gently sealing” the ear to isolate louder outside sounds, ensuring that you remain safe while on the go.

These earbuds also use Adaptive Sound technology which dynamically adjusts the volume of your audio as you move into louder or softer environments – ensuring you won’t need to adjust the volume depending on where you are.

Each Pixel Bud has two microphones embedded within it which will focus on your voice while minimising environmental sounds – a feature which Google said “extends to the most challenging environments.”

Google also said that the Pixel Buds use long-range Bluetooth connectivity to allow users to stay connected to their device as far as three rooms away when indoors, or the distance of a football field if you are outside.

They can pair with devices that use Bluetooth 4.0 or later, including laptops, tablets, and devices that use either iOS or Android 6.0 or later.

Google’s Pixel Buds will be available in 2020 in the US in four colours – Clearly White, Oh So Orange, Quite Mint, and Almost Black – and will cost $179.

No South African pricing or availability information was available at the time of publishing.

Pixel_Buds

 

Now read: Google launches new Pixelbook Go laptop

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VodaLend Business Advance gives SMEs access to short term funding

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Access to funding is still a major concern for local SMEs and Vodacom Business has launched a new product tailored at addressing that concern.

VodaLend Business Advance offers up funding ranging from R10 000 to R1.5 million repayable over six to 12 months. Of course in order to qualify a business will have to be registered and operational for at least 12 months. Revenue will also need to clock in at R500 000 plus and of course your credit standing must be good.

The VodaLend application process is completely digital according to Vodacom Business and applications will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of South Africa’s economy and contribute significantly to employment in the country as well as the gross domestic product which is why ensuring their growth and success is vitally important,” chief officer of financial services at Vodacom, Mariam Cassim said in a statement.

Vodacom Business says that SMEs will also receive Business Legal Assist at no further cost should they qualify for funding. This service will allow business owners to field legal questions for the duration of the funding term.

“Vodacom Financial Services intends to go beyond just providing funding and is looking to be a partner in growth for SMEs. With the trust we have built as a leading telco, we want to ensure financial inclusion for all within the financial services space and will continue to deliver best-in-class services and products,” says Cassim.

For more information head to the Vodacom Business website.

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Three-in-10 adults in emerging economies have no phone

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As ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, spreads rapidly across the globe, an average of three-in-10 adults in emerging economies still do not own a phone.

This is one of the key findings of a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28 122 adults in 11 emerging economies, including SA.It is part of a series of reports about the mobile landscape in emerging economies.

The report found there are still notable numbers of people who do not own or even use someone else’s mobile phone, with the mobile divide most pronounced in Venezuela (32%), India (30%) and the Philippines (27%), countries where about three-in-10 adults do not own a mobile phone.

In SA, 5% of surveyed respondents do not have or share a mobile phone, while Tunisia has 4%, Lebanon 9%, Kenya 3% and Jordan 3%.

The report found a median of 7% of polled people borrow or share phones with others.

Among non-mobile phone users, a median of 51% across eight countries say the cost of a phone is the reason they do not have one, with non-users in Venezuela (89%) and Tunisia (71%) topping the list.

A median of 34% of non-mobile users report that data costs are a reason, notes Pew.

“The spread of mobile phones brings a variety of benefits to users in emerging economies, and they can clearly spell out what appeals to them about the arrival of a phone in their lives,” explains Laura Silver, senior researcher at Pew Research Center.

“Still, our survey shows these devices bring new challenges and headaches to users at the same time they open up new divisions in their societies. It turns out that digital divides take several forms in these countries.”

According to a report by research firm Statista, today about 20 million to 22 million South Africans use a smartphone, which accounts for about one-third of the country’s population.

The non-users are divided over whether they would like to own a mobile phone in the future: Venezuelan non-users stand out for their keen interest in acquiring a mobile phone; 86% of mobile phone non-users in Venezuela say they would like to get a phone in the future.

Elsewhere, these numbers vary markedly, from around half or more desiring a mobile phone in SA (65%), Colombia (61%) and Tunisia (52%), to fewer than half in Mexico (41%), the Philippines (35%), India (31%) and Lebanon (9%).

At the same time, the Pew research shows mobile divides also exist among those who own phones. A median of 46% of respondents say they frequently or occasionally have difficulties getting reliable phone connections, 37% say it can be a challenge to pay for their phones, and 33% report finding places to charge their phones is a problem at least occasionally.

In some countries, mobile owners’ challenges are particularly striking. In Lebanon, for example, 66% of owners say they avoid doing things with their phones because those activities use too much data. In Jordan, nearly half (48%) report having trouble paying for their phone, while in Tunisia, four-in-10 (40%) say it can be a challenge to find places to recharge their phones.

Pew researchers also found that in some countries, issues of technological literacy are particularly pronounced. For example, around a quarter of Indians (26%) say the primary reason they share a phone is because it is too complicated to use, followed by Mexicans (11%) and Filipinos (10%).

“Beyond those concerns, there are other issues that can disrupt life for some phone users and sharers. Around three-quarters or more of mobile phone owners in every country except India report concerns about identity theft, and around nine-in-10 or more in Mexico (95%), Colombia (94%), Tunisia (90%), SA (89%) and the Philippines (89%) say they are at least somewhat concerned about the security issue,” notes the report.

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How to sign up for the Huawei Developer programme

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Earlier today Huawei kicked off its second South African developer day, and the first to be held in Cape Town. It is a larger event than the one it held in Johannesburg a few months ago, with the Chinese company pushing harder to get its local developer ecosystem up and running.

The initiative forms part of a greater ambition for the growth of Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), with an estimated 15 million users of the platform being noted for the African continent.

So the big question, and the reason you likely clicked on this story, is how to register as a member of the Huawei Developer programme.

Here’s the steps you’ll need to follow: 

  1. First you’ll need to head to the local Huawei Developer site here.
  2. Next you’ll need to fill in your details on the registration, with it featuring standard information such as your email address and phone number in order to create a Huawei ID.
  3. From there it gets a tad more complicated, with an identity verification page popping up and requiring users to register as company developers by supplying a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) ID.
  4. There are two methods to apply for the DUNS number. The first takes 10 to 15 minutes to apply for and costs roughly $80 to facilitate, as well as five to 15 days to complete and receive your number. The other free, but takes far longer at between 30 to 45 working days to complete.
  5. Once the registration process has been completed, you’ll be given a Business Registry License by Huawei.
  6. This is when the exciting stuff can start happening, as now you’ll be able to begin uploading your apps to the Huawei App Gallery.

All in all it is a relatively simple process, but can take a few days depending on how the DUNS process takes. The wait appears to be worth it though, as Huawei has confirmed its commitment to the local developer community.

To that end it wants to get 1 000 developers through its local Shining Star programme within the first year, and has also incentivised the programme for both individuals/SMMEs and corporates/commercial partners respectively. These include both cash prizes and devices for members who perform well and sign up quickly.

With Huawei aiming to create a thriving developer community, it should be interesting to see how the Shining Star and Developer programmes look in the next few years.

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