Here are the top tech stories (chosen by me) that made the news the past week which I have discussed on @SAFMRadio with @AshrafGarda during Tech Media today: 1. The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas last week which showcased the connected world from watches to tooth brushes. These were the highlights broken down by topic:
- Google is bringing is chromecast audio to connected speakers. Sony and LG were the many brands that showcased wifi-connected speakers which also supported Google Cast (Google Cast is a technology that lets lets you cast your favourite entertainment and apps from your phone/tablet to your TV or speakers). Google Cast is the same technology which is at the core of the chromecast streaming stick.
- New 4K TV’s from LG, Sony and Sharp were announced that support VP9 codec.
- Netflix announced that they are not blocking VPN users (despite rumours in the press of this happening)
- New smartwatches from Sony and LG were revealed
- Washable smart socks to reduce running injuries
- Wearables for babies such as connected pacifiers
- New fitness tracker from Garmin called the Vivoactive
C) Phones and Tablets
- New phones announced by LG, Lenovo and Asus (Zen Fone 2 and Zen Fone Zoom)
- New trio of Asus Transformer tablets announced .
- Battery packs for the iPhone 6 and 6Plus from popular brand Mophie Juice were also announced.
D) Internet of Things
- Smart coffee makers
- New smart appliances from GE where each appliance has its own app
- New Chromebooks were announced by Acer
F) Connected Cars
- Nvidia’s new superchip is meant to drive your car
- Focus on cars connecting to everything, from your phone to wearables and smart appliances (and also other cars).
G) 3D Printers, Virtual Reality (VR) and a dose of Science
- more advanced 3D printers which can print clothing
- souped up electric scooter which is energy efficient
- headphones with hidden VR goggles.
2. Smartphone user growth in South Africa is amongst the fastest worldwide. South Africa will land among the top 25 countries for smartphone user growth worldwide in 2014, eMarketer estimates, and the country will climb ahead of the global average in this category over the next four years. South Africa will tie with France for smartphone audience growth this year, with both expected to see a 27.1% increase in users. This could be attributed to the increase in low cost smartphones during the second half of 2014. Research has shown the most popular activities on smart phones were instant messaging, gaming, news consumption and sports score lookups.
3. Apple announced that the first week of January set a new record for billings from the App Store℠ with customers around the world spending nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases, and New Year’s Day 2015 marked the single biggest day ever in App Store sales history. These milestones follow a record-breaking 2014, in which billings rose 50 percent and apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers. To date, App Store developers have earned a cumulative $25 billion from the sale of apps and games. The introduction of iOS 8, the most significant iOS update ever, gave developers the ability to create amazing new apps and offers innovative features which proved wildly popular with App Store customers around the world. Minecraft was the most popular paid app on the app store this holiday season.
4. Whatsapp passes 700m monthly active users. WhatsApp cofounder and CEO Jan Koum said last Monday that the messaging app has topped 700 million monthly active users which is almost half as many Facebook users.
5. The Apple Watch Shows Up in the iOS 8.2 Beta Bluetooth Menu. The most anticipated wearable launch of the year has to be the Apple Watch. Apple has a new beta for iOS 8.2 out today, and the software contains a hint that suggests it could launch publicly alongside the Apple Watch. The mention of the Apple Watch is found in the Bluetooth menu, where a message at the bottom of the devices list directs users to head to a dedicated Apple Watch app in order to pair their new wearable with their smartphone. The Apple Watch notice is a strong indicator that the wearable will launch soon, since this is the fourth beta for iOS 8.2, and previous reports suggest we’ll see a March debut window for Apple Watch consumer sales. Apple has already announced the Apple Watch, and referred to an Apple Watch dedicated app, but as of yet there’s no official timeline for its release beyond that it’s coming sometime early this year.
Price : R36.99 (iOS) , R25.00 (Android)
TurboScan turns your phone into a multipage scanner for documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards, and other text. With TurboScan, you can quickly scan your documents and store or email them as multipage PDF or JPEG files. Very convenient and an awesome productivity app which I’ve been using for the past few years.
Gadget of the Week: Mobee Wireless Charger for the Magic Mouse
Price : R699
- Wireless charging technology for your Apple Magic Mouse
- Ultra slim and portable charger for mobile users or those trying to keep desktop clutter to a minimum
- Wireless charger eliminates the need to constantly replace batteries in you Magic Mouse by converting it to a rechargeable mouse
- Base station is USB powered, no external power supply required